The agreement gives VTT access to Fortum’s experience in nuclear power plant operation and nuclear waste management. Fortum will draw up the plans, dismantle the reactor and dispose of any nuclear waste. VTT is responsible for the safety of the reactor, the laboratory and the decommissioning process.
VTT has already applied to the Finnish government for permission to decommission the reactor and expects to get the go-ahead before the end of 2020. All of the spent nuclear fuel must be removed from the premises before the reactor can be dismantled.
VTT’s goal is to return the fuel to the US, which supplied the fuel in the first place. An alternative is to use an interim storage facility until a geological disposal site is available in Finland. The dismantling process is scheduled for the years 2022–2023.
The FIR 1 research reactor was commissioned in 1962 and operated until 2015. It has played a role in the study of lunar rocks, gold prospecting and cancer treatments and, most importantly, served as a nuclear energy education and research tool.