SKB to submit applications to build a final repository for spent nuclear fuel

Source: Swedish Fuel and Waste Management Company, SKB 

The Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (SKB) are submitting its latest RD&D program to the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority. Based on the program SKB now has the knowledge to submit the applications to build a final repository for spent nuclear fuel in Forsmark. SKB plans to submit the applications in March 2011. 

According to the Swedish Nuclear Activities Act, SKB and its owners are required to present the knowledge and research status within the nuclear fuel area every third year. 

"We are pleased to say that, after more than 30 years of research and development, SKB will now complete the applications for permits to build a final repository for spent nuclear fuel in Forsmark, north of Stockholm," says Claes Thegerstrom, CEO, SKB. 

The research program involves a systematic review of the present situation and future plans within all areas where SKB is conducting research and technical development. The now developed methodology for safety analysis allows SKB to demonstrate that we can fulfill the authorities highly set safety requirements. The program is currently focusing on getting a deeper understanding of the natural changes that may occur in a geological repository in the long-term. 

The plans for management and disposal of the low- and intermediate level waste are being developed and detailed in the Fud-program 2010, which was requested in the authorities' review of the Fud-program in 2007. Among other activities SKB is planning to submit the applications to expand the capacity of the existing final repository for short-lived radioactive waste, SFR, by 2013. The extended facility is expected to become operational in 2020. 

"Based on all the scientific and technical work that has been compiled over the years, we can now take the next step in the Swedish nuclear waste program. SKB will, however, continue its work on research and development. The management of spent nuclear fuel will continue to be conducted with the best knowledge even in the future," Claes Thegerstrom finishes. 

SKB is planning to submit its applications to the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority and the Environmental Court in March 2011. Dependant upon a positive outcome from the review of the applications the construction of the nuclear fuel repository can be started in 2015, with an estimated start of disposal operations by 2025. 

Facts on the Fud-process: 

Every third year SKB presents a program for its research- and development activity, the Fud-program. The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority conducts an expert review and gives its own statement to the government. In addition the Swedish National Council for Nuclear Waste conducts a separate review and also gives a statement to the government. The process is then completed by the government taking a final position on the program.

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