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Aerial photo of the planned site of the Spent Fuel Repository (centre) at Forsmark. The picture is a photomontage. Illustration: Phosworks.

Two statements on the Spent Fuel Repository

The answer was a clear yes in SSM’s statement to the Government on SKB’s system for final disposal of spent nuclear fuel. The Land and Environment Court was also positive in several important respects but calls for more documentation on the copper canisters.

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) has reviewed SKB’s applications under the Nuclear Activities Act and recommends the Government to grant a licence for a final repository for spent nuclear fuel in Forsmark and an encapsulation plant in Oskarshamn.

The statement from the Land and Environment Court (MMD) is also positive in several important respects. The court says yes to the issues relating to the Forsmark site, the rock, the buffer and the environmental impact statement. The court also approves the encapsulation plant and increased capacity in the interim storage facility Clab. However, the court wants SKB to present more documentation on the properties of the canister and safety in the long term. Furthermore, it wants an investigation of the issue of responsibility after closure, which has also been requested by the municipality.

– We can conclude that we have not been able to answer the court’s questions regarding the copper canister fully. At the same time, the Government’s expert authority SSM wrote in its statement that SKB has the potential to meet the legislative requirements on safe final disposal, says SKB’s managing director Eva Halldén in a comment.

SKB will provide documentation

That the two authorities have come to such different conclusions is in part due to the fact that they have tried the applications under different legislations, SSM under the Nuclear Activities Act and MMD under the Environmental Code. They also have different licensing procedures. SSM grants a licence in several steps with continuous updates of the safety analysis. But the court must say yes or no based on the currently available documentation.

The issue now lies with the Ministry of the Environment and Energy for further investigation and SKB is working to develop the documentation on the canister required by the court.

– This is material that we have planned to produce for the preliminary safety analysis. The difference now is that we will prioritise the work differently and complete it faster than what was planned, says Helene Åhsberg, SKB’s project manager for the licensing process.

No referendum

Östhammar Municipality planned to hold a referendum on the final repository on March 4. But at a meeting in the municipal council in the end of January, it was decided to cancel the referendum.


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