A government decision on Sweden’s final waste repository will be delayed by the launch of a public consultation on whether the application for the repository should be considered separately from that for an expansion of the existing Clab interim repository for used fuel, Finnish nuclear operator Fortum has said. A government decision, it warned, is needed before the end of this month in order to avoid future disruptions to electricity supply due to a lack of interim used fuel storage capacity.
Announcing its financial results for the first half of 2021 yesterday, Fortum – which is co-owner of the Oskarshamn and Forsmark nuclear power plants in Sweden – said the Swedish government had launched the consultation in June “in order to further postpone a decision on the final waste repository”.
Radioactive waste management company Svensk Kärnbränslehantering AB (SKB) submitted applications to build Sweden’s first nuclear fuel repository and an encapsulation plant to the Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) in March 2011. The integrated facility – the encapsulation plant and the Clab interim storage facility at Oskarshamn – is referred to in SKB’s application as Clink. The application concerns the disposal of 6000 capsules with a total of 12,000 tonnes of radioactive waste at a depth of about 500 metres. SKB also applied to extend the storage capacity of the Clab facility from the current 8000 tonnes of fuel to 11,000 tonnes.
Fortum said the intermediate storage and the final repository “are connected in a coherent final repository system”. It noted the additional costs of the delayed decision for the nuclear power plant owners are an estimated EUR80 million (USD94 million) per year.
SKB said yesterday that more than 20 consultation responses have so far been received and a clear majority opposes a division of the applications. “They advocate a coherent application and that the government should make a hasty decision on this,” it said. The company noted only four consultative bodies expressed support for the applications to be considered separately.