The Swedish nuclear fuel and waste management company, SKB, has selected Forsmark as the site for the final repository of Sweden’s spent nuclear fuel.

Forsmark in the municipality of Östhammar was chosen over Laxemar in the municipality of Oskarshamn after detailed site characterisation was carried out between 2002 and 2007.

SKB president Claes Thegerström described the site selection as a milestone for the Swedish nuclear waste programme and said there is “a clear advantage for Forsmark concerning long-term safety.”

At the repository level, some 500m below the surface the crystalline rock at the Forsmark site is dry and has few fractures, which will minimise the flow of groundwater. In addition, a repository in Forsmark would require less space compared to a repository in Laxemar, which means that less rock needs to be excavated and less material will be needed for backfilling.

Thegerström said SKB is now focusing its work on putting together documentation to submit a licence application for the construction of the repository in 2010. The licence application, which will include an environmental impact assessment and a safety analysis will be reviewed by the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority and the Environmental Court. Ultimately it will be up to the Swedish government whether or not to go ahead with the construction of the repository.

If all goes to schedule, SKB expects to begin construction in 2015 and says that the repository should be up and running by 2023. SKB expects to have received the last canister and disposed a total of about 6000 canisters in the final repository by around 2050.

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Date: Friday, 05 June 2009
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