Swedish engineering consultancy company Sweco will prepare the detailed design of the planned used nuclear fuel repository at Forsmark under a contract from waste and fuel management company Svensk Kärnbränslehantering AB (SKB). In addition, Sweco will supply the detailed design for the extension of the existing final repository for low and intermediate-level radioactive waste (SFR), also at Forsmark.

The planned nuclear fuel repository at Forsmark (Image: Lasse Modin / SKB)

Under a contract worth around SEK10 million (USD1 million), Sweco will now prepare the detailed design, drawings and plans for the tunnels and chambers within the bedrock for upcoming blasting and excavation work. In addition, it will prepare tender documentation for contracts for the work. The design work will begin immediately and is expected to take about two years to complete.

"This is an extensive assignment that we are now embarking on in Forsmark to prepare for our upcoming major construction projects," said SKB CEO Eva Halldén. "About 40-50 people will work on the detailed planning during the journey, plus SKB's own staff. We look forward to doing this together with Sweco."

"We are proud to be part of this large and important project together with SKB," added Sweco Sweden CEO Ann-Louise Lökholm Klasson. "The final disposal issue involves extensive environmental protection projects and it is of course important that the nuclear waste is disposed of in a responsible manner. The assignment is unique with high requirements, where our expertise in rock engineering and plant design, as well as experience in the specific conditions that apply to projects in nuclear fuel management, are well adapted."

SKB submitted applications to build the country's first repository for used nuclear fuel, together with a plant to encapsulate the fuel prior to disposal, to the Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) in March 2011. The integrated facility - the encapsulation plant and the Clab interim storage facility - is referred to in SKB's application as Clink. The application concerns the disposal of 6000 copper canisters with a total of 12,000 tonnes of radioactive waste at a depth of about 500 meters.

SKB also submitted an application to extend the storage capacity of the Clab facility from the current 8000 tonnes of fuel to 11,000 tonnes. The applications have been reviewed by the SSM and the Land and Environment Court. The final decision to authorise the project will be made by the government, which will base its decision on the assessments of both the SSM and the Land and Environment Court. However, before the government makes a final decision, it will consult with the municipalities of Oskarshamn and Östhammars, which have the power to veto the application.

The SFR repository, in the municipality of Östhammars, is situated 60 metres below the bottom of the Baltic Sea. It comprises four 160-metre-long rock vaults and a chamber in the bedrock, with a 50-metre-high concrete silo for the most radioactive waste. Two parallel one-kilometre-long access tunnels link the facility to the surface. Most of the short-lived waste deposited in the SFR - which began operations in 1988 - comes from Swedish nuclear power plants, but radioactive waste from hospitals, veterinary medicine, research and industry is also deposited within it. The facility currently houses about 63,000 cubic metres of waste and is 60% full. SKB applied in December 2014 to treble the size of the SFR facility, adding a further 170,000 cubic metres of capacity. The extended part of the repository will consist of six new rock chambers, each 240-275 metres in length.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

Date: Saturday, 08 February 2020
Original article: world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Contract-for-detailed-design-of-Forsmark-disposal