The spent nuclear fuel will first be stored in interim storage facilities at the Fortum plant in Loviisa and the TVO plant in Eurajoki. Then it will be transported to the encapsulation plant in special-purpose casks as special transport.
As Olkiluoto in the municipality of Eurajoki has been selected as the final disposal site, there is no need for long-distance transportation except from Hästholmen in Loviisa. The total annual required number of transports from Loviisa to Eurajoki is about four. The transportation of spent fuel from Loviisa to Olkiluoto is planned to be performed as road transportation, but railroad and ship transportation and a combination of these three have also been examined as optional transportation methods.
There is a great deal of experience on the safety of transportation of spent nuclear fuel in Finland. Spent nuclear fuel has been transported from power plants to interim storage facilities and, during the period from 1981 to 1996, it has also been exported from Loviisa to Russia (or the Soviet Union).
Transportation in Impact-Resistant Special-Purpose Casks
The fuel assemblies to be transferred to the interim storage facility will be packed in an impact-resistant transportation cask for the transfer. The cask prevents any damage occurring to the fuel assemblies during the transfer and also provides protection from radiation. Similar casks are used also when spent nuclear fuel is transported from the interim storage facilities at the plant area to the disposal site.
The principal idea in transportation is that transport casks must not lose their radiation protection features even in the worst conceivable accidents. Therefore, the transport cask must endure at least the following:
a drop to a nonresilient base at the least favourable angle of incidence from a height of 9 metres
the thermal conditions caused by a fire with a flame temperature of 800°C for at least 30 minutes
an immersion in water to a depth of 200 m for a minimum of one hour.
Authority Controls on Nuclear Waste Transports
The transportation of spent nuclear fuel is strictly regulated by national and international regulations and agreements. The International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA published the first transportation guidelines as early as 1961.
In Finland, a licence for each transport of spent nuclear fuel must be acquired from the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority. The Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority will inspect the transportation plan, the structure of the transport cask, the qualifications of transportation personnel and the provisions made for accidents and malicious damage.
Nuclear Waste Transports Elsewhere in the World
A great deal of experience has been gained on the transportation of spent nuclear fuel. There are several European countries, as well as Japan, who transport spent nuclear fuel to France and the UK for reprocessing. Sweden has transported the spent nuclear fuel from all its nuclear power plants to the Oskarshamn interim storage facility by the sea.