Experts assembled for the TKS Seminar at the Finlandia Hall
Posiva’s research, development and planning work extending to year 2012 (the TKS-2009 programme) was presented to the company’s domestic and international partners at the Finlandia Hall on 10 March 2010. The TKS-2009 programme, finalised last autumn and submitted to the authorities, is a document with more than 500 pages describing the research, development and planning work central to the construction licence application for the disposal facility.
Posiva’s disposal project has progressed far already: the company’s knowledge of the Olkiluoto bedrock is extensive, and effective solutions have been found for manufacturing technical barriers (the copper canister, the bentonite buffer, and the filling material for the tunnel). In the following years, the focus of the research, development and planning work will be in demonstrating the research and construction process leading to the selection of locations for tunnels and canister holes suitable for disposal, as well as the ability to manufacture technical barriers that meet the safety requirements, among other things. In addition, it must be shown how the spent nuclear fuel is encapsulated and disposed of in the complex of two nuclear waste plants – the encapsulation plant and the underground disposal facilities. The long-term safety of the final disposal is evaluated in the Safety Case, where the performance of the disposal facilities is studied far into the future.
A panel organised at the end of the Seminar discussed the number of disposal facilities for spent nuclear fuel or high-level waste that are likely to be in operation in Europe in 2025. According to the estimates of the panel members, there will be few operators, since the average estimate was two facilities. According to the current plans, Sweden and France have joined Finland in announcing that they will start final disposal in the early 2020s, according to their schedules. The panel members included Riku Huttunen, Industrial Counsellor, from the Ministry of Employment and the Economy; Director Hans Riotte from OECD/NEA; Reijo Sundell, Managing Director of Posiva; Claes Thegerström, Managing Director of SKB (Svensk Kärnbränslehantering Ab); and Director Tero Varjoranta from the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority.