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13.05.2008 12:00

Posiva submitted EIA programme pertaining to extension of final disposal facility

Posiva Oy, a company responsible for the final disposal of spent nuclear fuel of its owners, has today submitted the Environmental Impact Assessment programme to the Ministry of Employment and the Economy. The EIA procedure pertains to the extension of the final disposal facility of spent nuclear fuel under design in Olkiluoto by a volume of 3000 tons of uranium to accommodate a total of 12000 uranium tons of spent nuclear fuel instead of the previously designed 9000 uranium tons. With the planned extension of the final repository Posiva prepares for receiving spent nuclear fuel from the potential Loviisa 3 nuclear power plant unit of Fortum Power and Heat Oy.

Earlier this spring Posiva submitted to the Ministry of Employment and the Economy an application for a decision in principle on the extension of the final disposal facility to accommodate also spent nuclear fuel from the planned Olkiluoto 4 power plant unit of Teollisuuden Voima Oyj. This extension would increase the capacity of the final repository to 9000 uranium tons. An EIA procedure for this repository volume has been conducted already in the late 1990s in connection with the previous licencing procedure pertaining to the final disposal facility. An updated report of the environmental impact of the final disposal project required by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy was enclosed to the application for the decision in principle submitted in April.

The new plans for the extension of the final repository by a volume of further 3000 uranium tons requires a new EIA procedure. The starting point of the procedure is the final disposal solution based on the decisions in principle already issued and the previous EIA procedure.

The facility for final disposal of spent nuclear fuel consists of a part on the ground and underground. The extension of the facility concerns the underground repository to be built in the bedrock on the island of Olkiluoto. If the Loviisa 3 nuclear power plant unit is realised, the final disposal of spent nuclear fuel generated at the unit will start in the 2070s at the earliest.

As the contact authority for the project, the Ministry of Employment and the Economy will organise the publication of the EIA programme and will invite statements and opinions on the programme. The Ministry will also issue their own statement on the programme. The EIA report will then be drawn up on the basis of the programme and the statements issued on it. Posiva expects the EIA procedure to be completed by the beginning of 2009.

Posiva is currently constructing an underground characterisation facility called ONKALO in the bedrock of Olkiluoto. The information gathered from this facility will be utilised in the application for the construction licence of the final disposal facility, which will be submitted in 2012. At the moment, the underground tunnel runs over a length of three kilometres down to a depth of almost 300 metres. According to plans, the tunnel will reach the final disposal depth of ca. 400 metres in 2009. The final disposal of spent nuclear fuel is to start in 2020.

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