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08.01.2008 12:00

Posivas final disposal project proceeds according to plans - EIA process for a more extensive repository to start

The excavation of the underground research facility ONKALO designed for research on the final disposal of spent nuclear fuel has proceeded according to plans in Olkiluoto. The almost 2.6-kilometre long tunnel now extends to a depth of ca. 240 metres. Ventilation and personnel shafts have also been raise-bored to a depth of 180 metres.

The final disposal of spent nuclear fuel will take place at a depth of ca. 400 metres, and excavation is expected to reach this level in 2009. The gathering of research data from the final disposal depth will start already in 2008, however, when the 300-metre depth is reached. Research holes can then be drilled from the tunnel to the repository depth.

Posivas plans cover the final disposal of spent nuclear fuel generated at the existing nuclear power plant units and the OL3 unit that is currently under construction. Posiva has also made reservations for the final disposal of additional spent fuel should the owners of the Company start new nuclear power plant projects.

Posiva conducted in 1997-1999 an EIA procedure that covered a total of 9 000 tons of uranium. The assessment of environmental impact has thereby been implemented in this respect, but Posiva is now about to update the investigations carried out toward the end of the 1990s. The total amount of spent nuclear fuel is on the basis of the EIA processes currently conducted by Posivas owners estimated to be ca. 12 000 tons of uranium, which makes an assessment of the environmental impact necessary also in terms of the final disposal. Posiva will start the EIA procedure at the beginning of 2008.

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