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22.10.2008 12:00

Procedures for expansion of spent nuclear fuel final disposal facility are progressing

Two procedures are under way concerning the expansion of the capacity of the spent nuclear fuel final disposal facility under design in Olkiluoto in the municipality of Eurajoki. Posiva Oy – the company responsible for the final disposal of spent nuclear fuel from the power plants of Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) and Fortum Power and Heat Oy (Fortum) – submitted last April an application to the Government for a decision-in-principle on the expansion of the final disposal facility to increase the capacity of the facility to a total of 9000 uranium tons of spent nuclear fuel. The application is related to TVOs concurrent application for a decision-in-principle on the OL4 nuclear power plant unit, and Posivas application covers the final disposal of spent nuclear fuel from OL4.

Posiva is also conducting another procedure related to the expansion of the final disposal facility. The purpose of this Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) procedure is to evaluate the expansion of the final disposal facility by 3000 uranium tons to bring the total capacity of the facility to 12000 uranium tons of spent fuel. Posivas plans for the expansion of the final disposal facility cover in this respect also the final disposal of spent fuel from the potential Loviisa 3 nuclear power plant unit of Fortum.

The EIA procedure for the expansion of the final disposal facility started last May when Posiva submitted the EIA programme to the Ministry of Employment and the Economy. The statement of the Ministry on the EIA programme was issued in August and the preparation of the EIA report continued on the basis of the viewpoints presented in the Ministrys statement. Posiva will submit the EIA report to the Ministry of the Employment and Economy by the end of October and expects the EIA procedure to be completed in March 2009.

Posiva is at present constructing an underground characterisation facility in the bedrock of Olkiluoto. The length of the tunnel of this ONKALO facility is now more than three kilometres and it has reached a depth of ca. 300 metres. The raise boring of the shafts for ONKALO has also started alongside with the tunnel excavation works. The exhaust shaft now runs down to -290 m and the boring of the personnel shaft to the same depth will probably continue in November.

Bedrock investigations carried out above ground were during the summer extended to the east part of the island of Olkiluoto with the drilling of deep drillholes numbers 49 and 50. Two research excavations were also realised in this area for the investigation of the bedrock structures.

According to plans, the application for the construction licence of the spent nuclear fuel final disposal facility will be submitted to the Government in 2012. The operation of the facility is to start in 2020.

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