Finland to share repository know-how with Czech Republic

18 October 2016

Finnish waste management company Posiva will share its experience and know-how of developing a repository for used nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste with the Czech Republic's Radioactive Waste Repository Authority (SÚRAO) through a four-year service contract.

Under the contract - worth €2.75 million ($3.03 million) - the services will be provided by Posiva subsidiary Posiva Solutions, together with Finnish engineering company Saanio and Riekkola Oy. Other suppliers in the project will be SKB International and Geological Survey of Finland.

The service contract follows the signing of a memorandum of cooperation between SÚRAO and Posiva in November 2015. That agreement covered the site selection process, the fulfilment of the relevant legislative and legal requirements and cooperation in the design, construction and operation of a future deep geological repository.

The site for Posiva's repository at Eurajoki near Olkiluoto was selected in 2000. The Finnish parliament approved the decision-in-principle on the repository project the following year. Posiva, jointly owned by Finnish nuclear utilities Fortum and Teollisuuden Voima Oyj, submitted its construction licence application to the Ministry of Employment and the Economy in December 2013. The government granted a construction licence for the project last November. Construction work on the repository is expected to start this year, with operations beginning in 2023.

Posiva launched Posiva Solutions in June. The new business, it said, will "focus on the marketing of the know-how accumulated from the design, research and development efforts in the final disposal of used nuclear fuel, as well as on associated consulting services".

Posiva Solutions managing director Mika Pohjonen said, "This contract is a significant step in utilizing Finnish nuclear waste management expertise globally. Commercial exploitation of Posiva's experience gained in the Onkalo project is well under way." He added, "Earlier this year, we received assignments from several countries and also from Finland."

Czech repository

The Czech environment ministry issued a licence to SÚRAO in October 2014 to conduct only the initial stage of geological investigation work at seven candidate sites for a national repository for high-level radioactive waste. This involves the taking of surface and near-surface measurements and rock soundings, data collection and gathering of rock samples using non-invasive methods.

"We in the Czech Republic are now in the first phase of our geological investigation on seven preselected sites," said SÚRAO director Jiří Slovák. "By 2025, we should select the final locality for our deep geological repository (DGR)."

Referring to the contract with Posiva, he added, "We are looking forward to a fruitful cooperation with the Finnish experts. We expect advisory work mainly in updating our siting strategy, developing our disposal concept and DGR design and in improving the safety case of the disposal concept. Furthermore, we are looking forward to getting support in the environmental impact assessments and in facilitating communication with our stakeholders and increasing DGR acceptability."

The candidate sites include: Horka (Budišov) and Hrádek (Rohozná), both in the Vysočina region; Čihadlo (Lodhéřov) and Magdaléna (Božejovice) in the South Bohemia region; Březový potok (Pačejov) in Plzeň region; and Čertovka (Lubenec) in the Plzeň and Ústí-nad-Labem regions. A former military area at Boletice in South Bohemia region is also under consideration.

Construction of the Czech repository - to be built to a depth of some 500 metres - is envisaged to begin around 2050, with the facility put into operation in 2065.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News