Swedish interim radwaste storage facility opens

08 November 2022

A new interim storage facility for low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste has begun operating in Studsvik near Nyköping, Sweden. The facility will initially be used for the storage of waste from the decommissioning of the Ågesta nuclear power plant near Stockholm and the R2 research reactor in Studsvik.

The new interim storage facility at Studsik (Image: Vattenfall)

The storage facility measures about 27 metres by 90 metres, is 20 metres high and has the capacity to store up to 10,000 cubic metres of waste. It features a 90cm-thick concrete base plate which has been piled with 482 steel rebars that have been anchored in the bedrock. The facility will be owned and operated by Vattenfall subsidiary SVAFO.

It took two years to construct at a cost of SEK141 million (USD13 million), which was according to schedule and approximately SEK30 million less than budgeted, Vattenfall noted.

After going through a test programme, during which it was checked that various installations such as handling and monitoring systems work as they should, the storage facility has now been put into operation.

Following extensive preliminary studies of intermediate storage facilities in Sweden and internationally, Svafo concluded that a solid but structurally simple construction in partially prefabricated reinforced concrete best served the purpose. Since the facility will contain radioactive waste, the construction was subject to strict regulations from the Land and Environmental Court and the Radiation Safety Authority. In the construction permit from the municipality of Nyköping, there were additional rules and SVAFO had its own high requirements for its implementation.

"We do not see the strict requirements as a limitation, but rather as an asset because they make the goal extremely clear," said project manager Fredrik Wenström at SVAFO. "With the requirements as a basis, the competent and pragmatic employees here at SVAFO have been able to solve the questions that arise at various stages in the best way."

Vattenfall said the new interim storage facility is "an important piece of the puzzle" in the disposal of waste from the dismantling of the R2 and Ågesta facilities. At R2, research into nuclear technology was conducted from 1960-2005, while Ågesta was Sweden's first commercial nuclear power plant, in operation from 1964 until 1974.

Low- and intermediate-level waste from the decommissioning of the two facilities will be kept in the interim storage facility until the final repository for such waste in Forsmark is expanded. High-level used nuclear fuel from R2 and Ågesta will be stored in Svensk Kärnbränslehantering AB's Clab intermediate storage facility near Oskarshamn.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News