Fennovoima considers own repository for used fuel

22 June 2016

Fennovoima is considering developing its own repository for disposing of used fuel from its planned Hanhikivi nuclear power plant in western Finland. Posiva Solutions is to advise it on site selection.

In accordance with the decision-in-principle granted by the Finnish government to Fennovoima in 2010, the company was to submit to the Ministry of Employment and the Economy either a final disposal cooperation agreement with Posiva to participate in the Onkalo repository project at Olkiluoto, or an environmental impact assessment (EIA) program for its own final disposal facility by the end of this month.

Finland's established nuclear utilities, Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) and Fortum, will be able to dispose of used fuel from their current and future plants in a repository to be built close to the existing Olkiluoto nuclear power plant by waste management company Posiva. Posiva is jointly owned by Fortum and TVO.

Fennovoima failed to secure an agreement for Posiva to manage its used fuel in addition to TVO and Fortum's. In March 2012, the Finnish government told the companies they must work together to solve the used fuel impasse.

Fennovoima announced today that it has submitted its EIA to the ministry, fulfilling the requirement of the decision-in-principle.

It also said Posiva Solutions - the recently created subsidiary of Posiva - has agreed to provide it with technical expert services relating to the site selection of a repository site for Hanhikivi's used fuel.

Fennovoima said geological studies will be initiated at Pyhäjoki and Eurajoki in order to determine the suitability of these selected locations.

The company said the location of its repository will be selected in the 2040's and the final disposal of Hanhikivi's used nuclear fuel will begin in the 2090s at the earliest.

Fennovoima CEO Toni Hemminki said, "We consider collaboration the best alternative in nuclear waste management. Our goal is to achieve long-term cooperation with Posiva and the parties liable for nuclear waste management (TVO and Fortum)."

Posiva Solutions managing director Mika Pohjonen said, "In Finland, each nuclear power company is responsible for the final disposal of its used nuclear fuel and related costs. It is our aim that with Posiva Solutions and its partners our customers will be able to develop their own safe final disposal solution in a faster and more cost-efficient way, meeting the high responsibility and safety standards of the nuclear industry."

Posiva president Janne Mokka said, "Taking care of TVO's and Fortum's nuclear waste management obligation is a large-scale and essential project for Posiva." He added, "The agreement between Posiva Solutions and Fennovoima does not affect this nor does it include disposal of Fennovoima's used nuclear fuel in Onkalo."

The site for Posiva's repository at Eurajoki near Olkiluoto was selected in 2000. In December 2013, it submitted the application to the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, which covers the construction of an encapsulation plant and repository, as well as for facilities for the final disposal of waste created during the operation and decommissioning of the encapsulation plant. Final disposal operations at Olkiluoto are expected to begin around 2020 and to last for some 100 years before the repository is sealed.

Fennovoima aims to complete infrastructure work at the Hanhikivi site in Pyhäjoki in northern Finland by the end of 2017. Construction of the plant - based on a Russian-designed AES-2006 VVER that would produce 1200 MWe - can only start once the construction licence has been issued. Fennovoima said it aims to start building the plant in 2018, with operation beginning in 2024.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News