Swedish Radiation Safety Authority recommends approval of SKB’s application for extended repository

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority has reviewed and recommended the approval of Svensk Kärnbränslehantering AB’s (SKB) application for an extension and continued operation of SFR, a repository for low and intermediate level radioactive waste. The review found that SKB’s construction and operation of the extension can be carried out in a way that is radiologically safe, and that the method of final disposal chosen by SKB is appropriate for achieving post-closure radiation safety.

On 22 October 2019, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, in its capacity as a preparatory authority ahead of the Government’s examination of the licence application, forwarded its formal findings to the Government of Sweden.

In December 2014, SKB submitted a licence application to the Authority for permission to extend the pre-existing repository, the SFR facility, located near the Forsmark nuclear power plant in Östhammar Municipality. The purpose of the extension is to have capacity to receive waste from dismantled and demolished nuclear power plants. The application seeks permission to operate the existing repository in parallel with the extension, as an integrated facility for final disposal of low and intermediate level radioactive waste. Following its completed regulatory review of the application, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority considers that SKB has demonstrated that long-term nuclear safety and radiation protection can be achieved with the extension’s reference design presented in the application, also that construction and operation of the extension can be carried out in a way that is radiologically safe.

“Our review of SKB’s application shows that construction and operation of the extension can be carried out in a way that is radiologically safe, and that the chosen method for final disposal of low and intermediate level radioactive waste is appropriate for achieving post-closure radiation safety. Considering the fact that the licence application encompasses not only a facility that has been in operation for over 30 years, over which the Authority exercises regulatory supervision, but also a new extension, this has given rise to interesting matters and questions during the review process,” says Ansi Gerhardsson, head of section at the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority.

The Authority has also proposed certain conditions to be attached to Government licences for SKB’s facilities. For example, these conditions involve limitation of the radioactive material allowed for disposal in the repository, and that SKB, following a decision by the Swedish Government, would not be permitted to commence construction, trial operation, routine operation, or closure of the repository until more detailed and updated safety analysis reports have been examined and approved by the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority.

For more information, please contact: Ansi Gerhardsson, Head of Section, Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, via the Authority’s duty press officer on Tel. +46 8 799 40 20.