International peer review of Sweden’s management of radioactive waste completed
An international team of experts has carried out a peer review of how well Sweden lives up to international guidelines regarding the national framework for management of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel. The report with the expert team’s conclusions has now been approved for publication by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
During April 2023, a team of experts, coordinated by IAEA, carried out an ARTEMIS-review for the first time in Sweden. IAEA has now approved the review report for publication based on the expert team’s observations. The overall conclusion is that Sweden has a comprehensive and well-functioning system in terms of safe management of radioactive and spent nuclear fuel.
The expert team identified a so-called “good practice” regarding the Swedish development of a geological disposal facility for spent nuclear fuel using the KBS-3 method. In its motivation for this, the team noted that Sweden has come a long way in the development of the final disposal concept, that it has carried out a successful site selection process, and that it has ensured that there has been stakeholder interaction to achieve broad acceptance for the project. It was further noted that this has resulted in the government approving the final disposal facility concept for spent nuclear fuel.
The expert team has also provided some recommendations and suggestions for improvement regarding the national framework for waste management. Sweden should:
- clarify the national policy and strategy for dealing with non-nuclear radioactive waste (from, for example, hospitals, industry or research)
- expand the use of the national waste plan as a strategic tool
- create a forum to co-ordinate the interests of actors involved in preparations for the future final repository for long-lived low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste.
In order to examine how well countries live up to international guidelines for the management of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel, a review service called the International Review Service for Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel Management, Decommissioning and Remediation (ARTEMIS) is carried out. The review is carried by a team of experts, selected and co-ordinated by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
This is the first time that an ARTEMIS review has been carried out in Sweden. The government has commissioned the assignment from the IAEA against the background of the EU’s nuclear waste directive, which stipulates that an international evaluation of the national framework must be carried out at least every ten years.
The review has been carried out based on documentation compiled by the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) and sent to the review team two months before the mission, which took place for two weeks in April 2023. The meetings were held at the SSM’s premises in Solna, where the expert team had the opportunity to discuss and ask questions to representatives from, among others, the Ministry of Climate and Enterprise, SSM, the National Debt Office, the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (SKB), AB Svafo, Cyclife Sweden AB, European Spallation Source (ESS) and Vattenfall AB. The expert team also visited some of SKB’s facilities: the Äspö laboratory and the central intermediate storage facility for spent nuclear fuel (Clab) outside Oskarshamn.
For more information, please contact: Michael Egan, project manager at the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority via the authority’s press service, +46 8 799 40 20.