Planned extension of the SFR
SKB wants to extend the Final Repository for Short-Lived Radioactive Waste, the SFR, at Forsmark. In this way room can be made for the low and medium active decommissioning waste from the Swedish nuclear power plants.
In the future Sweden’s nuclear power plants are going to be decommissioned and dismantled. First in line is the Barsebäck nuclear power plant, which has already been closed down. The idea is that most of the decommissioning waste that contains radioactivity will be deposited in the SFR. This will comprise reactor components, scrap metal, concrete and other building materials that have been contaminated by radioactive substances during operation.
But to make room for all operational waste from nuclear power plants the SFR needs to be extended. Today the facility houses about 63,000 cubic metres of short-lived low and medium level operational waste and is 60 per cent full. Space is needed for a further 108,000 cubic metres of waste as well as nine complete reactor vessels.
The plan is to extend the repository with six new rock vaults with a length of 240–275 metres so that it will be about three times larger than it is today. Just like the existing SFR, the extended section will be sited in the bedrock below the sea off Forsmark. But it is planned to locate the extension at a depth of 120–140 metres, the same level as the lowest sections of the existing SFR.
The extended final repository will be provided with a new tunnel. This is because the existing tunnels are too narrow to permit the passage of a complete reactor vessel.
To enable this extension, SKB submitted the applications required by the Nuclear Activities Act and the Environmental Code to the Radiation Safety Authority and to the Land and Environment Court at the end of 2014. These comprise about 6,000 pages and include, for instance, an environmental impact assessment and an analysis of the safety of the facility both during operations and after it has been sealed.
The two authorities that have to examine the applications will now begin their review. The entire process is expected to take a few years. As soon as permits have been granted construction work, which is reckoned to take five years, can start.