SKB presents new research programme
SKB’s research and technological development will continue even when the large-scale final repository projects are being implemented. Upcoming initiatives are now being presented in a new Research, Development and Demonstration Programme, RD&D 2022, which has been submitted to the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority for review.
Every three years, SKB presents a comprehensive research programme for the management and disposal of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel. In this year’s RD&D programme, which is the 17th in succession, SKB and the licensees of the Swedish nuclear power reactors present plans for research, development and demonstration during the period 2023-2028.
The report is required by the Swedish Nuclear Activities Act, and is reviewed by the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority before the Government makes a decision.
During the last RD&D period, a number of important milestones of major significance to SKB were reached. This is the first research programme since the Government’s decisions on the final repository system for spent nuclear fuel and the extension of the final repository for short-lived radioactive waste, SFR.
– Our research and knowledge-building are continuing into a new phase, now that the Government has approved our final repository applications, and we are moving towards the actual execution of our major projects. Continued research will enable us to further develop our safety assessments and optimise the technology we will be using in the facilities, says Jessica Palmqvist, Head of SKB’s Research and Development Department.
In the new edition, the strategic direction has been taken one step further than in the previous RD&D programme. Among other things, it includes a system-wide plan that defines relationships between activities and milestones for the facilities, and describes the priorities that apply to the implementation of the final repository system.
As regards technological development, work to develop methods and technical solutions in each area continues, prior to the execution of the final repository projects.
– Our technological development is an ongoing process to optimise and design robust solutions. In the current situation, we will also be moving towards industrialisation of the components of our final repository systems, to produce them on a larger scale and scope. SKB is open to new knowledge, and it’s important that we can adapt our activities on the basis of different technological advances in the future, says Jessica Palmqvist.
SKB and the licensees are hoping that the RD&D programme and the various communication initiatives being undertaken around this will contribute openness and transparency regarding work to dispose of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel.
SKB’s research and technological development
- SKB has been conducting scientific research and technological development for around 40 years.
- There are 125 people working in SKB’s research and development department. The department has around 50 post-doctoral experts in various disciplines.
- SKB’s research programme spans many different areas, such as geology, ecology and climate.
- In the area of technological development, ongoing work is under way on the design, manufacture, testing and further development of all the technical components of the final repository systems for both spent nuclear fuel and low-level and intermediate-level waste.
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