Posiva Ltd has been an expert in the business of Nuclear Waste final disposal since 1995 and they have a lot of know-how when it comes to working with a waste that most people would rather not see in their backyard.
The timeline for this project has been on the drawing board for many years, with intial research taking place from 1983-1985, screening the topography of Finland. They conducted preliminary investigations for a site from 1986-1992. The company prepared detailed site investigations with an environmental assessment procedure for four sites from 1993-2000. All four sites would have been suitable for the storage facility, however Olkiluoto was chosen after two voting sessions, the first with The municipal council and the second with Parliament bringing home a whopping 159 votes to 3.
To be safe and secure, and certain the nuclear waste is unable to leach into the soil, some precautions are necessary. The containers that hold the spent fuel are made of copper, and with the ‘Multiple Barriers Principle’. This principal means that the container is made with several overlapping layers so that any fuel that may leak has several layers to seep through.
The copper is necessary because it will not corrode in the anoxic soil when buried between 400 and 450m (1312-1476 ft.) beneath earth’s crust. The high level waste will be stored in this site for 100,000 years and needs to be safe and hold up for this amount of time.
“The construction license that has now been granted for our final disposal facility for spent nuclear fuel is a significant achievement for us, our owners and entire personnel. This pioneering project is important not only for Finland, but also on a global scale,” says Janne Mokka, Posiva’s President and CEO. “It is the first project entering into construction phase in the whole world. I express my thanks and appreciation to all the experts and partners in Finland and in other countries, who have joined their forces and expertise in this unique and multidisciplinary project.”
The ONKALO that the company has been building at the facility since 2004, to study the bedrock, is going to be a useful tool for moving canisters when the repository is in use. The company is taking extreme precautions to protect all organic life from being compromised, and we cannot wait to see what they do next.