Government decides on intermediate storage and continues to examine the copper canister

On August 26 the Swedish government took a decision to increase of the central intermediate storage facility for spent nuclear fuel (Clab) at the Oskarshamn nuclear power plant. The capacity expansion was part of the nuclear industry’s application to build a repository for spent nuclear fuel at the Forsmark nuclear power plant. The separation gives the government more time to continue to review the copper canister issues raised by the land and environment court in January 2018. A press release from the government can be found below.

The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation and MKG supports the decision and are demanding that the nuclear waste company SKB releases scientifically verified results of the corrosion on the most corroded copper surfaces in the 20-year-old experimental packages from the LOT experiment that were retrieved from the Äspö Hard Rock Laboratory in 2019.

The government’s decision was not popular with the industry, right wing politics or the waste communities that wanted a decision on both Clab and the repository together. According to the government the decision to separate the Clab issue allows the fastest decision-making to get a licence for storing more spent fuel in Clab. If a decision is taken on both Clab and the repository at the same time the process forward will be slower due to appeals of decisions and a much more extended process in the environmental court system.

On June 20, the Swedish government sent out a referral to get comments on the issue of separating the licensing of the expansion of the capacity of the intermediate storage facility for spent nuclear fuel (Clab) from the licensing process for the spent nuclear fuel repository in Forsmark (see below). The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation and MKG answered on June 29 that this was the fasted way forward with the relatively simple decision to increase the formal capacity of Clab from 8 000 tonnes to 11 000 tonnes of spent nuclear fuel. This requires no changes to the facility as it is just a question of continuing to repackage spent fuel elements in compact storage canisters in the water pools.

The Swedish Council for Nuclear Waste had a similar view and the regulator SSM saw no judicial problems with a separation. The nuclear industry and the nuclear communities were against.

The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation and MKG will now work for a qualified continued review by the government of the copper canister integrity problems that were raised by the land and environmental court in January 2018. Of special interest is that the government acts on the problem that the nuclear waste company SKB has not presented the LOT copper corrosion results in a scientific way.

The organisations suggested a possible way forward for the government in brief on June 11 (see below).

The government has released press information about the decision that can be found here.

On the Swedish part of the MKG web site more information, including the decision documents, can be found in a news article here. Apress release from the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation and MKG can be found here. A press release from Friends of the Earth Sweden, also a member of MKG, can be found here. On the MKG Swedish web site can also be found two op-eds in the two largest Swedish newspapers by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation and MKG.

Previous news articles on the MKG:s English pages:

Government sends out referral on separate decision on Clab-expansion, 210620 >>

MKG and member organisations to the government: Say no to the spent fuel repository or continue to investigate copper corrosion, 210611 >>

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) approves unscientific LOT experiment copper corrosion results, 210311 >>

The regulator SSM expected to report LOT results to the government in the beginning of March – MKG has made several inputs, 210204 >>

Östhammars community tells the government they accept the repository for spent fuel, 201013 >>

SKB will publish LOT project results and SSM will do a quality control 200325 >>

MKG and its member organisations take the issue of the secret LOT retrieval to the government 200227 >>

SKB secretly retrieves experimental packages that can decide the future of the spent fuel repository 191024 >>

MKG and member organisations send a statement to the government on SKB's complementary copper information 190930 >>

SKB sends complementary information on copper corrosion to the government 190404 >>

The government gives SKB the opportunity to comment on the opinions from the court and regulator 180601 >>

The Swedish Environmental Court’s no to the final repository for spent nuclear fuel – a victory for the environmental movement and the science 180123 >>