On November 4 the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, Swedish Friends of the Earth and MKG submitted a new legal brief to the Swedish government as part of the licensing review of the planned repository for spent nuclear fuel in Forsmark.
In the brief the organisations claim that it is possible to use more detailed copper corrosion results from the nuclear waste company SKB's LOT experiment in the Äspö hard rock laboratory (HRL) in order to decide whether copper is a suitable canister material. And that it should be done before the government takes a decision to allow construction of the repository.
In an answer to a referral from the government on 21 October, the Swedish Council for Nuclear waste said that new experiments are needed to investigate whether copper works as intended in a repository environment, but that this can be done after a government decision.
The organisations are of the understanding that the same knowledge as the council refers to can be obtained in 6-12 months before a decision, if the government first ensures that scientifically correct and detailed results are reported on copper corrosion on the most corroded surfaces on the two 20-year test packages that the nuclear waste company took up from the Äspö HRL in autumn 2019. Analysis that the company has so far refused to do, and that the organisations have already repeatedly emphasized should be a requirement from the government before a licence can be given.
After the analysis is done, likely showing severe corrosion including deep pitting corrosion, some new simplified LOT experimental packages can be tested in the Äspö HRL. The important detail to study is how fast oxygen is consumed in the packages. The results should be in 6-12. The details are described in more in the brief but if the copper corrosion on the new packages after the oxygen is consumed is much less than on the 20-year packages it is not possible, as the nuclear waste company and also the regulator SSM says, that the severe corrosion after 20 years has been caused by oxygen trapped in the packages from the beginning.
The organisations believe that the results from the two studies together can provide the government with a sufficient basis for an admissibility decision according to the Environmental. Which in all probability would be a no.
A news item on MKG Swedish website about the brief and with the brief in Swedish can be found here.
Previous news articles on MKG’s English web pages: