On September 23 the Swedish government sent a referral to the Swedish Council for Nuclear Waste and the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, SSM, requesting an assessment of new research that could affect the long-term integrity of the copper canister that is planned for use in the proposed repository for spent nuclear fuel at the Forsmark nuclear power plant. The government wants replies by October 21.
Following the government's decision on August 26 to separate out the review of the application for an expansion of the capacity of the intermediate storage for spent nuclear fuel, Clab, from the continued review of the application for the nuclear fuel repository is now underway. On 23 September, the government sent a referral to the Nuclear Waste Council and the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, SSM, as a continued investigating of issues concerning the long-term integrity of the copper canister, as well as the cast iron insert inside the canister that will keep the fuel elements in place.
The government wants opinions on whether there are remaining uncertainties regarding the ability of the copper canister to safely contain the nuclear waste in the long term and if the safety could also be affected by problems with the cast iron insert. The government refers to two documents in the referral. A question about the results from the LOT experiment is also included.
The first document is a scientific article from the journal Corrosion Science that was submitted to the government by prof. em. Christofer Leygraf at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm in March this year. Prof. Leygraf stated that the article, with Prof. Jinshan Pan at KTH as corresponding author, showed that there were remaining uncertainties regarding the corrosion processes that the Land and Environment Court in its opinion to the government in January 2018 said that the government must clarify before a decision regarding the permissibility can be taken for the repository.
The second document is a report with new information about deformation aging from research at Aalto University in Finland on the cast iron insert. The Swedish Council for Nuclear Waste sent the report written by Ville Björklund to the government on 14 September (see news below).
The government wants to know whether these documents contain information that is new and that may be of significance in the continued review before a government decision.
The government also wants to know if there can be more information in the form of copper corrosion results from the LOT-experiment that should be reported and that can be of importance for the assessment of the long-term integrity of the copper canister.
With regard to the question regarding the LOT experiment, the Swedish NGO Office for Nuclear Waste Review, MKG, the Swedish Friends of the Earth and the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation has said to the government in brief submitted on 11 June that there is probably crucial knowledge about how copper behaves in a real repository if detailed studies of copper corrosion were made on the most corroded surfaces on the two LOT experimental packages that were retrieved from the Äspö HRL in the autumn of 2019. That the nuclear waste company SKB does not want to report in detail the extent and type of corrosion on these surfaces is not scientifically correct. The organisations have stated that the government cannot take a position on the admissibility of the nuclear fuel repository application in relation to the Land and Environmental Court's opinion, without having access to a satisfactory scientific account of copper corrosion in the LOT trial.
The issue of reporting the corrosion in the LOT experiment was also raised by prof. em. Christofer Leygraf in his statement to the government in March this year.
The deadline for responding to the referral has been set by the government to October 21.
More information on the referral including the documents can be found on the MKG web site here.
More information about the statement submitted to the government by Prof. em. Leygraf in march can be found here.
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