The government approves the expansion of SFR in Forsmark

On 22 December, the Government decided to approve the extension of the repository for short-lived radioactive waste in Forsmark (SFR) with a new repository (SFR 2).

SFR is the current repository for short-lived radioactive operational waste from the nuclear power plants and is located under the seabed outside the Forsmark nuclear power plant. SFR 2 is a new repository for short-lived radioactive waste from the decommissioning of the Swedish nuclear reactors, and the repository will be built next to the old one.

The government decided to grant permissibility according to the Environmental Code and a license according to the Nuclear Activities Act. The decisions can be found in the news story on the MKG Swedish web page (link below).

The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, The Swedish Friends of the Earth and the Swedish NGO Office for Nuclear Waste Review (MKG) has stated that the government should say no to the new repository. The organisations recently told the government in an opinion that it has not been shown that the new repository will be safe enough. The environment risks being damaged by the repository leaking radioactive particles into the Öregrundsgrepen outside Forsmark faster than expected, perhaps already within 50 to 100 years after closure. In addition, there is already a relatively unexpected and extensive breakdown of the technical repository barriers in the existing repository.

The organisations believe that the government should have conditioned the decision on leaving the repository open under supervision for the 400 to 500 years required for the radioactive content to have decayed to less dangerous levels.

The organisations also believe that it is important that the incorrectly deposited historical nuclear waste in SFR is retrieved before the green light is given to start construction.

The Land and Environmental Court will now continue the review according to the Environmental Code to grant a permit with conditions. The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) will continue the examination according to the Nuclear Activities Act. In the regulatory review the nuclear waste company SKB will submit a new safety analysis (PSAR) which must be approved by the regulator before construction can start.

The news article in Swedish on the MKG web site with links to the decision documents can be found here.

The government has a plan to take a decision on the planned repository for spent nuclear fuel in Forsmark on January 27.

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