©Johann Helgason | Dreamstime.comNuclear waste– a responsibilityspanning generations
Nuclear waste is hazardous for 100,000 years”Radioactive waste shall be managed in sucha way that will not impose undue burdens onfuture generations.”Art. 5, Principles of Radioactive Waste Management (IAEA)“Those authorised to carry out nuclearactivity must be responsible for ensuringthat the necessary measures are takento safely manage and dispose of nuclearwaste resulting from this activity...”§ 10, Nuclear Activities Act.“Good all-round knowledge…is required sothat politicians and the general public have theopportunity to make an informed choice eitherfor or against a waste disposal facility in themunicipality of Östhammar.”Communication plan for waste disposal facility,municipality of Östhammar.nuclear waste emits hazardous radiation for 100,000 years. Wastemust therefore be managed in a way that is safe in the long term. Healthand safety of future generations must not be jeopardised.The municipality of Östhammar is contributing to finding a solutionto the issue of nuclear waste – by allowing extensive investigations intothe possibility of building a final repository for spent nuclear fuel in theForsmark area. The municipality of Oskarshamn has allowed similarinvestigations to be carried out.Under Swedish law, the nuclear power industry must developmethods for disposing of Swedish nuclear waste. Svensk KärnbränslehanteringAB, SKB (Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste ManagementCo.) owned by nuclear power companies, is driving this developmentwork – on a waste disposal method in which waste is deposited deep inthe bedrock.The government and public authorities are monitoring and reviewingthe work. The government will have the deciding vote on a finalrepository for spent nuclear fuel. Proposed method must meet with thedemands of the community. The municipality concerned also has theopportunity to vote for or against the work.both the risks and possibilities relating to a waste disposal facility arebeing reviewed and debated in the municipalities of Östhammar andOskarshamn. An intensive investigation is underway. Politicians and thegeneral public must have the knowledge they need to form an opinionon a final repository for spent nuclear fuel.The waste disposal facility project is unique, and is generating stronginterest around the world. There is currently no comprehensive nuclearwaste management solution anywhere in the world.The environmental conditions above ground and deep in the rockhave been studied in the Forsmark area, the site in the municipality ofÖsthammar that may be designated for a final repository.
A repository must remain safe for a very long timeFACTS – SOCIETAL REQUIREMENTSThree different Swedish laws define the requirements for afinal repository for spent nuclear fuel:• Swedish Environmental CodeThe waste disposal facility must have the smallestpossible impact on, and pose the lowest possible risk to,human health and the environment.• Swedish Nuclear activities ActStable and favourable geological conditions arenecessary at the site of the final repository.• Swedish Radiation Protection ActRadiation protection must be a governing factor in thedesign of the repository.The Swedish Environmental Court will adjudicate SKB’sapplication according to the Environmental Code. TheSwedish Radiation Safety Authority will review the applicationin accordance with the Swedish Nuclear Acitivities Actand the Swedish Radiation Protection Act.FACTS – Environmental Impact AssessmentA final repository affects the environment in many ways. Anenvironmental impact assessment must therefore be carriedout. This can give an integral picture of how health andthe environment might be affected by a final repository.SKB must carry out the assessment, in consultation with therelevant parties. The general public, environmental organisations,municipalities, various public authorities andneighbouring countries around the Baltic Sea are examplesof parties that must be given the opportunity to have theirsay in the environmental impact assessment.SAFETY is a central issue in the investigation undertaken by the municipalityof Östhammar into SKB's work. As a starting point, SKB mustdemonstrate that the repository will be safe for as long as the wasteremains hazardous. The municipality of Östhammar has therefore calledfor central safety analyses to be presented in a way that enables thegeneral public to follow and understand discussions and conclusions.The political leadership in the municipality of Oskarshamn has expressedthe same opinion.Östhammar and Oskarshamn are working together to promoteawareness among decision-makers and the general public. This workhas been going on for a long time. Four officials have been appointed towork on waste disposal issues in the municipality of Östhammar.The investigations in the areas in question for a final repository arein principle complete. Facts and analyses have been gathered in numerousinquiries and reports. These will now be reviewed.In some cases, the reviews will require special knowledge. The municipalityof Östhammar is receiving help from university departmentsand highly trained experts. A geological expert was appointed for twoyears to review the facts and evaluations regarding long-term safety andthe properties of the bedrock in the Forsmark area. The repository'simpact on the environment is currently being investigated by a biologist.IN 2009, SKB will put forward its proposal for the location of the wastedisposal facility. An application to build the repository will be submittedthe following year. The ongoing timetable will then be determinedby the decision of the government, various public authorities and themunicipality in question. If these authorities vote against the proposal,SKB must submit a new proposal (see schedule on next page).Ronald Arvidsson, a geological expert, has helped the municipality ofÖsthammar review SKB's studies of the bedrock in Forsmark. The propertiesof the rock have a major influence on safety in a waste disposal facility.
The local community is affected in many waysTimetableSKBmust submit a newapplication to builda waste repository.Building of the facilityis postponeduntil a later date.NO YES2020 (approx.)SKB begins pilot operationsat the waste disposal facility.SWEDISH ENVIRON-MENTAL COURTissues permit and givesconditions in line withEnvironmental Code.2013 (approx.)SKB starts buildingthe waste repository.GOVERNMENTquestions the relevant municipality onauthorisation and decides whether ornot the repository should be built.SWEDISH ENVIRON-MENTAL COURTreviews SKB's application inaccordance with theEnvironmental Code.2010SKB applies for permit to builda final repository.2009SKB decides where they wantto locate the final repository.2008Site investigation complete.2002SKB begin site investigations inthe municipalities of Östhammarand Oskarshamn.SWEDISH RADIATIONSAFETY AUTHORITYgives conditions in linewith Swedish NuclearActivities Act andRadiation Protection Act.SWEDISH RADIATIONSAFETY AUTHORITYreviews SKB's application in line withSwedish Nuclear Activity Actand Radiation Protection Act.when developing and building a nuclear waste repository, technologyand safety are not the only considerations. The project affectsthe entire community, for example, the labour market, property prices,tourism and quality of life. These factors have been highlighted insocietal research programmes implemented by SKB. The municipalitiesof Östhammar and Oskarshamn have been involved in determining thedirection and content of these.The societal research programmes show that, if it is consideredsafe, the construction of a waste disposal facility can have many positiveeffects. The project means an investment of at least 4.5 billion Swedishkronor. Companies and people involved in the building and installationof the facility can win major commissions.It is also likely that the storage facility building work, and eventuallythe finished repository, will attract curious visitors from all over theworld. They will need food and accommodation, meaning more businessfor tourism companies. New business opportunities may also ariseif the knowledge and technology developed during the waste disposalfacility project can be put to use in other contexts, in the form of newproducts or services on the open market.Safety must still be the priority. The siting decision must not result inwinners and losers. Therefore, leaders in the municipalities of Östhammarand Oskarshamn believe that both municipalities must be compensatedfor their contributions to solving an important national problem.The demand for compensation has been written into a co-operationagreement. The municipalities require an answer before any decision istaken on where the repository will be built. The compensation requesthas been directed at both SKB and the Swedish government.Municipal commissioners Jacob Spangenberg (c), Östhammar (left) and PeterWretlund (s), Oskarshamn, consider that both municipalities must be compensatedfor their contributions to finding a solution to a national problem.
Final rePosiTorY ProJecT working grouPwe are helping to solve sweden's nuclear waste issue.we are building and managing knowledge of the waste disposalfacility project in the municipality of Östhammar.we are monitoring the project and making safety the priority –for both current and future generations.we are happy to share our knowledge.Please contact us if you want to know more!barbro andersson Öhrn (s), working group chairperson, +46295-210 10bertil alm (c), consultative group chairperson, +46174-109 16virpi lindfors, project manager, +46173-86 417hans Jivander, secretary, +46173-86 445box 66, 742 21 Östhammar, swedenwww.osthammar.se/slutförvarProduktion: Östhammars Media AB. Tryck: Östhammars Bild & Tryck 2008.