ENR reports that a nuclear waste repository for spent nuclear fuel in Sweden could begin construction as early as 2016. The facility would consist of 50km of tunnels in granite bedrock up to 500-m deep. The proposed site is approximately 75-km north of Stockholm. The projected cost of the facility is $2.5 billion to $3.2 billion (US$ I presume). The Swedes would be chasing the Finns who might be the first country to have a permanent underground nuclear waste repository for spent nuclear fuel. (Illustration by BBC of Finland’s proposed repository)
The State of Nevada lost a major battle in their attempt to block the US Department of Energy’s attempt at licensing the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository. The panel of judges in the case threw it out after a week of oral arguments by the State. According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, the Judge’s ruling stated "Nevada’s legal position is incorrect."
As the U.S. continues to fight over hurdles for its Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste repository, Finland is on track to become the first country with a permanent storage facility for spent fuel rods from nuclear reactors. Their Onkalo tunnel, on the western coast of Finland will eventually stretch for 5-km (2-miles) and reach a depth of 500-m (1,600-ft) in solid granite bedrock. Once at depth a grid of horizontal tunnels will be constructed. Vertical storage holes will be excavated in these horizontal shafts, and the spent rods, encased in steel cannisters with copper corrosion protection, will be placed on layers of bentonite clay. The clay will cushion the cannisters and protect them against long term geologic movement. The clay also serves as a barrier to water, swelling in its presence to seal off any cracks or conduits for water that could potentially transport nuclear contamination in the distant future if the primary measures of protection are compromised. The tunnels will eventually be backfilled with bentonite and rock. The facility is projected to open in approximately 15 years at a cost of about 3 billion euros. The projected life of the facility is through 2100. Links after the break. (Illustration by BBC)