Finland is leading the world when it comes to permanently disposing of spent nuclear fuel in a deep geologic repository. Their Onkalo facility recently completed excavation of the first of five final disposal tunnels, a 1.7 km long tunnel. Ground Engineering magazine has a nice article about the project and the recent milestone, but there is a very cool article by BusinessInsider.com where their science reporter got a tour of the facility and has lots of great photos and videos. If you really want to see how the facility will operate, check out that article. One of the videos is shown below, an animation of how the waste capsules will be stored in vertical shafts extending below the main disposal tunnels.
Since the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository has gotten the axe from President Obama, nuclear power plants around the country are faced with the prospect of virtually indefinite "temporary" storage of their nuclear waste in the form of spent fuel rods. The US Department of Energy has a legal obligation to find a permanent disposal facility for the spent fuel, and the agreements currently in place presumed that Yucca Mountain would be accepting nuclear waste by 2025 which clearly won’t happen. (Photo of dry cask temporary storage method for spent nuclear fuel from Connecticut Yankee). More after the break. […]