Study finds Estonia’s geology suitable for borehole repository

February 3, 2021, 9:29AMRadwaste Solutions

A preliminary study conducted by the nuclear waste storage and disposal startup company Deep Isolation found that Estonia’s geology is capable of safely hosting a deep horizontal borehole repository for radioactive waste from advanced nuclear reactors.

The study, commissioned by advanced reactor deployment company Fermi Energia, found no fundamental geologic limitations to disposing of nuclear waste in deep horizontal boreholes, according to Deep Isolation. In addition, the study noted that a wide range of locations could be demonstrated to comply with International Atomic Energy Agency regulations for geologic disposal.

The findings: Results of the study, which was conducted in collaboration with Estonian geologic and drilling company Engineering Bureau STEIGER, will be presented as part of Fermi Energia’s one-day conference on small modular reactors, "New Generation Nuclear Energy in Estonia," on February 9. Registration for the event is available online.

Study details: The study is a qualitative geological assessment of Estonia’s crystalline basement rock that evaluates geological conditions and potential risk factors for Estonia’s 15 counties, screening their potential for hosting a deep borehole repository. Such a repository would isolate radioactive elements from the earth’s surface for 1.3 million years, according to Deep Isolation.

Fermi Energia is developing plans to build a SMR in Estonia. Deep Isolation said that Fermi Energia is the first European company it has contracted to conduct a preliminary geologic study to manage advanced reactor waste.

Quote: “If we are to be successful in our efforts to see Estonia become the first European Union country to deploy an SMR in the 2030s, it is important that we take responsibility now in planning for spent fuel disposal,” said Kalev Kallemets, chief executive officer of Fermi Energia. “This Deep Isolation study indicates that a deep borehole disposal repository could meet all prerequisites and be safe and cost-effective as well as easily deployed and scalable.”

Related Articles

NRC publishes EP final rule for SMRs

November 21, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a final rule and associated regulatory guide applying risk-informed, performance-based emergency preparedness (EP) requirements to small modular...

Norwegian firms to study SMRs for Halden

November 15, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News

Halden, Norway, known in nuclear circles for its long-running (1958–2018) research reactor, is partnering with Norsk Kjernekraft (aka Norwegian Nuclear Power) and Østfold Energi, a hydro,...