Finland in Front: The World’s Likely First Spent Fuel Repository Moves Toward Licensing

March 1, 2024, 3:03PMRadwaste SolutionsEdited by Tim Gregoire. Photos courtesy of Tapani Karjanlahti/Posiva.
The site of the Onkalo deep geological repository near Eurajoki in southwestern Finland with the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant in the background. In 2015, Posiva received a construction license from the Finnish government for the repository, which will be constructed to a depth of 1,300 to 1,500 feet.

The year 2024 is shaping up to be a historic one for Posiva, the waste management organization owned by Finland’s two nuclear power plant utilities, Fortum and Teollisuuden Voima. The company is looking to receive regulatory approval of its operating license for the Onkalo deep geological repository for high-level radioactive waste by the end of the year.

TVO to help Norway with nuclear ambitions

July 6, 2023, 7:02AMNuclear News
A map of Norway (green) and Finland (blue). (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Consulting company TVO Nuclear Services (TVONS), a subsidiary of Teollisuuden Voima Oyj, owner and operator of Finland’s three-unit Olkiluoto nuclear plant, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Norsk Kjernekraft, aka Norwegian Nuclear, a firm established last July with the goal of bringing small modular reactors to power reactor–deprived Norway.

A June 27 announcement from TVO said the new MOU provides the Norwegian firm with “access to the know-how and experience of one of the world’s best-known nuclear power companies” and stressed TVO’s 60 percent ownership of Posiva, the company responsible for the disposal of Finland’s spent nuclear fuel. “Posiva has successfully built the world’s first final disposal facility for high-level nuclear waste,” TVO stated. “This is decisively important for Norwegian Nuclear’s plans for the management of the entire life cycle of nuclear power.”

Finnish nuclear plant and spent fuel repository become YouTube stars

June 9, 2021, 3:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe
A screen capture from the video "Finland Might Have Solved Nuclear Power’s Biggest Problem" on YouTube.

A new video, Finland Might Have Solved Nuclear Power’s Biggest Problem, debuted on YouTube this morning and has been seen already by a large number of viewers. The video takes a look at Finland’s efforts to lessen its reliance on foreign energy and meet its goal of carbon neutrality by 2035 with nuclear power, as well as to provide a solution to the problem of spent nuclear fuel.

Finland’s Onkalo repository a “game changer,” says IAEA’s Grossi

December 2, 2020, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions

Onkalo, Finland’s deep geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel, has been characterized as a game changer for the long-term sustainability of nuclear energy by Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

“Finland has had the determination to move forward with the project and to bring it to fruition,” Grossi said during a November 26 visit to Olkiluoto, Finland, where the repository is under construction. “Waste management has always been at the center of many debates about nuclear energy and the sustainability of nuclear activity around the world. Everybody knew of the idea of a geological repository for high-level radioactive nuclear waste, but Finland did it.”

Posiva Oy, the Finnish company tasked with researching and creating a method for the permanent disposal of spent fuel from Finland’s Olkiluoto and Loviisa nuclear power plants, obtained a license to construct the Onkalo repository in 2015, marking the first time that a construction license for a geological disposal facility was issued anywhere in the world. The site near the Olkiluoto plant was chosen following several years of screening a number of potential sites.