Among the greatest challenges of the nuclear era remains what to do with all the high-level nuclear waste produced by our existing fleet of nuclear reactors. The preferred method is deep geologic storage.
Recently the Finnish waste management company Posiva Oy announced the start of excavation on their deep geologic nuclear waste repository for the spent nuclear fuel (SNF) at Onkalo.
The repository will be the first in the world to start final disposal of spent nuclear fuel. Operation of the repository is expected to begin in 2023. The total cost estimate is about $3.4 billion.
Last year, Posiva Oy announced the start of construction of the used fuel encapsulation plant at the Olkiluoto site in western Finland. Posiva's plan is for used fuel to be packed inside copper-steel canisters at an above-ground encapsulation plant, from where they will be transferred into the underground tunnels of the repository.
About one hundred deposition tunnels will be excavated during the 100-year operational period. The repository will total a length of about 35 kilometers, with each tunnel being about 4.5 meters high, 3.5 meters wide and 350 meters long, each holding about 30 canisters.
Image: Global Look Press