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Japan crisis complicates Sweden's nuclear waste storage plans

The Local/rm · 16 Mar 2011, 10:18

Published: 16 Mar 2011 10:18 GMT+01:00

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On Wednesday the country's nuclear industry is handing in a proposal to store nuclear waste at the site of the Forsmark power plant, north of Uppsala.

The Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (SKB) want to bury the nuclear waste 500 metres down in the Swedish bedrock, encased in copper and surrounded by bensonite clay.

“Considering what is happening in Japan it is clear that we need a better system for storage than what we have now,” SKB CEO Claes Thegeström said at a press conference.

According to SKB scientists, this method, called KBS-3, will keep the waste harmless for at least 100,000 years. But not everyone agrees that it is safe.

Peter Szakalos, an expert on corrosion science from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), is worried about the sustainability of the storage.

“There is a definite risk that the copper will corrode within a millennium. In that case we’ll have a nervous thousand years ahead of us,” he told newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN).

The Swedish NGO Office for Nuclear Waste Review (MKG) thinks that it will be difficult for SKB to get their proposal through.

At the same time they are finding it difficult to review the case, as many of the documents are classified, according to DN.

SKB doesn't seen any problems with KBS-3.

Instead they say that after reviewing all the different processes, they have come to the conclusion that this is the most viable option based on the gathered experimental data.

“We believe that we can build a safe storage facility. We think it is important to have this proposal tried, and we feel very confident, Thegestöm said.

Outside the office buildings of SKB a small group of Greenpeace activists wearing Scream masks gathered in protest on early Wednesday morning.

Some scaled the building and hung up a banner urging the board members to vote against the proposal.

“We are here to protest against the plans to bury dangerous nuclear waste in the bedrock,” Martina Kruger, responsible for energy and climate matters at Greenpeace, said to news agency TT.

Story continues below…

There are still too many questions regarding safety and risk that need answering, according to Martina Kruger.

“Radioactivity is too dangerous to simply pretend that the problems surrounding it have been solved,” she said to TT.

Demonstrations against nuclear energy are planned across the country on Wednesday evening following the accidents in Japan.

The Local/rm (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:20 March 16, 2011 by KungsholmenGuy
Probably dumb suggestions but: why not dilute the spent nuclear fuel into a huge block of concrete, with too small a concentration to be useful to terrorists, and then add lead and stainless steel plates around this block, and construct this block of concrete somewhere on the surface of the earth.

All these underground storage plans are scary because we cannot see if the containment box is breaking apart, and because the contamination can then get into the ground water. Both would be solved by surface storage.

Would such a concrete block have to be too immense to adequately dilute the concentration of radioactive material?

Can any nuclear people out there clarify?
15:58 March 16, 2011 by Stickeroo
Put it on a rocket aimed for the sun! Just cross your fingers the rocket doesn't malfunction!
23:07 March 16, 2011 by Greg Cragg
A Canadian named Greg Cragg, has solved the nuclear waste (s) storage problem!! My solution answers all of the related problems, and mimics something that was tried but failed, the beauty of my solution is I can incorporate what is used today, but would not, as my technology is superior.

The UN and the IAEA know about me, so does the US Department of Energy.

Nuclear waste is a political problem, if it wasn't, I would have had replies from all of the countries I have written to about their nuclear waste storage problems.
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