Sweden taking more time to determine safety of copper canisters proposed to store nuclear waste

Sweden, the country that designed the original nuclear waste container concept, has delayed their decision on approving the DGR concept as the Sweden government request more research and examination of the copper cannisters proposed to encapsule and seal the nuclear waste at the site. The issue of corrosion discovered in test canisters was identified by Sweden’s Land and Environmental Court in January 2018.

Copper’s corrosion rate was earlier underestimated. (Credit: mkg.se.)Photo:

Swedish NGO Office for Nuclear Waste Review (MKG) stated: https://www.develop.w3539.hemsida.eu/en/mkg-and-member-organisations-to-the-government-say-no-to-the-spent-fuel-repository-or-continue-to

“the copper corrosion results from the 20-year experimental packages if they are reported in a fully scientific way can show that copper does not behave in the repository environment in the way SKB describes in the safety analysis of the application. The organisations understand that it cannot be ruled out that for this reason SKB took as long as possible to retrieve the LOT experimental packages, then did so in the secretly and after this was discovered, initially claimed that the results would not be presented until after a licence for the application had been given.”

According to the Norwegian journal Bellona When haste makes risky waste: Public involvement in radioactive and nuclear waste management in Sweden and Finland - Bellona.org

“SKB’s research was found to be incomplete and, in certain cases, inaccurate. It turned out, for instance, that there is significant disagreement over the estimated corrosion rate of the copper canisters – which are considered the main engineered barrier to prevent the escape of long-lived radionuclides into the surrounding environment. SKB asserts the canisters will remain intact for the next 100,000 years, while independent university research shows that copper’s corrosion rate in an oxygen-free environment but in the presence of salty seawater is considerably higher than expected and that the canisters may start to decay within the first thousand years.”

Click here to view an update from the Swedish government from the end of August.