Nuclear waste and final disposal

The nuclear waste issue is complex. This is partly because there are different kinds of nuclear waste that must be managed in different ways, and partly because many actors are involved in the process.

There are different types of nuclear waste that require different types of final disposal. High-level nuclear waste is long-lived and has a very high radiation level. It consists primarily of spent nuclear fuel, and it is this waste that is of primary interest to the Swedish National Council for Nuclear Waste.

SKB submitted its application for a permit to build a final repository according to the KBS-3 method in March 2011. The application was submitted to the environmental court and the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, who will examine it. The Government will then make its decision. We describe the process how the decisions on the final repository are made leading up to the decisions under the Application.

Different methods for management and disposal of spent nuclear fuel have been discussed and developed in Sweden over the past 30 years. The industry’s (SKB's) most developed method for final disposal is the KBS-3 method. Other methods are deep boreholes, long tunnels and WP-Cave, as well as P&T (partitioning and transmutation) and long-term storage. A brief review of these methods can be found under Alternative methods.

Besides a method for final disposal of the spent nuclear fuel, a site for the final repository is also needed. In June 2009, SKB announced that they had selected Östhammar Municipality (specifically Forsmark) as the site of a future final repository. The plan is to integrate the encapsulation plant and Clab (Central interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel), together called Clink, in Oskarshamns Municipality.