The government's consent will allow Finland's equivalent of SKB, Posiva, to store a maximum of 6,500 tonnes of spent nuclear fuel from the Lovisa and Olkiluoto nuclear power plants in the final repository in the municipality of Euraåminne on Finland's west coast.
"The licence to build the facility is an important step in the responsible use of nuclear power in Finland. When it comes to final storage, long-term safety is crucial. This will be monitored over the entire life cycle of the final repository," confirmed Finland's Minister of Economic Affairs, Olli Rehn.
First in the world
According to the press release by the Finnish government, Posiva has said that construction of the final repository will start towards the end of 2016, with the final repository being commissioned in 2023.
"This pioneering project is not only important for us in Finland, it's also of global significance. The project is the first in the world to enter the construction phase. I would like to thank all the experts and partners in Finland and in other countries who have worked together on this unique, multi-disciplinary project," said Posiva's President Janne Mokka.
Posiva's final repository is based on the same method developed by Sweden's SKB. SKB's research and development collaboration with Posiva started in the late 1970s and intensified in the early 2000s.
The storage method involves encasing spent nuclear fuel in copper and iron canisters after it has been in interim storage for at least 20 years and then storing it in the final repository. The canisters are protected with a buffer layer consisting of expanding clay and permanent storage tunnels filled with clay material.
"It is important recognition for us that SKB's method for the final storage of spent nuclear fuel has now been approved in another country. We are delighted that Posiva has been given the go-ahead today," says Christopher Eckerberg, Managing Director of SKB.