Article Details

Article Title

Spent Nuclear Fuel Management and Disposal in Finland - Status and Lessons Learned at the End of 2015


Erkki Palonen, Posiva Oy


In November 2015 the Finnish Government approved and the Parliament ratified Posiva’s 2012 License Application for Construction of a mined, deep geological repository for the spent nuclear fuel (SNF) at the Olkiluoto site in the Eurajoki municipality based upon recommendations provided by the Finnish Radiation Safety Authority (STUK), international expert groups and long-standing local support. The preceding siting process began in 1983 and it included disposal-concept selection (KBS-3V), “consent-based” site selection and large-scale in-situ tests conducted in an underground research laboratory, the ONKALO, situated ~440 m below the mean Sea level immediately adjacent to the planned repository at the Olkiluoto site. At the end of 2015, the Finnish SNF repository is projected to open in 2024 as the first of its kind.

Four related lessons learned in Finland during the past 30 years are [1]:

  1. The selection of potentially-suitable sites for geological disposal of SNF proved to be more difficult and more time consuming than initially envisioned.
  2. The siting of nuclear facilities has evolved from being mainly a radionuclide containment and isolation challenge to becoming a critical moving-target, socio-political challenge governing progress with majority local acceptance being a fundamental imperative.
  3. Public and political acceptance and support are strongly linked to the competency, credibility and transparency of the involved organisations and the maturity/pedigree of the proposed disposal concept.
  4. Timely sharing lessons learned and conducting selective collaborations with other countries proved to be successful keys to timely and cost-effectively obtain and maintain public and political acceptance and support.


WM Symposia


WMS Journal Volume 2, Issue 2

Publication Date

January 2017

Document Type

Conference Paper