Decommissioning of the research reactor

Finland’s first nuclear reactor was launched in Otaniemi, Espoo in 1962. The reactor, FiR 1, is a small research reactor with a thermal capacity of 250 kW. The water-cooled, pool-type reactor originally built for research and education and later also for isotope production and radiotherapy has been specifically developed for the university environment.

The FiR 1 licence holder is VTT, which last applied for and received an operating licence for the research reactor in 2011. The operating licence was granted until 2023. In 2012, however, VTT decided for financial reasons to stop the use of FiR 1. The reactor was permanently shut down in summer 2015.

Before VTT can begin dismantling the FiR 1 reactor, it will need permission from the Government to decommission the reactor. The licensing process started with an environmental impact assessment, which was completed by VTT in February 2015.

The proposal for the licence is prepared and presented to the Government by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, which is the liaising authority for all Finnish nuclear facility projects. According to a preliminary timetable, VTT will issue a decommissioning licence application to the Ministry in 2017. The process includes an open consultation round to support decision-making. In addition, the Ministry requests statements from municipalities, authorities and expert organizations.

STUK’s task is to assess whether the application complies with the decommissioning obligations imposed by Finnish nuclear energy legislation. While in use, the reactor must not jeopardize the radiation safety of employees, other people or the environment. Likewise, the decommissioning and dismantling shall not cause danger.

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