Nuclear waste in Finland

Nuclear waste in Finland

In Finland, nuclear waste is accumulated in the nuclear power plants in Loviisa and Olkiluoto and in the research reactor located in Otaniemi. According to the law, this waste must be managed in Finland, up to and including disposal. The responsibility for the preparation, financing and safe execution of nuclear waste management lies with the producers of the waste, i.e. the operators of the nuclear facilities. The Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority supervises the safety of nuclear waste management.

The final disposal of low and intermediate-level waste generated during the use of nuclear power plants is an established activity in Finland and overseas. The power plant sites in Loviisa and Olkiluoto contain the final disposal facilities for the waste generated in these plants. Globally, final disposal is underway at more than 80 final disposal facilities.

In Finland, spent nuclear fuel is stored in water storage basins located at the sites of nuclear power plants. The final disposal of spent nuclear fuel or other high-level waste is not yet underway in Finland or anywhere else in the world.   

However, in Finland, Posiva Oy has submitted an application for the construction of an encapsulation and final disposal facility at Olkiluoto. The application, dated 28 December 2012, was addressed to the Government. STUK prepared a safety assessment on the application which assesses the long-term safety of the final disposal facility, the technical feasibility of the facilities, the safety of their use and the readiness of Posiva’s organisation to construct a nuclear facility.

Finland’s nuclear waste management is governed by the Nuclear Energy Act and the Nuclear Energy Decree, which define, among other things, the obligations of a producer of nuclear energy, the relevant licencing procedures and the control rights. In 1994, the Nuclear Energy Act was amended so that it now requires all nuclear waste generated in Finland to undergo final disposal in Finland. The Nuclear Energy Act also prohibits nuclear waste’s importation into Finland. The overall supervision of nuclear waste management is the responsibility of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. It decides the principles and draws up the schedules that power companies must abide by.