Down to Earth...and Below
Sweden's Plans for Nuclear Waste

by Claes Thegerström

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The goal of the site investigation phase is to obtain a permit to build the deep repository for spent nuclear fuel. The permit applications will be based on broad supporting documentation. The investigations of the rock serve as a basis for configuring the underground units of the deep repository. These results will also influence the positioning and layout of the surface units of the repository and provide input for assessment of the environmental impact.

The Swedish System

Much experience has been gained by SKB and others over the past 25 years of managing and communicating the nuclear waste programme. They can be summarized as follows:

Multinational Co-operation

However, if it is well structured and focuses on the development of a common basis of knowledge, international cooperation is important and rewarding. For a good number of years, the close international co-operation and co-ordination in R&D as well as safety principles within IAEA and other international fora has been extremely valuable.

I would like in particular to also emphasise IAEA's Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management. It provides clear statements about the need for well-defined national waste management strategies and programmes as well as underlining that each country has a responsibility for its nuclear waste. The fact that it requires the presentation and international review of the programme documents will be a significant tool in helping all Member States define and develop their nuclear waste management plans.

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