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Minister Rehn urges nuclear waste cave co-operation

Finland’s Minister for economic Affairs, Olli Rehn, has said he wants all of the country’s nuclear waste to go to the existing purpose-built storage facility at Olkiluoto. Fennovoima’s planned reactor at Pyhäjoki currently has no agreed destination for its waste, and the firm has until June to find one.

Olli Rehn Porissa
Image: Kati Rantala / Yle

Minister for Economic Affairs, Olli Rehn, has urged Fennovoima and TVO to come to an agreement over nuclear waste. Fennovoima, which is building a new plant at Pyhäjoki in collaboration with Russia’s state-owned nuclear firm Rosatom, currently has no plan for permanent storage of the nuclear waste it will produce.

Fennovoima has been shut out of the Onkalo waste storage facility constructed by TVO and Fortum—and the firm has to come up with a plan for its waste by this June.

Now Rehn says they should be allowed to use Onkalo as there was little point in building two nuclear waste facilities in a small country like Finland.

The existing Posiva-owned Onkalo dump is located in a cave excavated some 500 metres below Eurajoki in the west of the country, and it is expected to start taking in nuclear waste by 2020. It is expected to have capacity for spent fuel rods for around a hundred years, before it is finally sealed, although that timeframe would fall if it also accepted waste from Fennovoima’s plant.

Latest estimates suggest Onkalo will cost around 3 billion euros over the course of its usage. Building another similar facility would be expensive.

"From the point of view of a society the size of Finland, the best option is that forces are joined in the final location for the nuclear waste," said Olli Rehn. "Co-operation would be best."

Rehn refused to comment on how the government might react if a deal on using Onkalo is not reached. 

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