South Bruce residents who attended an educational tour of the Onkalo Spent Nuclear Fuel Repository in Eurajoki, Finland shared their experiences at the South Bruce Community Liaison Committee (CLC) meeting on Thursday.
Participants recounted their tour experiences and presented the following topics: Onkalo Repository and Associated Facilities, Community Engagement and Phases of the Finnish Project.
Presenters described their tour of the Onkalo Spent Nuclear Fuel Repository, which is currently under construction. Tour experiences included security protocols, the underground infrastructure, storage tunnels and safety measure details.
Community members also visited the Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant and the Encapsulation Plant. In the Encapsulation Plant, spent fuel will move from wet storage to spent fuel canisters which will then go into the repository. The facility will use hot cells and various machines to complete this process without human physical interaction with the fuel or canisters.
“There is a number of different pieces of equipment in the room that can reach into the room and handle the fuel, much like the Canada space arm,” said community member Barry Parsons, “although it seems very large it is capable of intricate tasks,” he added.
Presenters explained the design of the spent fuel canisters that will be used in the facility and the transportation that spent fuel will undergo from production to storage in the repository. This portion of the presentation concluded with an overview of the differences between the Finnish repository and the deep geological repository (DGR) proposed by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO).
Presenters detailed the Finnish site selection process and community engagement that took place between 1980-2000. Surveys were conducted in the Municipality of Eurajoki to gauge community feelings towards the Project. Using this information, the municipal council determined its community willingness by a vote of council, resulting in a 20-7 vote in favour of hosting the Project.
The Municipality had the right to veto the Project prior to the construction of new facilities. Eurajoki’s municipal council is to be consulted on any future changes, as well as working collaboratively with STUK (Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority), the nation’s nuclear regulator.
Finally, presenters provided an overview of the background of both projects, progress timelines and studies undertaken in the process of selecting a host community for the storage of the respective used nuclear fuel.
More information regarding the tour, including the presentation slides can be found on the Educational Tour in Finland webpage on the Municipal website. The next meeting of the CLC will be held on Thursday September 7 and will feature a presentation on a Preliminary Safety Assessment by the NWMO, including a peer review by municipal consultants.