The OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) has just presented to the Swedish authorities the outcome of an international peer review on “The Post-closure Radiological Safety Case for a Spent Fuel Repository in Sweden”. The review examines the post-closure radiological safety analysis report (SR-Site) produced by the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (SKB) in support of the application for a general licence to construct and operate a spent nuclear fuel geological repository in the municipality of Östhammar. If granted, this will be the first general licence worldwide for a spent fuel repository.
The review provides the Swedish government, the public and relevant organisations with an international reference about the maturity of SKB's spent fuel disposal programme vis-à-vis best practices in long-term disposal safety and radiological protection. It will also provide valuable input for the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) in its further review of the licence application.
The international peer review team, consisting of ten international specialists and one international observer, has concluded the following:
A major NEA activity in the field of radioactive waste management is the organisation of independent, international peer reviews of national studies and projects. At the request of the Swedish government, the NEA Secretariat established an international review team (IRT) to perform the peer review cited above. The IRT consisted of ten international specialists from Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, Switzerland, the United States and the NEA Secretariat, and one international observer. The IRT was led by Michael Sailer of the Oeko-Institut e.V. in Germany. The SSM served as the contact point between the IRT and the Swedish counterparts.
The experts relied on information exchanges with SKB staff during working seminars and site visits in Sweden. In keeping with NEA procedures for independent reviews, neither the Swedish government nor SKB have commented on this report, although SKB and SSM helped ensure factual correctness.
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NEA membership consists of 33 countries. The mission of the NEA is to assist its member countries in maintaining and further developing, through international co‑operation, the scientific, technological and legal bases required for a safe, environmentally sound and economical use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. It strives to provide authoritative assessments and to forge common understandings on key issues as input to government decisions on nuclear energy policy and to broader OECD analyses in areas such as energy and the sustainable development of low‑carbon economies.