Radioactive waste is formed during the production of energy with the help of nuclear power. It can be harmful to people, animals and plants over a long period. This is why it is essential that radioactive waste is taken care of and stored correctly.
In Sweden, the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company, SKB, is responsible for the management and storage of all radioactive waste from Swedish nuclear power. SKB also takes care of medical, industrial and scientific waste. The company is jointly owned by the nuclear power companies in Sweden.
How is the waste taken care of?
There are three different types of radioactive waste – low active, medium active and high active.
Low active waste is, for example, pipe parts, work clothes, plastic, tools, cables and a small part of the dismantlement waste. This waste is sent to SFR (final repository for short-lived radioactive waste) in Forsmark and is stored there for 50 years until the radioactivity has decreased to the same level as the natural background radiation in the surrounding rock.
Medium active waste is, for example, filters, ion-exchange resins and scrap. This waste is mixed with concrete and poured into metal drums. First of all, the waste is stored in an interim storage facility at the nuclear power plant in order to then be transported by ship, specially built for the transportation of radioactive waste, to SFR in Forsmark where it is stored in an underground chamber. After 500 years, the radioactivity of the waste has decreased to the same level as the natural background radiation in the surrounding rock.
High active waste is the spent fuel and some reactor parts. This waste is also collected by the specially-built ship and transported to Clab, central interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel, in Oskarshamn. The fuel is stored there in pools of water for about 40 years. The radioactivity has decreased by 90 per cent after this period. After that, it is planned to encapsulate the waste in copper canisters to be ultimately stored in a nuclear fuel repository 500 metres down in the crystalline bedrock, isolated from people and the nature. The nuclear fuel repository is planned to be built in Forsmark
Environmental issues are and have always been important to Barsebäck Kraft AB
Barsebäck Kraft AB has been certified in accordance with the ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standard since 2002. Certification means that the company is reviewed byexternal auditors and is proof that environmental work is being seriously and actively conducted.
When Barsebäck Nuclear Power Plant was in operation, the main focus of our environmental workwas on minimising emissions of radioactive substances from the plant as well as the radiation dose to personnel. These issues are also prioritised today, but in our environmental plan we also work with:
- saving energy and water
- minimising the amount of chemicals
- minimising the amount of stored radioactive waste examining environmentally threatening substances in buildings and the ground.
- Heat and hot water are produced in a natural gas facility that gives off very little emissions.