We begin by removing the most radioactive materials

When a nuclear facility is to be demolished, it is best to start by removing the most radioactive materials. There is currently no nuclear fuel at Barsebäcksverket. The last of the fuel elements were sent to the interim storage for Swedish nuclear fuel as early as 2006. The interim storage facility is known as Clab and is located at OKG, near Oskarshamn. Upon removal of the fuel, the reactor vessels and adjacent systems were subjected to an extensive and thorough high-pressure hosing. The hosing has detached the radioactive layer and the remaining metals are cleaner and easier to process. This means that there is currently less radioactivity inside the plant. From 2015 to 2019 all of the reactor vessel’s internal components were sawn into smaller pieces and packed into radiation-shielded containers, which are now temporarily stored at our interim storage facility. The work was conducted with the environmental permits that allow service operations and certain preparatory demolition work.

Watch how we remove components from the reactors.

Follow Maria and watch how we remove the internal components from the reactor vessels. The components are then stored in our temporary interim storage facility.


Interim storage until a final repository is in place

Interim storage at Barsebäck

Barsebäcksverket was decommissioned and has been undergoing a dismantling phase since April 2020. There are currently two interim storage facilities at the plant that will be needed until the waste can be transferred to the ultimate receiver, SKB. One of the facilities houses metallic waste from the reactors’ internal components and segments of the reactor vessel.

The radioactive waste (comprising about 5% of the overall volume of demolition waste) is to be stored in SKB’s final repository in Forsmark, Uppland County. SKB’s facilities are in various stages of permit processes and construction. Until they are ready, the waste will be temporarily stored adjacent to the country’s nuclear facilities.

Management of demolition waste

Radio active waste

The demolition will produce various types of waste – radioactive and conventional. All of the waste must be measured and categorized – firstly for radioactivity, then sorted based on the type of material. If the waste is radioactive, it is packed in approved transportation containers and sent onward for processing or to the final repository. If the material is non-radioactive, it is sorted into conventional environmentally hazardous or nonhazardous waste. Environmentally hazardous waste is sent to approved final recipients. Conventional waste without any environmentally hazardous content can either be reused on site (for example, crushed concrete could be used to fill holes in the ground), or sent onward for other uses or to approved final waste recipients.

When all of the radioactive waste has been removed

Total waste

All of the radioactive waste will eventually be removed, allowing for the land and buildings to be classified radioactivity free. Radioactivity-free classification means that supervisory authorities such as the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority have approved the removal of any materials that exceed normal background radiation levels. Large-scale conventional demolition then commences. Waste that is generated at this phase, such as concrete and metal, will essentially be recycled.

Barsebäck Kraft’s assignment is to make the land fit for industrial purposes.

The image below shows the complexity involved in processing the various categories of waste that are produced. Everything will be measured carefully and processed in accordance with all applicable regulations and with a focus on safety – safety for those who work here and safety in terms of their handling in the course of demolition and their ultimate final repository. The majority of the waste produced is nonradioactive and can be handled normally.


Find out more

The dismantling of the Barsebäck Plant has begun. The assignment will continue for several years to come.

Why are nuclear power plants being demolished in Sweden?

Find out how radioactive waste from nuclear power plants is handled.


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