Nuclear waste disposal

Worries About Nuclear Waste Plan

The politically-independent Nuclear Waste Council is not convinced of the safety of a planned storage scheme for Sweden’s nuclear waste. TT reports that the committee questions the durability of the copper capsules set to hold the waste and the quality of the bentonite mud that is to surround the containers.

The debate about what to do with Sweden’s nuclear waste has especially divided residents of Östhammar, the place where the waste would be stored under the scheme. The leftover nuclear products would be kept in copper barrels surrounded by a layer of protective bentonite mud, all of it buried 500 meters inside a rock mountain. SKB, the Swedish company with plans to build the storage center, has told the Council that the waste would be safely stowed for 100,000 years.

But that statement has come under question, most recently after researchers at Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology concluded that the capsules were too thin. They held that the copper would erode after just 1,000 years.

The Council has also suggested that the special bentonite mud may be too impure to protect the copper capsules.

SKB will have to come with answers to the criticism before they can move onto the next stage in getting the project approved.

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