MEE: Working group to clarify cooperation in nuclear waste management

The Ministry of Employment and the Economy has informed in a press release that the Ministry will set up a working group for clarifying cooperation in nuclear waste management in Finland.

The Minister of Economic Affairs Jyri Häkämies met nuclear power company representatives in Helsinki on 13 March 2012. In the meeting agenda was the view of the Government on how companies should proceed in the planning of final disposal of spent nuclear fuel and in comparison of implementation alternatives.

In MEE’s press release, Mr Häkämies goes through the starting points given by the Nuclear Act. According to the law, the Ministry can oblige those liable for managing nuclear waste to operate together if this can increase safety, decrease costs considerably, or if other important reasons support this. Mr Häkämies states in the press release that such reasons could for example include decreasing environmental impacts or the overall good of the society.

By 2016, Fennovoima must present the Ministry either a programme for Environmental Impact Assessment for an own final depository for spent nuclear fuel or an agreement on cooperation with those currently liable for nuclear waste management.

When comparing the alternatives for final disposal, issues related to safety, costs, and environmental impacts are evaluated. According to the Ministry, the information needed for comparative study includes studies on the alternative of construction of two separate facilities as well as on the alternative of expanding the existing facility.

The Ministry sets up a working group for managing the joint study of the nuclear power companies. The chairman of the group is Herkko Plit, Industrial Counsellor of the Ministry of Employment and the Economy. The secretary of the group is Counsellor of the Ministry, Jaana Avolahti. TVO, Fortum Power and Heat, Fennovoima, and Posiva will each have two representatives in the working group.

The task of the group is to gather the existing data for comparing alternatives, carry out a preliminary comparative study if needed, and give recommendations for further work. The working group begins its work immediately and reports the results for the Ministry by the end of 2012.