Nuclear power is a powerful form of energy that allows us to produce clean electricity. However, the waste it produces is difficult to tackle and is often the reason nuclear power has not become as popular as perhaps it should be. It is estimated that there are currently around 370,000 tonnes of spent nuclear fuel in temporary storage around the world, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Now, the Swedish government has just approved a plan by Swedish nuclear fuel and waste management company SKB to develop a storage facility that will keep the country’s spent and highly radioactive nuclear fuel safe for the next 100,000 years.
“It is a historical decision that enables SKB to dispose of the nuclear waste that our generation has produced. This decision is met with open arms. We are now looking forward to implementing Sweden’s largest environmental protection project,” said in a statement SKB’s CEO Johan Dasht.
SKB's ambitious project has been in the works for more than 40 years and has seen the collaboration of experts from universities, research institutes, and higher education institutions in Sweden and worldwide. It has also been carefully reviewed by the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority and the Land and Environment Court to ensure it satisfies the most stringent safety requirements both for man and the environment.
In addition to tackling nuclear waste safely and securely, the project will also create about 1,500 jobs. SKB is now awaiting to complete the licensing process for the Land and Environment Court and to receive the appropriate permits from the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority.
Once all these steps have been completed, it will take about 10 years to build the facility. Although Swedes had voted in 1980 to phase out nuclear power, their opinions on the form of energy have since changed. It is now seen as an essential step to ending the country's reliance on fossil fuels and is more welcomed by citizens.