The regulatory authorities for nuclear waste management in Sweden, SKI and SSI, have recently published the outcome of their review of the SR-Can safety assessment. The assessment was undertaken by the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (SKB) in support of the development of a final repository for spent nuclear fuel (SKI:s och SSI:s gemensamma granskning av SKB:s säkerhetsrapport SR-Can - SKI Report 2008:19 / SSI Report 2008:04).
Although not part of the formal licensing process, the SR-Can assessment can be viewed as a preliminary version of the safety analysis that will be required in support of SKB's licence application to develop such a facility at a selected site, expected in 2010. The authorities conclude that SKB has developed an acceptable method for safety analysis, although certain elements, including quality assurance, need to be developed further for the licence application. It is also recognised that the knowledge base needs to be strengthened regarding a few critical processes that can potentially have a large impact on risk, and that there is a need to reinforce the evidence base in support of assumptions regarding the initial properties of repository components.
An important element of the authorities' review process was the commissioning of three international expert groups to carry out independent reviews of SR-Can, with a focus on the integration of site data, understanding of the engineered barrier system (EBS), and methodology for safety analysis. Quintessa staff played key role in this review process, with David Savage acting as chair of the EBS review group (published as SKI Report 2008:10), and Michael Egan as secretary for the methodology review group (published as SSI Report 2008:05 / SKI Report 2008:15). In addition, Quintessa has continued to provide support to SKI through independent assessment calculations relating to a range of technical issues raised by the safety assessment (published as SKI Report 2008:12).
Image courtesy of SKB.