Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Onkalo In Trouble - Copper Capsules Thousands of Times More Sensitive To Corrosion Than Predicted

Copper canisters planned to be used by Posiva and SKB for depositing spent fuel of nuclear reactors are thousands of times more corrosion sensitive than nuclear industry claims (Photo: Jukka Seppälä/Creator's Fingerprints)

Swedish corrosion researchers at KTH in Stocholm have found out that the thick copper canisters that are planned to be used for safely burying spent nuclear fuel of Finland and Sweden deep in the bedrock are not as corrosion safe as the companies planning the nuclear waste caves claim. According to recent Swedish studies the capsules can corrode thousands of times faster in anoxic water than the nuclear industry predicts on their own studies. Recently, after having checked out the swedish studies, STUK (Finnish nuclear safety official) has asked Posiva for further explanation. The Swedish research group led by Peter Szakálos found that copper capsules would last only about 1000 years instead of 100 000 years calculated by Posiva and Swedish nuclear waste depositing company  SKB.

LINKS (Finnish) - YLE:




There are also open questions about bentonite - the clay layer around the copper cylinders - how it reacts with ground water or if it gets frozen during the next ice ages. STUK is ivestigating the possible weaknesses of this nuclear waste depositing process before giving their final green light for the project.

100 000 years is a long time. I agree with nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen: it would be easier for the engineers to solve the problem how to store solar or wind energy over one night than to try to work out how to store highly radioactive waste for hundreds of thousands of years.


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