In preparation for coming site investigations for siting of a deep repository for spent nuclear fuel, the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company, SKB has carried out the longterm safety assessment SR 97, requested by the Swedish Government. The repository is of the KBS-3 type, where the fuel is placed in isolating copper canisters with a high-strength cast iron insert. The canisters are surrounded by bentonite clay in individual deposition holes at a depth of 500 m in granitic bedrock. Geological data are taken from three sites in Sweden to shed light on different conditions in Swedish granitic bedrock.
The future evolution of the repository system is analysed in the form of five scenarios. The first is a base scenario where the repository is postulated to be built entirely according to specifications and where present-day conditions in the surroundings, including climate, persist. The four other scenarios show the evolution if the repository contains a few initially defective canisters, in the event of climate change, in the event of earthquakes, and in the event of future inadvertent human intrusion.
The principal conclusion of the assessment is that the prospects of building a safe deep repository for spent nuclear fuel in Swedish granitic bedrock are very good. The results of the assessment also serve as a basis for formulating requirements and preferences regarding the bedrock in site investigations, for designing a programme for site investigations, for formulating functional requirements on the repository's barriers, and for prioritisation of research.
SR 97 has been reviewed both by an international group of OECD/NEA experts and by Swedish authorities. The NEA reviewers concluded that “SR 97 provides a sensible illustration of the potential safety of the KBS-3 concept”, and no issues were identified that need to be resolved prior to proceeding to the investigation of potential sites. The authorities' conclusions were in principal consistent with those of the NEA.
Uncertainties and lack of knowledge in different areas identified in SR 97 have strongly influenced the contents and structure of SKBs most recent research programme, RD&DProgramme 2001.
Since SR 97, the methodology for probabilistic consequence analyses have been further developed. Analytic approximations to the numerical transport models used in SR 97 have been developed. The new models have been used to extend the probabilistic calculations in SR 97.