SKB begins construction of Forsmark geology building

06 March 2024

Sweden's radioactive waste management company Svensk Kärnbränslehantering AB (SKB) has announced the breaking of ground for its new geology building, which will be a centre for the collection and evaluation of data from surveys and site monitoring on the Forsmark peninsula.

The ground-breaking ceremony (Image: Veidekke)

SKB said the new geology building will be "of great importance for the upcoming major construction projects in Forsmark".

Several of SKB's operations are currently located on the Forsmark Peninsula in Östhammar's municipality, including SFR, the final repository for low and intermediate-level waste, the capacity of which is to be expanded. The final repository for used nuclear fuel from Swedish nuclear power plants is also to be built there.

The geology building - being built by contractor Veidekke - will have two floors, cover about 2000 square metres and, among other things, house a workshop for the survey activities, a storage place for drill cores and field equipment, a chemistry laboratory, modern office spaces and changing rooms. The property is designed with appropriate gates for vehicles and equipment as well as adjacent outdoor staging areas.

How the completed building should look (Image: SKB)

"Great consideration is given to sustainability in the construction of the building, among other things, green concrete with lower carbon dioxide emissions will be used," SKB noted. "The frame and facade will consist of wood and the building will have a so-called sedum roof, a roof with living plants on top of the waterproofing layer. The possibility of electric car charging will also be available."

"We have seen a need to future-proof our premises for upcoming large projects and then it is important for us to build in a sustainable way with consideration for the environment both in construction technology and material selection," said SKB CEO Stefan Engdahl.

He added: "Now the construction phase begins for what we call our green centre on the Forsmark peninsula. As our operations expand, as the expansion of SFR and entrepreneurs establish themselves in the area, several of our operations will be moved to the new premises in the geology building."

Norwegian construction firm Veidekke signed an agreement with SKB in October 2023 to build the geology building under a turnkey contract. The order value totalled about SEK55 million (USD5.3 million).

Construction of the building is expected to be completed in the spring of 2025. During the following summer, existing equipment will then be moved over from the old premises and operations are planned to start in August of the same year.

The SFR repository is situated 60 metres below the bottom of the Baltic Sea and began operations in 1988. The facility comprises four 160-metre-long rock vaults and a chamber in the bedrock with a 50-metre-high concrete silo for the most radioactive waste. Two parallel kilometre-long access tunnels link the facility to the surface. The facility currently has a total final disposal capacity of about 63,000 cubic metres of waste. SKB plans to start work in autumn 2024 to triple the size of the repository, to about 180,000 cubic metres, by excavating six new rock vaults, 240-275 metres long.

SKB submitted applications to build Sweden's first nuclear fuel repository and an encapsulation plant to SSM in March 2011. In January 2022, Sweden's Minister of Climate and Environment announced that construction of the final repository for used nuclear fuel in Forsmark and the associated fuel encapsulation plant in Oskarshamn can proceed. The repository will be used for the disposal of 6000 capsules with a total of 12,000 tonnes of radioactive waste at a depth of about 500 metres.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News