Oskarshamn - Nuclear Waste Facility

SKB takes care of Nuclear Waste in Sweden. About 40% of the power in Sweden is generated by nuclear power plants. The system has two mains steps. The first is interim storage called Clab, where the waste is stored while it cools down, this can take about 30 or 40 years. The Clab requires operators and maintenance, so it is not viable as a long term storage solution. Waste eventually graduates to being buried underground. The long term storage is meant to last for hundreds of thousands of years and is located underground. The long term storage is a series hallways underground where the waste is buried. Once a hallway is full, it is filled in with blocks and then closed off with a cement cap. Once the whole facility is filled, the whole thing is filled in with blocks and capped and the above-ground structures can be removed. The Swedes have put a lot of thought into storing their nuclear waste and some if their ideas have been picked up by other countries, such as Finland. But, as the film, Into Eternity points out, nuclear waste is dangerous for a timescale longer than human civilization. It's not clear if we really know how to store the material safely for such a long period of time.

One cool thing I learned on the trip is that there are in history of a natural nuclear fission reactor. This happened in Gabon, Africa, about 1.7 billion years ago and lasted a few hundred thousand years.