Nuclear regulatory authority
The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) is the regulatory authority for protection of people and the environment against harmful effects of ionising and non ionising radiation, for issues on nuclear safety including physical protection in nuclear technology activities as well as in other activities involving radiation, and for issues regarding non-proliferation.
SSM issues legally binding regulations under the Nuclear Activities Act (SFS 1984:3) and the Radiation Protection Act (1988:220). SSM is involved in licensing of nuclear facilities and carries out inspections and enforcement. In an accident situation, SSM organizes expert advice at the Swedish emergency response centre, and coordinates the national measurement and analysis organisation.
The SSM works actively and preventively for high levels of nuclear safety and radiation protection in the society. The SSM mission and tasks are defined in an Ordinance with instructions (SFS 2008:452) and in an annual government appropriation letter.
Sweden has 10 nuclear power reactors in operation and three permanently shut down reactors (under decommissioning). The 10 operational reactors comprise 7 BWRs (ASEA-ATOM design) and 3 PWRs (Westinghouse design). In an average year, nuclear power contributes about 45 % to the Swedish electricity production.
The operating Swedish reactors are in a process of modernization, safety upgrading and power up rating. The safety upgrades on reactor design and construction are scheduled until 2013.
In June 2010 the Swedish Parliament lifted a ban on new-build of nuclear reactors. The legislation, which entered into force in 2011, allows for new reactors on the condition that they replace existing ones being permanently shut down, and if they are built on a site with already operating reactors.
In July 2012 an application for construction of new reactors has been submitted to the regulatory authority. The application is for a license to construct, own and operate one or two nuclear power reactors with adjacent facilities. Although no investment decision has been taken by the applicant, it is stated that these new reactors will be commissioned within the period of 2025 -2035.
In Sweden there are also a nuclear fuel factory, an interim spent fuel storage facility and an operational waste disposal facility for low and intermediate level waste.
Radioactive waste and spent fuel management
The Swedish nuclear operators jointly established the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (SKB) in the 1970’s. SKB is the licensee of a repository for operational waste, SFR, at Forsmark. The SFR facility is situated on the Baltic Sea coast at a depth of 50 m in the bedrock, 5 m under sea level. The SFR construction started 1983 and it was commissioned in 1988. The total capacity is 63,000 m3 and plans exist for future expansion. SKB also operates the interim storage for spent nuclear fuel (CLAB) at Oskarshamn with a capacity of 8,000 tonnes of spent nuclear fuel (SNF).
The process to select a site for a SNF repository started more than 20 years ago and SKB decided in 2009 to opt for locating the repository to Forsmark in the municipality of Östhammar. SKB applied for a licence to site and construct the SNF repository at Forsmark in March 2011. The operation of the repository is foreseen around 2025. Safety reviews, additional research and follow-up programmes will be completed before repository commissioning.
Main legal instruments
Five acts constitute the basic nuclear safety and radiation protection legislation:
- The Nuclear Activities Act (SFS 1984:3),
- The Radiation Protection Act (SFS 1988:220),
- The Environmental Code (SFS 1998:808),
- The Act on the Financing of Management of Residual Products from Nuclear Activities (SFS 2006:647), and
- The Nuclear Liability Act (SFS 1968:45).
A State inquiry presently investigated the possibility of merging the Nuclear Activities Act and the Radiation Protection Act into a single act and also considers possibilities for better coordination with the Environmental Code. Its final report to the Government (SOU 2011:18) was submitted in February 2011. The report was referred for consultation to SSM and other stakeholders during 2011. Potential major changes of the legal framework resulting from the inquiry are not foreseen before 2013/2014.
Last updated 21 Feb 2013