Finnish law on nuclear waste management
The processing of nuclear waste is governed by the Nuclear Energy Act, the Nuclear Energy Decree, and a Government Decree. Amended in 1994, the Nuclear Energy Act stipulates that all spent nuclear fuel produced in Finland must be disposed of in the Finnish bedrock. The same legislation also prohibits the import, and disposal of, foreign nuclear waste in Finland.
The Government Decree on the safety of the final disposal of nuclear waste stipulates the following concerning the long-term radiation effects of final disposal: “The annual dose of the persons with the greatest exposure shall remain below 0.1 mSv (millisieverts), and the average annual doses of other persons shall remain insignificant.”
With regard to the management of radioactive substances, Fortum always strives to keep any emissions well below both the emission limits set by the authorities and Fortum's own target limits, which are more stringent than the official limits.
Responsibilities of nuclear power producers
In Finland, the law stipulates that each producer of nuclear power-generated electricity is responsible for its own nuclear waste management. Fortum Power and Heat Oy and Teollisuuden Voima Oyj have established Posiva Oy to manage the research and development work required for the disposal of the spent nuclear fuel produced at their power plants as well as the implementation of the selected disposal solution.
The Ministry of Employment and the Economy holds the highest power of control and supervision over nuclear waste management in Finland. The Ministry prepares the legislation concerning nuclear waste as well as any associated international agreements with regard to Finland. It also supervises adherence to the legislation and agreements.
The Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) supervises the safety of nuclear power generation. STUK prepares instructions and regulations on nuclear safety and inspects the safety of the power plants. The safety aspects of nuclear waste processing and storage also fall within the scope of STUK's supervision activities.
State fund to cover the costs of disposal
Companies with a nuclear waste management obligation prepare for the costs by collecting funds in advance in the price of electricity and depositing them in a specific fund. This provides society with a financial guarantee for the handling of nuclear waste management under all circumstances.
The Finnish State Nuclear Waste Management Fund was established in 1988 in accordance with the Nuclear Energy Act. Separate from the state budget, the fund is controlled by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy. The purpose of the fund is to collect, preserve, and safely invest the funds required for the management of nuclear waste in the future.
The fund's capital consists of annual payments by the companies with a nuclear waste management obligation as well as the fund's revenue. The Ministry makes annual decisions on the amount of cost liability at the current price level on the basis of reports submitted by the companies with a nuclear waste management obligation. The total amount of collected funds must, at any given time, correspond to the costs of nuclear waste management activities not yet implemented.
Nuclear waste management payments collected in the fund also cover any research and development costs and the costs incurred from official supervision and administrative activities.