Only a small part of a nuclear power plant’s waste is radioactive
We at Fortum want to build an energy system that doesn’t expend the earth. Finland’s first nuclear power plant, in Loviisa, has produced clean, carbon dioxide-free energy responsibly and safely for more than 40 years. Located on Hästholmen Island, the Loviisa power plant’s operations are certified according to the ISO 14001 environmental standard. The certification extends to all of the power plant’s operations, including the activities of the subcontractors working on the island.
Waste at the Loviisa power plant is sorted into conventional and radioactive waste. Radioactive waste is divided into three categories: low-level waste (maintenance waste), intermediate-level waste (liquid waste), and high-level waste (spent fuel).
Radioactive waste accounts for a small share of all waste, just 4%, and we are committed to processing this waste very carefully and responsibly. Processing radioactive waste is carried out in accordance with the Finnish Nuclear Energy Act, using internationally recognised methods.
Conventional waste is generated by all industries; 71% of the waste generated at the Loviisa nuclear power plant in 2020 was utilised as material or energy. The volume of conventional waste (96%) has been addressed through efforts to reduce the generation of waste and by sorting to reduce the amount of waste ending up in a landfill.
Advanced level of nuclear waste management
According to the Finnish Nuclear Energy Act, nuclear waste generated in Finland must be disposed of in Finland, and we are absolutely committed to the responsible management of waste. Fortum is one of the world’s leading actors in nuclear waste management, particularly in final disposal methods for low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste.
Low-level maintenance waste is either verified as non-radioactive and processed as conventional waste, or, if needed, disposed of later in the final repository located 110 meters underground in the power plant area.
Intermediate-level liquid waste is either purified and piped into the sea or it is stored and solidified in concrete. The solidification plant for radioactive liquid waste started its operations in February 2016, marking a significant advancement in the Loviisa power plant’s waste management.
The spent nuclear fuel is stored in the interim stores at the power plant in Loviisa. Final disposal is planned to start in the 2040s at Olkiluoto in Eurajoki. This will be operated by Posiva that is owned by Fortum and TVO.
Responsible waste management, whether conventional or radioactive waste, is a vital part of our work towards a cleaner world. The work for a cleaner energy system will continue at the Loviisa power plant.