the risks considerably. The safety manual will not do any good unless everyone is familiar with its contents.


The Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (Svensk Kärnbränslehantering AB, or SKB) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the four companies that produce nuclear power in Sweden. SKB's main duty is to safely manage and dispose of the radioactive waste that results from the operation of nuclear power plants. The company is also responsible for the nuclear waste from medicine, research, and industry.

To perform this duty, SKB has developed and built a complete waste disposal system. For the operational waste, there is an underground final repository in Forsmark, about 100 km north of Stockholm. The spent fuel is stored in water pools in an underground, interim storage facility outside Oskarshamn in southeastern Sweden. Since all Swedish nuclear power stations are situated on the coast, all transports take place by sea on a specially built ship.

A deep repository is planned to accommodate the long-lived waste. The Äspö HRL is one of several links in the chain leading to this repository. The research and development activities in the Äspö HRL have the following main goals:

  • test the quality and appropriateness of different methods for characterizing the bedrock with respect to conditions needed for a deep repository;
  • refine and demonstrate methods for adapting a deep repository to the properties of the rock in connection with design, planning, and construction; and
  • collect material and data important to the safety of the deep repository.

Seven organizations from the United States, Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, and Finland are also participating in the project.

The Äspö HRL can be likened to a dress rehearsal for the construction of the deep repository. This paper describes the safety work during the construction of the tunnel part of the laboratory.

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