The Skalka spent fuel repository area

The Skalka spent fuel repository areaThe Czech Republic government, in its Resolution no. 121/97, confirmed a recommendation issued by the Ministry of Environment, to give priority to additional spent fuel depository construction projects in nuclear power plant locations and as a depository backup option, to monitor opportunities for a central repository construction in Skalka location.

The Skalka spent fuel repository area / related both surface and underground structures and buildings / is situated in close vicinity of Tisnov – Zdar Nad Sazavou railroad at the Nedvedicka creek right hand bank, near to the town of Bystrice Nad Pernstejnem in the Zdar Nad Sazavou district, and reaches to cadastral districts of Vezna, Stritez, Bor, and Sejrek municipalities. Leveled at the altitude of 407.0 above the sea, it occupies an area of 1.5 ha, approximately /without the railroad relocation, an access road, and a forest track by-pass/.

The underground structure should be blazed in the northern part of the tectonically stable, slightly hydrated, Palena masiff, in the ridge of which /548 m above the sea altitude/ the repository discharge air shaft is terminated.

As a background support for the final decision concerning the location feasibility of the repository underground option, the Energopruzkum Praha company prepared for the CEZ company a detail project design documentation of a geological survey, including all the ancillary tests determining both quality and stability of this particular earth massif. In accordance with the project design documentation, 450 m adit together with 300 m survey drift were blazed, and a number of both field and laboratory tests were performed. Survey results were evaluated in detail and provided in Survey Final Report. A condition monitoring within the survey drift and its vicinity is maintained permanently.

The Skalka spent fuel repository would become a dry container underground storage facility, in horizontal underground tunnels of which metallic containers would be stored (packaging assemblies), containing spent nuclear fuel. The metallic container both shields and separates radioactive spent fuel from the environment and conveys to the ambient air /cooling medium/ the heat released within the radioactive transformations taking place in the spent fuel. Such a storage method makes possible either to deposit the spent fuel irreversibly into a permanent repository, or have it recycled in future, using new technologies.

The spent fuel storage is designed to be realized in the transport-storage type of containers. With such containers, it is not necessary to reload the spent fuel from storage containers into transport containers if required under circumstances. On the contrary, the spent fuel is ready for transportation without undue both time and technology demanding reload handling.

The design solution implemented assumes a placement of 2900 t of spent fuel, approximately. The transportation into the repository would be provided by railway, in a special railway car in containers licensed by State Nuclear Safety Office for both transport and storage.

In accordance with the Act no. 244/1992 Coll., concerning an evaluation of environmental impacts of structures and buildings, the Skalka location was subjected to such an evaluation process. The impact evaluation was based on "Environmental impact evaluation documentation - Central spent fuel repository - Skalka location“, submitted for public comments in August 1998. In regard of the final version of the documentation, respecting opinion and comments of relevant state administration authorities, concerned municipalities, public in general, civic associations and initiatives, an "assessment" was prepared in May 1999, and consequently subjected to public discussions. Although conclusions stemming from all such relevant procedures were positive, from the viewpoint of the Skalka repository site location feasibility, in December the Ministry of Environment issued a negative opinion of such an intention, on grounds of alleged redundancy of the construction project in view of previously approved capacity enlargement of the storage facility located in NPP Dukovany.

Problems inherent to such an opinion lay in a negligence of storage capacity requirements for NPP Temelin, as well as in the fact of describing the backup location as redundant. The backup location complements the safety of nuclear power plant operation and in future may not need to be realized. It may be used, however, in case storage facilities in nuclear power plant locations could not be realized, from any reasons whatsoever. The urgency of such safety provision needs must be identified and decided about by the operator (utility).

The State Nuclear Safety Office, on a basis of the CEZ company application from June 1998, supported by "Skalka Repository Foundation Safety Report“ and supplemented by the Ministry of Environment's opinion concerning a repository environmental impact evaluation from December 1999, issued, in accordance with the Decree no. 215/1997 Coll. and the Act no. 18/1997 Coll., its approval of the repository placement in the Skalka location, for spent fuel from NPPs Dukovany and Temelin.

The CEZ company submitted its proposal of the construction project location on 20 December 2000. Under the framework of spatial planning proceedings concerning the siting of the central repository construction project in the Skalka location, discussions were held on 15 February 2001, together with a field investigation. The Bystrice Nad Pernstejnem municipality office issued, on 28 March 2001, a construction siting decision, which came into legal force on 1 May 2001.

The spent nuclear fuel storage belongs to the end part of the fuel cycle. The storage fulfils the needs of a reduction in the spent fuel residual heat power to a level allowing for its consequent transformation or the final placement into a deep underground repository. This particular purpose corresponds with the requirement of the container's 60 year life-cycle, as the minimum.

An operation commencement of the deep underground repository first stage, into which the spent fuel shall be transported from a storage facility, is scheduled for the year of 2065. For detail information about the deep underground repository preparation, please visit the following internet address:

The Skalka location is the most suitable place for the underground option of the central repository of spent fuel from the Czech nuclear power plants.

Visits may be arranged with:

Mr. Jiri Doubravsky, MSc.
Energopruzkum, Praha s.r.o.
Phone: 566567501 (on Thursdays)
Home: 566566216

The visit must be arranged 3 weeks in advance. The visits are arranged for groups of between 10 persons, as the minimum, and 40 persons, as the maximum.

The Skalka spent fuel repository area The Skalka spent fuel repository area The Skalka spent fuel repository area