VTT hosted Washington State’s Governor Jay Inslee and a business delegation to address collaboration on safe radioactive waste management

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Accelerating the safe and efficient treatment and deposition of radioactive wastes is a top sustainability priority for Finland and our partners worldwide. On 14th September 2022 VTT hosted a high level governmental and business delegation from the United States at VTT Centre for Nuclear Safety, aimed at advancing governmental policy, technologies and collaboration in this domain.

Responsible handling of radioactive waste is a vital part of implementing new nuclear technologies and the corresponding environmental stewardship. Washington state is preparing to accelerate the clean-up of the USA Department of Energy owned Hanford Nuclear Site.  

The Hanford Site was established in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project as the first full-scale plutonium production reactor in the world and site of manufacturing the plutonium used in the first nuclear bomb. For decades Hanford has been in the process of extensive remediation for address the high-level radioactive waste within 177 storage tanks and solid radioactive waste associated also with contaminated soils. 

During the VTT event this week, topics such as Finland’s nuclear energy policy, waste management program financing and resourcing, and SMR reactor deployment feasibility were presented. Collaborative discussions took place on possibilities for both business and academic partnerships between Finland and Washington State on radioactive waste treatment and deposition, as well as new energy technologies.

The event was part of Washington state’s Governor Jay Inslee’s high-level business delegation to the Nordic countries, including five technical focus topics in Finland. Presentations by Finland’s experts from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment’s Energy Department, Fortum Power and Heat Oy, Posiva Solutions Oy and VTT covered lessons learned about governmental policies, technology implementation and stakeholder confidence for keeping the waste management program economically on budget and schedule.

Inslee said that Nordic countries are ahead in several years in nuclear topics, and he hopes more international cooperation in this field.

“VTT was honoured to host Governor’s Jay Inslee and the business delegation exploring opportunities for collaboration in Finland. We are really eager to work together – we have a common task and open for collaboration”, says Antti Vasara.

Finland is a global forerunner in radioactive waste management, both for lower-level radioactive waste as well as spent fuel high-level radioactive material deposition, and VTT has been a key part of supporting readiness and deployment of solutions for over 40 years. 

“Posiva is a company implementing the world’s first Deep Geological Repository for used nuclear fuel – the experience gained could be useful in the Washington State as well”, says Mika Pohjonen, MD of Posiva Solutions.  

Fortum has over 40 years of experience of being a nuclear operator and license holder. As an owner and operator of nuclear facilities, Fortum has developed thorough, safe and effective solutions for nuclear back-end, from optimised treatment of operating wastes and management of radioactive waste streams to storing and disposal of low and high level radioactive wastes.

VTT's radioactive waste management capabilities are extensive, and it has 10,000 m2 of modern laboratory facilities to assist in research and proof-of-concepts ranging from nanoscale studies through to full-scale and in-situ structural mock-ups. 

VTT has played an active role in developing practical Finnish waste management solutions for high level nuclear waste (Posiva), for other waste forms (TVO, Fortum), as well as solutions for governmental and regulatory authorities (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland, STUK - Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority) both domestically and internationally.

Further information: 
VTT
Dr. Erika Holt, erika.holt@vtt.fi

Fortum
Mr. Antti Ketolainen, antti.ketolainen@fortum.com 

Posiva Solutions
Mr. Mika Pohjonen, mika.pohjonen@posiva.fi 

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland
Director General Riku Huttunen, riku.huttunen@gov.fi 

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland
Dr. Liisa Heikinheimo,  liisa.heikinheimo@gov.fi 
 

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Erika Holt
Erika Holt
Customer Account Lead

The efficient utilisation of renewable and carbon-neutral energy in industry, transport, and construction holds a key position in solving climate issues. However, everyone can take part in a clean energy system, including ordinary people like us. Even small choices by individuals have a great impact.

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