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MEE issues statement concerning EIA report on decommissioning of VTT research reactor


Press release from the Ministry of Employment and the Economy:

The Ministry of Employment and the Economy has issued a statement on the environmental impact assessment report on the decommissioning of VTT's research reactor at Otaniemi, Espoo. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd submitted its EIA report to the ministry in October 2014. The ministry states that the environmental impact assessment report drawn up by VTT complies with the content requirements specified in EIA legislation, and has been processed in the statutory manner. The MEE's earlier statement on the EIA programme has been taken into account in the assessment. In the statements received by the MEE, the EIA programme was declared appropriate and comprehensive in most aspects. The shortcomings pointed out by the statements must be rectified by the party responsible for the project over the course of the planning process.

In its statement, the MEE notes that VTT must deliver studies demonstrating the safety of decommissioning, as provided for in the Nuclear Energy Act and Decree and required by the licensing process for the research reactor's decommissioning. A separate decommissioning plan will be required, and the process for drawing up this plan is provided for in the Nuclear Energy Act. VTT must also rectify certain shortcomings and errors in the documents required for the licensing process and take into account the other matters that have arisen during the EIA procedure.

The MEE issued its statement on the basis of EIA legislation, the earlier statement issued by the ministry on VTT's EIA programme, and the statements and opinions received regarding the EIA report. A total of 16 statements were submitted to the MEE by various authorities, cities, research institutes and enterprises. The ministry additionally received two comments.

VTT's research reactor is a US-built Triga Mark II water-cooled, pool-type reactor that has been in use since 1962. The reactor has been used for research, teaching, radiotherapy and isotope production. According to VTT's current plans, the intention is to decommission the reactor in 2016. The total duration of the decommissioning and dismantling work is estimated at two to three years.