Future disposal solution for used nuclear fuel

The disposal solution includes three massive program packages for safe disposal

The disposal concept, including methods for the safe implementation of the disposal. The encapsulation and disposal package, comprised of two nuclear waste plants: an aboveground encapsulation plant and a radioactive waste repository in ONKALO®. The radioactive waste repository consists of the actual repository plant and other underground facilities. In addition, the repository includes aboveground ancillary facilities such as ventilation, lifting device, and maintenance buildings.

"The project combines well-known items such as a plant, a production process, and logistics, but the complexity arises from the fact that they have never been combined in this way before. We are devising a system that is capable of operating very slowly compared to any other industrial operation – but still rationally and efficiently," Kari Koskinen, head of unit at Posiva, describes.

Production planning focuses on defining a disposal process for the plant lifetime where the used nuclear fuel is transported to the encapsulation facility to be enclosed in a copper capsule, and then moved to the radioactive waste repository located underground at a depth of over 400 m. Some of the equipment technology solutions developed for the work stages of the disposal process have been unique at a global scale.

Cost predictions require expertise in finance, processes, and calculations

Welado's consultants participate in Posiva's projects to plan the disposal program production, to develop construction methods, to supervise and consult on maintenance of the rock cavern facilities, and to manage the lifting device building project. Koskinen has combined his own professional skills in processes with the special expertise of Welado's industrial construction project manager Ilkka Laitinen and project manager Lari Hannukainen.

"Success depends on individuals, and this has been a very good match in our case. People from Welado have helped enormously in planning the processes for our production facility. Ilkka's background in industrial economics has helped us build a cost-conscious process model, and it has been our guiding principle throughout the process development period. Lari has executed all the strange calculations we have needed to complete the work. When Excel can no longer compute, Lari takes over. Without Lari's expertise in coding and calculation, we would have had to purchase calculation software specifically designed for our purposes. We have worked together to achieve the impossible and succeeded," says Posiva's Kari Koskinen.

According to Koskinen, the cost model calculations and Lari's mathematical coding convention used in the disposal process development are transferable to other industries and investment projects as well.

Industrial construction is a job for experts

Welado's experts are also in charge of project supervision services (procurement, supervision of planning and manufacturing, and testing) for the drilling apparatus of the disposal boreholes. Ilkka Laitinen has been working as an expert in Posiva's project ever since 2014, in production planning and drilling apparatus development for the disposal boreholes.

"Ilkka has helped us with the drill procurement worth millions of euros with some very peculiar criteria. Some of the specifications were still unfinished at the procurement contract stage, and Ilkka has had to specify and interpret requirements and supplier possibilities along the way. Interpretation requires an understanding of the process involved and of the environment which the unique device is being purchased for. Without someone like Ilkka as project manager, the device planning and manufacturing stages would never have flowed so smoothly," says Jarkko Stenfors, head of program at Posiva.

"Our service business is straightforward: Working success is determined by the end result - whether it was accomplished on time and within budget, which make the framework agreed for the job. It's a privilege to get to drive the customer's needs towards the end result, especially in this project where we are looking for a remarkable environmental solution as global pioneers," Ilkka Laitinen describes the assignment.

Welado's mode of operation fosters success

Ilkka Laitinen has been working as Welado's consultant since the beginning of 2020, and about five people from Welado are working in industrial construction development projects assigned to Welado in summer 2021. Posiva's Kari Koskinen makes it clear he is happy with the consultants' efforts.

"During my long career, I have spent tens of millions of euros on consultant work. The level of expertise and attitude I have received from Ilkka and Lauri is truly exceptional. One of Welado's values is empathy, which appears as the consultants' genuine interest and determined effort to engage in the customer's everyday work and goals. Clearly, Welado has enabled an atmosphere where Ilkka and Lari are free to work with the certainty and attitude required for such a unique project. I see the employer's role as a significant factor affecting the results," says Kari Koskinen, head of unit at Posiva.

The experts in the industrial construction team are exceptionally committed and work-oriented people who live and breathe for the project.

"I have the privilege to work together with projectmates who have the highest level of working attitude. Their ability to care about the end result motivates me every day to do my best as well. Pioneering is a permanent goal to run after. It is a driver, a reason to do better every day," Welado's Ilkka Laitinen describes his workdays in Posiva's projects.

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