* Nuclear waste firm asks for key government licence
* Plans to bury encased spent nuclear fuel for 100,000 years
(Rewrites headline, lead, adds quote, detail)
HELSINKI Dec 28 Finnish Posiva on Friday asked
for government permit to construct a final repository for used
nuclear fuel, planned to be the first site in the world to start
burying capsulated nuclear waste.
Posiva, owned by Finnish utilities Fortum and
Teollisuuden Voima (TVO), plans to bury used nuclear fuel around
400 metres deep in Onkalo bedrock on Olkiluoto island, some 230
km northwest of Helsinki.
The spent nuclear fuel is planned to be buried for at least
100,000 years in encased capsules of copper and cast iron and
surrounded by buffers of bentonite clay, that swells if it gets
in contact with water. The clay will prevent the spread of
radioactive material into the bedrock.
"We believe it will take just short of two years (to process
the application), so that in 2014 we would have the permission
in our hands and in 2015 we could begin the construction,"
Posiva Chief Executive Reijo Sundell told a news conference.
He added the final disposal is now estimated to begin around
Onkalo repository will take waste only from reactors in
Finland, which has four and plans to have seven by around 2020.
Sweden and France also have plans to start storing waste
underground from 2025.
(Reporting by Terhi Kinnunen; writing by Jussi Rosendahl;
editing by James Jukwey)