The Finnish parliament has set in motion a series of events that should lead to the creation of a final disposal facility for spent nuclear fuel, the world’s first, at Olkiluoto, Eurojoki. This ratification of an earlier Decision in Principle, and by such a decisive 149 votes to 3 votes margin, indicates that people and parliament strongly support the project, and that it is considered to be in the general social interest. This paves the way for construction of an underground rock characterisation facility at the site. The facility, the responsibility of a dedicated organisation, Posiva, will provide for the study of geohydraulic, geochemical, and mechanical properties of the Olkiluoto bedrock in the great detail needed for a site-specific design, and the testing of disposal technology.

Interestingly, in the light of suspicion that the vote recognised a link between the repository and the building of new nuclear plant in Finland, the decision is only good for spent fuel generated by existing plants.

Initial plans were made in 1983. Construction of the investigation facility will start in 2003, with operation of the disposal facility set for 2020.