Svensk Ka¨rnbra¨nslehantering AB (SKB) has performed comprehensive investigations of two candidate sites for a final repository for Sweden’s spent nuclear fuel. In March 2011 SKB decided to submit licence applications for a final repository at Forsmark. Before selection, SKB stated that the site that offers the best prospects for achieving long-term safety in practice would be selected. Based on experiences previous safety assessments, a number of issues related to long-term safety need to be considered in the context of site comparison. The factors include sensitivity to climate change such as periods of permafrost and glaciations, rock mechanics evolution including the potential for thermally induced spalling and sensitivity to potential future earthquakes, current and future groundwater flow, evolution of groundwater composition and proximity to mineral resources. Each of these factors related to long-term safety for the two candidate sites is assessed in a comparative analysis of site characteristics. The assessment also considers differences in biosphere conditions and in the confidence of the site descriptions. The comparison is concluded by an assessment on how the identified differences would affect the estimated radiological risk from a repository located at either of the sites. The assessment concludes that there are a number of safety related site characteristics for which the analyses do not show any decisive differences in terms of implications on safety, between the sites Forsmark and Laxemar. However, the frequency of water conducting fractures at repository depth is much smaller at Forsmark than at Laxemar. This difference, in turn, affects the future stability of the current favourable groundwater composition, which combined with the much higher flows at Laxemar would, for the current repository design, lead to a breach in the safety functions for the buffer and the canister for many more deposition positions at Laxemar than at Forsmark. Thereby the calculated risk for Forsmark will be considerably lower than that for Laxemar. What decided the choice is that Forsmark is thus mainly that it was judged to offer better prospects for achieving long-term safety in the final repository. Other factors considered included implications regarding repository construction and operation, difference in the footprint of the repository, comparisons regarding environment and health as well as social resources and local support.

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