Day 36 review:

The Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission continued to investigate Topic 16 – high level waste storage and disposal – today.

Experts from Switzerland and Belgium appeared via video link this afternoon, discussing the safety cases of the proposed Swiss geological disposal facility and the facility at Onkalo, Finland (pictured)

Dr Felix Altorfer, from the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (ENSI) was the first witness. ENSI is the national regulatory body responsible for the nuclear safety and security of Swiss nuclear facilities. Its regulatory remit covers the entire life of a facility, from initial planning through operation to final decommissioning, including the disposal of radioactive waste. Dr Altorfer commenced work with ENSI in 2002, where he has held several roles including Head of the Deep Geological Repositories and Safety Analyses section, and Director of the Waste Management Division.

In 2010 Dr Altorfer became a member of ENSI’s executive board and in 2012 he was nominated Director of the Staff of the Legal Affairs, International Affairs and Communication sections. Dr Altorfer studied physics before obtaining his doctorate at the Laboratory for Neutron Scattering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich in 1994.

The second witness was Mr Timo Äikäs, formerly of Posiva Oy, from Finland. Posiva is a Finnish organisation responsible for the final disposal of spent nuclear fuel from the nuclear reactors operating in that country. Since being employed by Posiva from its establishment in 1995, Mr Äikäs retired in 2014 having held the positions of Executive Vice President and Corporate Advisor. He holds tertiary qualifications in engineering geology and has worked in various aspects of geological disposal of spent nuclear fuel for almost three decades, including site selection and the design and development of the underground rock characterisation facility, disposal facility and canisters to encapsulate spent fuel. Mr Äikäs continues to provide consulting services to a range of clients.

Video and transcripts of each session will be uploaded into the Public Sessions page in the Information Library.