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400 Meters Under the Ground: African Experts Complete their Study Visit to Finland Within the Project MC 5.01 15B

During the last days of their week-long Study Visit to Finnish Nuclear Safety and Security Institutions members of the SADC Nuclear Regulators Network and the Steering Committee of Project MC5.01/15B held a meeting at South-Savo Rescue Department in Mikkele. Mr. Jyry Silmari, Rescue Chief of the Fire Command, presented the administration and the organizational chart of the Rescue Services and the Eastern Finland Situation Awareness Center (EFSAC), with its pro-active operating model, dynamic situation awareness resources and capabilities. He asserted that ‘the critical part of the situation awareness is the ability to understand how much time is available for reaction’. New techniques that would save lives during a CBRN incident were put to test during the Simulation exercise TOXI-triage in Mikkele. Advanced technologies allowed to shorten from 10 minutes to 40 seconds the time needed for the analysis of the state of contaminated victims. Finland participates in a series of European exercises and Helsinki hosts the EU Center on Hybrid Threats.

The Study visit is one of the most important activities under the implementation plan of the EU-funded Project MC 5.01/15B Support to Southern African States in Nuclear Safety and Safeguards. It is organized by ISTC in cooperation with Environics Ltd., the CBRN Suomi Association, and Societal Security Solutions Ltd., Finland

On 6 June 2019 the African experts travelled to Eurajoki site: TVO Nuclear Power Plant and Nuclear Waste Facilities. Mr. Mikael Solala, Reactor Physicist, presented the activities of the company Teollisuuden Voima OYJ (TVO) which oversees Finland’s biggest NPP. TVO provides almost a quarter of the Finnish net electricity acquisition. The applicable safety plans for transport of nuclear fuel came under scrutiny as well as the safeguards and social responsibility standards.  

In his turn, Mr. Yuri Kilimatainen presented the topics of waste handling and final disposal.The participants visited the underground rock characterisation facility ONKALO. Its disposal depth is 420 m combine length of tunnels and shafts -approximately 9 kilometres, and its two silos have a volume 30 000 cubic meters each. The facility has a modern equipment, including new decanter, separator, scrap monitor and scrap shredder named ‘Tyrannosaurus’. The company Posiva Oy with 88 employees is in charge of the final disposal of nuclear fuel and other tasks requiring expertise in the field of nuclear waste management.

The visit illustrates that the European Union offers its best practices to its African partners. Finland has a most impressive record in Europe in terms of proven expertise in nuclear safety and of impeccable normative and institutional framework for use of nuclear energy.

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