According to Norway’s VG newspaper, Norway’s Ministry of Industry has hired a Swedish consultant in order to overall the objections from NOAH, which owns the waste dump on Langøya, and so force it to take radioactive sludge from the Søve mines an hour inland.
“We are reacting very strongly to this,” Stein Lier Hansen, the chief executive of the the industrial trade group NHO, told the newspaper. “It’s simply startling that the ministry is trying to overturn the expert assessments of a private company.”
Sten Arthur Sælør, NOAH’s chairman, said that the government had first approached him about the using he Langøya site last year.
“We made two technical evaluations and both times we concluded that it unfortunately wouldn’t work,” he said.
But Lars Jacob Hiim, a state secretary in the Ministry of Industry, told the newspaper that the Ministry had now hired the state-owned Swedish Defence Research Agency to carry out the assessment.
“It is true that NOAH is wary of storing waste, because of the possibility that the radioactive material might leak into the sea,” he said. “That’s why we put out to tender a project to study whether it is safe to store radioactive waste there.”
The disused limestone quarry on Langøya has since 1993 been used by as landfill for hazardous inorganic waste, and is likely to become full within the next few years, with NOAH planning to move to a new site before 2022.
The radioactive slide at the Søve mines dates back to top-secret nuclear experiments from the immediate post war years.
In 2014, the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA) warned the ministry that a permanent dump needed to be found for the radioactive tailings.
Lier-Hansen pointed out that Finland had already developed nuclear dumping facilities where radioactive waste is disposed of deep in the bedrock.
“Placing radioactive waste in the middle of the Oslo Fjord, which is the fjord for two million Norwegians, is about as far from being smart as it’s possible to go,” he said. “At worst, an earthquake give radioactive leakage.”
The Swedish Defence Research Agency is to deliver its report in Autumn.