Olkiluoto and its surrounding area is the site for a versatile environmental research program that focuses, among others, on the fauna, flora and water system of the area.
The aim of the environmental research is to record as extensively as possible the current state of the surface environment and, at the same time, to produce material that can assist in predicting the development of the environment over a period spanning thousands of years. Environmental research is conducted in cooperation with Posiva’s other areas of research. This means that invaluable data produced by other studies, such as rock and soil studies, supports the environmental research, and the environmental research assists in interpreting the findings from other lines of research.
A Research Programme Monitors the Current State of Olkiluoto Environment and the Consequences of ONKALO Construction
Research data on the Olkiluoto area has been collected over a period of several decades in connection with, for instance, environmental monitoring projects by TVO. Posiva’s own research work began already in the late 1990s, but the intensive research programme was started in earnest in the early 2000s, when extensive observation networks were established in Olkiluoto.
The purpose of the research programme is to monitor the current state of the Olkiluoto environment and the consequences brought about by the construction of ONKALO.
Topics to be followed include, among others
- the state of the forests
- the fauna in the area
- the quality of surface and sea water.
Monitoring also makes use of the observations made by TVO concerning, for instance, the noise caused by human activities. In addition to assisting in monitoring the current state of the environment, the observations also help to understand the impacts that the processes in the surface environment can have on the soil, the bedrock and the groundwater.
Environmental Research Produces Data to Support Future Forecasting
In addition to assisting in monitoring the state of the environment, environmental research also produces essential data for estimating how the Olkiluoto area will look in the distant future, when land uplift has turned the coastal island into mainland. Models thus constructed can be put into use in the context of the risk assessment for the final disposal.
Forecasts of the future are supported by research data, collected by such means as scanning the current seabed which someday will turn into ground, and by inspecting comparison points farther inland which, thousands of years ago, may have been islands exactly like Olkiluoto is now. The collected data will be used as basic data in computer models that are used for estimations of the future landscape and of the settling of human activity in the nearby area.