Copenhagen (dpa) - The Swedish government has approved plans for a nuclear waste storage site, Environment Minister Annika Strandhäll said on Thursday.
The government will store some 12,000 tons of radioactive waste 500 metres underground in southern Sweden.
The repository relies on three protective barriers, as the waste is to be sealed in copper canisters set in concrete and buried in tunnels in the bedrock.
"Sweden and Finland are the first countries in the world to take responsibility for nuclear waste," Strandhäll said in a statement.
The plans set out by SKB, a company belonging to the Swedish nuclear power industry, meet environmental regulations so the government is permitting the construction of the encapsulation plant and the spent fuel repository, the statement said.
Next, a court will grant the formal approvals. The project may take decades to complete, however, according to local media reports.
The repository is to be built in Forsmark in southern Sweden, near one of Sweden's nuclear power plants.
The plans also foresee the construction of a facility in Oskarshamn, also in southern Sweden, which will make the copper canisters.
Strandhäll said the repository would also protect the Swedish electricity supply and Swedish jobs in the longer term.
## Internet links - [Statement, Swedish government](http://dpaq.de/M72oY) - [SVT report, in Swedish](http://dpaq.de/Cq3sM)