Licensing & Planning

ssm binders

The licensing of the ESS facility follows three main tracks: a license in accordance with the Swedish Radiation Protection Act; a permit in accordance with the Swedish Environmental Code; and a building permit in accordance with the Swedish Planning & Building Act.

The ESS facility design will meet the high standards of safety expected by its users and its personnel, and will meet all regulatory requirements. These standards apply to aspects of safety such as radiation, fire, cryogenics, chemicals, heavy loads, and other hazardous items or situations. The security of the facility will be designed to meet the basic in-house security rules and regulatory requirements as well as the needs of individual users and personnel so that all may work in an open and friendly atmosphere.

The Licensing Process

According to the Swedish Radiation Protection Act, all facilities that generate ionisation radiation must have a license to build, commission and operate. This applies equally across the board from ordinary X-ray machines in hospitals to research laboratories to nuclear facilities. 


The licensing process will be done in a graded approach. Thus, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) will first review the permissibility of having ESS built at the chosen site resulting in a permit to start construction. Later in the process, applications and permissions will be handled for installation, commissioning, and finally for normal operation. The graded approach can be summarised like this:

ESS Application for permit of construction   

SSM reviews the placement of ESS outside of Lund

ESS Application for installation & commissioning

SSM reviews the detailed construction, the inspections start

ESS Application for test operation

SSM reviews ESS as whole, lays down specific requirements for operations

ESS Application for nominal/full operation

SSM gives an Operations license


On March 15, 2012, ESS sent an application to SSM asking for permission to be built. This was an important milestone for the project as a whole. The applicationconsists of the legal application, the Preliminary Safety Analysis Report (PSAR), and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

July 2014: Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) grants ESS conditional approval allowing construction of the research facility to begin

September 15, 2016: ESS and SKB Agreement on Radioactive Waste Disposal

May 4, 2016: ESS Submits New Application to Swedish Radiation Safety Authority SSM

June 30, 2017: European Spallation Source Receives Installation Permit from Swedish Authority SSM

October 19, 2017: Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) approves the Safety Classification submitted by ESS as complementary information to the conditional Installation permit received last June, covering the Accelerator, Klystron and Target buildings. This safety classification framework provides ESS with a set of rules organized in five categories of Systems, Structures and Components:
1. Mechanical
2. Electrical and Instrumentation & Control
3. Civil structure
5. Lifting equipment

June 20, 2018: Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) grants ESS the permit for trial operation of the Accelerator's ion source and calibration sources.

ESS now has the necessary permits from SSM and the Environmental Court to start the commissioning phase. The next step is a Safety Readiness Review (SRR) of the ion source, to be carried out in July 2018.

In accordance with the Swedish Environmental Code, ESS needs to have a formal ruling from the Swedish Environmental Court (EC). ESS has submitted an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as well as a formal application to the EC. This covers issues such as noise, emissions, and other non-radiation environmental impact factors. The application covers both construction and operations. It also includes impacts on the landscape, geology, and water supply, and effects on local communities. 

On March 15, 2012, ESS sent in its formal application to the EC in accordance with the Swedish Environmental Code. The application includes the legal application, a Technical Description, an Environmental Impact Assessment, and a summary of the PSAR.

After two years of preparation and complementary information, the EC held its formal hearing on April 24-25, 2014, in Lund.

The EC approved ESS construction plans in June 2014.

In accordance with the Planning and Building Act, ESS needs a formal building permit from the Lund Municipality.

In order to receive the building permits, the ESS site required a new Detailed Plan (DP) approved by the Council of Lund (the highest political forum in the city). The Planning Office in the Lund Municipality (Stadsbyggnadskontoret) is the organisation that is responsible for developing a DP and also the responsible authority to approve and grant building permits.

In March 2013, the Council of Lund Municipality approved the final version of the Detailed Plan for the ESS site.

Since the ESS infrastructure and buildings will be designed and built in different steps, ESS will use a staged approach for the application of building permits.