Technical Report NTB 93-41

Stripa Project 1980 – 1992Overview Volume IExecutive Summary

The International Stripa Project was a cooperative research and development project among several member countries of the Nuclear Energy Agency of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The project, which started in 1980 and ended in 1992, was conducted under the auspices of the Nuclear Energy Agency. The project was managed by the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (SKB) under the direction of a Joint Technical Committee (JTC) composed of representatives from participating countries.

The scientific and technical objectives of the project were to investigate several aspects of technology concerned with the feasibility and safety of disposal of long-lived, heat-generating radioactive waste at depth in granitic rocks. In particular, the Stripa Project addressed:

  • the development of instruments and procedures to characterize candidate repository sites;
  • the understanding and modelling of groundwater flow and solute transport in fractured crystalline rock; and
  • the design of engineered barriers capable of contributing to waste isolation by restricting groundwater flow in proximity to the waste con­tainers and in the surrounding host rock.

Because the activities and the results of the Stripa Project have been reported in more than 170 technical reports, the JTC has decided that the final action of the project should be the publication of an overview report that would convey, in relatively concise form, the body of information produced by the project.

The overview report has been subdivided into three volumes:

I. Executive Summary

II. Natural Barriers

III. Engineered Barriers

The Executive Summary summarizes the contents of the other two volumes with the addition of some general considerations about the Stripa Project. The authors of the Executive Summary are the five members of the Overview Reporting Group, that was established by the JTC for the purpose of producing the overview report. The Overview Reporting Group consisted of the two authors of volumes II and III, Paul Gnirk and Malcolm Gray, respectively, and two outside reviewers, Charles Fairhurst and Ferruccio Gera. The Project manager, Bengt Stillborg, acted as coordinator.


The purpose of this executive summary is to summarize the activities and findings of the Stripa Project and, in so doing, highlight its principal achievements in developing and enhancing the technical knowledge that can be used by the member countries for the siting and development of geologic repositories. A significant portion of this executive summary is based on the contents of Volumes II and III of the overview, dealing with the natural barriers, and the engineered barriers, respectively. Information derived from the executive summaries of Phases 1 and 2, the annual reports, and the annual meetings of the Joint Technical Committee has also been used.

The brief history of the Stripa Project is given in Chapter 2. This includes reference to the previous Swedish-American Cooperative programme and the series of organizational meetings that led to the formal establishment of the project. Additionally, the principal objectives of the project and the three phases are cited, along with identification of participating countries in each phase. Chapter 3 summarizes the managerial and financial aspects of the project over its thirteen years of existence. Chapters 4 and 5 present summaries of the principal activities and achievements of the investigations dealing with the natural barriers and the engineered barriers, respectively.

Chapter 6 is a compilation of "lessons learned" over the course of the Stripa Project. These lessons are presented from a technical point of view as well as from an organizational or institutional viewpoint. Chapter 7 highlights, from a rather broad perspective, the conclusions that can be drawn from the technical activities of the project. In addition, some thoughts are presented concerning the focus of future research. Finally, the two Appendices comprise the complete list of acronyms used in the text and a series of definitions, respectively.