Research on the safe disposal of radioactive waste

The long-term, safe disposal of radioactive waste relies on intensive research work, much of which is conducted in rock laboratories.

Together with national and international partners, we carry out:

  • Experiments in underground rock laboratories
  • Investigations of comparable natural procedures and conditions, so-called natural analogues
  • Laboratory studies

These activities are conducted independently of the potential repository site.

Large-scale experiment (<a href="/en/experiments" data-type="page:422" data-id="422:en">HotBENT</a>) at the Grimsel Test Site on the safe disposal of radioactive waste. Photo: © Comet Photoshopping GmbH, Dieter Enz’ style=’width:100%’><figcaption></figcaption></figure><h2 class="wp-block-custom-heading">What is investigated in a rock laboratory?</h2><p>An underground rock laboratory allows scientists to carry out experiments directly in the rock under realistic conditions. This also includes experiments on a 1:1 scale. Researchers investigate the rock and its behaviour and analyse how the engineered safety barriers work. They also assess the transport behaviour of toxic substances in the safety barriers and in the rock. All these experiments provide important information for the construction of a deep geological repository and its long-term safety.</p><p>Nagra has its own <a href="/en/grimsel-test-site" data-type="page:424" data-id="424:en">rock laboratory on the Grimsel Pass</a> and is involved in <a href="/en/mont-terri-rock-laboratory" data-type="page:423" data-id="423:en">the Mont Terri Rock Laboratory</a> in Canton Jura, which is led by the Federal Government (swisstopo). In both rock laboratories, Nagra works <a href="/en/collaboration" data-type="page:425" data-id="425:en">with leading international specialists</a>.</p><ul class=
  • Underground rock laboratory experiments contribute to the safety of a future deep geological repository for radioactive waste.

  • Experiment on the barrier system at the Grimsel Test Site. Photo: © Comet Photoshopping, Dieter Enz

    What further insights does Nagra need in order to propose the most suitable siting region for a repository by 2022?

    Cover photo: © Comet Photoshopping, Dieter Enz