Clay Conference 2017 in Davos, Switzerland: The countdown has begun

In five days, more than 400 scientists will come together in Davos for the International Clay Conference

On Sunday 24th September, more than 400 scientists from 23 countries will arrive in Davos for the International Clay Conference. From Monday to Wednesday, a programme with 132 presentations, 235 scientific posters and numerous networking sessions will provide them with the opportunity to exchange the most up-to-date information on clays and clay materials in the disposal of radioactive waste. This will be the first time that the Clay Conference has been held in Switzerland.

The final preparations are in full swing: floral decorations have been ordered, the wine has been selected for the first social event (ice-breaker), the presentations are receiving a final polish and the posters are being printed. Everything is running according to plan. „We currently have around 400 participants, but registrations are still coming in”, says Dr. Anne Claudel, Section Head Information Management at Nagra and Conference Event Coordinator. The largest delegation is expected to come from France, with even more participants than from Switzerland. This is possibly due to the fact that the Clay Conference was originally established on the initiative of the French waste management organisation ANDRA.

The focus of the Clay Conference is on the disposal of radioactive waste in argillaceous rocks. Clay can either be selected as a host rock for a deep geological repository and thus serve as a natural safety barrier or clay materials can be used as engineered barriers for backfilling disposal drifts and for sealing the underground access structures.

International exchange has a long tradition in the field of nuclear waste management and collaboration in scientific research goes beyond national and continental borders. This is evidenced by the fact that scientists from 23 countries will attend the Conference. Participants from Japan and China have the longest journey, but scientists will also travel to Davos from the USA, Canada and Mexico.

An app has also been developed for the Conference attendees. No need to miss presentations that are of interest, know who they can meet when and where, make sure that social events are noted – the app keeps everyone up to date. People are most receptive to information when their external environment is conducive to this. Anne Claudel summarises the final preparations for the event as follows: „We want to ensure that the Conference participants feel comfortable in their surroundings”.

The Clay Conference 2017 is organised by Nagra in cooperation with ANDRA (France), COVRA (The Netherlands), KORAD (South Korea), NUMO (Japan), NWMO (Canada), ONDRAF/NIRAS (Belgium), POSIVA (Finland), PURAM (Hungary), RWM (United Kingdom), SKB (Sweden), SURAO (Czech Republic) and swisstopo (Switzerland).

A press conference will take place on September 25th at the Clay Conference. After the press conference another news will be published here.

Picture: Clay Conference Brussels 2015 – ONDRAF/NIRAS