Concrete plug in place: the film shows what is going on behind it

The concrete is still wet – workers have now sealed up the 1:1 FE Experiment at the Mont Terri Rock Laboratory

The Full-Scale Emplacement Experiment, or the FE Experiment in short, has now entered the actual monitoring phase and a glimpse of what is happening behind the concrete plug will now be impossible for years, or even decades. The engineers had already started heating the rearmost container while the granular bentonite mixture was still being filled in around the front container. The scientists gradually brought all the systems in the dummy containers up to speed and the first measurements from the several hundred sensors installed on and around the containers are now being analysed on computers at the head office in Wettingen. The aim is to determine how temperatures, humidity, pressure, deformations, gas composition, permeability, etc. will evolve in the granular bentonite mixture and the surrounding rock in the coming years.

«Experiments like this are very important as they allow computer simulations to be compared with real data; the results obtained are then used at a later stage to make calculations for the geological repository», explains Herwig Müller, Nagra’s FE Experiment project manager. The experiment also allowed Nagra to gain practical experience with the waste emplacement technologies to be used in the repositories in the future. The FE Experiment is an international partner project and is supported financially by the EU.
Nagra has filmed the work on the FE Experiment from the preparatory phase up to the backfilling of the dummy containers.