Nagra is now drilling in Bözberg

Nagra is now drilling a deep borehole in Bözberg. A second borehole will start in Bözberg this summer. The boreholes will help select the safest site for a deep geological repository in Switzerland.

The National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste, Nagra, has started drilling the Bözberg 1 deep borehole. This is the fourth of a series of boreholes in the potential siting regions Jura Ost, Nördlich Lägern and Zürich Nordost. The boreholes will complete the overall geological picture in the regions. The resulting scientific basis will underpin the selection of the safest site for a repository. The lead in the site selection lies with the Federal Government.

The investigations conducted by Nagra in the deep boreholes will include studies of the thickness, permeability and composition of the Opalinus Clay host rock in which the repository will eventually be constructed. In the Jura Ost siting region, a second deep borehole is planned at the Bözberg 2 site. Construction of the drill site began in early April, and drilling is expected to start this summer.

The drilling work will last six to nine months and, for technical reasons, is conducted around the clock. Nagra has set up a hotline for questions and concerns of local residents and other interested persons. It is free and operates 24/7 (0800 437 333).

Conducting dialogue with the local population is very important to Nagra, which is why every drill site has an information centre. Nagra also offers guided tours of the drill sites and open days for the public. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is not possible to hold these events at present; the information centre and the observation deck are currently closed. Until this extraordinary situation has passed, Nagra provides information via media and its website and answers questions arriving via email and on its hotline ( or 0800 437 333).

Nagra has submitted a total of 23 permit applications for deep boreholes in the Jura Ost, Nördlich Lägern and Zürich Nordost siting regions, but has since withdrawn two of them. To date, 17 legally valid permits have been granted. How many boreholes will actually have to be drilled in order to complete the overall geological picture depends on the results of ongoing work, but it is not planned to drill all the boreholes.

More information: Patrick Studer, Head of Nagra’s Media Office: 076 579 36 50.

According to Swiss nuclear energy legislation, the producers of radioactive waste are responsible for its safe management and disposal. In 1972, the Federal Government and the nuclear power plant operators set up the National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste (Nagra) to perform this task. Nagra, which has its headquarters in Wettingen (AG), is the national technical competence centre in the field of deep geological disposal of radioactive waste.

Out of a strong sense of responsibility for the long-term protection of man and the environment, 130 employees are involved daily in performing this important work. The high level of competence is secured by targeted research programmes in two Swiss underground rock laboratories and intensive international collaboration.