Nagra starts drilling second deep borehole in Bözberg

Nagra will begin drilling its second deep borehole in the Bözberg community today. The borehole will complete the picture of the underground in the Jura Ost siting region.

Nagra, the National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste, started operations at the second drill site in the Bözberg community today. Assembly of the drilling rig and the technical equipment for the drill site located at Riedacker has been underway since mid-July, and they are now operational. Drilling is expected to last until the end of the year and proceed to a depth of around 800 metres. Drilling of the first deep borehole in the vicinity of Ursprung has been ongoing since late April and will be completed this autumn.

For the Riedacker area, special arrangements had to be made beforehand. “The water supply system has been expanded. This investment, to which Nagra has contributed, will also improve the water supply to houses located in the vicinity”, explains Philipp Senn, Nagra’s Deputy Head Public Outreach. Nagra is taking measures to minimise emissions such as noise, traffic and light. Lorry traffic, for example, will be rerouted around Egenwil via a forest road leading to the drill site.

Nagra is drilling the deep boreholes to investigate the composition, tightness and thickness of the Opalinus Clay rock that will eventually host the deep geological repository. The purpose of the deep boreholes is to complete the overall geological picture of the potential siting regions Jura Ost, Nördlich Lägern and Zürich Nordost. The resulting scientific basis will underpin the selection of the safest site for a repository.

In total, Nagra submitted 23 applications for deep boreholes. 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 23 boreholes. The boreholes in Bülach, Trüllikon and Marthalen have already been completed. The site selection is conducted in accordance with the Sectoral Plan for Deep Geological Repositories and is led by the Federal Government. 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). Every drill site has a visitors’ pavilion and there are special open days for the public.

More information: Patrick Studer, Head 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.