Nagra successfully completes deep borehole campaign

After three years, Nagra has successfully concluded its deep borehole campaign. The picture of the underground is now complete. The project of the century – deep geological disposal – is thus about to reach an important milestone: the siting proposal. In Windisch, Nagra CEO Matthias Braun presented the results of the investigations for the first time. The exhibit includes over 400 metres of drill cores.

Nagra, the National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste, has drilled eight boreholes over the last three years. A final, ninth borehole is nearing completion. Nagra has thus carried out extensive investigations in the three potential siting regions Jura Ost, Nördlich Lägern and Zürich Nordost. The deep geological repository for Switzerland’s radioactive waste will be constructed in one of these regions. “The boreholes have confirmed that all three regions are suitable for a deep geological repository,” says Nagra CEO Matthias Braun. Nagra now has the task of deciding which one is best suited for the repository.

According to Braun, the deep borehole campaign progressed well. Good rock samples, so-called drill cores, were recovered and brought to the surface from all the boreholes. The numerous measurements in the boreholes also delivered good results. Thanks to all this, the picture of the underground is now complete. “What I am grateful for is that we were able to successfully complete the boreholes despite the coronavirus and despite minor technical difficulties while drilling,” says Braun. “I am particularly glad that drilling proceeded without any accidents.”

This historic deep geological disposal project is now at an exciting stage. Nagra is in the process of slowly transitioning from the research phase to the licensing and implementation phase. “The database we have developed in recent years is very solid. We will be ready to announce our siting proposal this autumn,” Braun states with confidence. The lead in the site selection process lies with the Federal Government, but the Federal Council and the Swiss Parliament will have the final say – or, if the decision is put to a national referendum, the Swiss voters themselves.

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

9 boreholes in total, the final one close to completion.

Over 10,000 metres drilled.

Over 6000 metres of drill cores recovered.

Over 4000 samples taken.

More than 3500 visitors welcomed to the drill sites.

Cost of the deep borehole campaign: CHF 170 million.

Costs of all underground investigations in Northern Switzerland since early 2019: CHF 240 million.

Open day at the exhibition in Windisch: Saturday, 26th March and 9th April, 10:00 to 17:00.

Ein Bohrkern wird im Kernlager untersucht

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