Deep boreholes provide direct insight into the underground geological environment and its structure. Since 2019, Nagra has been drilling deep boreholes for the detailed investigation of the rock formations in the potential repository siting regions for a deep geological repository, Jura Ost, Nördlich Lägern and Zürich Nordost.
Radioactive waste must be safely disposed of for up to one million years until it no longer poses a hazard. Is it even possible to find a safe solution for such an enormously long time? Nagra’s researchers believe that, yes, this can indeed be done. They rely on geology and on the fact that deep beneath the earth’s surface, time practically stands still.
Switzerland has a manageable amount of radioactive waste. The already existing volume together with the expected future volume could fill two thirds of the historic part of the Zürich train station terminal.
The search for the most suitable site for a deep geological repository is regulated in the Federal Government’s Sectoral Plan process. Based on this, Nagra will develop a siting proposal by 2022.
Deep geological disposal is an internationally recognised waste management solution. Some countries are already successfully operating low- and intermediate-level waste repositories, and Finland is constructing the first high-level waste repository, which will be ready in the next few years.