Disposal - where?

The question where radioactive waste will be disposed of will be answered conclusively in the coming years.

The selection process for sites for deep geological repositories is conducted in accordance with the conceptual part of the Sectoral Plan for Deep Geological Repositories, which was implemented by the Federal Council in April 2008. The process is divided into three stages and is led by the federal authorities (Swiss Federal Office of Energy).

In Stage 1 (2008 – 2011), potential geological siting regions that are suitable for the construction of safe repositories were identified. Stage 2 of the process is currently underway. The objective in this second stage is to concretise the repository projects in the six potential siting regions and to compare the regions with one another. The decisive criterion is safety.

Stage 2 is also focused around the key element of regional participation, which allows representatives from the siting regions to bring their wishes and concerns into the process. Based on the input provided by the regional conferences, Nagra had identified at least one siting area for the surface facility of a potential repository in each of the six siting regions by the end of May 2014.

The safety-based comparison of the geological siting regions in Stage 2 was carried out according to the requirements specified by the Federal Government. Based on the results, Nagra proposes the siting regions Zürich Nordost and Jura Ost for further investigation in Stage 3. Both siting regions are suitable for a high-level waste (HLW) repository and a low- and intermediate-level waste (L/ILW) repository, as well as for a combined repository for the two waste types.

The siting process is expected to end in 2027 with the final decision of the Federal Council and the granting of the general licences for the repositories. The decision of the Federal Council has to be approved by Parliament and is then subject to an optional national referendum.