Glossar

 

Nagra from 1972 - 1980

Founding of Nagra (National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste) by all Swiss producers of radioactive waste on 4th December 1972.

1972

Nagra joins the «Consortium for Underground Storage», together with the Petroleum Association, Swissgas and United Swiss Saltworks. The purpose of the Consortium was to conduct research on suitable underground formations for the storage of gaseous and liquid hydrocarbons and radioactive waste. 

The current members of the Nagra cooperative are:

  • Swiss Confederation, Bern 
  • BKW FMB Energie AG, Bern 
  • Kernkraftwerk Gösgen-Däniken AG, Däniken (Gösgen NPP) 
  • Kernkraftwerk Leibstadt AG, Leibstadt (Leibstadt NPP) 
  • Axpo AG, Baden 
  • Alpiq AG, Olten
  • Zwilag Zwischenlager Würenlingen AG, Würenlingen.

 

1977

Opening of the Baden office under the management of Hans Issler.

Conclusion of a collaboration agreement with the Federal Institute for Reactor Research (EIR) in Würenlingen (predecessor of PSI, the Paul Scherrer Institute).

1978

Publication by Nagra and the electricity industry of the landmark report on the nuclear waste management concept for Switzerland. The report presents the concept and plans for disposal of all categories of waste in Switzerland in geological formations.

1979

The Federal Government Ruling on the Atomic Act (1959) comes into force. The Ruling provides that (1) the producers of radioactive waste are responsible for its safe management and disposal and (2) a general licence for nuclear power plants will be granted only when the permanent safe disposal of radioactive waste arising from the plants has been assured and the dismantling of facilities has been regulated.

Enactment of an ordinance on preparatory measures, which makes geophysical investigations, exploratory boreholes and excavation of test tunnels and caverns for investigating potential sites for radioactive waste disposal subject to a federal licence.

Submission of an application for preparatory measures for the Grimsel Test Site (underground rock laboratory).

Publication of the first edition of the information brochure «Nagra bulletin».

1980

Initiation of a regional geological investigation programme in Northern Switzerland (regional seismic campaigns, hydrogeological investigations, tectonic analyses, deep boreholes) in the search for a site for a high-level waste (HLW) repository.

1972 to 1980

Implementation of a geological research programme, including investigations of anhydrite as a potential repository host rock formation in Bex (Canton Vaud) and Airolo (Canton Ticino), together with the members of the Consortium for Underground Storage.

Nagra from 1981 - 1990

1981

The first geophysical investigations are carried out in Northern Switzerland.

1982

Licensing of eleven deep boreholes.

Drilling of the first borehole in Böttstein (Canton Aargau) starts on 11th October 1982.

Bohrung Böttstein

The 44 metre high derrick at the Böttstein drillsite. Image: Nagra


Second phase of geophysical investigations in Northern Switzerland. Selection of twenty potential siting areas for low- and intermediate-level waste (L/ILW). Number of Nagra employees: 17.

1982 onward

Intensive drilling activities at the following sites:

  • 1982/83 - Böttstein (Canton Aargau)
  • 1982/83 - Weiach (Canton Zürich)
  • 1983/84 - Riniken (Canton Aargau)  
  • 1983/84 - Schafisheim (Canton Aargau)
  • 1983/84 - Kaisten (Canton Aargau)
  • 1983/84 - Leuggern (Canton Aargau)
  • 1988/89 - Siblingen (Canton Schaffhausen)

1983

Seismic campaign in Northern Switzerland. Interim report on the nuclear waste management concept in Switzerland. Submission of applications for exploration permits for the sites Oberbauenstock, Bois de la Glaive and Piz Pian Grand as part of the disposal programme for low- and intermediate-level waste. Start of construction of the Grimsel Test Site (crystalline rock). Discovery of the Permo-Carboniferous Trough in the Weiach and Riniken boreholes.

1984

Start of operation of the Grimsel Test Site with international participation. The investigation programmes provide input for both the L/ILW and HLW programmes.

1985

Submission of Project Gewähr study to the federal authorities. The aim of the project is to demonstrate the safety and feasibility of disposal of all categories of radioactive waste in Switzerland. The safety authorities and technical experts begin their evaluation of Project "Gewähr".

Rudolf Rometsch und Hans Issler

Nagra President Dr. Rudolf Rometsch (left) and CEO Hans Issler (right) beside a 
model of a steel disposal container during a press conference held to present Project Gewähr to the media. Image: Nagra

 

1985 onward

Start of site investigations for low- and intermediate-level waste:

  • Oberbauenstock (Canton Uri)
  • Marl, 1985-87; Piz Pian Grand (Canton Graubünden
  • Crystalline, 1985-87; Bois de la Glaive (Canton Vaud)
  • Anhydrite, 1985-1993; Wellenberg (Canton Nidwalden
  • Marl, 1987-1993

1987

Submission of an application for an exploration permit for the Wellenberg site.

On 17th June 1987, Nagra submitted an application for a permit to explore the Wellenberg site in the community of Wolfenschiessen in Canton Nidwalden.

Wellenberg

Wellenberg. Image: Comet

1988

Recognition by the Federal Government of the feasibility and safety of disposing of both low- and intermediate-level waste and high-level waste.

The siting demonstration for high-level waste remained open. Expansion of geological investigations in the high-level waste programme to cover sedimentary formations as well as the crystalline basement. Evaluation of the sediment study by the safety authorities and technical experts. Start of activities at the Siblingen borehole after an 8-year licensing procedure.

1989

Completion of the Siblingen borehole.

1990

Start of investigations at Wellenberg. The cantonal assembly of Nidwalden approves three initiatives on the right of disposal over the deep underground environment.

Nagra from 1991 - 2000

1991

Supplementary regional seismic measurements (1991 to 1992) in Northern Switzerland (Cantons Aargau, Zürich, Thurgau, Schaffhausen) for investigating sedimentary formations.

Nagra's offices move from Baden to Wettingen. The number of employees is now 80. A store for drillcores is set up in Würenlingen.

Geschäftsstelle Wettingen

Image: Nagra

1992

Updating of the nuclear waste management concept and implementation plan.

Boreholes at Wellenberg and Bois de la Glaive.

1993

Completion of site investigations for low- and intermediate-level waste disposal, comparative assessment of results for the four sites (Oberbauenstock, Piz Pian Grand, Bois de la Glaive and Wellenberg); proposal of the Wellenberg site (Canton Nidwalden).

The Federal Court declares the changes in the law in Canton Nidwalden (right of disposal over the deep underground environment) to be valid. Evaluation of the regional investigations conducted in Northern Switzerland in connection with the feasibility demonstration for high-level waste. Narrowing down of potential areas in Northern Switzerland to the crystalline basement of northern Aargau and the Opalinus Clay of the Zürcher Weinland.

1994

Founding of the Cooperative for Nuclear Waste Management Wellenberg (GNW).

The community of Wolfenschiessen (Wellenberg, Canton Nidwalden)) approves an agreement with GNW on compensation measures and participation of the local community in the GNW Cooperative. Submission of a general licence application for Wellenberg.

The Cooperative for Nuclear Waste Management Wellenberg (GNW) was established on 17th June 1994.

Genossenschaft für nukleare Entsorgung Wellenberg

Image: GNW

Submission of exploration permit applications for supplementary investigations of the Opalinus Clay in the Zürcher Weinland (Benken) and the crystalline basement in Canton Aargau (Leuggern/Böttstein).

1995

Completion of the surface-based investigations at Wellenberg. The concession application (for use of the underground) for Wellenberg is refused in a cantonal vote.

1996

Expansion of the Grimsel Test Site with a new tunnel for the FEBEX (full-scale engineered barriers for HLW) project.

Start of field investigations for a rock laboratory in Opalinus Clay in Canton Jura (Mont Terri) with international participation. The Federal Council grants a licence for the Benken borehole. Seismic campaign in northern Aargau (Mettau valley).

1997

Suspension of the general licence procedure for Wellenberg by the Federal Council. Establishment of technical and economic working groups under the lead of a federal/cantonal steering committee.

Infilling of the deep boreholes at Schafisheim, Riniken and Siblingen. Extensive three-dimensional seismic measurements in the Zürcher Weinland. Start of investigation phase V at the Grimsel Test Site (1997-2002) with international participation. Excavation of a new tunnel with a silo. Excavation of a new tunnel in the Mont Terri Rock Laboratory. Reorganisation of Nagra with creation of four divisions (repository projects, radioactive materials, science and technology and international services and projects). Start of commercial consulting services for third parties.

1998

Final report of the Wellenberg technical and economic working groups established by the Department for the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC).

Suspension of the application for an exploration permit for Leuggern/Böttstein. Start of the Benken borehole.

1999

Completion of the Benken borehole.

Expansion of commercial consulting services for third parties.

2000

Publication of the final report of the Expert Group on Disposal Concepts for Radioactive Waste (EKRA).

Approval of the ordinance creating the waste management fund. The fund covers the costs of disposing of operational waste and spent fuel after the end of operation of the nuclear power plants. Infilling of the Böttstein, Leuggern, Kaisten and Weiach boreholes.

Nagra from 2001 - 2010

2001

The IAEA's Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management comes into force.

Publication of the investigation results for the Benken borehole and the 3D seismic campaign in the Zürcher Weinland. Participation in the Fifth Framework Research Programme of the European Union.

2002

Acquisition and operation of a storage depot in Mellingen.

In a referendum on 22nd September, the people of Canton Nidwalden reject the concession for excavation of an exploratory drift at Wellenberg that had been granted previously by the cantonal government. Submission of the Entsorungsnachweis feasibility study (project Opalinus Clay) for SF/HLW/ILW to the Federal Council.

2003

The anti-nuclear two initiatives «Energy without Nuclear» and «Moratorium Plus» are rejected in a national referendum.

The National Council and the Council of States, which together constitute the Swiss Parliament, pass a new Nuclear Energy Act. Start of Phase VI (2003-2013) of investigations at the Grimsel Test Site. Liquidation of the Cooperative for Nuclear Waste Management Wellenberg (GNW). Reorganisation of Nagra with an Executive Board and extended Management Team.

2004

HSK publishes its expert opinion on the crystalline option for HLW disposal.

OECD/NEA experts deliver a positive review of the safety assessment report of the Entsorgungsnachweis project. The Grimsel Test Site celebrates 20 years of research. Completion of the PEGASOS seismic hazard assessment study for the nuclear power plant sites.

2005

The new Nuclear Energy Act and its Ordinance enter into force.

Nagra is certified on 14th June according to ISO Norm 9001:2000. An advisory group is set up by DETEC to prepare the strategic part of the sectoral plan for deep geological repositories. The Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (HSK) and the Commission for Nuclear Waste Management (KNE) publish their reviews of the Entsorgungsnachweis project. The three-month period for open consultation attracts 3800 responses. Publication of a study commissioned by the Forum Opalinus on the socio-economic impact of a repository located in the Zürcher Weinland. Submission of a report outlining the options for siting a HLW repository.

2006

The Federal Council approves the Entsorgungsnachweis project for HLW on 28th June.

The Mont Terri Rock Laboratory celebrates 10 years of research. The Federal Council takes note of the socio-economic study commissioned by the Federal Office of Energy on the socio-economic impacts of waste management facilities. Updating of the cost estimates for deep geological repositories. Broadly based participation process as part of the sectoral plan for deep geological repositories.

The approval of the Entsorgungsnachweis project marked the end of many years of intensive work which is documented in numerous technical reports. Image: Comet


The approval of the Entsorgungsnachweis project marked the end of many years of intensive work which is documented in numerous technical reports. Image: Comet

2007

Dr. Thomas Ernst takes over as Chief Executive Officer of Nagra.

Nagra participates in boreholes being drilled by third parties with a view to improving the existing database.

2008

The Federal Council approves the conceptual part of the Sectoral Plan for Deep Geological Repositories on 2nd April. Stage 1 of the site selection process begins.

On 6th November, the Federal Office of Energy announces Nagra's proposals for suitable siting regions. For a L/ILW repository: Südranden, Zürich Nordost (Zürcher Weinland), North of Lägern, Jura Ost (Bözberg), Jura-Südfuss and Wellenberg. For a HLW repository: Zürich Nordost (Zürcher Weinland), North of Lägern and Jura Ost (Bözberg). Nagra publishes the waste management programme required by law as NTB 08-01. Pankraz Freitag is elected as the new President of the Board of Directors. He replaces Hans Issler who stepped down after reaching retirement age.   

2009

The Grimsel Test Site celebrates its 25-year anniversary.

Nagra publishes its RD&D Plan (Research, Development and Demonstration Plan, NTB 09-06). The report sets out the planned scientific and technical activities up to the time of implementation of the geological repositories.

2010

The Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate ENSI (previously HSK) and the Federal Commission for Nuclear Safety KNS publish their reviews of Nagra's siting proposals.

From the viewpoint of safety and engineering feasibility, all the proposals are approved. The documents for stage 1 of the Sectoral Plan process are opened to the public.

Nagra since 2011

2011

Start of the seismic campaign in the regions Jura Ost and North of Lägern.

These investigations will improve the understanding of the underground geological environment and will provide input for the provisional safety analyses to be carried out in Stage 2 of the Sectoral Plan process.The Federal Council reaches its decision on the result of Stage 1: it approves the siting regions proposed by Nagra and incorporates them definitively into the Sectoral Plan.

2012

Nagra announces its proposals for potential siting areas for locating the repository surface facilities at a media conference held by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) in January. These proposals serve as the basis for discussions within the framework of regional participation.

The 2011/2012 seismic campaign is completed in March in Neuhausen in the Südranden siting region. Seismic profiles were also recorded in the siting regions Nördlich Lägern, Jura Ost and Jura-Südfuss.

In April, Nagra opens its interactive TIME RIDE exhibition in Zürich railway station. 

Zwischenlager Würenlingen AG (ZWILAG interim storage facility) becomes a member of the Nagra cooperative in June.

In October, an article appears in the SonntagsZeitung newspaper suggesting that the decision on the narrowing-down of potential repository sites had already been made by Nagra. In response, Nagra verifies that no prior decision on repository sites has been made. Investigations carried out in December by the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC) support this statement and confirm that the Sectoral Plan process is being implemented correctly.

2013

During the year, Nagra draws up a code of conduct with the active participation of all its employees.

In August, the Federal Council formally approves the waste management programme for radioactive waste submitted by Nagra in 2008.

Pankraz Freitag, Member of the Council of States and President of Nagra’s Board of Directors, passes away unexpectedly at the beginning of October. 

Working together with the regional conferences, by the end of the year Nagra had identified a siting area for the surface facility in each of the siting regions Jura Ost, Jura-Südfuss, Südranden and Wellenberg and completed the associated planning studies. 

2014

In April, the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) announces the revised time plan for the Sectoral Plan for Deep Geological Repositories extending from site selection to start of operation of the repositories.

Following close collaboration with the regional conferences in the respective siting regions, Nagra designates two siting areas for a surface facility in each of the siting regions Zürich Nordost and Nördlich Lägern and presents the associated planning studies in May.

Corina Eichenberger, Member of the National Council, is elected as the new President of Nagra’s Board of Directors in June.

The Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (ENSI) confirms at the end of August that Nagra has a sufficient geological understanding of the siting regions to fulfil the 41 requirements formulated by ENSI in Stage 1 of the Sectoral Plan process and can therefore proceed with the safety-based comparison of the siting regions.

2015

Nagra’s siting proposals are announced at a media conference hosted by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE): The siting regions Zürich Nordost and Jura Ost will be investigated further in Stage 3 of the Sectoral Plan process. The regions Südranden, Nördlich Lägern, Jura-Südfuss and Wellenberg are placed in reserve. The proposals are the result of the safety-based comparison of the siting regions carried out by Nagra according to the requirements specified by the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (ENSI).

The «Full-Scale Emplacement Experiment» in the Mont Terri Rock Laboratory is sealed. The aim is to investigate the effects of heat on the bentonite backfill material and the surrounding Opalinus Clay.

18 years after the start of the «Full-Scale Engineered Barriers Experiment (FEBEX)», the last test container is excavated by scientists at Nagra’s Grimsel Test Site. FEBEX was a 1:1-scale demonstration experiment on emplacement of high-level waste.

At a media conference held on 9th September by the SFOE, ENSI explains that Nagra is required to submit additional technical documentation supporting its siting proposals for Stage 3 of the Sectoral Plan for Deep Geological Repositories.

Seismic measurements in the potential siting region Jura Ost begin in early October in the Mandach-Villigen area.

Following an initial review of the documentation submitted in support of the siting proposals, the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (ENSI) requested Nagra to provide additional information relating to the indicator „Depth with respect to engineering feasibility“. The request was announced on 9th September and ENSI provided further details in November 2015.

Nagra starts planning an exploration concept for the Nördlich Lägern siting region from November 2015.

2016

3D seismic measurements are carried out in the potential siting region Zürich Nordost in February.

Nagra’s Executive Board is expanded to include three new members: Maurus Alig as Coordinator Major Project Sectoral Plan Stage 3 / General Licences, Patrick Senn as Division Head Planning & Construction of Deep Geological Repositories and Dr. Tim Vietor as Division Head Safety, Geology & Radioactive Materials.

In April, Nagra is certified as an organisation that takes positive measures towards reconciling career and family / private life and ensuring the equal treatment of men and women.

As part of the site selection process for deep geological repositories, Nagra submits additional documentation on the indicator 'depth with respect to engineering feasibility’ in August. The information was requested by ENSI in September 2015 and specified in more detail in November of the same year.

At the end of September, Nagra submits permit applications for eight exploratory boreholes in each of the siting regions Zürich Nordost and Jura Ost to the Swiss Federal Office of Energy.

3D seismic measurements begin in the Nördlich Lägern siting region on 24th October.

In November, Nagra publishes a technical report on the shaft head facilities of a deep geological repository.

2D seismic measurements to investigate the Quaternary deposits in and around the Zürich Nordost siting region begin in November.

Nagra submits the 2016 Waste Management Programme to the Swiss Federal Office of Energy in December, together with the Research, Development and Demonstration (RD&D) Plan.

In December, the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (ENSI) recommends that the Nördlich Lägern siting region should be investigated further in Stage 3 of the Sectoral Plan process in addition to Zürich Nordost and Jura Ost.