Glossar

 

Zürich Nordost (HLW repository)

Nagra proposes the geological siting region Zürich Nordost (ZH, TG) for further investigation in Stage 3.

The region in the north of Canton Zürich is one of the six potential siting regions for a deep geological repository confirmed by the Federal Council.

Geological siting region Zürich Nordost for the HLW repository

The siting region is located in the eastern Tabular Jura and is bounded geographically by the national borders along the Rhine river (to the west and north-west) and geologically by the Neuhausen Fault (to the north-east), as well as by the maximum depth of the host rock (to the south-east). The Opalinus Clay host rock has a large lateral extent and the rock layers show quiet bedding.

The geological siting region Zürich Nordost for a potential HLW repository with the optimised disposal perimeter and the siting area ZNO-6b for the surface facility.

 

Siting communities

Canton Zürich: Benken, Dachsen, Flaach, Flurlingen, Kleinandelfingen, Laufen-Uhwiesen, Marthalen, Ossingen, Rheinau, Trüllikon, Truttikon

Canton Thurgau: Schlatt

Results of the safety-based comparison in Stage 2

The geological siting region Zürich Nordost for a potential HLW repository has a large spatial extent underground in the preferred depth range and offers a wide range of possibilities for optimum definition of the disposal perimeter. The disposal perimeter is well balanced in terms of depth and the available space is large. The effective containment zone (Opalinus Clay combined with thick confining units) shows very good barrier properties. The geological situation is also favourable with respect to long-term stability.

Nagra proposes the geological siting region Zürich Nordost for further investigation in Stage 3.

Siting area designated for the surface facility

The siting area ZNO-6b for the surface facility of a potential HLW repository in the Zürich Nordost siting region lies in the communities of Rheinau and Marthalen. It was designated by Nagra in May 2014 on the basis of collaboration with the siting region.

Next steps in the Sectoral Plan process

The proposals submitted by Nagra will be reviewed by the authorities and this will be followed by a public consultation process. At the end of Stage 2 – expected for 2018 – the Federal Council will decide which siting regions will remain in the process. These regions will then be investigated in more detail in Stage 3 using 3D seismics and exploratory boreholes. Definitive site selection will be made in Stage 3, with the initiation of the general licence procedure as specified by the Nuclear Energy Act.

Operation of a deep geological repository requires a surface facility. 

In Stage 2, in January 2012, the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) presented the four proposals made by Nagra for the siting area for the surface facility of the deep geological repository. These proposals were discussed, supplemented and evaluated by the region, represented by the regional conference. 

Following discussions with the region, Nagra then prepared four additional siting proposals and the regional conference thus evaluated a total of eight proposals. In its interim report, the regional conference concluded that all the proposals were more or less unsuitable for locating the surface facility. The perimeter “Isenbuck/Berg” was also identified from the larger area; if the siting region Zürich Nordost is followed up further based on safety considerations, the placing of a surface facility within this perimeter will have to be considered. The boundary conditions that apply are also set out in the report. 

Based on the collaboration within the framework of regional participation, Nagra then designated the siting area ZNO-6b as the potential area for locating the surface facility within the identified perimeter and taking into account the relevant boundary conditions.The siting area for the surface facility is located in the communities of Rheinau and Marthalen.

The decision of the Federal Council at the end of Stage 2 is expected for 2018. This represents the definitive decision as to which siting regions will remain in the process and will be further investigated in Stage 3. This is followed by further collaboration with the remaining siting regions on the concrete design of the surface facilities and possibilities for optimisation for integration into a possible general licence application. 

Geographical location of the siting area ZNO-6b (surface facility for a L/ILW repository, HLW repository or a combined repository).

 

Siting area ZNO-6b for the surface facility

Potential configuration of the components of the surface facility for a HLW or combined repository (combined means common infrastructure for HLW and L/ILW).

 

Orthophotograph of the siting area in the communities of Marthalen and Rheinau. The area in red shows the space required for the surface facility of a HLW or combined repository.

 

Possibility for integrating the surface facility into the surrounding landscape (photorealistic representation) for the example of the HLW or combined repository, looking west (Bergholz).

Variant for a covered surface facility sunk lower into the landscape.

The Opalinus Clay in the Zürich Nordost siting region is suitable as a host rock for disposal of high-level waste.

The Opalinus Clay is around 175 million years old and reaches a thickness of around 110 metres in the siting region. It makes the main contribution to the barrier function of the overall system. The confining units above and below the Opalinus Clay (Clay-rich Lias and the clay sequences of the 'Brauner Dogger' and the Effingen Member) also make a significant contribution to the barrier function. The geological situation is also favourable with respect to long-term stability. Sufficient space is available in the siting region in the preferred (from a technical viewpoint) depth range.  

After optimisation, the disposal perimeter for a deep geological repository for HLW in the Zürich Nordost siting region comprises 7.3 square kilometres.

 

Geological profile from north-west to south-east through Zürich Nordost. The grey arrow marks the Opalinus Clay.

 

Geological rock profile showing the rock strata occurring in the Zürich Nordost region.

Questions about the siting region

The Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) is responsible for the Sectoral Plan process. 

www.bfe.admin.ch/radioactivewaste

 

The Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (ENSI) is the regulatory authority for all questions relating to safety.

www.ensi.ch

2016 (22 March) The SFOE publishes the Federal Office for the Environment’s review of the EIA preliminary investigations for the Jura Ost and Zürich Nordost regions.
2015 (30 Jan.) The SFOE announces Nagra’s siting proposals. The geological siting regions Zürich Nordost and Jura Ost will undergo further investigation in Stage 3. They are suitable for a HLW, L/ILW or combined repository. The other siting regions will be placed in reserve. The proposals (safety-based comparisons, EIA preliminary investigations...) will be reviewed by the authorities, followed by a public consultation process. The Federal Council decision on Stage 2 is expected for 2018.
2014 (24 May)  Nagra presents the planning studies for the designated siting areas NL-2 and NL-6 for the surface facility at a full meeting of the regional conference for Nördlich Lägern.
2014 (15 May) Nagra presents the planning study for the designated siting area ZNO-6b for the surface facility at a full meeting of the regional conference for Zürich Nordost.
2013 (4 Dec.) Nagra presents the planning study for the designated siting area SR-4 for the surface facility at a full meeting of the regional conference for Südranden.
2013 (Sept.) Nagra presents the planning study for the designated siting area JO-3+ for the surface facility at a full meeting of the regional conference for Jura Ost on 26th September. The planning studies for the designated siting areas in the regions Jura-Südfuss and Wellenberg are also presented in September. The planning studies for the other three siting regions will follow in the coming months.
2012 (20 Jan.) Nagra announces its proposals for potential siting areas for the surface facility at a media conference held by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE). These proposals serve as the basis for discussions within the framework of regional participation.
2011 (30 Nov.) The Federal Council decides to include the geological siting region Zürich Nordost in the continuing Sectoral Plan process. Stage 1 of the process is complete and Stage 2 has been initiated.
2010 (1 Sept.) Start of the public consultation phase on Stage 1 of the site selection process for deep geological repositories. 
2010 (26 Feb.) The Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (ENSI) approves Nagra's proposed geological siting regions based on a review of safety and engineering feasibility criteria.
2009 (10 Dec.) Announcement of the provisional planning perimeter by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE).
2008 (24 Nov.) Together with representatives of ENSI and Nagra, the SFOE provides information on the proposals for geological siting regions at an event in Marthalen.
2008 (6 Nov.) Announcement by the SFOE of the proposed siting regions for deep geological repositories.
2008 (2 April) The Federal Council approves the conceptual part of the Sectoral Plan for Deep Geological Repositories.
2006 (28 June) The Federal Council approves the "Entsorgungsnachweis" feasibility study for HLW disposal, but rejects the request for identification of a site as being premature.
2005 Submission of a report setting out the options for disposal of high-level waste (NTB 05-02, in German). The report documents potential host rocks and siting regions based on safety and geological criteria.
2002 Submission of the "Entsorgungsnachweis" feasibility study for high-level waste disposal to the Federal Council. The project is based on the example of the Opalinus Clay in the Zürcher Weinland.
2001 Publication of the investigation reports for the Benken borehole (NTB 00-01) and the 3D seismic campaign (NTB 00-03).
1998 – 1999 Benken deep borehole.
1997 Extensive 3D seismic measurement campaign.
1996 The Federal Council grants a permit for the Benken deep borehole.
1991 – 1992 Regional seismic investigations between the River Aare and Lake Constance (2D seismics).
1982 – 1984 Regional seismic investigations in the area Olten - Schaffhausen.

More information

Nagra Technical Report NTB 14-01 on the safety-based comparison of the siting regions and the proposals for further investigation in Stage 3 (in German with English abstract); December 2014

Nagra Technical Report NTB 14-01 – Annex (in German); December 2014

Brochure (detailed overview) «Standortgebiete für geologische Tiefenlager – Sicherheitstechnischer Vergleich: Vorschläge für Etappe 3» (in German); January 2015

Brochure «Siting regions for deep geological repositories – Nagra’s proposals for Stage 3»; January 2015

Exploration concepts (only in German)

Arbeitsbericht NAB 14-83: Konzepte der Standortuntersuchungen für SGT Etappe 3; December 2014

Environmental Impact Assessments (only in German)

UVP-Voruntersuchung für ein geologisches Tiefenlager SMA mit Standortareal ZNO-6b-SMA in Zürich Nordost; January 2015

UVP-Voruntersuchung für ein geologisches Tiefenlager HAA mit Standortareal ZNO-6b-HAA in Zürich Nordost; January 2015

UVP-Voruntersuchung für ein geologisches Tiefenlager Kombi mit Standortareal ZNO-6b-Kombi in Zürich Nordost; January 2015

Planning studies (only in German)

Fact sheet «Standortregion Zürich Nordost – Standortareal ZNO-6b für die Oberflächenanlage eines Tiefenlagers (SMA/HAA/Kombi)»; May 2014

Arbeitsbericht NAB 14-27: «Standortareal ZNO-6b-SMA im Planungsperimeter Zürich Nordost für die Oberflächenanlage eines geologischen Tiefenlagers SMA – Planungsstudie»; May 2014

Arbeitsbericht NAB 14-28: «Standortareal ZNO-6b-HAA im Planungsperimeter Zürich Nordost für die Oberflächenanlage eines geologischen Tiefenlagers HAA – Planungsstudie»; May 2014

Arbeitsbericht NAB 14-29: «Standortareal ZNO-6b-Kombi im Planungsperimeter Zürich Nordost für die Oberflächenanlage eines geologischen Tiefenlagers Kombi – Planungsstudie»; May 2014

Surface facilities

What does a surface facility look like for a L/ILW repository?

What does a surface facility look like for a HLW repository?

Participatory approach to identifying the siting areas for the surface facility