The site selection process has to be as transparent as possible in order to ensure that the repository projects are widely accepted by the public.
For this reason, an early draft of the conceptual part of the Sectoral Plan for Deep Geological Repositories was presented to the Cantons and neighbouring countries for their comments. Interested organisations and members of the public were also given the opportunity to put forward their views in workshops and focus groups. The revision of the draft version of the Plan was followed by a public consultation phase and the Sectoral Plan was then approved on 2nd April 2008.
The open consultation phases, during which the Cantons, interested organisations and the public have three months to submit their views on the proposals, are an integral part of each of the three stages of the Sectoral Plan process.
The Federal Government contacted the affected Cantons at the beginning of Stage 1 with a view to forming a Cantonal Commission. This Commission supports the Federal Government throughout the entire site selection process and has the power to make recommendations. Neighbouring countries are also kept informed in each stage. The affected communities in the siting regions are involved continuously in the collaborative process. The public is also informed about the ongoing activities at regular intervals.
From Stage 2, regional participation allows the affected public to be involved in the process through so-called regional conferences and their associated technical working groups and to bring their wishes and concerns into the process. The main topic where the input of the regional conferences is required is the siting of the surface facility for the repository.
Based on input from 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 and prepared an associated planning study.
Regional participation and the close collaboration with the remaining siting regions will continue in Stage 3. The infrastructure at the surface will be further concretised with a view to the general licence applications. This includes deciding on the locations of the construction site installations or the location of the shaft head infrastructure.