For site selection, the procedure, the criteria to be applied, the responsibilities of the different actors, the possibilities for participation and the time schedule are regulated by the conceptual part of the sectoral plan for deep geological repositories.
Sectoral Plan for Deep Geological Repositories (Conceptual Part) (10.3 MB)
Swiss Federal Office of Energy: Selection procedure for deep geological repositories
Site selection takes place in three stages. The lead in the process is with the Federal Government (Federal Office of Energy). The first stage involves identifying geological regions that would come into question for siting repositories. In the second stage, and working together with the affected regions and responsible authorities, Nagra will concretise the details of the repository projects. The potential sites will be investigated and compared with one another with the aim of narrowing down the selection to at least two potential sites each for the high-level waste repository and the low- and intermediate-level waste repository. In the third stage, the sites remaining in the process will undergo an in-depth comparison and, based on the results, the definitive repository sites will be proposed. The Federal Council and the Swiss Parliament decide on the general licence applications and a national referendum can be called for on this decision.
Who does what?
- The lead in the sectoral plan and general licence processes lies with the Federal Office of Energy (SFOE). The SFOE leads and coordinates the procedure and organises regional participation. It also keeps the public informed on the status of work.
- The cantons support the SFOE in the area of regional participation. Where necessary, they also modify the cantonal structure plans.
- The framework provided by the opportunities for participation allows the communities in the potential siting regions to bring their concerns into the process; they are involved continually in the cooperative effort.
- The public, the Cantons, interested organisations and neighbouring countries all have the opportunity to express their views on the siting proposals and the results reports as part of the hearing procedures foreseen in the Sectoral Plan process.
- Nagra's role is that of a technical expert. It compiles the geoscientific knowledge base, proposes potential siting regions, carries out the necessary investigations and develops the specific details of the repository projects.
- The Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (ENSI) reviews the siting proposals from a safety perspective before the Federal Council and Parliament make their decisions.
- The Federal Council generally decides on licences for the construction of nuclear installations, which include geological repositories. A national referendum can be called for against the granting of the general licence for the repository. In this case, the Swiss voters have the final say.
Participants in the site selection process