Waste management concept

Radioactive waste must be disposed of in a way that ensures the permanent protection of humans and the environment. To achieve this goal, it must be kept separate from our habitat. Numerous geological investigations have shown that the underground in different areas of Switzerland has remained undisturbed over very long periods of time.

Based on the current level of knowledge, deep geological disposal is the only method that meets the stringent requirements for long-term safety. The Nuclear Energy Act stipulates that Switzerland’s radioactive waste must be disposed of in deep geological repositories. Deep geological disposal is considered the safest method not just in Switzerland but is recognised by experts worldwide.

Aside from deep geological disposal, other waste management solutions have been examined. For example:

  • Diluting the radioactive waste and dispersion in the environment
  • Disposal in undisturbed marine sediments
  • Disposal in Antarctic ice-sheets
  • Disposal in outer space

These concepts are no longer pursued. Disposing of waste in the sea, for example, is highly disputed and legally prohibited today. Using rockets to aid in the disposal presents too high a risk in case of explosions on take-off. Rock formations, however, can remain stable and retain their properties over many millions of years, allowing the safe containment of radioactive waste over very long time periods. Deep below the surface and unaffected by occurrences at the earth's surface, time essentially comes to a standstill.

Would you like to learn more about deep geological disposal?