Media release



Annual general meeting of Nagra: Extended management team already well established

At today’s annual general meeting of Nagra, Corina Eichenberger, President of the Board of Directors, summarised the year: “Forward-looking decisions have been made.”

According to Thomas Ernst, Chief Executive Officer, 2016 was the “most eventful year” since he took over the lead of Nagra ten years ago.

In 2016, Nagra (National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste) restructured its organisation with a view to meeting the challenges of the third and final stage of the site selection process for deep geological repositories and the general licence procedure. The Executive Board was extended from three to seven members. “The new Executive Board is already well established”, said Eichenberger. In the past year, extensive field work was carried out or preparations for work were made. The 3D seismic campaigns in the Jura Ost and Zürich Nordost siting regions were completed in February 2016 and the campaign in Nördlich Lägern was carried out in winter 2016/17. Applications were submitted to the Swiss Federal Office of Energy for permits for exploratory boreholes and Quaternary boreholes in the Jura Ost and Zürich Nordost siting regions. The applications for Nördlich Lägern will follow after the 2017 summer vacation.

The Waste Management Programme was updated for the first time. This sets out the procedures leading up to final closure of a repository. “In the Waste Management Programme, we present the future steps in the waste disposal project in a way that is open, transparent and understandable to everyone”, said Ernst. A Research, Development and Demonstration Plan outlining the scientific questions to be investigated by Nagra in the future was also published as a reference report. Following a review process, the Waste Management Programme will be approved by the Federal Council. Nagra was also extensively involved in preparations for the 2016 Cost Study, which presents the total costs of waste disposal.

The additional documentation called for by the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (ENSI) on the 2x2 siting proposal of Nagra was submitted in August 2016. “The key question was whether the disposal depth in the Nördlich Lägern siting region is relevant”, explained Corina Eichenberger. Although ENSI commended Nagra’s detailed supplementary documentation, the regulatory authority nevertheless recommended in December that Nördlich Lägern should undergo further investigation in Stage 3 of the Sectoral Plan process. “Thanks to our advance planning strategy, we are well prepared for this situation”, said Eichenberger.

The annual financial statements for 2016 were also approved at the meeting. These show a turnover of CHF 65.6 million. After deduction of income from services for third parties and various research contributions, the remaining expenditure to be borne by the members of the Nagra Cooperative was CHF 62.1 million.

Corina Eichenberger 079 330 40 49
Thomas Ernst 079 666 49 74

According to Swiss nuclear energy legislation, the producers of radioactive waste are responsible for its safe management and disposal. In 1972, the nuclear power plant operators and the Federal Government set up the National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste (Nagra) to perform this task. Nagra, with headquarters in Wettingen (AG), is the national technical competence centre in the field of deep geological disposal of radioactive waste.

Out of a strong sense of responsibility for the long-term protection of man and the environment, 110 employees are involved daily in performing this important work. The high level of competence is secured by targeted research programmes in two Swiss underground rock laboratories and intensive international collaboration.

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