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15.04.2019

Start of the deep borehole campaign: Nagra starts a deep borehole in Bülach

Nagra started drilling a deep borehole in Bülach today. This is the first of a series of deep boreholes aimed at completing the overall picture of the underground.

This provides the information needed to select the safest site for a deep geological repository.

Nagra, the National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste, started drilling the first in a series of deep boreholes in Bülach today. The purpose of the boreholes is to complete the overall picture of the underground geological environment of the potential siting regions Jura Ost, Nördlich Lägern and Zürich Nordost. They provide the scientific basis for identifying the safest site for a deep geological repository. The investigations conducted in the deep boreholes will include studies of the thickness, permeability and composition of the Opalinus Clay host rock in which the repository will eventually be constructed.

The drilling work will last six to nine months. "We are making an effort to minimise emissions such as noise, traffic and light", says Nagra's CEO Thomas Ernst, "for example, we work with electrically operated drilling equipment which is much quieter". For technical reasons, drilling work is conducted around the clock, but noise-intensive work is carried out during the day whenever possible. Nagra has set up a hotline for questions and concerns of local residents and other interested parties. The hotline is free of charge and is manned 24/7 (0800 437 333). Every drill site has a visitors' pavilion and there will be special open days for the public.

In total, Nagra submitted 23 applications for deep boreholes. How many boreholes will actually be drilled to complete the overall picture of the underground geological environment depends on the results, but it is not planned to drill all 23 boreholes. The second deep borehole will be drilled in Trüllikon in the Zürich Nordost siting region. Drilling operations in Trüllikon will begin in the summer of 2019.

More information: Patrick Studer, Head, Media Office: 076 579 36 50. patrick.studer@nagra.ch


According to Swiss nuclear energy legislation, the producers of radioactive waste are responsible for its safe management and disposal. In 1972, the Federal Government and the nuclear power plant operators set up the National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste (Nagra) to perform this task. Nagra, which has its 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, 120 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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