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14.04.2016

Seismic investigations in the Nördlich Lägern siting region from autum

At today’s annual media conference, Nagra provided information on the current status of its work and on the focus of future activities.

At this year’s annual media conference held in the Villa Boveri in Baden, Nagra presented both a retrospective of its recent work and an outlook to the future. Background information on a range of topics was given by three speakers who were available for questions at the end of their presentations.

Thomas Ernst, Chief Executive Officer, discussed the ongoing preparation of the additional documentation requested by the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate ENSI (see also the media release of 16.12.2015). “As before, we are convinced that a repository located at a depth of 900 metres has disadvantages in terms of safety compared to a repository constructed at a depth of 700 metres“, explained Thomas Ernst. However, to be prepared for every eventuality and to avoid delays in the siting process, Nagra is planning to carry out 3D seismic measurements in the Nördlich Lägern region in the coming autumn months. The exploration concept and the preliminary investigation specification for the Environmental Impact Assessment for Nördlich Lägern were submitted yesterday (13.04.2016) to the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE). “The investigation programme for Nördlich Lägern is on a similar scale to the programmes for Jura Ost and Zürich Nordost“, said Thomas Ernst. The documentation submitted to the SFOE can be downloaded from the Nagra website.

As part of the exploration concept, various methods are used to investigate the underground rock formations. Besides 3D seismics, these include exploratory boreholes and investigations of Quaternary deposits. “We use a range techniques in order to obtain a complete picture“, explained Tim Vietor, Section Head of Field Investigations. Explorations such as boreholes require a permit according to the Nuclear Energy Act and eight permit applications for each of the regions Jura Ost and Zürich Nordost will be submitted to the Federal Government in summer 2016. Applications for Nördlich Lägern are planned for the end of 2016/beginning of 2017. Work on the actual boreholes will start only after the decision of the Federal Council on the siting proposals, at the end of 2018 at the earliest.

The waste management programme and the RD&D programme are updated on a regular basis. Revised versions of the two documents will be submitted to the federal authorities at the end of 2016. Irina Gaus, Coordinator of the Research & Development Project, outlined the current research activities in the final presentation. An important aspect of the Swiss waste management programme is the stepwise optimisation of the facility concepts up to the time of actual construction. International collaboration also plays a key role in the field of research and development.

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