Nagra submits 16 applications for exploratory boreholes

Today, Nagra submitted 16 applications for exploratory boreholes, eight in each of the siting regions Jura Ost and Zürich Nordost.

Information on the objectives and planned investigations was presented at a media conference at which the Swiss Federal Office of Energy also explained the upcoming procedure.

For Stage 3 of the Sectoral Plan process, the siting regions will be investigated in greater detail using 3D seismics and exploratory boreholes. 3D seismic campaigns have already been carried out in the Jura Ost and Zürich Nordost regions. Today, Nagra (National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste) submitted 16 applications for exploratory boreholes in the two regions to the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE), eight in Jura Ost and eight in Zürich Nordost. According to the Nuclear Energy Act, boreholes require a permit from DETEC (Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications). Nagra held media conferences in the two regions today: at 10 am in Remigen and 2 pm in Marthalen.

During the events, Markus Fritschi, a member of Nagra’s Executive Board, explained that the main purpose of the exploratory boreholes is to investigate the geology and hydrogeology of the underground rock formations. "To maintain flexibility in terms of reacting to new information arising during the course of the investigations, we are submitting more applications than are actually required“, he added.

"Selecting the sites for the boreholes was done initially on the basis of geological maps“, explained Tim Vietor, Head of Nagra’s Safety, Geology & Radioactive Materials Division. This was followed by close consultation with the responsible cantonal authorities and affected local communities with a view to balancing spatial planning interests. “I would like to thank the Cantons and local communities most sincerely for their constructive support“, said Vietor. Preparing the drillsite and setting up the drilling equipment will take around three months and actual drilling operations will last from several months up to a year for each borehole. „During drilling we will be working around the clock seven days a week“, said Vietor. For technical reasons, a borehole has to be drilled without interruption. „We will do everything in our power to ensure that people living nearby are disturbed as little as possible“, assured Vietor.

Simone Brander from the SFOE provided information on the communication measures during the processing of the applications. Seminars for the authorities and the media will be held in 2017. Peter Raible from the Nuclear Energy Law Section outlined the upcoming procedure. The applications will be checked for completeness and will be opened to the public for 30 days around the beginning of next year. Objections can be lodged during this period. The applications require a permit from DETEC. Work on the deep boreholes is expected to begin in 2019 following the decision of the Federal Council on Stage 2 of the Sectoral Plan process.


  Drillsites in the Zürich Nordost siting region


  Drillsites in the Jura Ost siting region



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