Search for sites

For site selection, the procedure, the criteria to be applied, the responsibilities of the different actors, the possibilities for participation and the time schedule are regulated by the conceptual part of the Sectoral Plan for Deep Geological Repositories.


Site selection takes place in three stages. Stage 3 is currently underway. The lead in the process is with the Federal Government (Swiss Federal Office of Energy). The first stage involved identifying geological regions that came into question for siting repositories.

In the second stage Nagra concretized the details of the repository projects; this was done together with the affected regions and also involved the responsible authorities. The potential sites were investigated and compared with one another, with the aim of narrowing down to at least two potential sites for the high-level waste repository and two for the low- and intermediate-level waste repository.

The potential sites remaining in the process underwent an in-depth comparison in the third stage and, based on the results, the repository sites will be proposed. The Federal Council and the Swiss Parliament decide on the granting of the general licences and a national referendum can be called for on this decision.

Who does what?

The lead in the Sectoral Plan process lies with the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE). The SFOE guides and coordinates the overall process and organises regional involvement (participation). It also keeps the public informed on the progress of work.

The Cantons support the SFOE in the area of regional participation. If necessary, they also modify the cantonal structure plans (instruments for the regulation of spatial development).

The communities in the potential siting regions can bring their wishes and concerns into the process through the regional participation framework and are involved continually in the cooperative effort.  

The public, the Cantons, interested organisations and neighbouring countries all have the opportunity to express their views on the siting proposals and the results reports through the open consultation processes foreseen as part of the Sectoral Plan.

Nagra's role is that of a technical expert. It compiles the geoscientific knowledge base, proposes potential siting regions, carries out the necessary investigations and concretises the repository projects.

The Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (ENSI) reviews the siting proposals from a safety perspective before the Federal Council and Parliament make their decisions.

The Federal Council generally decides on licences for the construction of nuclear installations, which include deep geological repositories. A national referendum can be called for against the decision to grant a general licence for a repository. In this case, the Swiss voters have the final say.

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