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. The lead in the process is with the Federal Government (Swiss Federal Office of Energy). The first stage involves identifying geological regions that come into question for siting repositories.

In the second stage Nagra will concretise the details of the repository projects; this is done together with the affected regions and the responsible authorities. The potential sites will be investigated and compared with one another, with the aim of narrowing down the selection 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 will undergo an in-depth comparison in the third stage and, based on the results, the definitive repository sites will be proposed. The Federal Council and the Swiss Parliament decide on the granting of the general licences; a national referendum can be called for on this decision.

Who does what?

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

The Cantons support the SFOE in the area of regional participation. They also modify the cantonal structure plans (instruments for the regulation [...]of spatial development) if necessary.

The communities in the potential siting regions can bring their wishes and concerns into the process through the regional participation structures; they 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 through the consultation processes foreseen as part of the Sectoral Plan process.

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 decides on licences for the construction of nuclear installations, which include geological repositories. A national referendum can be called for against the granting of the general licence for a repository. In this case, the Swiss voters have the final say.

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