Site selection

The site selection process for a deep geological repository is regulated by the Sectoral Plan for Deep Geological Repositories according to the Nuclear Energy Act and Spatial Planning Act.

The aim of the process led by the Federal Government is to identify sites for deep geological repositories as part of a broadly-based procedure. Safety has the highest priority, but socio-economic and spatial planning aspects also play a role.

The search is for safe sites that fulfil all the protection objectives formulated by the authorities and that can be realised from the viewpoint of spatial planning. The Sectoral Plan allows comprehensive coordination of all the spatial impacts of deep geological repositories and ensures early involvement of the Cantons, communities and the authorities of neighbouring countries, as well as the general public and interested organisations.

Where are we now in the search for sites?

Stage 2 of the process was completed by the Federal Council on 21st November 2018 and we are currently in the third and final stage.

Nagra is investigating the three remaining siting regions Jura Ost, Nördlich Lägern and Zürich Nordost in greater depth and will then compare them with one another. The investigation programme includes the seismic campaigns already carried out, as well as Quaternary boreholes and deep exploratory boreholes. The results from the deep boreholes will complete the overall geological picture of the underground environment in the siting regions.

Based on the results of the geoscientific investigations, Nagra will announce the site or sites for which it will prepare general licence applications around 2022. Nagra will then prepare the applications and expects to submit them by 2024.

What is a general licence application?

Deep geological repositories require a general licence from the Federal Council for which Nagra submits a general licence application. This includes a description of the main features of the facilities at the proposed sites. The general licence also specifies the location, size and approximate layout of the most important structures. More detailed descriptions of the facilities, procedures and technologies will be required later for the construction and operating licence applications.

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