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An autonomous OECD/NEA project relating to the final disposal of highly radioactive waste from nuclear power generation is currently under way in an abandoned iron ore mine at Stripa, in central Sweden, see Figure 1.1. Research is being performed in a granite formation 350 meters below the ground surface. The Stripa Project was started in 1980, in co-operation with Canada, Finland, France, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States. The first phase of the project, scheduled for completion in 1984, at a total cost of approximately 50 MSEK, consists essentially of three parts:
- hydrogeological and geochemical investigations in boreholes down to a depth of 1'230 metres below the ground surface
- ion migration tests to study radionuclide transport mechanisms in the rock fractures, and
- large-scale tests of the behaviour of backfill material in deposition holes and tunnels
Preparations for an agreement between the participants covering a second phase of the Stripa Project were completed during 1982. The second phase, which has been joined also by the United Kingdom, started in 1983 and is scheduled for completion in 1986. The estimated total cost is 60 MSEK. The investigations included in the second phase are:
- the development of crosshole geophysical and hydraulic methods for the detection of fracture zones
- tracer experiments in fractured granite, and
- the sealing of boreholes and shafts, using highly compacted bentonite
The conditions of participation in the Stripa Project are covered by two separate agreements for Phase I and Phase II, although both phases share the same management structure, see Figure 1.2. The project is jointly funded by the organizations listed below. Responsibility for supervision of the research programme and for its finance resides with the Joint Technical Committee (JTC). This is composed of representatives from each of the national organizations. It also provides information on the general progress of work to the OECD Steering Committee for Nuclear Energy, through the NEA Committee on Radioactive Waste Management and its Co-ordinating Group on Geological Disposal.
Each research activity is assigned to a principal investigator, a scientist with expertise in the research field in question. The conception of the experiments, and their realisation, are periodically reviewed by two technical sub groups (TSGs). These sub-groups are composed of scientists from the participating countries. The first deals with hydrogeology, chemical transport and geophysics, the second with engineered barriers and rock mechanics.
The KBS Division of the Swedish Nuclear Fuel Supply Company (SKBF) acts as the host organization and provides the management for the Project. It is responsible for mine operations, and for the procurement of equipment and material for experimental work. Meetings of the technical sub-groups, the Joint Technical Committee, the principal investigators and the KBS management group are held on a regular basis to review the progress of the Project.
A representative of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency takes part in the meetings of the Joint Technical Committee in an advisory capacity. The Nuclear Energy Agency continues to foster the broadest possible participation in this and other Projects by its member countries and ensures co-ordination of the Project with its other activities in the field of radioactive waste management.
The following organizations are participating in the Stripa Project:
Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL)
Industrial Power Company Limited (TVO) Ministry of Trade and Industry;
Imatra Power Company
Commissariat à L'Energie Atomique (CEA);
Agence Nationale pour la Gestion des Déchets Radioactifs (ANDRA)
Power Reactor and Nuclear Fuel Development Corporation (PNC)
Swedish Nuclear Fuel Supply Company (SKBF)
National Co-operative for the Storage of Radioactive Waste (Nagra)
United Kingdom (Phase II Only)
Department of the Environment (UK DOE)
Department of Energy (US DOE)