Waste Technology Section

Underground Research Facilities Network (URF)


BACKGROUND

Under the auspices of the IAEA, nationally developed Underground Research Facilities (URFs) and associated laboratories concerned with the geological disposal of radioactive waste are being offered for use by various Member States. The URFs and laboratories form a Network for training in and demonstration of waste disposal technologies and the sharing of knowledge.

Responsible Officer: Paul DEGNAN

OBJECTIVES OF THE NETWORK

  • Encourage the preservation, sharing and transfer of knowledge and technologies;
  • Work on solutions for Member States currently without URFs;
  • Supplement national efforts and promote public confidence in waste disposal schemes;
  • Contribute to the resolution of key technical issues.

ORGANISATION OF THE NETWORK

NETWORK PARTNERS are owners and managers of facilities that have agreed to host training and demonstration activities relating to the disposal of HLW/SF and long lived waste as part of the Network. They are from:

  • BELGIUM with the HADES URF at Mol, operated by SCK/CEN and built in the Boom clay strata;
  • CANADA with the AECL Underground Research Laboratory (URL) of Lac-du-Bonnet, Manitoba, built in a granitic batholith of the Canadian Shield;

  • CZECH REPUBLIC with the Czech Technical University JOSEF Underground Educational Facility built in volcanic rocks 50 km south of Prague;

  • FRANCE with the IRSN's Underground Test Facility built in a Toarcian argilite at Tournemire and ANDRA˙s underground research laboratory located in Bure;

  • GERMANY with DBE Technology's proven involvement in deep geological disposal in engineered facilities structures;

  • JAPAN with JAEA's two Underground Research Facilities at Horonobe in sedimentary rock and at Mizunami in crystalline rock, and Tokai R&D Centre;

  • SWEDEN with the Äspö Hard Rock Laboratory, built in granite and operated by SKB;

  • SWITZERLAND with the Grimsel Test Site (GTS) built in granite and the Mont-Terri URL built in claystones with support from NAGRA and Swisstopo;

  • UNITED KINGDOM with the Geoenvironmental Research Centre, Cardiff University;

  • USA with the WIPP facility near Carlsbad, New Mexico, built in bedded salt; operated through the United States Department of Energy (US DOE) and with Network participation of Sandia National Laboratories.

NETWORK PARTICIPANTS who are not partners come from Member States interested in contributing to or developing skills and capabilities in geological disposal. At present, these Network Participants are from:

ARGENTINA, ARMENIA, BRAZIL, BULGARIA, CHILE, CHINA, CROATIA, CZECH REPUBLIC, FINLAND, HUNGARY, INDIA, JAPAN, KAZAKHSTAN, LITHUANIA, MEXICO, PAKISTAN, PHILIPPINES, POLAND, REPUBLIC OF KOREA, ROMANIA, RUSSIAN FEDERASSION, SLOVAKIA, SLOVENIA, SOUTH AFRICA and UKRAINE.