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Training in Radioactive Waste Disposal Technologies in Underground Research Facilities

Dec 14, 2012

RER/9/103 “Training in Radioactive Waste Disposal Technologies in Underground Research Facilities”

Training Course on Monitoring in Argillaceous and Crystalline Rocks in the Context of Repository Development – The Role and Contribution of URL Programmes, 15-19 October 2012, St. Ursanne and Meiringen, Switzerland


St. Ursanne and Meiringen, Switzerland was the venue of the recent RER/9/013 “Training Course on Monitoring in Argillaceous and Crystalline Rocks in the Context of Repository Development – the Role and Contribution of URL Programmes.” 13 participants from 11 different countries assembled on 15th to 19th October to participate in the aforementioned Training Course, which was organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in collaboration with the Government of Switzerland, through the National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste (NAGRA) and Swisstopo.

The Underground Research Facilities (URF) Network focuses on the geological disposal of radioactive waste and is one of several networks managed through the IAEA Technical Cooperation Programme, which supports Member States in developing capabilities in the management of radioactive waste. Moreover, the Programme facilitates communication between waste management specialists and supports the training of professionals in the development of waste disposal methods and technologies.

The majority of, if not all, countries with Nuclear Power Programmes (NPP) are likely to eventually need to use underground disposal facilities. Whether Member States are in the initial, intermediate or advanced stage of their NPP development, all can be supported by the URF Network in achieving timely solutions on the basis of the best knowledge and information available.

Training Course Participants Attending a Lecture

Training Course Participants on a Technical Visit to the Grimsel Test Site Research Facility in Switzerland


The purpose of the course was to inform participants about methods and technologies used at different scales for site characterization and to provide an insight into monitoring requirements at different stages of repository implementation to support the development of geological repositories for high-level waste/spent fuel (HLW/SF) and other long-lived waste.

Activities & Outcome

The event took place over five working days between 15 and 19 October 2012. The Training Course consisted of interactive lectures, discussions and group exercises, in which sufficient time was allocated for questions and discussions. The lectures were combined with technical visits to research facilities, which provided participants with a comprehensive overview of the factors and processes that have to be taken into consideration when establishing a geosphere and biosphere site investigation programme in support of geological repository development.

The Training Course instilled in participants a firm understanding of site investigation methods and techniques that are carried out to support decisions concerning geological disposal for radioactive wastes. The course illustrated the nature of site investigations in sedimentary and hard rock environments and emphasized the iterative links with safety assessments and repository design studies. Furthermore, it provided information on the design and operational requirements of monitoring systems.

Responsible/Contact: Department of Technical Cooperation | Last update: 10 Apr, 2015

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