Workshop 7

Moving forward with deep geological repositories for high-level nuclear waste – Contributions from Geophysics. Sunday June 9th | Room 4


  • Dirk Orlowsky (DMT GmbH & Co. KG)
  • Andreas Schuck (GGL Geophysik und Geotechnik Leipzig GmbH)
  • Stefan Buske (Institute of Geophysics and Geoinformatics, TU Bergakademie Freiberg)


In many countries, radioactive waste is currently for the time being stored in various forms of dry containers, silos or vaults, of which the safety and longevity are questioned. Thus, deep geological disposal is widely agreed to be the best solution for the most radioactive waste produced. As each country has its own geological setting, it is obvious that each country must develop its own strategy for the final storage of their nuclear waste. Therefore, many countries have developed their own programs to find suitable techniques for the exploration of final storage sites for nuclear waste in the earths subsurface. Geological disposal involves placing radioactive wastes deep within a suitable rock formation where the rock formation provides long-term protection by acting as a geological barrier against escape of radioactivity and by isolating the waste from effects at the surface such as climate change.

In Europe Geoscientists are aware that especially European and national organizations are playing a prominent role in researching the geological conditions for deep subsurface repositories for different levels of radioactive waste, regarded as the best long-term answer. Single countries are at various stages of searching for a solution in which, depending on the geological settings, crystalline rock or rock salt or clay rock are the favored host rocks.

National and international research into airborne, surface, and underground exploration methods has been going on for decades. Tests to determine the integrities, permeability and mechanical properties of different rock formations were analyzed in national rock laboratories. However, Geosciences, and Geophysics in particular, play a pivotal role in presenting measurement methods that enable the characterization and selection of the most suitable geologic structures for deep geological repositories with the greatest possible integrity. In addition to the respective suitability of any of the methods, the limits and uncertainties of the individual measurement methods need to be investigated in relation to each national storage strategy.

The workshop aims at:

  • bringing together the protagonists of the different countries for the exploration of possible storage sites for nuclear waste,
  • analyzing the different and common exploration strategies within the different countries,
  • exchanging the experiences with common and different exploration strategies,
  • presenting successful case histories in the frame of the exploration of possible final storage site and to discuss failures,
  • discussing further procedures in different countries and possible collaborations in the frame of the topic exploration of deep geological repositories for high-level nuclear waste.
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Participant Profile

The workshop is aimed at to all those who are involved in geophysical methods for the exploration, selection or operation of a site for a deep geological repository and who would like to learn about the current state of art in science and technology for country- and rock-specific exploration concepts.

Workshop Programme

08:45Introduction into the workshop topics – Dirk Orlowsky, Andreas Schuck, Stefan Buske
09:00Development of exploration programs within the German site selection procedure to find a final repository of high-level radioactive waste Frank Meier (BGE)
09:30Finding the most boring hot-spot – The site selection procedure from a regulator perspective– Matthias Riede (BASE)
10:00 Coffee Break + Poster Session
10:30Applied geophysics during construction and operational phases of ONKALO® – Tommi Pirttisalo (Posiva)
11:00Geoscientific Exploration Strategy in Sweden - Thomas Lethimaki (SKB)
11:30Site selection process for the deep geological repository in the Czech Republic – Marek Vencl (SURAO)
12:00Lunch Break
13:30From nation-wide screening to confirming site scale studies - Geophysics in the Finnish siting programme – Markku Paananen (GTK)
13:55Imaging the Asse Salt Structure (Germany) - Volker Becker , Maximilian Scholze (BGE)
14:20Geological investigation program on potential sites in the Czech Republic for 2024–2028- Martin Valter (SURAO)
14:45 Coffee Break + Poster Session
15:15Methodology for implementing clay type repository in Meuse/Haute-Marne – Michel Hayet (Andra)
15:40Screening Germany’s subsurface: the search for a deep geological repository for high-level radioactive waste– Christian E. Derer (BGE), Thomas Henke (BGE)
16:05Applied in-situ testing and monitoring methods in the Swiss site selection program for a radioactive waste repository – Thomas Trick (SOLEXPERTS), Thomas Fierz (SOLEXPERTS)
16:25Pannel Discussion - Frank Meier (BGE) , Tommi Pirttisaldo (POSIVA), Michel Hayet (ANDRA), Marek Vencl (SURAO)
17:25Closing Discussion

Poster Session

Poster 1 3D High-Resolution Velocity Model Building for the Characterization of Nuclear Waste Disposal Sites - Lena Bräunig , Niklas Kühne, Felix Hloušek, Stefan Buske, Volker Becker, Maximilian Scholze, Hui Ding
Poster 2GeoMetEr – Development of Geophysical Methods for Site Selection in Germany – Gabriel, G., Rippe, D., Nordsiek, S. & GeoMetEr Science Team
Poster 3 Advancing seismic imaging: Fresnel volume migration in anisotropic and anelastic media Niklas Kühne, Felix Hlousek, Stefan Buske, Hui Ding and Maximilian Scholze
Poster 43D borehole radar for the preliminary exploration of possible repository sites - Dirk Orlowsky, Volker Gundelach
Poster 5Direction sensitive GPR borehole measurements in EBrg. 700-4 in salt mine AsseII - Volker Gundelach, BGR
Poster 6Correlation of Geophysics and Geology for exploring possible repository sites - Markus Krieger