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From Volcanoes to Glaciers – The importance of geoscientific research during the site-selection procedure for a high-level nuclear waste repository in Germany

After implementation of the Repository Site Selection Act (StandAG) in 2017, the Federal Company for Radioactive Waste Disposal mbH (BGE mbH), as the German waste-management organization, started the site-selection procedure for a nuclear repository for high-level radioactive waste in Germany. On the way towards the repository site with the best possible safety, the site-selection procedure is required to be a participatory, transparent, learning and self-questioning process based on scientific expertise. With an Interim Report published in 2020, first results were presented, outlining sub-areas with favorable geological conditions in preparation for defining the site regions for surface exploration. The next phases of the site selection procedure will require detailed geoscientific research outcomes to improve the understanding of various geological processes. This information is a prerequisite to assess the properties of the geological barrier and to constrain future developments of the geological system, hosting the nuclear repository within the next 1 million years. Therefore, research funded by the BGE covers various geoscientific subjects, ranging from volcanism to glacial erosion and computational geosciences. With this contribution, the BGE intends to highlight some of its scientific key projects within the current step in the site-selection program. Scientific collaborators are different players including the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), German Universities and specialized companies with a wide range of expertise that will support the required learning, self-questioning and science-based site-selection procedure for a nuclear repository for high-level radioactive waste in Germany


Nils-Peter Nilius, Reinhard Fink, Sönke Reiche
Bundesgesellschaft für Endlagerung (BGE), Germany
GeoKarlsruhe 2021