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Nuclear waste Testing the best way to store radioactive materials

Researchers in a mountain lab have been working on technology that would safely dispose of nuclear waste. (SRF/

The Federal Office of Energy has the overall responsibility for the three-stage selection process for one to two sites for geological repositories of nuclear waste. The cabinet at the end of 2011 approved six areas, which meet the requirements according to the National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste, NAGRA, most of them north of Zurich, close to the German border.

By about 2020, one site will be chosen, which will then have to be approved by the cabinet, parliament and most likely by the people in a referendum. Then construction would start at the site. After becoming operational, the repository would be gradually backfilled and eventually sealed forever.

NAGRA has been trying out different storage methods its mountain laboratory in St Ursanne in canton Jura. Like the NAGRA mountain laboratory, the future nuclear disposal site would be built inside a natural layer of opalinus clay, which can be found in several places in the Jura mountains.

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