Underground waste disposal
Postmodern societies are societies at risk. Their need of complex products and their hunger for energy are undeniable. Both these demands lead to the production of complicated and dangerous byproducts: chemical and radioactive waste which needs to be stored safely - preferably underground. The problem that arises from disposal places not easily controlled by mankind over a long time range - some hundreds to hundreds of thousands of years - is that we have to guarantee the presence of a tight and secure (geological) barrier. Consequently, the same rock physical parameters have to be addressed as for an underground gas storage: how permeable is the barrier and how strong is the rock?
Basically three storage media are under discussion nowadays when talking about disposal sites for nuclear and chemically toxic waste: rock salt, clay(stone) and granite (aided by clay in terms of a technically engineered barrier). Gesteinslabor has great expertise in the investigation of claystone and shale. We are responsible for a major part of the geomechanical investigation (guided by the Swiss national authority for nuclear waste disposal NAGRA) of the Jurassic Opalinus Clay which is under discussion as a probable host rock off nuclear waste in Switzerland.