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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.

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News

Tests results for the first deep borehole Bülach are now published on NAGRA's website

In September 2019 the Swiss National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste (NAGRA) commisioned Gesteinslabor with UCS, Brazilian and triaxial tests on neighbouring rocks of the Opalinus Clay - the rock which will host Switzerland's future facilities for nuclear waste disposal.

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Gesteinslabor receives funding grant for the development of a novel test rig to determine capillary threshold pressure with hydrogen

Gesteinslabor receives funding from BMWi for the development of a new test rig. With this funding, our company will open up a new business field in renewable energies by implementing an innovative technology to determine the capillary threshold pressure with hydrogen on cap rock of underground gas storage facilities.

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