Swiss nuclear waste landfill is selected –

Swiss nuclear waste landfill is selected -

The nuclear waste repository will be built in the northern Lägern region, straddling the cantons of Aargau and Zurich, a spokeswoman for the Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) confirmed on Saturday. Keystone-ATS news agency.

The deep geological repository will be built in the northern Lägern region, straddling the cantons of Aargau and Zurich, said SFOE spokeswoman Marianne Zünd. The fuel conditioning facility will be built near the central intermediate depot in Würenlingen (AG), she added.

The population concerned was directly informed on Saturday by the authorities. The National Cooperative Society for the Storage of Radioactive Waste (Nagra) will inform Bern on Monday about this decision.

Three potential sites under discussion

For almost 50 years, Switzerland has been looking for a suitable site for the storage of radioactive waste. Three potential siting regions were proposed: in addition to northern Lägern, these were sites in the Zurich Weinland region as well as in the Eastern Jura region in Aargau. Northern Lägern had been temporarily ruled out of the race, but was later considered again as a possible site.

>> Read: Three possible sites for deep radioactive waste disposal

>> The Nagra map showing the 3 planned sites

In this repository, low-, medium- and high-level nuclear waste must be buried deep in the ground for tens or hundreds of thousands of years, until it decays into harmlessness.

According to Nagra, the subsoil of the three regions considered consists of a layer of opalinus clay more than one hundred meters thick and very dense. Opalinus clay is considered the best safety barrier for storing radioactive waste.

Radioactive waste poses an immediate danger to humans and the environment for tens of thousands of years. Even in very small quantities, radioactive waste is carcinogenic and can cause changes in the genetic heritage.

>> Explanations from Nagra on the selection process (French subtitles)

Years of authorization process

Once the site has been chosen, Nagra should submit its request to the federal authorities towards the end of 2024. It is only in 2029 that the Federal Council should take the final decision concerning the site. The Federal Parliament will then have to approve the filing. It is foreseeable that there will then be another popular vote.

The start of construction is scheduled for 2045. According to Nagra’s plan, the first waste could be stored around 2050. Then will follow an “observation phase” which should last 50 years. The depot should then be closed in 2115.

>> Details from Valérie Gillioz

Storage of radioactive waste: the details of Valérie Gillioz, live from Bern [RTS]

Storage of radioactive waste: the details of Valérie Gillioz, live from Bern / 7:30 p.m. / 1 ​​min. / Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Municipality of Stadel concerned as a priority

The northern Lägern region (ZH/AG) has some 52,000 inhabitants spread over three municipalities in Aargau and twelve in Zurich, including Stadel, where the installation is to be dug. But around thirty other municipalities, including neighboring cantons or Germany, are concerned.

This region, located in the Zurich Unterland, covers an area of ​​just over 123 square kilometres. It has stable and dense rock layers which constitute the main natural barriers of a deep geological repository for radioactive waste, indicates the canton of Zurich on its website.

These Opalinus clays are rocks that are virtually impermeable to water and seal themselves when they come in contact with water. Geologists further judged the long-term stability of the rock layer to be favorable, the statement continued. According to the knowledge acquired by Nagra during deep drilling, the Opalinus clay would be very dense.

An area of ​​up to eight hectares is required for surface installation. This corresponds to approximately eleven football pitches. The entire surface infrastructure requires nearly 20 hectares.


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