In the field of nuclear energy, the term "disposal" refers to the safe, maintenance-free disposal of radioactive waste in a bespoke repository for an unlimited period of time. In this case, safe means that the radioactive materials are kept isolated from the environment.

In Germany, for scientific, technical, ethical and economic reasons, it has been agreed to store the waste underground in deep geological rock formations. A basic distinction is made between repositories for low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste with negligible heat generation and repositories for high-level, heat-generating radioactive waste.