Zwei Forscher führen in einem Endlagertunnel Messungen durch.


Germany is currently looking for a site for a repository for about 27,000 cubic metres of highly radioactive waste. The future repository will be built in a geological formation of crystalline rock, salt rock, or clay rock. The radioactive materials are to be safely confined in the repository for one million years and retrievable for 500 years.

The Federal Company for Radioactive Waste Disposal (BGE) is entrusted with finding the site offering the best possible safety and with constructing and operating a repository there. The Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management (BASE) has been assigned the task of legal supervision by the Federal Ministry for the Environment.
In addition, about 303,000 cubic metres of medium and low-level radioactive waste are to be emplaced in the Konrad repository. They come from nuclear power plants, but also from industry, medicine, and research. 

Our tasks

At our Repository Research Centre in Braunschweig, we conduct, among other things, application-oriented fundamental research on a wide range of issues relating to the safety of repositories. The spectrum ranges from studies of host rocks specimens in our geoscientific laboratory to cooperation in international underground laboratories and the development of verification concepts for the long-term safety of repositories and the simulation software required for this. We deal with the following topics:

  • research regarding the chemical, hydraulic, mechanical and thermal processes taking place in a repository and their mutual influences 
  • development of simulation codes and databases for repositories
  • development of methods for the long-term safety assessment of repositories
  • development and evaluation of technical concepts for repositories
  • development of methods for the safety comparison of repository concepts for sites in different host rock types
  • expert evaluation of technical-scientific issues for supervision and licensing purposes

Project highlights Disposal

Erdboden, Gras und blauer Himmel
TOUGH2-GRS: Movement of groundwater, gases and radionuclides
1991 - Project ongoing

For repository search and design, it is important to have a good understanding of the geology of a possible site and the processes that take place in the host rock. In Germany, the three potential host rocks for disposal are salt, clay and crystalline rocks (e.g. granite). The term deep underground gives the impression of being rigid and inactive. Only a closer look reveals the diverse chemical, mechanical and hydraulic processes that play a role in the underground.