Switzerland confirms proposed location for £18 billion nuclear waste storage site
15 September 2022
On September 12, Switzerland’s National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste (NAGRA) announced the favoured location for an £18.1 billion (20 billion Swiss franc) underground nuclear waste storage site. The location, an area north of Zurich near the border with Germany, was chosen due to its geology that would enable it to store nuclear waste for the next 200,000 years.
NAGRA, which was jointly established by nuclear power plant operators and the Swiss government, chose the Nördlich Lägern site following a 14-year evaluation process. The organisation said that the site’s geological repository would best confine radioactive waste for a long time compared to two other sites that were being considered. The Nördlich Lägern site is expected to be operational by 2050.
While the earth’s landscape will evolve, the deep geological repository at Nördlich Lägern will be protected because the rock deep below the surface offers the greatest long-?term stability. In addition, Nördlich Lägern has the largest underground area suitable for construction, thus providing the greatest flexibility for the layout of the repository, NAGRA said.
The Nördlich Lägern site is located in the Zürcher Unterland (lowlands in the northern section of Canton Zürich) in Northern Switzerland. The entrance to the repository, the so-?called surface facility, is to be constructed in the Haberstal area in the community of Stadel in Canton Zürich. NAGRA plans to construct the encapsulation plants for the waste at the Zwilag interim storage facility in Würenlingen.
NAGRA will now prepare the general licence applications, which it expects to submit to the government in 2024. The authorities and the Federal Government will review the applications before the Federal Council and Parliament make their decisions which will likely be in 2029. The matter could also be voted on in a referendum before construction begins in 2034.