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German-Russian Collaboration Regarding Final Disposal in Crystalline Host Rock

Microscopic image of a crystalline rock (Yeniseysky, Russian Federation).

 In 2001, radioactive waste disposal was integrated into the scientific collaboration between the former Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy (Minatom, now Rosatom) and the German Ministry of Labor (BMWA), now Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). This collaboration was based on a bilateral agreement regarding R&D on the peaceful utilization of nuclear power (agreement on “Wissenschaftlich-Technische Zusammenarbeit” WTZ). The intention was to have a new and interesting opportunity for international R&D cooperation regarding HLW disposal in crystalline rocks and the unique possibility to perform site-specific work, to test the safety demonstration tools available, and to expand the knowledge to all aspects specific to these host rocks. Another motivation for joining this cooperation was the intent to assist Russian engineers and scientists in their integration into the international scientific community concerned with radioactive waste disposal and to share advanced safety approaches.

Based on the WTZ agreement, a comprehensive and versatile cooperation has been implemented in the past 15 years. Joint R&D activities and projects regarding HLW disposal in crystalline (magmatic) host rocks based on site investigation activities in the Krasnoyarsk region have been a permanent part of this cooperation. The Russian side has been led by VNIPI Promtekhnologii (VNIPI PT), while three major R&D organizations, the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) in Hanover, Gesellschaft für Anlagen- und Reaktorsicherheit (GRS) gGmbH in Brunswick, and DBE TECHNOLOGY GmbH (DBETEC) in Peine have been the permanent participants from the German side.

The current results of the German-Russian Cooperation are documented in a report that provides a condensed overview of the corresponding manifold site-specific safety investigations regarding HLW disposal in crystalline host rocks. The investigations were carried out by BGR, GRS, and DBE TECHNOLOGY GmbH in the last years in close cooperation with VNIPI PT and other Russian organizations involved in the investigation of the Yeniseysky site near Zheleznogorsk in the Krasnoyarsk region.

The report is called: Site-specific evaluation of safety issues for high-level waste disposal in crystalline rocks and will shortly be available for download on the DBE TECHNOLOGY website.

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