Home News Science&Tech NAGRA will build a facility in North Laegern

NAGRA will build a facility in North Laegern

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Switzerland confirmed on Monday that its favorite place for a 20 billion Swiss francs ($20.94 billion) underground nuclear waste repository is an area north of Zurich, close to the border with Germany.

The company behind the project to store the country’s nuclear waste for at least the next 200,000 years, the National Radioactive waste storage Cooperative (NAGRA), has proposed the area of North Laegern for the site, which should become operational in 2050.

After a 14-year evaluation process, the NAGRA – established by the nuclear power plant operators and the government-declared that the opaline clay found there provided the largest geological barrier, the best rock stability and a great degree of flexibility for the underground storages compared to the two other places it had put into transition.

“Geology has spoken,” Matthias Braun, chief Executive of the NAGRA, told a press conference in Bern on Monday.

“(It) is the best place with the best security. At the heart of the deep storehouse is this gray and inconspicuous stone…here time practically stands still.”

Martin Neukom, a member of the cantonal government of Zurich and a member of the Green Party, said it was irrelevant that he had read critically about nuclear power plants, since radioactive waste was already being produced.

“We have a responsibility to store this waste while maintaining our best knowledge and with the best safety evaluations. That means you can’t really be against the storage,” he said at the press conference.

NAGRA will apply for a government permit for the scheme at the end of 2024, which is intended to store the waste from Switzerland’s four nuclear power plants, and the parliament and the Swiss government are likely to make a decision on the inspection in 2029.

The issue could also be subject to a referendum in the Swiss tradition of direct democracy, before construction begins in 2034.

Compensation for the affected regions, including in Germany, has yet to be decided.

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