Technical feasibility of a Dutch radioactive waste repository in Boom Clay: Tunnel crossings

Jun Yuan, Phil Vardon, Michael Hicks, J Hart, PA Fokker

Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional

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Radioactive substances and ionizing radiation are used in medicine, industry, agriculture, re- search, education and electricity production. This generates radioactive waste. In the Neth- erlands, this waste is collected, treated and stored by COVRA (Centrale Organisatie Voor Radioactief Afval). After interim storage for a period of at least 100 years radioactive waste is intended for disposal. There is a world-wide scientific and technical consensus that geological disposal represents the safest long-term option for radioactive waste. Geological disposal is emplacement of radioactive waste in deep underground formations. The goal of geological disposal is long-term isolation of radioactive waste from our living environ- ment in order to avoid exposure of future generations to ionising radiation from the waste. OPERA (OnderzoeksProgramma Eindberging Radioactief Afval) is the Dutch research pro- gramme on geological disposal of radioactive waste. Within OPERA, researchers of different organisations in different areas of expertise will cooper- ate on the initial, conditional Safety Cases for the host rocks Boom Clay and Zechstein rock salt. As the radioactive waste disposal process in the Netherlands is at an early, conceptual phase and the previous research programme has ended more than a decade ago, in OPERA a first preliminary or initial safety case will be developed to structure the research necessary for the eventual development of a repository in the Netherlands. The safety case is conditional since only the long-term safety of a generic repository will be assessed. OPERA is financed by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and the public limited liability company Electriciteits- Produktiemaatschappij Zuid-Nederland (EPZ) and coordinated by COVRA. Further details on OPERA and its outcomes can be accessed at
Original languageEnglish
PublisherDelft University of Technology
Commissioning bodyMinistry of Economic Affairs, Agricultural and Innovation and ElectriciteitsProductiemaatschappij Zuid-Nederland (EPZ)
Number of pages48
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Boom Clay
  • feasibility
  • radioactive waste disposl
  • reliability
  • tunnel modelling
  • uncertainty


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