BGR Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe

Long-term safety

Isolation of radioactive waste in a salt domeIsolation of radioactive waste in a salt dome. Schematically presented is the increase in temperature of the host rock due to the deposition of high level waste after the end of the deposition phase Source: BGR

To prevent harmful effects on man and nature it is planned to finally dispose of radioactive waste in deep geological formations.

The hazardousness of radioactive waste decreases in time due to the radioactive decay. Nevertheless, in case of long-living nuclides the radiation after 100 000 years will still require the waste to be isolated from the biosphere. Therefore, in long-term analyses periods up to 1 million years and even more have to be considered.

As measured by the history of mankind 1 million years is a very long time period. The early humans living 1 million years before us, thus long before Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons appeared, were hardly able to imagine the mankind of today. Just as little we are able to forecast the development of mankind within the same time period in the future.

However, as measured by the history of earth 1 million years are short. In regions which are geologically stable and in which the development of the geological situation can be traced back for several 10 or 100 millions of years, the development can reliably be forecasted within the next 1 million years as well.

Long-term safety analyses are performed to determine the radiological effects of the considered repository onto the biosphere for the next 1 million years. For this purpose, possible future features, events and processes – i.e the thermal expansion of the host rock, subrosion, gas generation or appearance of an ice-age – are combined to scenarios and the consequences of these scenarios are determined by numerical simulation.


Dr.-Ing. Jan Richard Weber
Phone: +49-(0)511-643-2438
Fax: +49-(0)511-643-3694

This Page: