A long-term hydro-monitoring project has commenced

SÚRAO has signed a contract with GEOtest-GeoTec Ltd for the conducting of hydrogeological monitoring research.

17. May 2024

Groundwater represents an important topic and plays a major role with respect to the design and siting of the Czech deep geological repository (DGR) for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. In terms of the safety of the facility and the planning of further work on the DGR project, it is absolutely essential that we learn as much as possible about the state of the groundwater and surface water at the DGR candidate sites. The public tender for the provision of hydrological, hydrogeological and hydrochemical monitoring was secured by GEOtest-GeoTec Ltd.

Hydrological and hydrogeological inspections are conducted on a regular basis over several years since they must reflect and record all the influences that could potentially affect the condition and quality of the groundwater including, for example, the monitoring of seasonal changes, the development of the total amount of groundwater over extended periods of time and the chemical composition of the groundwater.

The project will proceed in several stages

The project consists of several stages. The initial stage will involve experts determining suitable terrain observation points for the measurement of the chemistry and total amount of groundwater. They will concentrate on all types of groundwater-significant features, e.g. wells, riverbeds and streams that may provide useful information; they will also select locations for the hydrogeological observation boreholes that will be excavated in the subsequent research phase. Measurement devices will be installed at selected points, e.g. level gauges, flow gauges, meteorological stations, etc.

The project will focus on all four candidate Czech DGR sites, primarily the areas that will potentially directly host the facility, which have already been identified by SÚRAO in the form of so-called geological survey polygons. However, SÚRAO will also collect data from outside these polygons, for example climate data that is available from the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute or via its own research projects. The research will include the sampling of the groundwater, which will be inspected quarterly by expert hydrogeologists, and the collection of field data on the pH, temperature and conductivity of the groundwater.

The data provided will play a key role in the selection of the final site for the DGR

The main objective of the hydro-monitoring research is to determine the qualitative and quantitative state of the groundwater at the four candidate sites over an extended period of time. The data will be used in the selection of the final and backup DGR sites, in the safety assessment of these sites, and subsequent geological and hydrogeological research in the wider regions. Should they be interested, SÚRAO will, as previously, be more than willing to share the data obtained with the affected municipalities for its further use as required. SÚRAO has already informed the affected municipalities of the hydro-monitoring project tender and intends to facilitate exchange-of-information meetings between representatives of the affected municipalities and the contractor.

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