The Site Selection Proces
The selection of a suitable site is crucial in terms of the construction of a deep geological repository. It is necessary that the site meets not only the requirements concerning properties of the rock mass, but also a number of other equally important requirements such as public acceptance of the selected site, the technical feasibility for the construction of the surface complex of the repository as well as accessibility concerns. From a geological perspective, it is necessary to find a stable rock formation which has evolved over tens to hundreds of millions of years and the conditions of which suggests that it will maintain the desired properties over the requisite time period.
The search for a suitable site for a deep repository commenced shortly after the commissioning of the first nuclear units at the Dukovany nuclear power plant in the 1980s. The first study aimed at evaluating the potential of various geological environments in the Czech Republic was performed in the 1990s.
The next step in the selection of suitable sites consists of geological surveys, the first phase of which involves only surface exploration works whereby researchers extract samples from a maximum depth of one to two metres in a matrix measuring 100 x 100 metres. The results provide valuable information on the geological bedrock and insight as to the best locations in which to conduct future technical operations including the drilling of exploration boreholes to a depth of 500 to 1000 metres.
Based on an evaluation of the data obtained from the geological surveys and other relevant evaluation criteria (e.g. socio-economic aspects) SÚRAO will recommend the two most suitable locations (main and reserve) for government approval in 2025. The final decision on the construction of the deep geological repository will depend on the Czech Republic’s political representatives.