The EURIDICE expert group consists of SCK•CEN employees who are working for the EIG EURIDICE (European Underground Research Infrastructure for Disposal of nuclear waste In Clay Environment). EIG EURIDICE is an Economic Interest Grouping (EIG) involving SCK•CEN and ONDRAF/NIRAS, the Belgian agency for radioactive waste and enriched fissile materials.
EIG EURIDICE manages the underground research laboratory HADES, situated at a depth of 225 m in the Boom Clay, and carries out feasibility studies for the disposal of high-level and/or long-lived radioactive waste in clay layers.
The main statutory tasks of EIG EURIDICE entail a range of activities relating to the development and operation of an underground research laboratory with a view to developing and facilitating the activities of EURIDICE’s constituent members:
- The management and operation of HADES and all the installations situated on the land for which EIG EURIDICE has a building lease.
- The development of the PRACLAY project, which aims to contribute to demonstrating the feasibility of disposal of radioactive waste in a clay host rock.
- The possible development, implementation and valorisation of other research projects and experiments with regard to the disposal of radioactive waste.
- The possible realisation, exploitation and valorisation of other research projects concerning the long-term management of radioactive waste in order to support the scientific programmes of its members using their resources.
- Communication about its own activities, in dialogue with its members, including the organisation of visits to the HADES URL.
After 30 years of research in and around the HADES URL, a lot of expertise and know-how have been acquired in different scientific and technological fields, of key importance for developing an underground radioactive waste disposal facility in poorly indurated clay formations such as the Boom Clay.
The scientific and technological expertise of EIG EURIDICE focuses on three areas:
- Excavation and construction techniques for an underground repository in a clay host rock
- The thermo-hydro-mechanical (THM) behaviour of the clay host rock (i.e. the Boom Clay)
- Instrumentation & monitoring
- The construction of HADES demonstrated the technical feasibility of a disposal infrastructure, at a reasonable speed and cost. The experience in excavation and construction techniques will be of great value when constructing a real repository.
- Understanding the coupled Thermo-Hydro-Mechanical processes in the Boom Clay is essential to determine to what extent these processes could affect the safety functions of the clay around a repository and is of great use to analyse the safety of a repository in poorly indurated clay.
- Experience in several aspects of instrumentation and monitoring, such as the reliability and robustness of sensors under adverse conditions or the long-term management of sensors and their measurement data, will be an essential element in establishing a monitoring programme for an underground repository.
- PRACLAY experiment: study the impact of heat-emitting radioactive waste on the surrounding clay layer.
- SUPERCONTAINER half-scale test: demonstration of the feasibility of constructing the different components of the supercontainer conceptual design for the packaging of high-level radioactive waste.
- MoDeRn: Monitoring Developments for safe Repository operation and staged closure.
- cAt-project: EIG EURIDICE implemented the instrumentation plan for the demonstration test.
Head of Expert Group: Xiangling Li
Do you want to know more about EIG EURIDICE and its activities? Have a look at www.euridice.be