Grimsel Training Centre - Courses

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To provide the opportunity to exchange knowledge and to provide training in the necessary skills for working underground and for the safe disposal of radioactive waste in general, Nagra established the Grimsel Training Centre (GTC) in 2017, as a permanent platform.

Facing the long-lasting programmes of the radioactive waste management, training the next generation of radioactive waste management scientists was identified by many organisations as one major challenge for the next few years and decades.

To meet the various needs of training and knowledge transfer, the GTC team developed a programme which allows both tailor-made and established courses repeated every two or three years. Also, the combination of more theoretical lectures and hands-on training renders this programme very attractive for various levels of experience and expertise. High quality and relevance of the courses is achieved by involving lecturers from the GTS partner organisations.

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Upcoming courses :

Engineered Barrier System (EBS) Bentonite properties and applications

7 to 11 September 2020 – 1 week - @ GTS and University of Berne

All listed courses are postponed until 2021

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As part of the Grimsel Training Centre programme 2020, Nagra offers a 5-day workshop at the Grimsel Test Site covering the various aspects related to Engineered Barrier Systems (EBS) and specifically bentonite. Participants will get an introduction to engineered barrier / bentonite requirements, properties and applications in radioactive waste topics. Some lectures will especially focus on gases in an EBS.

International and national experts will provide keynote lectures and experience, discussion forums will allow the exchange of knowledge and current research strategies. GTS lab visits will provide first hand insights of ongoing experiments and will support the discussion of related topics in the course. A lab visit to one of the national universities collaborating in GTS-research will be included.

The course aims to impart both theoretical and practical knowledge and experience. The course shall help participants in defining, managing, planning, tendering and carrying out their own field (URL) and lab experiments at various scales and how to interpret data and results with respect to their safety case. The covered topics will be transferable to various field investigations and implementers RD & D requirements.

Daily activities will be organized in alternating lecture blocks and visits to experiments at the Grimsel Test Site. Additionally, a laboratory visit to one of our collaborating universities (ETH Zürich, University of Bern) will be organized.


From RD&D requirements to in-situ Experiments – how to design and setup URL experiments

26 to 28 August 2020 – 3 days - @ GTS

All listed courses are postponed until 2021

This course teaches how to manage and design URL experiments ranging from relatively small experiments with one or two boreholes up to large scale experiments testing and demonstrating the performance of EBS component(s). Each experiment is unique; there is no ‘manual’ that can be referred to. To this end, new techniques and/or procedures often have to be designed and developed to achieve the experimental goals.


Use of radioactive tracers in URL experiments (input to safety cases)

31st August to 2nd September 2020 – 3 days - @ GTS

All listed courses are postponed until 2021

The GTS is one of only a few URLs where radioactive tracers can be used in migration tests in the rock itself at activities requiring a license. This course aims to show how such in-situ tests can produce results that are more reliable and realistic than standard in-situ tests using non-radioactive tracers.

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Grimsel Test Site (GTS)

The Grimsel Test Site (GTS) located in the Swiss Alps was established in 1984 as a centre for underground Research and Development (R&D) supporting a wide range of research projects on the geological disposal of radioactive waste. International partners from Europe, Asia and North America are working together at this unique facility.

The (GTS) is located at an altitude of 1730 metres in the granitic rock of the Aar Massif in Switzerland. It lies at a depth of around 450 metres beneath the surface and is reached by an access tunnel belonging to the local hydro-power company (Kraftwerke Oberhasli AG, KWO). The GTS tunnel system is around one kilometre long and was excavated in 1983 using a full-face tunnelling machine (diameter 3.5m).

The GTS underground facilities are also available to interested 3rd parties for underground testing and research. The GTS offers cost-effective access to a fully developed, well characterised underground research facility with round the year logistical support - please contact Dr. Ingo Blechschmidt, Head of the Grimsel Test Site, for further details.
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