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Institute of Energy and Climate Research

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Repository Research

The safe management of radioactive wastes and their final disposal is one of the grand challenges of our times and an integral part of the transition of the German energy system (“Energiewende”). The safe disposal of heat-generating high-level radioactive wastes from nuclear power generation requires the waste be isolated from the geo-/biosphere for extended timescales, in order to protect humans and the environment against dangers arising from ionising radiation. At the technical and scientific level, it is generally accepted that disposal in deep geological formations using a multi-barrier concept comprising man-made barriers ("engineered barrier system") combined with a suitable repository host rock ("geological barrier"), represents the safest and most sustainable option for the long-term management of high-level radioactive wastes and spent nuclear fuels.

The geological disposal of nuclear wastes faces major scientific and societal challenges to demonstrate the long-term safety of the repository for the required timescales of up to one million years. The related research is multidisciplinary – while our research mainly considers nuclear aspects by addressing the behaviour of radionuclides and the relevant waste form materials under repository relevant conditions by combining radiochemical, geochemical and materials chemistry aspects. Our cutting-edge research on the long-term safety of nuclear waste disposal includes work on spent nuclear fuel corrosion under disposal conditions, the formation of secondary phases, and radionuclide transport and retention processes – the radio(geo)chemistry of the near field of a deep geological repository. IEK-6 combines innovative experimental approaches and advanced simulations on various time and length scales, from the molecular scale to the macroscale. In this way, IEK-6 unravels complex coupled processes and mechanism controlling the release of radionuclides from the wastes and their migration behaviour in a repository system and contributies to the scientific basis of the safety case for deep geological disposal.

Brennstoffkorrosion unter endlagerrelevanten Bedingungen

Additional Information


Prof. Dr. Dirk Bosbach


Claudia Ruhnau

Tel.: +49 2461 61-5299
Fax: +49 2461 61-2450