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DAEF 2021: 3rd Conference on Key Topics in Geological Disposal

1st March 2021 to 3rd March 2021

Gürzenich Köln

Martinstraße 29–37

50667 Cologne (Köln)


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The third Conference on Conference on Key Topics in Geological Disposal will take place in Cologne, Germany, from 1 to 3 March 2021.  It will be hosted by the German association for repository research (DAEF).

Further details and the latest information can be found on the dedicated event website at www.daef2021.org


There is a broad international consensus that high-level radioactive waste arising from electricity production by nuclear fission has to be safely isolated from the biosphere. Disposal in deep geological formations is considered the best approach to protect human beings and the environment from radiological exposures. However, the design of an appropriate site selection process for a repository still represents a challenge and different strategies are pursued in those countries with advanced geological disposal programs.

A site selection process for a repository for high-level radioactive waste and / or spent nuclear fuel has to consider and to reconcile:

  • Safety related scientific technical principles and knowledge bases as well as regulatory constrains / guidelines;
  • Geoscientific information based both on existing data and on site investigations and its utilization for safety, feasibility and demonstration purposes;
  • Detailed knowledge about type and amount of waste to be disposed of (data bases);
  • Ideas / concepts how to provide safety by means of an appropriate repository design;
  • Social-science based aspects related to good governance, i.e. a “qualitatively good” procedural design aiming at the development of a fair process;
  • Land use concepts and regional planning aspects;
  • Legal and political boundary conditions.

The reconciliation of these aspects may differ from country to country but experience shows that “safety first” is the overriding principle.

Considering the time scales of many decades required to implement a repository for high-level radioactive waste from initiating the site selection process to the closure and possibly post-closure monitoring, evidently science and technologies related to nuclear waste disposal have to be developed further during the process. Keeping and improving know-how and expertise during decades requires strong efforts to support and organise research in all related scientific disciplines with a strong focus on interdisciplinary aspects as well as permanently educating and training scientific and technical staff.

This conference will focus on the following topics:

  • Status of high-level waste / spent nuclear fuel repository siting in Germany: Views of different actors
  • Status of high-level waste / spent nuclear fuel disposal programmes in various countries: Technical and societal aspects
  • High-level waste / spent nuclear fuel disposal: Research and development in natural sciences and engineering
  • High-level waste / spent nuclear fuel management strategies and governance: Research in humanities and social sciences
  • Competence building and knowledge transfer.

The conference will provide an adequate forum for fruitful scientific exchange and a valuable instrument for further improving multilateral co-operation for mutual benefit. The program will consist of invited and contributed presentations (oral and posters); the conference language will be English.