Marriott Drilling has recently been awarded a contract by the ‘National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste’ (Nagra) based in Wettingen, Switzerland, a town about 12 miles NW of Zurich.
In 1972, the operators of the nuclear power plants in Switzerland and the Swiss Confederation (responsible for radioactive waste from medicine, industry and research) set up Nagra to perform this task. Nagra has a clear mandate related to radioactive waste arising in Switzerland and recognises that it has to be disposed of in a way that ensures the long-term protection of man and the environment.
Investigation programmes started in 1980 and have continued in several phases and areas since.
This latest programme is focused on three potential siting regions in Northern Switzerland; Jura Ost, Nordich Lagern and Zurich Nordost. The first Marriott wellsite is Trullikon-1 based in the Zurich Nordost region.
The Marriott contract is initially for three deep geological and hydrogeological boreholes, each estimated to take some 180 days to complete due to the extensive coring and testing programme. Nagra has 23 sites that may be investigated, but probably the total number under this programme will be 12. Hence it could be a long-term contract.