Welcome letter

Welcome to Davos!

Dear colleagues and friends, dear participants in the Clay Conference 2017

On behalf of the Scientific Committee as well as Nagra, it is our pleasure to invite you to Davos, Switzerland, on the occasion of the 7th International Conference on Clays in Natural and Engineered Barriers for Radioactive Waste Confinement, to be held from 24 - 27 September 2017.

Clay rocks are being considered in a number of countries as potential host rocks for geological disposal of radioactive waste. The use of compacted swelling clays as engineered barriers is also envisaged within the framework of the multi-barrier concept. Multidisciplinary approaches including geology, mineralogy, geochemistry, rheology and geomechanics of clays and clay rocks are required in order to provide a detailed characterisation of the geological host formations and their confinement properties, but also to assess the behaviour of engineered and natural barriers over time when submitted to various types of perturbations induced by disposal facilities.

Extensive experimental programmes have been ongoing for several decades and will be conducted in the years to come. They include carrying out research in laboratories and underground research facilities, interpreting the resulting scientific data, modelling the long-term behaviour of radioactive waste repositories and conducting safety assessments.

The Clay Conference, which is being held for the 7th time since 2002, has established itself as an ideal opportunity to present recent developments in repository design and construction, and the main findings of research, both at the national and international level. It provides a unique platform for active discussion regarding all aspects of clay characterisation and behaviour relevant to the confinement of radionuclides in clay, considered on various timescales and at different locations, from the description of basic phenomenological processes to the global assessment of the performance and safety at repository and geological scales. Most of the topics covered by the programme of the Conference are also in line with the general objectives proposed within the Strategic Research Agenda elaborated through the Implementing Geological Disposal of Radioactive Waste Technology Platform (IGD-TP).

Contributions from fields other than radioactive waste disposal, such as geological storage of natural gas, sequestration of CO2, underground energy storage, chemical waste isolation, etc., that also take advantage of the isolating properties of clay materials, will be encouraged.

The conference is organised by Nagra (Switzerland), in cooperation with ANDRA (France), COVRA (The Netherlands), KORAD (South Korea), NUMO (Japan), NWMO (Canada), ONDRAF/NIRAS (Belgium), POSIVA (Finland), PURAM (Hungary), RWM (United Kingdom), SKB (Sweden), SURAO (Czech Republic) and swisstopo (Switzerland).

On behalf of the Scientific Committee and Nagra, we are pleased to invite you to join us in Davos. This beautiful alpine resort has a rich tradition of hosting congresses and offers an optimum setting for stimulating discussions in the midst of imposing mountain surroundings.  

Please make sure to enjoy – at least for a short while – beautiful Davos and Switzerland.

Hoping to meet you in Davos!