Can the rock laboratory be converted to deep geological disposal?

No. That is not possible. The rock laboratory is used only for research purposes. There can be no question of the disposal of radioactive waste here. That is part of the contractual arrangement with the Canton of Jura.


What is researched in the rock laboratory?

Research is separated into individual experiments, differentiated according to the following types: Development of methodology, e.g. test performance and related analyses; Characterisation of Opalinus Clay, e.g. understanding the chemical and physical processes in the Opalinus Clay at the laboratory and investigating the relevant properties and Parameters; Demonstration experiments. Here, tests on a 1:1 scale can be carried out over a long period. Generally, the experiments in the rock laboratory provide a significant body of knowledge about the feasibility and safety of deep geological disposal.


Why clay for a deep geological disposal facility?

Argillaceous rocks are suitable as a geological barrier for the long-term encapsulation of radioactive waste. The three most important characteristics are: Retention of radionuclides at the clay mineral surfaces, very low permeability (no transfer of radionuclides by flowing water), and the ability to self-sealing of cracks and fissures by swelling.

Properties of Opalinus clay

Is it possible to visit the rock laboratory?

Yes! Guided tours of the Mont Terri rock laboratory are organised throughout the year for groups of visitors. More information is available here: Tel. +41 32 461 40 53 /

Welcome to the visitors center

The Mont Terri project

The picture shows the entrance to the rock laboratory with the flags of all patners at the door.

The Mont Terri Project is an international research project for the hydrogeological, geochemical and geotechnical characterisation of a clay formation (Opalinus Clay).


Welcome to the Mont Terri underground rock laboratory

On Thursday July 15, a delegation of the ministry of Environment from Lower Saxony (Nieder-sachsen) under the lead of the Minister Olaf Lies visited the Mont Terri rock laboratory.

The Visitor centre is closed from 19 July to 8 August. We wish you a great summer holiday!

Impressions from the rock laboratory

The Federal Company for Radioactive Waste Disposal BGE in Germany is a new partner in the Mont Terri project

The Federal Company for Radioactive Waste Disposal BGE in Germany is a new partner in the Mont Terri project

Since 1 July 2020, the Federal Company for Radioactive waste Disposal BGE in Germany is a new partner in the Mont Terri research project. This means that 22 organisations from nine nations are now conducting research in the Mont Terri Rock Laboratory near St-Ursanne under the direction of swisstopo.

Our partners: