Core Messages

The Mont Terri rock laboratory offers a platform for international collaboration and the exchange of know-how among researchers, technicians, engineers and scientists. The Federal Office of Topography (swisstopo) operates the Mont Terri rock laboratory and runs the Mont-Terri Project. Today, 16 organisations from Belgium, Germany, France, Japan, Canada, Spain, Switzerland and the USA are taking part in the underground research project. Various other countries are also considering argillaceous rock as possible host rock for deep geological disposal.

In future, know-how from the Mont Terri rock laboratory can be exchanged with other branches of research, for example, disposal of chemical waste, or in the oil industry. The Mont Terri rock laboratory contributes significantly to the safety and technological feasibility of deep geological disposal in argillaceous rock.

The rock laboratory serves only research purposes. There is no question of the disposal of radioactive waste ever being stored here on geological grounds (folded Jura mountains). In addition, disposal of any such waste is excluded by the usage agreement with the Canton of Jura Canton (2009 Convention).

The rock laboratory intends to address a wider public as well. Guided tours through the rock laboratory make an important contribution to information dissemination and public debate. Direct insights into the multi-faceted research experiments can only help in raising acceptance of deep geological disposal.

Since 1996, research partners have invested around CHF 80 million in the Mont Terri rock laboratory (Funding). National research organisations, universities, and applied science institutes as well as various specialist companies from the private sector carry out the research. 20% of this investment is spent in the form of contracts with local Jura companies. The research partners have regular meetings to discuss the results of current experiments and advise on how to finance and carry out new research projects. The hotel trade in and around St-Ursanne is also a principal beneficiary of these meetings.

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