Other countries are also conducting research into the possibilities for geological disposal. In Europe, no underground disposal for long-term high-level radioactive waste is yet in operation. However, there are experiments being done in underground test laboratories to research disposal in geologically stable layers. Finland, Sweden and France are working on actual projects toward the realisation of geological disposal facilities. These countries will be the first to operationalise national facilities for the geological disposal of high-level radioactive waste. It is expected that the first geological disposal in Europe will commence in 2025. The United States has already been using a deep underground disposal facility in salt for all military radioactive waste since 1999.

International geological disposal

The research into geological disposal of radioactive waste examines the possibilities for geological disposal not only in the Netherlands, but also in a multinational context. In the SAPIERR-II project, COVRA, together with ARIUS and organisations from 6 other European countries, developed a practical implementation strategy for multinational (or joint) final storage for the European Commission. Because of the lengthy process for developing a joint final storage, it was suggested that an incremental approach be used. The first step is to establish a working group with representatives from governments of interested European countries. The aim of this working group (the ERDO working group) is two-tiered. The first goal is to prepare the statutes and work programme for a multinational waste organisation in Europe (ERDO) using SAPIERR-II research results. This proposal will then be delivered to the governments of the countries involved. The second goal is to enhance knowledge and competencies in the field of geological disposal through cooperation and the exchange of information within the working group. Ten European member states have officially appointed delegates to the working group. More information on the working group and the SAPIERR research can be found at


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