Plans call for collecting initial data under natural conditions regarding the stability of construction materials under the influence of various natural and engineered burdens. For this purpose samples of various materials, for example, steel and concrete, are to be lowered into well 1 and kept there for two to three years.
The following determinations must be made based on the results of the research to be carried out in the underground laboratory:
suitability of the selected site for the burial of solidified high-level radioactive wastes
basic design and technical elements to be used in the construction of a sarcophagus for solidified high-level wastes
If the results of scientific research conducted in it are positive, the underground laboratory could be turned into an experimental operations storage facility and later developed as the first component of a larger storage facility for solidified high-level wastes.
The underground laboratory is expected to be built in stages. The initial laboratory complex will include one group of wells (four 1000-meter wells, one 600-meter well, and one 450-meter well). Once the lab is in full operation, the scientific research program calls for three groups of wells as described above to be located in various points in the promising site.
Costs for the initial complex total about $2 million, with the entire underground laboratory complex to cost around $5 million.
Creation of the country’s first such laboratory will allow the facility to become a research and demonstration center that will promote the comprehensive study of problems associated with the underground storage of solidified radioactive wastes and the demonstration of technical solutions and underground waste isolation methods.