In simplified terms, the research landscape in the field of radioactive waste management is divided into project-related and non-project-related research. The former is covered by our parent company, the Federal Company for Radioactive Waste Disposal (BGE) as well as by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and partly by the Nuclear Waste Disposal Fund. Project-independent research is mainly covered by core funding from the major institutions in this field, such as the Helmholtz Association, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) or by funding from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). Contrary to BGE, however, we are involved in national project-independent research projects of BMWi. The knowledge thus gained can be made directly available to national repository projects. At the same time, our proximity to the project responsible BGE ensures that the research institutions are kept up to date about the requirements of the repository projects in Germany and can take these into account in their future activities.
We are closely involved in the repository projects of BGE, especially with regard to issues concerning rock mechanics and backfilling and sealing materials. This includes, in particular, consulting services and computational demonstrations of the stability of mine workings in the repository mines as well as the development of construction materials for backfilling and sealing measures. Knowledge exchange with experts throughout the world and participation in international organisations such as the IAEA and the OECD/NEA, enables us to be always up to date on the latest developments in radioactive waste management programmes. This and our involvement in international repository projects make us the principal contact in Germany for the international status of radioactive waste management.
This enables us to assess and communicate solutions in other countries that differ from those chosen in Germany, thus ensuring that our parent company can always take into account the international state of the art in science and technology.
Some of the main activities of the international organisations IAEA and OECD/NEA in the field of radioactive waste management (RWM) are to promote the knowledge transfer from countries with advanced RWM programs to countries which are just starting to implement these programs, to publish guidelines on radioactive waste management and to summarise the developments in this field in the individual countries. Against the background of the extent of the nuclear programme in Germany, our long-term experience is gladly taken into account by these two organisations.
Throughout the world, we are appreciated as a trustworthy and reliable partner and contractor. This is primarily due to our extensive expertise in the field of radioactive waste management, which results from our direct involvement in the implementation of national repository projects, our participation in corresponding independent research projects, and our long-standing support of relevant RWM activities all over the world.
Of particular importance is the fact that the predecessor organisations of BGE and BGE TEC had already been commissioned with the design, construction, operation, and closure of repositories since 1979 and 2000, respectively. We have used the experience thus gained for international repository projects and extended it by applying it to the specific requirements of other repository programmes. This way, we are able to develop solutions for our customers and partners that are main focused on the safe disposal of radioactive waste, irrespective of its origin – and this for present and future generations. Our independence in finding optimum solutions for our customers is ensured by the fact that we operate without core financing from BGE.
Due to our high demands on the quality of our work, we have globally established ourselves as a competent and reliable partner and have thus forged close relationships.