Horonobe Underground Research Laboratory Project; Investigation program for the 2019 fiscal year
As part of the research and development program on the geological disposal of high-level radioactive waste (HLW), the Horonobe Underground Research Center, a division of the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA), is implementing the Horonobe Underground Research Laboratory Project (Horonobe URL Project) with the aim at investigating sedimentary rock formations. According to the research plan described in the 3rd Mid- and Long- term Plan of JAEA, "Near-field performance study", "Demonstration of repository design option", and "Verification of crustal-movement buffering capacity of sedimentary rocks" are the top priority issues of the Horonobe URL Project, and schedule of future research and backfill plans of the project will be decided by the end of 2019 Fiscal Year. The Horonobe URL Project is planned to extend over a period of about 20 years. The investigations will be conducted in three phases, namely "Phase 1: Surface-based investigations", "Phase 2: Construction phase" (investigations during construction of the underground facilities) and "Phase 3: Operation phase" (research in the underground facilities). This report summarizes the investigation program for the 2019 fiscal year (2019/2020). In the 2019 fiscal year, investigations in "geoscientific research", including "development of techniques for investigating the geological environment", "development of engineering techniques for use in the deep underground environment" and "studies on the long-term stability of the geological environment", are continuously carried out. Investigations in "research and development on geological disposal technology", including "improving the reliability of disposal technologies" and "enhancement of safety assessment methodologies", are also continuously carried out.