Rock salt is a candidate rock to host a repository for high-level radioactive waste (HLW) because of its favourable characteristics. Specifically, rock salt provides isolation of the waste from groundwater due to its low hydraulic conductivity.
The most important positive attributes of rock salt for use as a repository host rock are:
To further develop a repository in rock salt, a working group, comprised of scientists and experts in developing disposal in geological rock salt formations, was formed in 2011.
The Salt Club has the mission of, among nations currently considering rock salt as a candidate medium, effectively developing and exchanging scientific information on rock salt as a host rock formation for deep geological repositories for HLW and long-lived radioactive waste (and underground research laboratories, URLs). By promoting information and knowledge exchange, the Salt Club also intends to stimulate interest in other nations with appreciable rock salt deposits to consider rock salt as a viable repository medium. In addition to the technical aspects, the working group also aims at transferring obtained knowledge to programs at different phases of development, fostering education and training of future subject-matter experts in the field of rock salt, and cooperating with other NEA working groups (e.g. the Forum on Stakeholder Confidence, FSC) to engender public acceptance and building stakeholder confidence.
The Salt Club has the following areas of interest:
Salt Club members are NEA member countries represented by responsible ministries who appoint member country delegates to the Salt Club.
The Salt Club working group is composed of senior technical experts with experience in assembling or reviewing the understanding of salt formations as host rocks for deep geologic disposal projects. Members represent waste management agencies, regulatory authorities, academic institutions, and research and development institutions. Salt Club members have a level of seniority in their organizations such that they are able to mobilize resources to contribute to Salt Club initiatives.
United States of America
The work of the Salt Club will be coordinated by a Steering Group consisting of 8 subject-matter experts. Project topics are driven by common interest among members. The mode of cooperation is by working group meetings, periodic general workshops and the use of electronic media.
The project team held its kick-off meeting on 20 April, 2012 at the OECD NEA headquarters in Paris to discuss initial work activities, schedules and other project details. More details of this upcoming meeting are provided in the Salt Club Working Area for members.
On 4-6 September 2012, the Project Management Agency Karlsruhe – Water Technology and Waste Management (PTKA-WTE) and the Gesellschaft für Anlagen- und Reaktorsicherheit (GRS) mbH hosted a joint workshop “Natural Analogues for Safety Cases of Repositories in Rock Salt”.
The objective of the workshop was to compile studies about natural as well as anthropogenic analogues from different countries to be potentially used within Safety Cases for radioactive waste repositories in salt formations. More specifically, the following topics were discussed:
The workshop was organized by Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM on 8-11 October, 2012. More than 60 participants attended the workshop. Three (3) main topics were discussed:
The ABC-Salt (II) workshop on actinide brine chemistry was held on 7-8 November, 2011 in Karlsruhe. The workshop was co-organized by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Institute for Nuclear Waste Disposal (KIT-INE) and the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Carlsbad Office (LANL-CO).
The aim of the workshop was to present new scientific investigations and discuss advanced approaches to establish a better understanding of the aqueous geochemistry and radiochemistry required to predict the long-term safety of a salt-based nuclear waste repository.
Proceedings are now published and can be found on the secure Salt Club internal web page.
Last reviewed: 24 May 2012