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The conference will cover all topics related to natural argillaceous geological barriers and clay-based engineered barrier systems investigated by means of: laboratory experiments on clay samples (new analytical developments), in situ experiments in underground research laboratories, mock-up demonstrators and natural analogues, as well as numerical modelling and integration approaches (including up-scaling processes and treatment of uncertainties), monitoring and digital.

Topics will cover both scientific and technological domains, documenting progress and developments in knowledge and understanding.



  • Topic 1: Disposal projects and programmes, including RD&D programmes for clay-based disposal system (geological medium and/or engineered barriers) worldwide

RD&D programmes (national or international) on the implementation of repositories in clay formations and development of engineered clay barriers for radioactive waste confinement, including disposal design and safety assessment, lessons learned (state of scientific and technological knowledge) and priorities in RD&D in line with disposal development (including the role of underground research labs and pilot industrial phase).

Characterisation and modelling of undisturbed clay-based disposal systems


  • Topic 2: Geology, Hydrogeology and Hydro-geochemistry

Site characterisation (boreholes, seismic, geophysics, URLs), sedimentology, diagenesis, dating techniques, discontinuities in clay rocks, mineralogy, porosity, from nanoscale (microscale) to macroscale characterization of clay rocks and clay-based materials, large-scale 3D distribution/modelling of clay rock properties, Hydrogeology modelling (from initial state to long term – see topic 9), solid-fluid equilibrium, pore-water chemistry, isotope geochemistry, geochemical modelling including thermodynamics data, organic matter.

  • Topic 3: Fluid (Water, gas) transport and solute migration

Water, solute & gas transport processes (advection/dispersion, diffusion, sorption, coupled processes…), fully and partially saturated conditions, colloid-mediated transport, upscaling (nanoscale to macroscale – large scale) and modelling.

  • Topic 4: Hydro-mechanical properties

Geo-mechanical properties of clay rocks and clay-based materials, laboratory testing, long-term behaviour, damage/plasticity/time-dependent processes, large-scale (host rock and engineered barrier mass) geo-mechanical behaviour/processes in geological context, constitutive models.

Characterisation, conceptual understanding and modelling of disposal interaction processes with time


  • Topic 5: Hydro-mechanical and gas transport processes during the excavation, operational and post-closure phases

EDZ (Excavation Damaged Zone) characterisation and evolution over time, constitutive models (fractured medium to equivalent porous medium), self-sealing, relationship with excavation and support methods, effect of ventilation, interactions between clay host rocks and disposal components (clay-based seals and backfills) and between disposal components over time, gas transport in the EDZ, clay-based engineered barriers and at interfaces, including large-scale demonstration experiments and modelling.

  • Topic 6: Temperature-induced effects (Thermal-Hydraulic-Mechanical and Chemical coupled processes)

Thermally induced overpressure and damage, stress/strain/pressure paths due to thermal loading, including large-scale demonstration experiments, modelling and upscaling.

  • Topic 7: Chemical processes

Gas interactions, hydration-dehydration and swelling processes, alkaline perturbations, saline and organic plumes, iron-clay interactions, microbial processes, fully and partially saturated conditions, including large-scale demonstration experiments, modelling and up-scaling.

  • Topic 8: Fluid flow and radionuclide migration

Aqueous speciation, solubility, redox, interactions with clay minerals and organics, influence of chemical processes and coupled Thermal-Hydro-Mechanical-Chemical processes on radionuclides migration, modelling and up-scaling, in-situ experiments, mock-up, analogues.

  • Topic 9: Mechanical, geochemical and hydraulic impacts triggered by long-term external geodynamic processes (natural events such as climate evolution, erosion, seismic hazards…)

Climate evolution and seismic hazard modelling from short term to long term in the context of radioactive waste disposal, effect on large-scale mechanical, geochemical, hydraulic and transfer processes of clay host rock and/or clay based engineered barriers.

Disposal construction and operation, long-term performance and monitoring for clay-based disposal systems


  • Topic 10: Technological operations and performance assessment of components

Methods and materials for excavation, support, sealing and backfilling, assessment of long-term performance, including large-scale demonstration experiments and modelling.

  • Topic 11:   Monitoring (from initial state to post-closure period and from sensors to data management)

Monitoring strategy, monitoring concepts and monitoring of the evolution of disposal systems, RD&D on sensors for relevant processes, data mining/management, expert systems.

  • Topic 12:   Digitalisation/Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Knowledge Management

BIM (Building Information Modelling) in Geosciences within the field of radioactive waste geological disposal, GeoModeller, High-Performance Computing, High-Performance Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence, knowledge management.

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