Jens BIRKHOLZER (Lawrence  Berkeley  National Laboratory, USA)

Michel CATHELINEAU (University of Lorraine, France)

Irina GAUS (Nagra, Switzerland)

Astrid GÖBEL (BGE, Germany)

Irena HANUSOVÁ (SURAO, Czech Republic)

Monique HOBBS (NWMO, Canada)

Shigeru KUBOTA (NUMO, Japan)

Lyesse LALOUI (Swiss  Federal  Institute  of Technology, EPFL, Lausanne)

Patrick LANDAIS (High Commissioner for Atomic Energy, France)

Mickaele LE RAVALEC (IFPEN, France)

Johanna LIPPMANN-PIPKE (BGR, Germany)

Xiaodong LIU (ECUT, China)

Erika NEEFT (COVRA, The Netherlands)


Christophe NUSSBAUM (Swisstopo, Switzerland)

Frédéric PLAS (ANDRA, France, Chair)

Patrick SELLIN (SKB, Sweden)

Jianfu SHAO (University of Lille, France)

Pierre TOULHOAT (France)

Christophe TOURNASSAT (University of Orléans France)

Frédéric VILLIERAS (University of Lorraine, France)

Maarten VAN GEET (ONDRAF/NIRAS, Belgium)

Meet The Scientific Committee

Jianfu Shao

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Irena Hanusovà

RNDr. Irena Hanusová, Ph.D

1996-2001 Charles University in Prague, 2001 - Doctoral degree (RNDr.) in Mineralogy and Crystallography

2001-2004 Charles University in Prague, 2004 - Ph.D. in Clay mineralogy and Geochemistry

2004-2012 Univ. Assistant at the Charles University in Prague, department of Geochemistry, Mineralogy and Mineral Resources (given lectures: mineralogy, clay mineralogy, gemmology, lab classes; research: mineralogy, clay mineralogy, gemmology)

Reviewing activities for Ceramics-Silikáty

2007-present Expert witness – Precious metals and gemstones

2012-present SÚRAO (Czech Radioactive waste Repository Authority) – Technical expert (field: clay mineralogy and geochemistry)

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Monique Hobbs

Monique has been involved in applied research within the Canadian nuclear waste management program for over 20 years.  She joined the Nuclear Waste Management Organization in 2011, and is currently responsible for managing the Geoscience Research & Development program.  Monique is a professional geoscientist and holds a Ph.D. in Hydrogeochemistry from the University of Waterloo, Canada.  She completed her postdoctoral studies with the Rock Water Interaction Group, University of Bern, Switzerland and was a senior research scientist with this group between 2009 and 2011.

  • Monique Hobbs
  • Irina Gaus

Shigeru Kubota

Mr Shigeru Kubota is director of Science and Technology Department of NUMO, Japan's implementor of geological disposal. His background is civil engineering and he is an expert of rock mechanics and seismic design, and has also expertize in design and construction of tunnel. Currently, he is in charge of leading repository design, and also is a committee member of domestic URL investigation.

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Jens Birkholzer

Jens Birkholzer is a senior scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where he serves as the Director for the Energy Geosciences Division. His research is related to evaluating the feasibility and environmental sustainability of subsurface energy applications, particularly the use of deep subsurface formations for the disposal of high-level radioactive waste and for the storage of CO2 for geologic carbon sequestration. Using a combination of numerical, theoretical, observational and experimental approaches, he focuses on the complex coupling between thermal-hydrological-mechanical and chemical processes activated by subsurface energy manipulations.

  • Jens Birkholzer

Michel Cathelineau

Michel Cathelineau is senior researcher at CNRS, France, at GeoRessources Lab. in Nancy (France), a research unit which pertains to the Geosciences labs from the Lorraine University.

He has a long experience in water rock interactions in natural and experimental systems, and has devoted a part of his time on the stability of clays (smectite in particular and chlorite stability and crystal-chemistry).

He participated to the  scientific animation of the programme around nuclear wastes (FORPRO, NEEDS programmes), and recently on the microporous media, a multidisciplinary national programme dealing with petrophysical, numerical and experimental project on the distribution of pores and fluid-gas transfers in low permeability rocks (MIPOR within the framework of the Needs programme).

  • Michel Cathelineau
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Irina Gaus

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  • Shigeru Kubota

Irina Gaus is head of research and development at Nagra, the Swiss implementer for the disposal of radioactive waste. Before joining Nagra in 2007 in the international department she took up responsibilities at the French Geological Survey (BRGM) and the British Geological Survey. She obtained her PhD in hydrogeology at the University of Ghent (Belgium) in 1998 where she also graduated as a geologist. Her technical expertise covers environmental applications of the shallow and deep subsurface (radioactive waste disposal, thermo-hydro-mechanical-chemical impacts, carbon storage, groundwater management).  She currently chairs the Implementing Geological Disposal of radioactive waste Technology Platform (

Lyesse Laloui

Patrick Landais

Mickaele Le Ravalec

  • Lyesse Laloui
  • Patrick Landais
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Mickaele Le Ravalec holds a PhD degree in Rock Physics from the University of Rennes (1995) and a HDR from the Louis Pasteur University of Strasbourg (2002). She joined IFPEN (formerly known as Institut français du pétrole) as a research engineer in 1997. Her main research interests are geomodeling with geostatistics and optimization. She was named IFPEN expert in 2010 before occupying the position of head of the Geology Department in 2014, then of the Georesources Department in 2016.

Dr. Lyesse Laloui is chaired professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, EPFL, Lausanne. He wrote and edited 12 books and published over 300 peer reviewed papers. He is the Editor in Chief of the International journal Geomechanics for Energy and the Environment.

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Johanna Lippmann-Pipke


Erika Neeft

Simon Norris

Johanna Lippmann-Pipke holds a Ph.D in physics and gained more than 20 years of scientific research experience at Heidelberg University, IAEA, Columbia University and two German Helmholtz Centers. Her expertise is crosscutting a broader range of disposal related topics from site characterization by means of isotope geochemistry, to reactive transport and rock characterization. She lead national and international projects with mainly experimental focus aiming at enhanced process understanding across scales – often by sharing interests with modelers in the respective fields. She now heads the subdepartment for Rock Characterization for Storage and Final Disposal at the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) at Hannover, Germany.


Christophe Nussbaum

  • Simon Norris

Erika Neeft started in 2010 at the waste management organisation COVRA as the technical coordinator of the third Dutch research programme into geological disposal of radioactive waste. She is a co-author of the initial Dutch safety case and is responsible for the safety case for disposal of waste in clay host rocks. She holds a MSc degree in Earth Sciences from Utrecht University and a PhD degree in reactor physics from Delft University of Technology.

  • Erika Neeft
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Frédéric Plas

I have worked for the UK Geological Disposal Facility implementing organisation, Radioactive Waste Management, for over 25 years. I lead geosphere and gas research areas of the RWM programme. As well as serving on the Scientific Committee for the Clays in Natural and Engineered Barriers for Radioactive Waste Confinement meeting since 2009, I also serve on the Geological Society of London’s Professional Committee, and additionally am a scrutineer of applications for Chartered Geologist status and Chartered Scientist status. Recent accredited publications include Geological Society Special Publication 482, “Multiple Roles of Clays in Radioactive Waste Confinement” (based on the Davos “Clays” meeting in 2017), and have co-authored a number of academic papers in e.g. Geophysical Research Letters, Clay Minerals and Applied Clay Science.

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Patrik Sellin

Patrik Sellin has a background in civil engineering and is currently coordinator for the R&D and safety assessments for the long-term performance of Buffer and Backfill Materials at the department for Safety and Science, Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (SKB). He has been with the company for almost 30 years. Key responsibilities have been the long term performance of clay engineered barriers. Currently, he is involved with the license application for the repository for nuclear fuel in Forsmark, Sweden.

Frédéric PLAS holds an engineer degree and a higher education diploma in mechanics and hydraulics from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure of Applied Geology of Nancy. Mr. Plas began his career in the 1980s at the CEA in a research laboratory on radioactive waste, before joining Andra in the 1990s. At Andra, he participated in research programs on engineered materials and the integration of scientific knowledge for the design and evaluation of disposal safety, his first involvement with the geological disposal project (later known as Cigéo).

Director of the Research and Development Division of Andra since 2013, he is in charge of Andra's scientific research program, in liaison with French research organizations, and especially with the CEA. With over one hundred staff, the Division takes advantage of its remarkable research tools, like the Underground Research Laboratory (URL) and the Observatoire Perenne de l'Environnement (OPE) (long-term environment observatory) in Meuse / Haute Marne.

Christophe Nussbaum is a senior scientist in geosciences and holds a PhD in structural geology since 2000. He started his career as engineer geologist for the construction of the Löstchberg base tunnel (Swiss Alps). In 2005, he officially joined the Mont Terri Project as Project Manager, after some previous research mandates. Today, he is employed by the Swiss Geological Survey at Swisstopo, where he is the Director of the Mont Terri Underground Rock Laboratory. For the past two decades, he has been involved in numerous research projects related to high-level radioactive waste disposal and CO2 storage for geological carbon sequestration in shale. Since 2015, he is also a lecturer in geo-energy for master students in civil engineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, EPFL, Lausanne.

Patrick Landais is an engineer in geosciences and holds a doctorate in geochemistry.

After working for Elf-Aquitaine and Cogema, he joined the CNRS in 1987 as a research fellow and became Research Director in 1991. Between 1997 and 2001, he led the research unit "Geology and Management of Mineral and Energy resources” in Nancy before joining Andra, the French national agency for radioactive waste management, as Scientific Director and R&D Director. In 2005, he became member of the management board of the CNRS then went back to Andra in 2006 before becoming Scientific Director of the French geological survey in 2013. In 2016 he returned to Andra as Chief Technology Officer before becoming in 2019 High Commissioner for Atomic Energy (CEA).

During his career, Patrick Landais has developed an expertise in mineral and energy resources as well as on different issues such as oil and environmental geochemistry and radioactive waste management. He has published one hundred scientific articles. He received in 2013 the Grand Prix Dolomieu of the French Academy of Sciences for his studies on the feasibility of geological disposal.

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  • Frédéric Plas
  • Patrik Sellin

Jianfu Shao

Jianfu SHAO is currently a distinguished Professor and leading a geomechanics group at University of Lille. He has developed a series of theoretical, experimental and numerical studies on various topics of geomechanics including thermo-hydromechanical behaviors of clayey rocks. He has published more than 200 papers in peer-reviewed journals. He is an associated editor of two top international journals and an editorial board member of three other top international journals.

  • Jianfu Shao
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Pierre Toulhoat

Pierre Toulhoat is a graduate of the École Normale Supérieure. After his studies in geochemistry and petrology, he completed a PhD thesis on the origin of fluids in the tungsten skarn mineralisations of the Pyrenees. He then worked on a State doctoral thesis with the CEA on the hydrogeochemistry of uranium. His career at the CEA continued with the development of new scientific knowledge on processes involved in the confinement of radionuclides and nuclear waste storage. In parallel, he pursued his work on analytical chemistry for environmental studies. This led him to establish, in 1996, a combined research unit (UMR) at the University of Evry and to set up, in 2002, the Analytical Sciences Institute project in Lyon, which he directed until 2012. In 2005, he became the scientific director of Ineris, the French national institute for industrial environments and risks. He was an Associate Professor at the University of Lyon 1 until 2016, when he joined the BRGM as deputy managing director and scientific director until the end of 2020.

Pierre Toulhoat is a member of the National Academy of Technologies of France and chairs the scientific committee of the French National Agency for Radioactive Waste Management (Andra).

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Christophe Tournassat

Christophe Tournassat is a Professor at the University of Orléans, France, where he leads the group working on “Continental Biogeosystems” at the Institut des Sciences de la Terre d’Orléans (ISTO). He is also currently a Visiting Faculty in the Energy Geosciences Division, Earth and Environmental Sciences Area at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. Christophe Tournassat holds B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Earth Sciences from the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, France, a Ph.D. in Environmental Geochemistry from the University of Grenoble, France, and an "Habilitation à diriger des recherches" in Geology from the University of Nantes, France. His scientific interest covers a range of topics from thermodynamics and kinetics of low temperature water/solutes/rock interactions to multi-scale numerical modeling of retention and transfer processes in geological media. He co-develops, with Carl Steefel, the code CrunchClay, which can simulate coupled non-Fickian/non-Darcian transport together with reactive processes in nanoporous media. Christophe Tournassat is associate editor of Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, and is member of the editorial board of Applied Clay science.

  • Christophe Tournassat
  • Pierre Toulhoat
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Maarten Van Geet

Maarten Van Geet holds a PhD in Geology from the KULeuven, Belgium. Since 2001 he is involved in the research on geological disposal of radioactive waste. First he worked at the Belgian Research Centre for Nuclear Energy (SCK-CEN) where he performed studies on geochemistry and geomechanical characterization of Boom Clay as potential host rock in Belgium and on the use of bentonite as sealing material. He was also involved in several projects in the underground research laboratory HADES, a joint venture between SCK-CEN and ONDRAF/NIRAS. For about 12 years, he works at Belgian Waste Management Agency, ONDRAF/NIRAS, where he manages the Belgian RD&D programme on radioactive waste management. This includes the scientific, technical and safety assessment studies for geological disposal, but also other RD&D projects concerning surface disposal and several pre-disposal aspects, like conditioning, re-conditioning, characterization, etc.

  • Maarten Van Geet