Turning the Konrad Mineshaft into a Safe Repository for Nuclear Waste

Turning the Konrad Mineshaft into a Safe Repository for Nuclear Waste
Federal company for radioactive waste disposal mbH ​Salzgitter, Germany
The Konrad mine is an abandoned iron ore mine in Salzgitter which, in 2007, was converted into the first repository for radioactive waste in Germany. It took 32 years from the first explorations of the mine in 1975 to the confirmed plan approval decision.

The former Konrad iron ore mine is located near Salzgitter, Lower Saxony, in Germany. After iron ore extraction ceased in 1976, experts studied the former pit’s geological suitability as a repository for low to intermediate-level radioactive waste. An approval procedure followed, which took years to complete before the pit could be converted into a repository. The current mine consists of six levels at around a hundred metres vertical distance from one another at depths ranging from 800 to 1,300 m.

depth of work
tunnel diameter
avg. anchor density

Our expertise in shaft construc­tion, numerics and structural engineering earned us the job of planning, 3D numerical calculation and geological consul­ta­tion in the underground parts of the mine crucial to the project – storage location, workshops, backfill processing and transport routes.

The greatest challenge is the intersection of tunnelling and mining. The planning required an advanced 3D numeric, 3D drawing work with navigation capabilities and a load-bearing system with rehabilitation freedom.
Jana Heymann, Division manager

Tunnelling and shoring work has begun in 2012. This involves first preparing the infra­struc­ture required for trans­port­ing and storing of radioactive waste containers at depths of 850 m on level 2. The existing shaft 2, at a depth of around 998 m, was remediated and an existing cross-cut near the second level was developed into a new storage location. This creates a 12.5 m cross-section, and existing spaces next to the pit are to be subse­quently extended. In addition, the repository will require new transport routes and spaces to be excavated for the workshop complex and backfill processing. The excavation work will be carried out mechan­i­cally while minimising inter­fer­ence with the mountain structure. 

In the long term, up to 303,000 m³ of radioactive waste with negligible heat generation are to be stored in the Konrad repository.

Whoever does what he already can, always remains what he already is. [Henry Ford]
Project Details

Did you know? 

The Konrad mine was named after Konrad Ende, the former Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Salzgitter AG. The Konrad 1 well stands as a landmark under monument protection.

Heilige Barbara Schacht Konrad St. Barbara, the local patron           saint of miners
Website Repository Konrad
Here you find more information on Konrad as well as a video and latest news.
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CDM Smith has extensive experience in multi-dimensional finite element calculations in tunnel and shaft construction.
Sven Möller
Numerics Expert
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