Role of EURIDICE in geological disposal research


The Belgian RD&D programme on geological disposal is coordinated by ONDRAF/NIRAS. In this context, EURIDICE fulfils a specific RD&D role, as well as managing and communicating the knowledge and expertise acquired.


The PRACLAY project is central to EURIDICE’s research activities and contributes to the research on the safety and feasibility of geological disposal of high-level and/or long-lived waste. Specifically, this project focuses on:

  • the feasibility of building underground infrastructure in the Boom Clay on an industrial scale
  • the feasibility of the disposal concept for heat-emitting high-level waste
  • confirming and refining existing knowledge about the behaviour of the Boom Clay and the gallery lining

For this purpose, EURIDICE manages and operates the underground research laboratory known as HADES (High-Activity Disposal Experimental Site), which has been built in the heart of the Boom Clay formation, at a depth of 225 metres below the SCK•CEN site in Mol. The research performed in HADES is complemented by above-ground experiments.

In addition to its own experiments, EURIDICE supports the development, implementation and valorisation of other research projects and experiments concerning the disposal of radioactive waste. Using its expertise in instrumentation and monitoring, for example, EURIDICE is able to contribute to surface tests on the packaging for high-level waste, known as the supercontainer. It also helps develop and implement experiments conducted in HADES by SCK CEN’s Waste & Disposal expert group, which carries out a great deal of research there on behalf of ONDRAF/NIRAS.

Management of knowledge and expertise

Through its activities, EURIDICE has developed extensive expertise in excavation and construction technology, the thermo-hydro-mechanical behaviour of poorly indurated clay, and instrumentation and monitoring. It also ensures the continuity and transfer of this know-how.

The research has a strong international dimension. Collaboration with other research organisations leads to knowledge-sharing and encourages critical evaluation of RD&D programmes. It also helps support the development of a common European and international approach to the key issues of geological disposal of radioactive waste. A significant number of the research projects conducted are co-funded by the European Commission.


As manager of the underground laboratory, EURIDICE has an important part to play in informing interested parties about research on geological disposal of radioactive waste. The facility offers the ideal setting in which to explain the ongoing research in a clear and comprehensible way.