Within the ELSA project generic design concepts for shaft seals in salt and clay host rocks are developed that comply with the requirements for a repository for HLW (BMU, 2010) and to carry out necessary preparatory work. Currently the design basis for the ELSA experiment is based on

  • the current shaft seal design developed during the VSG-project “preliminary safety analysis of the Gorleben site” (Müller-Hoeppe et al., 2012)
  • a research project performed by the Technical University of Freiberg where specific shaft sealing elements have been developed, suitable materials been selected, and a practical solution for implementation has been developed (Kudla et al., 2009),
  • and the results of the first phase of the ELSA project where requirements for shaft seals have been documented and an example is given how to demonstrate the integrity of specific seal components (Kudla et al., 2013, Jobmann, 2013, Herold & Müller-Hoeppe, 2013)


The actual experiment design planned for ELSA-Phase-III will have to be adapted to the geological and geometrical conditions to be found at the actual testing site which has not yet been decided. Currently, it is not intended to seal a complete shaft but to only test prototypes of the different sealing elements on a large scale.


Available documents 

BMU (2010).  Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety: Safety Requirements Governing the Final Disposal of Heat-Generating Radioactive Waste. Version of Sept., 30. 2010. Safety requirements BMU 2010 (pdf) (247.7 KB)

Herold, P. & Müller-Hoeppe, N. (2013). Safety demonstration and verification concept - Principle and application examples - Technical Report, translated extraction from (Kudla et al. 2013), DBE TECHNOLOGY GmbH, Peine. Safety demonstration for shaft sealing elements Germany (pdf) (950.5 KB)

Jobmann, M. (2013).  Requirements for shaft seals for HLW repositories in Germany, Technical Report, translated extraction from (Kudla et al. 2013), DBE TECHNOLOGY, Peine. Requirements shaft-sealing Germany (pdf) (558.4 KB)

Kudla, W., Schreiter, F., Gruner, M., Jobmann, M., Bollingerfehr, W., Müller-Hoeppe, N., Herold, P., Freyer, D., Wilsnack, T., Grafe, F. (2013).  Shaft sealing for HLW repositories, ELSA-Phase-I, Technical Report, Techn. Univ. Freiberg and DBE TECHNOLOGY, Freiberg and Peine (in German).

Kudla, W., Dahlhaus, F., Glaubach, U., Gruner, M., Haucke, J., Hofmann, M., Wasowiecz, B. (2009). Diverse and redundant sealing elements for long-term stable sealing constructions, Techn. Univ. Freiberg, Institut für Bergbau und Spezialtiefbau, Freiberg (in German).

Müller-Hoeppe, N.; Engelhardt, H.-J.; Lerch, C.; Linkamp, M.; Buhmann, D.; Czaikowski, O.; Herbert, H.-J.; Wieczorek, K.; Xie, M. (2012). Integrity of geotechnical barriers, part 1: Pre-analysis, Technical Report WP9, Preliminary safety analysis of the Gorleben site (VSG), GRS-287, Gesellschaft für Anlagen- und Reaktorsicherheit, Köln (in German).