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Geological disposal involves isolating radioactive waste deep underground, inside a suitable rock volume to ensure that no harmful quantities of radioactivity ever reach the surface environment.

During the 1990s GeoScience was part of several technical teams carrying out deep site investigations for UK Nirex at Sellafield and Dounreay, aimed at finding suitable locations for a geological disposal facility.

Several of the staff involved in those programmes are still with the company.

We were subsurface specialists for the Gibb Deep Geology Group which designed, planned, drilled and tested more than 20 deep boreholes at Sellafield and Dounreay. We were responsible for well designs, drilling supervision, geophysical logging, well testing, geological interpretation and geochemistry.

Senior staff were also part of the UK Nirex interpretation teams.

We created and led the GIGA joint venture which successfully bid for the contract to design and implement scientific monitoring, measurement and testing during the shaft sinking for the proposed Rock Characterisation Facility planned at Sellafield. This work ended in 1997 when planning permission for the RCF was refused.

We are able to offer experience and expertise to support deep site investigations in a number of ways.




  • Engineering design

  • Equipment specification

  • Progress review, optimisation and operational ‘trouble-shooting’

  • In situ stress determinations

  • Borehole rock mechanics for drilling engineering support

  • Underbalanced drilling and open hole completion assessments

  • Rock mass properties

  • Coupled stress-structure interactions

  • Wellsite services

  • Fault and fracture mapping

  • Geophysical log analysis and interpretation

  • Remote sensing

  • Conceptual modelling and interpretation

Project Management, review and due diligence
  • Programme review and strategic planning

  • Preparation of designs and plans

  • Data management

  • Site supervision and quality control

Hydrological Testing
  • Test designs and supervision

  • Integration and measurements with sampling and logging

  • Equipment and services procurement

  • Production logging

  • Evaluation of test results in fractured and low permeability rock

  • Regional and structural geology

  • Rock mass properties

  • In situ stress

  • Geological controls on flow

  • Characterisation of fractured formations

  • In situ hydraulic conditions

  • Input to safety assessment models

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