Underground Research and Energy in Swiss Alps

This excursion is sold out

Departure: ETH Zurich, 8.00

Return: ETH Zurich, ca. 19.00

Lunch break: from ca. 12.30 to 13.45 at the Alpine Hotel Grimsel Hospiz

Number of participants: Minimum 10, maximum 22

Recommendations: Sturdy and water-resistant shoes, rain protection and warm clothes. The temperature in the underground galleries of the rock laboratory is at 13-14 °C (57 °F) throughout the year. The visit in the rock galleries involves walking or standing for about 2 hours, with no opportunities for sitting.

Cost: 150.- Swiss Francs/person (transport, 3-course vegetarian lunch with water, snack bag, 2 guided tours)

Organizers: Ruben Kretzschmar and Iso Christl (ETH Zurich)

Electrical power has become essential for modern human societies. In Switzerland, the power consumption is mainly covered by hydropower (58 %) and nuclear power (36 %). This excursion will focus on technical aspects of power production as well as on research concerning deep geological disposal of radioactive waste. Your day will be surrounded by the beautiful scenery of Grimsel, an alpine landscape in Central Switzerland formed by granitic rocks.

In the morning, you will visit the hydropower station “Grimsel 2” at Gerstenegg. The tour guide will show you how hydropower is generated deep inside the mountains and you will have the opportunity to view a crystal vug in the granitic Aar massif. Afterwards, a three-course vegetarian lunch will be served in the nearby historic alpine hotel Grimsel Hospiz, located at Lake Grimsel.

After lunch, you will visit the Grimsel Test Site, an underground rock laboratory operated by Nagra, the Swiss National cooperative for the disposal of radioactive waste. The location of this laboratory is unique, 450 meters below Juchlistock mountain and 1730 meters above sea level. The guided tour through the galleries of the underground rock laboratory will provide insights into the research on deep geological disposal of radioactive waste in crystalline host rocks investigated at this location by Swiss and international researchers.

Lake Oberaar (© picture: KWO, photo: Rolf Neeser)

Gallery Gerstenegg (© picture: KWO, photo: Luca Zanier)

Historic Alpine Hotel Grimsel Hospiz (© picture: KWO, photo: THE FOTOSTUDIO.CH)