BRGM-Andra, 20 years of partnership
In 1998 the collaboration between BRGM and Andra was formalised by the signing of their first partnership agreement. Twenty years later, the two organisations are once again renewing their collaboration with the common ambition of developing new fields of research, such as geophysics and data mining.
Geoscientific activities are a major issue in the nuclear power cycle (e.g. mineral extraction and the study of sites and their conservation). In 1998, BRGM and Andra formalised their collaboration with a partnership agreement. Since then, through the successive renewal of four-year partnership agreements, the two organisations have been collaborating on many scientific issues. Historically, the partnership first focused on the study of the mineralogy and water geochemistry of clay formations.
State-of-the-art R&D programmes to support research on major scientific topics
Since then, the range of scientific topics has broadened and allowed many advances to be made, particularly concerning: the diagenesis of clay formations; the experimental multi-scale characterisation of storage materials (clay or cementitious) and ttheir evolution over time and because of the disturbances they undergo; the collection, acquisition and collation of thermodynamic and thermokinetic data, a fundamental building block for quantifying chemical processes of interest; multi-scale modelling of reactive processes in materials, from a detailed understanding of physico-chemical process couplings at molecular scales to predictive calculations at the time and space scale of storage; and finally, the development of "chemical" storage monitoring methods.
In 2018, the two organisations signed a new partnership agreement extending their 20-year long scientific collaboration for another 4 years, with the aim of jointly developing research on other topics such as geophysics, information systems and data mining.
A collective success
This joint success, illustrated by more than 60 A-rank publications co-authored by BRGM and Andra, transcends intra- and inter-institutional barriers. The collaboration between the two scientific institutions is based on the complementarity of their respective missions. Andra develops Research and Development programmes in Earth sciences in order to prepare the application for authorisation of the Cigéo project, a geological storage project for highly active and averagely active long-life waste. BRGM, on the other hand, aims to improve knowledge in the field of geosciences. The objective is also to do more thorough research on the uses and resources of the subsurface, to assess the natural and anthropogenic risks that affect it, and to have an overview of the circular economy of georesources.