Information on the major subject "Repository Safety"
The "Repository Safety" major subject in the Master's degree program in Mineral Resources Engineering was launched in the winter semester 2022/23 - an important and promising field of study with very good career prospects.
Germany has phased out nuclear power generation. The challenge that nevertheless remains is to safely dispose of the radioactive waste resulting from operating and decommissioning nuclear power plants. For this purpose, Germany is envisaging final disposal of the generated radioactive waste in deep geological formations.
The safe final disposal of radioactive waste is one of the greatest challenges facing today's societies throughout the world. In Germany, this project is expected to take almost 100 years to be completed.
Final disposal projects in other countries are similarly complex, however, well-trained young professionals are lacking. Therefore, providing young, responsible scientists with excellent and comprehensive training in all aspects regarding final disposal is a matter of great importance and urgency, not only in Germany, but also on the international level.
For safety's sake...
The specialization "Repository Safety" is a further cornerstone of the master’s program in Mineral resources engineering. As an additional pillar, it complements purposefully the existing specializations "Mining" and "Recycling" and expands the topic of sustainable handling of raw materials and energy sources to include the aspect of protecting future generations from the harmful effects of ionizing radiation of radioactive waste.
The program is interdisciplinary, practice-oriented and international, all lectures are held in English. By integrating competencies in the natural sciences and engineering with socio-political concerns, the specialization provides graduates with comprehensive analytical, methodological, assessment and problem-solving skills that open up a very broad field of professional activity.Copyright: © FRE
Course of studies
The specialization is structured over 4 semesters. In the first two semesters, students learn the fundamentals of the field of final disposal, and in the second semester, they are introduced to additional topics from the disciplines of raw materials engineering and geosciences.
The 3rd semester offers a mobility window in which students can choose between spending a semester abroad, working on research projects, excursions, industrial internships or thematic lectures offered at the RWTH university in the scope of final disposal. This structure allows students to specialize according to their interests and to deepen their education in specific areas of their choice.
The 4th semester is reserved to complete both the master's thesis and a professional internship at institutions which are active within the field of final disposal.
On a national and international level, graduates of the specialization Repository Safety can be professionally active in the following fields of radioactive waste final disposal:
- Repository operators or commissioners (Waste Management Organizations), nationally: Bundesgesellschaft für Endlagerung (BGE), Gesellschaft für Zwischenlagerung (BGZ)
- Regulatory bodies, nationally: Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMUV), Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Disposal (BASE), Federal Office for Radiation Protection BfS)
- Technical Support Organisations (TSO), nationally: e.g. Gesellschaft für Anlagen- und Reaktorsicherheit (GRS), Öko-Institut, Institut für Geomechanik (IfG), various consulting institutions, e.g. Brenk Systemplanung Aachen
- Research institutions that are active in the field of final disposal (e.g. FZ Jülich, FZ Karlsruhe, FZ Rossendorf, Geoforschungszentrum Potsdam etc.)
- Supranational institutions working in the field of final disposal such as IAEA or OECDNEA
- Industry: container development, repository technology, monitoring, exploration and investigation
- Universities: in terms of conveying the knowledge in the field of disposal in the coming years, e.g. occupying new educational chairs in the future.
- Scientific media tools
Graduates of the Repository Safety specialization possess excellent chances to be employed in additional occupational fields due to their in-depth training both in mining engineering and geosciences.
Relevant Employers are for instance:
- Companies in the raw materials industry
- Energy storage operators
- Industrial companies involved in the planning, construction or operation of facilities for the disposal of chemical-toxic wastes
- Consulting firms in the field of waste management or water supply as well as those providing strategic advice in the political and socio-scientific context
- Companies and public institutions in the field of exploration and monitoring of geosystems.
- Regulatory and licensing authorities responsible in the above-mentioned fields of expertise
The new specialization Repository Safety is aimed at students with a bachelor's degree in natural resources engineering and geosciences as well as bachelor's graduates in physics, chemistry, biology, radiation protection, other engineering sciences.
All information is also available for download in our flyer.