Our International Partnerships


    KOMPASS (Compaction of Crushed Salt for Safe Enclosure; English translation of German acronym) is a collaboration of German institutions and Sandia focusing on laboratory procedures and modeling of granular salt reconsolidation.

    Sandia National Laboratories is the US partner in the group, the German KOMPASS partners are: BGE of Peine (Bundesgesellshaft für Endlangerung Technology), IfG of Leipzig (Institute für Gebirgsmechanik), Technical University of Clausthal, GRS of Köln (Gesellschaft für Anglagen-und Reaktorsicherheit) and BGR of Hannover (Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe).


    RANGERS (Design and Integrity Guideline for Engineered Barrier Systems for a HLW Repository in Salt; English translation of German acronym) is a collaboration on engineered or geotechnical barriers (i.e., drift, borehole, and shaft seals) in salt repositories.  Sandia National Laboratories is the US partner and BGE TEC of Peine (Bundesgesellshaft für Endlangerung Technology) is the German partner.

    The main goals for RANGERS are:

    1. Compilation of existing knowledge and experience for the design and construction of geotechnical barriers and compilation of new concepts and technologies on the subject of geotechnical barriers.
    2. Development of a guideline based on the state of the art in science and technology for the design and verification of geotechnical barriers.
    3. Preliminary design and verification of the geotechnical barrier system for selected repository systems based on the developed guideline.
    4. Comparison of design results according to the new guideline with results of previous design and assessment.

    WEIMOS (Further Development and Qualification of the Rock Mechanical Modeling for the Final High-Level Waste Disposal in Rock Salt; English translation of German acronym) is an ongoing collaboration between several German institutions and Sandia on constitutive models used in geomechanical models of salt. The WEIMOS project includes investigation into the following activities

    1. Deformation behavior at small deviatoric stresses
    2. Temperature and stress dependence of damage reduction and healing
    3. Deformation behavior resulting from tensile stresses
    4. Influence of inhomogeneities (layer boundaries, interfaces) on deformation
    5. Virtual demonstrator

     Sandia National Laboratories is the US partner and the German WEIMOS partners are: Hampel Consulting of Mainz, IfG of Leipzig (Institute für Gebirgsmechanik), Leibniz University of Hannover, Technical University of Braunschweig, and Technical University of Clausthal.

  • US/German Workshop

    The US/German Workshop on Salt Repository Research, Design and Operations is an ongoing annual workshop jointly organized by Sandia National Laboratories, DBE TEC, and KIT-PTKA. This decade-long annual collaboration brings together researchers from numerous universities and institutions from the US (including DOE Office of Nuclear Energy, DOE Office of Environmental Management, Sandia National Laboratories, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board), Germany, The Netherlands, and The United Kingdom.

     Proceedings from previous workshops are available on the Sandia Energy Workshops website (2019, 2017, 2016, 2015)

  • NEA Salt Club

    The Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) is an agency within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental organisation of industrialised countries, based in Paris, France. The salt club (“Expert Group on Repositories in Rock Salt Formation”) is an organization under the Integration Group for the Safety Case (IGSC). This group has made connections among NEA member organizations and serves as a platform for publishing some works by member organizations on Features, Events, and Processes (FEPs) in salt repositories, Natural Analogues in salt, and Microbiological activity in salt.

     Sandia is a member of the Salt Club Steering Committee, along with DOE Office of Nuclear Energy. Beginning in 2021, Kris Kuhlman is the chair of the NEA Salt Club.


    The DEvelopment of COupled models and their VALidation against Experiments (DECOVALEX) project is an international research and model comparison collaboration, initiated in 1992, for advancing the understanding and modeling of coupled thermo-hydro-mechanical-chemical (THMC) processes in geological systems. The latest stage (2020-2023) of DECOVALEX includes the BATS field test as Task E.

    Sandia National Laboratories is leading Task E (the BATS test) and Task F (Performance assessment modeling for salt and crystalline repositories).