Clay Barriers and Backfills

AINS Group are the leading experts on research, developing, testing and technical designing of clay barriers and tunnel backfill solutions used in geological disposal of nuclear waste. We will help to show the performance and safety of the clay solutions and to determine the optimal engineered structures and materials along with their supply chains.


The safety of nuclear waste disposal is based on mutually complementary barriers, which retard and limit the release of radioactive substances into nature. Bedrock forms the natural barrier, and the waste containers are separated from it by bentonite clay.

Our experience in the research of clay barriers and tunnel backfills helps to determine the safest, best performing, and most economical materials and structures, which will isolate the radioactive substances from the environment and limit the transport of harmful substances.

We also act as your expert partner on material management and procurement in all planning and operational stages of nuclear waste disposal.

Clay materials as barriers

Engineered barriers are designed as mutually complementary, so that a deficiency in one barrier or change in environmental conditions predicted for future does not jeopardise the safety of the disposal solution even in the long term. Read more: Long-term safety of disposal

The requirements set for the engineered barriers depend on the activity of the waste to be disposed and the conditions at the disposal site.

Our experts are specialised in clay materials, especially backfill bentonite and their various engineered structures as part of the disposal solution.

Performance of barriers

Long-term safety of the solution is ensured by reliable research. We test and model the evolution of temperature, water migration, transport of substances and mechanical behaviour of clay structures.

We also carry out experimental laboratory and field studies cost-efficiently, time-saving, and with carefully pre-determined assumptions in order to investigate the processes occurring in disposal structures or facilities. We report and analyse the results and take care of presenting them. Read more: Laboratory services

Management of materials and material data

Knowledge of material properties and property variation is a basis for understanding the behaviour of materials. We determine material properties, develop their investigation methods and help to determine quality assurance methods and processes for your requirements.

Clay materials have also a great impact on the costs of disposal. We help to identify the most optimal materials, to develop material supply chains, and to estimate the risks related to procurement and production lines.

Our experts, as part of your expert team, ensure that the disposal solution will fulfill the regulatory requirements. Read more: 
Nuclear waste repository technology 


We help to identify the best available material and structural solution to ensure long-term safety.


We also estimate the costs for the materials and structural alternatives, the supply chains and their risks.


We act as your design partner in ensuring the quality and feasibility of materials and material performance also during operational period.


  • We rely on decades of experience and our wide measurement and modelling portfolio.
  • Our experts work in a multi-disciplinary and international network of experts.

  • The reliability of research and design is based on high-quality knowledge management, certified quality standards and traceable processes.

For more information

Our references

Other services

Nuclear Waste Repository Technology
Nuclear Waste Repository Technology

Long-Term Safety of Disposal
Long-Term Safety of Disposal

Laboratory services
Laboratory services