Clay Barriers and Backfills

AINS Group are the leading experts on clay barriers and backfill solutions used in geological disposal. We will help to show the safety of the solutions and to determine the optimal engineered structures and materials along with their supply chains as part of nuclear waste disposal.


The safety of nuclear waste disposal is based on mutually complementary barriers, which retard and limit the release of radioactive substances. 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 and most economical materials and structures, which will isolate the radioactive substances from the environment and limit the transport of substances detrimental to the waste containers.

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

Clay materials as barriers

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

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, backfill and buffer bentonite and their various structures and behaviour 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 flows, transport of substances and mechanical behaviour. We also carry out experimental laboratory and field studies in order to investigate the processes occurring in disposal structures or facilities. We report the results and take care of presenting them.

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 determine quality assurance methods and processes.

Material management has 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 of the alternatives, the supply chains and their risks.


We act as your design partner also in ensuring the quality and feasibility of material handling and performance .


  • 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

Sirpa Kumpulainen
Sirpa Kumpulainen

senior specialist, nuclear waste management
+358 44 421 1209

Teemu Laurila
Teemu Laurila

unit director, nuclear waste management
+358 44 421 1210

Our references

Posiva SNF Disposal Facility, Olkiluoto, Finland
Posiva SNF Disposal Facility, Olkiluoto, Finland
Deep Geological Repository, DGR, Czech Republic
Deep Geological Repository, DGR, Czech Republic
Canada HLW Repository, Canada
Canada HLW Repository, Canada

Other services

Nuclear Waste Repository Technology
Nuclear Waste Repository Technology

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