After close monitoring of the global risk assessment by the World Health Organization of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Organising Committee of the Clay Conference Nancy 2020 estimated that the pandemic was unlikely to be fully under control at the scheduled time of the conference. Probability is high that the pandemic will still have consequences in terms of public health and administrative and political authorizations at the beginning of June.

Bearing in mind not only the health and welfare of our participants and of the host community but also the social events ban in France and the travel restrictions that are impacting our colleagues' ability to attend to the Clay Conference 2020, the Organising Committee, in agreement with the Scientific Committee, decided to postpone the 8th Clay Conference to June 14th-17th, 2021.

We are sincerely sorry to have to take this exceptional decision forced on us by the context of this health crisis. Be assured that all considerations are been taken into account to lessen any inconvenience due to this report. For any question regarding this report, you can contact us at

Thanking you for your understanding, your involvement and your participation in the success of our Clay Conference, we look forward to meeting you next year in Nancy during our Clay Conference Nancy 2021.

Stay safe and healthy in the meantime.

The Clay Conference Organising Committee


Dear partners and colleagues,

Dear participants in the Clay Conference 2020,


On behalf of the Scientific Committee as well as Andra, we are pleased to invite you to Nancy, France, to participate in the 8th International Conference on Clays in Natural and Engineered Barriers for Radioactive Waste Confinement, to be held from 8-11 June 2020.

In a number of countries, clays are being considered as the potential host rock for geological disposal of radioactive waste. Also, the use of compacted swelling clays as an engineered barrier component is envisioned within the multi-barrier concept in a wider range of host rocks, such as bentonite-based backfill material for different rock options or repurposed clay rock material especially for clay host rocks.

The current world situation with regard to geological disposal now includes countries such as Finland, where a geological repository facility (‘repository’) is under construction; Sweden and France, where geological repository projects are well advanced (site selection, licensing application process); countries such as China, where underground research laboratories are being constructed, and countries such as the UK, Germany and Japan that each now have a structured siting strategy.

Multidisciplinary approaches covering geology, mineralogy, geochemistry, rheology and the geo-mechanics of clays and clay rocks are required in order to ensure detailed characterisation of geological host formations and surrounding geology and of their confinement properties. These must also assess the behaviour of engineered and natural barriers with time, from the repository operational phase to post-closure phase in the long term, when subjected to various types of perturbations induced by the construction, operation and evolution of such disposal facilities, including natural events.

Due to the timeframes of such projects and programmes, the scientific and technical knowledge require sharing, adequate Human Capacity Building and in depth Knowledge Management.

The Clay Conference, which is being held for the 8th time since 2002, has established itself as an ideal forum for presenting recent developments in repository design and construction, and the main findings of research - both at the national and international level -  in the context of long term safety assessments. Considering design, construction, operation and post-closure, the Conference provides a unique networking platform for sharing scientific and technological knowledge. This involves gathering together experienced specialists and newcomers from various disciplines related to clays, as well as scientists and technicians from organisations engaged in radioactive waste disposal or in other uses of the subsurface in which clay barriers play an important role.

The programme will feature a balanced mix of high-level keynote speeches, concurrent oral sessions and poster presentations, with ample time for informal contacts and lively discussions. It will cover a wide range of topics related to natural argillaceous geological barriers and clay-based engineered barrier systems, including laboratory experiments on clay samples, in situ experiments in underground research laboratories, mock-up demonstrations, natural analogues, numerical modelling, system integration approaches and monitoring.

The programme will emphasize the work of young research students and young members of organizations involved in radwaste management.

The conference is organised by Andra (France), in cooperation with Nagra (Switzerland), COVRA (The Netherlands), NUMO (Japan), NWMO (Canada), ONDRAF/NIRAS (Belgium), PURAM (Hungary), RWM (United Kingdom), SKB (Sweden), SURAO (Czech Republic), US DOE (USA), East China University of Technology (China), BGE/BGR (Deutschland) and Enresa (Spain).

Known for its World Heritage buildings at the Place Stanislas, Nancy hosts many historic buildings, constructed from the Middle Ages to the 18th century, and has become a major centre for Art Nouveau in the 20th century. Its architectural wealth is the background of the second largest development hub in the Grand Est region, focused on innovation and the knowledge economy. 


Looking forward to meeting you in Nancy in 2020!


The organizing committee


January 2021

March 2021

June 14-17 2021

Registration opening

Conference programme

Clay Conference


If the location map does not appear automatically, please click on the following link: Clay Conference 2021 - Google map

Co-organized by

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In collaboration with

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