Name of the facility, web page, ownership and contact person

Äspö Hard Rock Laboratory (Äspö HRL) is a research facility where much of the research about the Swedish final repository for spent nuclear fuel is taking place. More facts about the facility is found on this web page.

Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Co (SKB) owns the Äspö HRL. Contact person is Mats Ohlsson, Coordinator external relations

Geographical location, size and depth of the facility

57° 25’ 59.4” North / 16° 39’ 35.4” East
Äspö HRL is located in the Simpevarp area in the municipality of Oskarshamn in Sweden. The island Äspö is located 30 km north of the centre of Oskarshamn and close to the nuclear power plants, see Figure 1 a. The underground part of the laboratory consists of a main access tunnel from the Simpevarp peninsula to the southern part of the island Äspö where the tunnel continues in a spiral down to a depth of 460 m. The depth of Äspö HRL is 0-460 m. Most of the experiments and full-scale demonstration tests are carried out at the 420 and 450 m levels.

Major rock type(s)

The two dominant crystalline rock types on Äspö island are Äspö diorite (quartz monzodiorite to granodiorite, porphyritic) and Ävrö granodiorite (granite to quartz monzodiorite, generally porphyritic). The age of these quartz monzodiorites, granodiorites, granites, are in the order of 1.8 G years. Important subordinate rock types are dykes, veins, patches and minor bodies of fine-grained granite, pegmatite and composite intrusions.

Original purpose, current use and future plans

The Äspö HRL was constructed for the test, design and construction of a deep geological repository for the final disposal of the Swedish spent nuclear fuel and is in operation since 1995. The current use is for different methodological and technical development for final disposal of spent nuclear fuel in combination with the new use for projects such as environmental, geotechnics, geo-energy, material science and various technical development projects. The aim is to turn the facility over to future research and development stakeholders.


The island Äspö can be reached by car from Stockholm within 4 hours. The distance between Stockholm and Äspö is 340 km. The nearest regional airport is located in Kalmar and can be reached from Stockholm Arlanda airport within 1 hour. The travel time by car between Kalmar Airport and Äspö is 75 minutes (100 km). Kalmar can also be reached by train from Copenhagen airport in Denmark within 4 hours.

Overall data availability

All data from SKB’s investigations and research activities are stored in SKB’s Site Characterization Database (SICADA). The data in the database are available for researchers using Äspö HRL for ongoing or planned research activities at the site. The database contains more than 400 million observations.

Specialised knowledge, services

Specialised knowledge in geology, hydrogeology, geochemistry, groundwater chemistry, geophysics, rock mechanics, rock engineering, clay materials and especially swelling clays etc. Scientific and technical experts available at the site or in different networks. Organisation for guiding, planning and starting external projects including experimental services ranging from drilling and measurements to construction of prototypes.