A convincing safety case is a prerequisite for positive decisions in the stepwise process of planning and implementing a deep geological repository. In addition to evaluations of dose or risk, a safety case must provide arguments that the system and its safety functions are well understood, that the methods, models and data used in the evaluations are applicable, and have been correctly applied, and that the full spectrum of possibilities for the characteristics of the repository system and its evolution has been taken into account in defining the cases to be evaluated. This paper takes examples from the Swiss waste management programme and from natural analogue studies to illustrate how the safety functions for a repository are taken into account in a safety assessment and how independent evidence can be used to support the statement that these safety functions will operate as expected.

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