The research and development work presented in this paper was initialized by Andra in 2007. The work necessary for manufacturing and testing a full scale demonstrator is presently implemented. The case story is twofold. The first part is related to the initial development of a high performance concrete formulation used for fabricating concrete storage containers (containing Intermediate Level and Long Lived Waste primary canisters) to be stacked and emplaced into 400-m long concrete lined horizontal disposal vaults (also called cavern), excavated in the Callovo-Oxfordian clay host formation at a 550 to 600-m depth, with an inside diameter of approximately 8-m. The fabrication of the concrete boxes is illustrated. The second part presents the outcome at the end of the detailed design phase, for a system which is now being manufactured (for further test and assembly), for the emplacement of the concrete containers inside the vault. The application was engineered for remote emplacing a pile of 2 concrete containers (the containers are preliminarily stacked in a pile of 2, inside a hot cell, thanks to a ground travelling gantry crane). The emplacement process is justified and the related emplacement synoptic is illustrated. The test campaign is scheduled in 2011–2012. The successful completion of the technical trials is mandatory to confirm the mechanical feasibility of remotely emplacing concrete containers into large horizontal disposal caverns over long distances. The later display of the machinery at work in Andra’s showroom will be instrumental for the confidence building process involving the various stakeholders concerned by the public enquiry period (mid-2013) preceding the deep geological repository license application (2014–2015).

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