The proposed NGL open research database would be an user-friendly online database that provides access to relevant parts of a set of more than 400 million observations collected as part of nuclear waste storage research in the Äspö-Simpevarp-Laxemar area. There are essential scientific needs across multiple disciplines for field observation-experimentation and long-term monitoring data that can be used for characterization, process understanding, temporal evolution understanding and synthesis of linked terrestrial ecological-limnological, hydrological-hydrogeological, geological, geochemical, biogeochemical and engineered systems, along with adjacent and interacting coastal-marine systems. Such data are rare worldwide, and even more rare is that they are organized, linked and openly provided in open-access databases.
More than 400 million observations have been obtained during more than 25 years of research related to nuclear waste handling and repository in the Äspö Hard Rock Laboratory (HRL) and surrounding surface-subsurface and coastal geosystems, ecosystems and engineered systems, and stored in the industrial (SKB) database SICADA. The proposed open-access and user-supporting NGL database would be world-unique in compiling, analyzing for scientific relevance and applicability, and providing and supporting open access use to relevant SICADA data, in addition to new such data obtained from continued research work in the still open and active physical infrastructure of Äspö HRL with surrounding surface-subsurface and coastal geosystems and ecosystems and associated human and engineered systems.
The figure shows an example of an open online database similar to the proposed NGL database. This example (Arctic-RIMS), which provides access to other previously inaccessible hydrological data in a similar way as the proposed NGL database, enabled a large expansion of the research area and facilitated a number of high-impact publications over the last decade (e.g., Peterson et al., Science 2002; 2006; McClelland et al., Geophysical Research Letters 2006; Raymond et al., Global Biogeochemical Cycles 2007; Rawlins et al., Environmental Research Letters 2009).