Crystalline rocks, particularly granitic rocks and basalts, are one of the principal rock types under consideration as a potential host rock for a high-level radioactive waste repository. Permeability in such rocks is related to discontinuities of various scales, and the quantification and prediction of groundwater flow within both the fractures and the intact rock between the fractures is the major goal of field experiments. The Canadian Underground Research Laboratory is unique in that the hydrogeological conditions within a large volume of rock surrounding the experimental shaft are being monitored before, during and after excavation and the results compared with model predictions. In Switzerland twelve deep boreholes are being drilled to over 1000 m to investigate crystalline basement rocks beneath a cover of sediments. The Stripa Mine in Sweden has hosted a major experimental programme including heater tests to stimulate the thermal effect of radioactive waste and hydrogeological tests at various scales down to individual fractures. The United States of America, the United Kingdom, France and Finland have also embarked on major experimental programmes. Continuing research is needed, with an emphasis on field experiments and research in underground rooms, to provide the data on which detailed risk assessments can be based.