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Title: Salt Disposal Investigations to Study Thermally Hot Radioactive Waste In A Deep Geologic Repository in Bedded Rock Salt - 12488

Abstract

A research program is proposed to investigate the behavior of salt when subjected to thermal loads like those that would be present in a high-level waste repository. This research would build upon results of decades of previous salt repository program efforts in the US and Germany and the successful licensing and operation of a repository in salt for disposal of defense transuranic waste. The proposal includes a combination of laboratory-scale investigations, numerical simulations conducted to develop validated models that could be used for future repository design and safety case development, and a thermal field test in an underground salt formation with a configuration that replicates a small portion of a conceptual repository design. Laboratory tests are proposed to measure salt and brine properties across and beyond the range of possible repository conditions. Coupled numerical models will seek to describe phenomenology (thermal, mechanical, and hydrological) observed in the laboratory tests. Finally, the field test will investigate many phenomena that have been variously cited as potential issues for disposal of thermally hot waste in salt, including buoyancy effects and migration of pre-existing trapped brine up the thermal gradient (including vapor phase migration). These studies are proposed to be coordinated and managed bymore » the Carlsbad Field Office of DOE, which is also responsible for the operation of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) within the Office of Environmental Management. The field test portion of the proposed research would be conducted in experimental areas of the WIPP underground, far from disposal operations. It is believed that such tests may be accomplished using the existing infrastructure of the WIPP repository at a lower cost than if such research were conducted at a commercial salt mine at another location. The phased field test is proposed to be performed over almost a decade, including instrumentation development, several years of measurements during heating and then subsequent cooling periods, and the eventual forensic mining back of the test bed to determine the multi-year behavior of the simulated waste/rock environment. Funding possibilities are described, and prospects for near term start-up are discussed. Mining of the access drifts required to create the test area in the WIPP underground began in November 2011. Because this mining uses existing WIPP infrastructure and labor, it is estimated to take about two years to complete the access drifts. WIPP disposal operations and facility maintenance activities will take priority over the SDI field test area mining. Funding of the SDI proposal was still being considered by DOE's Offices of Environmental Management and Nuclear Energy at the time this paper was written, so no specific estimates of the progress in 2012 have been included. (authors)« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2]
  1. DOE, Carlsbad Field Office, Carlsbad NM (United States)
  2. DOE, Office of Environmental Management, Washington DC (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
WM Symposia, 1628 E. Southern Avenue, Suite 9-332, Tempe, AZ 85282 (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
22293709
Report Number(s):
INIS-US-14-WM-12488
TRN: US14V1365115233
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: WM2012: Waste Management 2012 conference on improving the future in waste management, Phoenix, AZ (United States), 26 Feb - 1 Mar 2012; Other Information: Country of input: France; 4 refs.
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES, AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; 58 GEOSCIENCES; ALPHA-BEARING WASTES; COMPUTERIZED SIMULATION; FIELD TESTS; HIGH-LEVEL RADIOACTIVE WASTES; SAFETY; WIPP

Citation Formats

Nelson, Roger A., and Buschman, Nancy. Salt Disposal Investigations to Study Thermally Hot Radioactive Waste In A Deep Geologic Repository in Bedded Rock Salt - 12488. United States: N. p., 2012. Web.
Nelson, Roger A., & Buschman, Nancy. Salt Disposal Investigations to Study Thermally Hot Radioactive Waste In A Deep Geologic Repository in Bedded Rock Salt - 12488. United States.
Nelson, Roger A., and Buschman, Nancy. Sun . "Salt Disposal Investigations to Study Thermally Hot Radioactive Waste In A Deep Geologic Repository in Bedded Rock Salt - 12488". United States.
@article{osti_22293709,
title = {Salt Disposal Investigations to Study Thermally Hot Radioactive Waste In A Deep Geologic Repository in Bedded Rock Salt - 12488},
author = {Nelson, Roger A. and Buschman, Nancy},
abstractNote = {A research program is proposed to investigate the behavior of salt when subjected to thermal loads like those that would be present in a high-level waste repository. This research would build upon results of decades of previous salt repository program efforts in the US and Germany and the successful licensing and operation of a repository in salt for disposal of defense transuranic waste. The proposal includes a combination of laboratory-scale investigations, numerical simulations conducted to develop validated models that could be used for future repository design and safety case development, and a thermal field test in an underground salt formation with a configuration that replicates a small portion of a conceptual repository design. Laboratory tests are proposed to measure salt and brine properties across and beyond the range of possible repository conditions. Coupled numerical models will seek to describe phenomenology (thermal, mechanical, and hydrological) observed in the laboratory tests. Finally, the field test will investigate many phenomena that have been variously cited as potential issues for disposal of thermally hot waste in salt, including buoyancy effects and migration of pre-existing trapped brine up the thermal gradient (including vapor phase migration). These studies are proposed to be coordinated and managed by the Carlsbad Field Office of DOE, which is also responsible for the operation of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) within the Office of Environmental Management. The field test portion of the proposed research would be conducted in experimental areas of the WIPP underground, far from disposal operations. It is believed that such tests may be accomplished using the existing infrastructure of the WIPP repository at a lower cost than if such research were conducted at a commercial salt mine at another location. The phased field test is proposed to be performed over almost a decade, including instrumentation development, several years of measurements during heating and then subsequent cooling periods, and the eventual forensic mining back of the test bed to determine the multi-year behavior of the simulated waste/rock environment. Funding possibilities are described, and prospects for near term start-up are discussed. Mining of the access drifts required to create the test area in the WIPP underground began in November 2011. Because this mining uses existing WIPP infrastructure and labor, it is estimated to take about two years to complete the access drifts. WIPP disposal operations and facility maintenance activities will take priority over the SDI field test area mining. Funding of the SDI proposal was still being considered by DOE's Offices of Environmental Management and Nuclear Energy at the time this paper was written, so no specific estimates of the progress in 2012 have been included. (authors)},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2012},
month = {7}
}

Conference:
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