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Title: Deep Borehole Disposal Research in the United States - 17427

Abstract

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Nuclear Energy (NE) manages a research and development (R and D) program for the disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste in the United States. Deep boreholes are being evaluated for disposal of some smaller DOE-managed waste as an alternative to disposal in a mined geologic repository. The deep borehole disposal concept consists of drilling borehole(s) to a total depth of about 5,000 m (16,400 ft - or greater than three miles) into crystalline basement rock, placing waste packages in the lower emplacement zone portion of the borehole, and sealing and plugging the upper portion of the borehole. The required bottom-hole diameter of the borehole(s) depends on the waste package configuration for the reference concept, but ranges from 22 to 43 cm (8.5 to 17 inches). Additional research and development is desired in several important areas for further consideration of deep borehole disposal of radioactive waste. A Deep Borehole Field Test (DBFT) will be conducted by DOE to further assess the viability of deep borehole disposal as an alternative for the disposal of smaller DOE-managed waste forms. The DBFT will be used to evaluate three main areas: 1) evaluation ofmore » the capability for drilling and construction of deep, large-diameter boreholes; 2) downhole scientific analyses to assess hydrogeochemical conditions that control waste stability and containment; and 3) engineering activities to assess the viability and safety of waste package emplacement and retrieval in deep boreholes. The DBFT will include first drilling a characterization borehole, followed by an optional field test borehole, to a total depth of about 5,000 m (16,400 feet) into crystalline basement rock in a geologically stable continental location. The initial smaller diameter characterization borehole will be drilled and completed to facilitate downhole scientific testing and analysis. If site conditions are found to be suitable, DOE intends to drill a larger-diameter field test borehole to evaluate emplacement activities using surrogate waste packages. The surrogate waste packages will not contain any radioactive waste, nor will any radioactive waste be used in these tests. One of the advantages of deep borehole disposal is that it would give DOE the flexibility to consider options for disposal of smaller waste forms. Deep borehole disposal also potentially offers earlier disposal of some wastes than might be possible in a mined repository, and could reduce costs associated with projected treatments of some wastes. In order to accomplish the DBFT, DOE will require the support of multiple national laboratories, along with a site contractor to acquire a suitable test site and to manage the site and the required testing activities. DOE issued a competitive solicitation via a request for proposal (RFP) in July, 2015, which requested proposals to provide a test site and site management services. The contract was awarded in January, 2016, to a team led by Battelle Memorial Institute which included a proposed test site in Pierce County, North Dakota. After efforts to acquire both the initial test site in North Dakota and an alternative proposed site in Spink County, South Dakota were unsuccessful, activities were suspended. The experiences in Pierce County, ND and Spink County, SD highlighted the importance of public engagement and support for the DBFT, and that relevant levels of government and other public stakeholders should be involved from the beginning. Using the lessons learned in North and South Dakota, DOE issued a new RFP on August 22, 2016 which emphasized local, state, and tribal (if applicable) government engagement, as well as public and other stakeholder involvement ahead of proposal submittals and throughout the contract execution phases. The new RFP allowed for multiple initial awards and multiple phases of contract execution. In December, 2016, DOE announced the selection of four companies - AECOM, ENERCON, RE/SPEC, and TerranearPMC - to begin exploring the possibility of conducting a DBFT under the terms of the new RFP. Ultimately, only one site will be chosen for the field test. (authors)« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2]
  1. U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Nuclear Energy (United States)
  2. Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
WM Symposia, Inc., PO Box 27646, 85285-7646 Tempe, AZ (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
22802429
Report Number(s):
INIS-US-19-WM-17427
TRN: US19V0441046823
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: WM2017: 43. Annual Waste Management Symposium, Phoenix, AZ (United States), 5-9 Mar 2017; Other Information: Country of input: France; 6 refs.; available online at: http://archive.wmsym.org/2017/index.html
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES, AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; BOREHOLES; CONTAINMENT; HIGH-LEVEL RADIOACTIVE WASTES; SPENT FUELS; WASTE FORMS

Citation Formats

Gunter, Timothy, and Freeze, Geoff. Deep Borehole Disposal Research in the United States - 17427. United States: N. p., 2017. Web.
Gunter, Timothy, & Freeze, Geoff. Deep Borehole Disposal Research in the United States - 17427. United States.
Gunter, Timothy, and Freeze, Geoff. Sat . "Deep Borehole Disposal Research in the United States - 17427". United States.
@article{osti_22802429,
title = {Deep Borehole Disposal Research in the United States - 17427},
author = {Gunter, Timothy and Freeze, Geoff},
abstractNote = {The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Nuclear Energy (NE) manages a research and development (R and D) program for the disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste in the United States. Deep boreholes are being evaluated for disposal of some smaller DOE-managed waste as an alternative to disposal in a mined geologic repository. The deep borehole disposal concept consists of drilling borehole(s) to a total depth of about 5,000 m (16,400 ft - or greater than three miles) into crystalline basement rock, placing waste packages in the lower emplacement zone portion of the borehole, and sealing and plugging the upper portion of the borehole. The required bottom-hole diameter of the borehole(s) depends on the waste package configuration for the reference concept, but ranges from 22 to 43 cm (8.5 to 17 inches). Additional research and development is desired in several important areas for further consideration of deep borehole disposal of radioactive waste. A Deep Borehole Field Test (DBFT) will be conducted by DOE to further assess the viability of deep borehole disposal as an alternative for the disposal of smaller DOE-managed waste forms. The DBFT will be used to evaluate three main areas: 1) evaluation of the capability for drilling and construction of deep, large-diameter boreholes; 2) downhole scientific analyses to assess hydrogeochemical conditions that control waste stability and containment; and 3) engineering activities to assess the viability and safety of waste package emplacement and retrieval in deep boreholes. The DBFT will include first drilling a characterization borehole, followed by an optional field test borehole, to a total depth of about 5,000 m (16,400 feet) into crystalline basement rock in a geologically stable continental location. The initial smaller diameter characterization borehole will be drilled and completed to facilitate downhole scientific testing and analysis. If site conditions are found to be suitable, DOE intends to drill a larger-diameter field test borehole to evaluate emplacement activities using surrogate waste packages. The surrogate waste packages will not contain any radioactive waste, nor will any radioactive waste be used in these tests. One of the advantages of deep borehole disposal is that it would give DOE the flexibility to consider options for disposal of smaller waste forms. Deep borehole disposal also potentially offers earlier disposal of some wastes than might be possible in a mined repository, and could reduce costs associated with projected treatments of some wastes. In order to accomplish the DBFT, DOE will require the support of multiple national laboratories, along with a site contractor to acquire a suitable test site and to manage the site and the required testing activities. DOE issued a competitive solicitation via a request for proposal (RFP) in July, 2015, which requested proposals to provide a test site and site management services. The contract was awarded in January, 2016, to a team led by Battelle Memorial Institute which included a proposed test site in Pierce County, North Dakota. After efforts to acquire both the initial test site in North Dakota and an alternative proposed site in Spink County, South Dakota were unsuccessful, activities were suspended. The experiences in Pierce County, ND and Spink County, SD highlighted the importance of public engagement and support for the DBFT, and that relevant levels of government and other public stakeholders should be involved from the beginning. Using the lessons learned in North and South Dakota, DOE issued a new RFP on August 22, 2016 which emphasized local, state, and tribal (if applicable) government engagement, as well as public and other stakeholder involvement ahead of proposal submittals and throughout the contract execution phases. The new RFP allowed for multiple initial awards and multiple phases of contract execution. In December, 2016, DOE announced the selection of four companies - AECOM, ENERCON, RE/SPEC, and TerranearPMC - to begin exploring the possibility of conducting a DBFT under the terms of the new RFP. Ultimately, only one site will be chosen for the field test. (authors)},
doi = {},
url = {https://www.osti.gov/biblio/22802429}, journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {7}
}

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