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Title: Heat-Generating Nuclear Waste in Salt: Field Testing and Simulation

Abstract

Investigations relating to in-drift disposal of heat-generating nuclear waste in salt have raised questions about heat–brine interactions in the unsaturated run-of-mine (RoM) salt pile used as backfill. These interactions have the potential to change the structure of the RoM salt surrounding the canister, possibly altering long-term containment of the source. An experiment is in progress at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), New Mexico, in which a heated canister was placed on the floor of an open drift, covered in a pile of RoM salt, and energized with 1000 W. Temperature in the RoM salt pile had stabilized after about 15 d, allowing evaluation of the heat-up period of the ongoing experiment. Using a multiphase porous flow simulator that has been modified to handle salt-specific coupled processes, we examined coupled thermal–hydrological–chemical behavior in the RoM salt pile. Our simulations suggest that for the relatively dry cases examined, porosity changes within RoM salt in a generic salt repository are likely to be minor in the period between waste emplacement and plastic closure of the drift. The primary sensitivity for porosity change is to the early moisture content of the RoM salt used to cover the canister. Secondary influences include moisture availabilitymore » from the disturbed rock zone (DRZ) surrounding the drift and the capillary pressure ratio between the DRZ and the RoM salt. Early changes in porosity and permeability may be affected by moisture content, but this was not observed in the test. Such changes would be most likely to occur when using damp RoM salt or if waste is emplaced in a drift immediately following opening of the drift before evaporative dewatering of the drift walls occurs.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [2];  [1];  [1]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  2. Neptune and Company, Lakewood, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE); USDOE Office of Environmental Management (EM)
OSTI Identifier:
1499365
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-18-31862
Journal ID: ISSN 1539-1663
Grant/Contract Number:  
89233218CNA000001
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Vadose Zone Journal
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 18; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 1539-1663
Publisher:
Soil Science Society of America
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES

Citation Formats

Johnson, Peter J., Otto, Shawn, Weaver, Douglas J., Dozier, Brian, Miller, Terry A., Jordan, Amy B., Hayes-Rich, Nathan G., and Stauffer, Philip H. Heat-Generating Nuclear Waste in Salt: Field Testing and Simulation. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.2136/vzj2018.08.0160.
Johnson, Peter J., Otto, Shawn, Weaver, Douglas J., Dozier, Brian, Miller, Terry A., Jordan, Amy B., Hayes-Rich, Nathan G., & Stauffer, Philip H. Heat-Generating Nuclear Waste in Salt: Field Testing and Simulation. United States. doi:10.2136/vzj2018.08.0160.
Johnson, Peter J., Otto, Shawn, Weaver, Douglas J., Dozier, Brian, Miller, Terry A., Jordan, Amy B., Hayes-Rich, Nathan G., and Stauffer, Philip H. Fri . "Heat-Generating Nuclear Waste in Salt: Field Testing and Simulation". United States. doi:10.2136/vzj2018.08.0160. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1499365.
@article{osti_1499365,
title = {Heat-Generating Nuclear Waste in Salt: Field Testing and Simulation},
author = {Johnson, Peter J. and Otto, Shawn and Weaver, Douglas J. and Dozier, Brian and Miller, Terry A. and Jordan, Amy B. and Hayes-Rich, Nathan G. and Stauffer, Philip H.},
abstractNote = {Investigations relating to in-drift disposal of heat-generating nuclear waste in salt have raised questions about heat–brine interactions in the unsaturated run-of-mine (RoM) salt pile used as backfill. These interactions have the potential to change the structure of the RoM salt surrounding the canister, possibly altering long-term containment of the source. An experiment is in progress at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), New Mexico, in which a heated canister was placed on the floor of an open drift, covered in a pile of RoM salt, and energized with 1000 W. Temperature in the RoM salt pile had stabilized after about 15 d, allowing evaluation of the heat-up period of the ongoing experiment. Using a multiphase porous flow simulator that has been modified to handle salt-specific coupled processes, we examined coupled thermal–hydrological–chemical behavior in the RoM salt pile. Our simulations suggest that for the relatively dry cases examined, porosity changes within RoM salt in a generic salt repository are likely to be minor in the period between waste emplacement and plastic closure of the drift. The primary sensitivity for porosity change is to the early moisture content of the RoM salt used to cover the canister. Secondary influences include moisture availability from the disturbed rock zone (DRZ) surrounding the drift and the capillary pressure ratio between the DRZ and the RoM salt. Early changes in porosity and permeability may be affected by moisture content, but this was not observed in the test. Such changes would be most likely to occur when using damp RoM salt or if waste is emplaced in a drift immediately following opening of the drift before evaporative dewatering of the drift walls occurs.},
doi = {10.2136/vzj2018.08.0160},
journal = {Vadose Zone Journal},
number = 1,
volume = 18,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {2}
}

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