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Title: 25 years of DECOVALEX - Scientific advances and lessons learned from an international research collaboration in coupled subsurface processes

Abstract

This paper provides an overview of an international research collaboration for advancing the understanding and modeling of coupled thermo-hydro-mechanical-chemical (THMC) processes in geological systems. The creation of the international DECOVALEX Project, now running for over 25 years, was initially motivated by the recognition that prediction of these coupled effects is an essential part of the performance and safety assessment of geologic disposal systems for radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel. Later it was realized that these processes also play a critical role in other subsurface engineering activities, such as storage of CO2, exploration of enhanced geothermal systems, and unconventional oil and gas production through hydraulic fracturing. Research teams from radioactive waste management organizations, national research institutes, regulatory agencies, universities, as well as industry and consulting groups have participated in the DECOVALEX Project, providing a wide range of perspectives and solutions to these complex problems. Analysis and comparative modeling of state-of-the-art field and laboratory experiments has been at the core of the collaborative work, with an increasing focus on characterizing uncertainty and blind prediction of experimental results. Over these 25 years, many of the major advances in this field of research have been made through DECOVALEX, as evidenced by three books,more » seven journal special issues, and a good number of seminal papers that have emerged from the DECOVALEX modeling work. Examples of specific research advances will be presented in this paper to illustrate the significant impact of DECOVALEX on the current state-of-the-art of understanding and modeling coupled THMC processes. These examples range from the modeling of large-scale in situ heater tests representing mock-ups of nuclear waste disposal tunnels, to studies of fluid flow and chemical-mechanical coupling in heterogeneous fractures, and to the numerical analysis of controlled-injection meso-scale fault slip experiments.« less

Authors:
; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1557366
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1580934
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-05CH11231
Resource Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences Journal Volume: 122 Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 1365-1609
Publisher:
Elsevier
Country of Publication:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Subject:
12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; Coupled processes; Nuclear waste disposal; Model comparison

Citation Formats

Birkholzer, Jens T., Tsang, Chin-Fu, Bond, Alexander E., Hudson, John A., Jing, Lanru, and Stephansson, Ove. 25 years of DECOVALEX - Scientific advances and lessons learned from an international research collaboration in coupled subsurface processes. United Kingdom: N. p., 2019. Web. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrmms.2019.03.015.
Birkholzer, Jens T., Tsang, Chin-Fu, Bond, Alexander E., Hudson, John A., Jing, Lanru, & Stephansson, Ove. 25 years of DECOVALEX - Scientific advances and lessons learned from an international research collaboration in coupled subsurface processes. United Kingdom. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrmms.2019.03.015
Birkholzer, Jens T., Tsang, Chin-Fu, Bond, Alexander E., Hudson, John A., Jing, Lanru, and Stephansson, Ove. Tue . "25 years of DECOVALEX - Scientific advances and lessons learned from an international research collaboration in coupled subsurface processes". United Kingdom. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrmms.2019.03.015.
@article{osti_1557366,
title = {25 years of DECOVALEX - Scientific advances and lessons learned from an international research collaboration in coupled subsurface processes},
author = {Birkholzer, Jens T. and Tsang, Chin-Fu and Bond, Alexander E. and Hudson, John A. and Jing, Lanru and Stephansson, Ove},
abstractNote = {This paper provides an overview of an international research collaboration for advancing the understanding and modeling of coupled thermo-hydro-mechanical-chemical (THMC) processes in geological systems. The creation of the international DECOVALEX Project, now running for over 25 years, was initially motivated by the recognition that prediction of these coupled effects is an essential part of the performance and safety assessment of geologic disposal systems for radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel. Later it was realized that these processes also play a critical role in other subsurface engineering activities, such as storage of CO2, exploration of enhanced geothermal systems, and unconventional oil and gas production through hydraulic fracturing. Research teams from radioactive waste management organizations, national research institutes, regulatory agencies, universities, as well as industry and consulting groups have participated in the DECOVALEX Project, providing a wide range of perspectives and solutions to these complex problems. Analysis and comparative modeling of state-of-the-art field and laboratory experiments has been at the core of the collaborative work, with an increasing focus on characterizing uncertainty and blind prediction of experimental results. Over these 25 years, many of the major advances in this field of research have been made through DECOVALEX, as evidenced by three books, seven journal special issues, and a good number of seminal papers that have emerged from the DECOVALEX modeling work. Examples of specific research advances will be presented in this paper to illustrate the significant impact of DECOVALEX on the current state-of-the-art of understanding and modeling coupled THMC processes. These examples range from the modeling of large-scale in situ heater tests representing mock-ups of nuclear waste disposal tunnels, to studies of fluid flow and chemical-mechanical coupling in heterogeneous fractures, and to the numerical analysis of controlled-injection meso-scale fault slip experiments.},
doi = {10.1016/j.ijrmms.2019.03.015},
journal = {International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences},
number = C,
volume = 122,
place = {United Kingdom},
year = {2019},
month = {10}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
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https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrmms.2019.03.015

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