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Title: Modeling Radionuclide Transport in Clays

Clay/shale has been considered as potential host rock for geological disposal of high-level nuclear waste throughout the world, because of its low permeability, low diffusion coefficient, high retention capacity for radionuclides, and capability to self-seal fractures induced by tunnel excavation. For example, Callovo-Oxfordian argillites at the Bure site, France (Fouche et al., 2004), Toarcian argillites at the Tournemire site, France (Patriarche et al., 2004), Opalinus Clay at the Mont Terri site, Switzerland (Meier et al., 2000), and Boom clay at the Mol site, Belgium (Barnichon and Volckaert, 2003) have all been under intensive scientific investigation (at both field and laboratory scales) for understanding a variety of rock properties and their relationships to flow and transport processes associated with geological disposal of nuclear waste. Clay/shale formations may be generally classified as indurated or plastic clays (Tsang and Hudson, 2010). The latter (including Boom clay) is a softer material without high cohesion; its deformation is dominantly plastic. During the lifespan of a clay repository, the repository performance is affected by complex thermal, hydrogeological, mechanical, chemical (THMC) processes, such as heat release due to radionuclide decay, multiphase flow, formation of damage zones, radionuclide transport, waste dissolution, and chemical reactions. All these processes aremore » related to each other. An in-depth understanding of these coupled processes is critical for the performance assessment (PA) of the repository. These coupled processes may affect radionuclide transport by changing transport paths (e.g., formation and evolution of excavation damaged zone (EDZ)) and altering flow, mineral, and mechanical properties that are related to radionuclide transport. While radionuclide transport in clay formation has been studied using laboratory tests (e,g, Appelo et al. 2010, Garcia-Gutierrez et al., 2008, Maes et al., 2008), short-term field tests (e.g. Garcia-Gutierrez et al. 2006, Soler et al. 2008, van Loon et al. 2004, Wu et al. 2009) and numerical modeling (de Windt et al. 2003; 2006), the effects of THMC processes on radionuclide transport are not fully investigated. The objectives of the research activity documented in this report are to improve a modeling capability for coupled THMC processes and to use it to evaluate the THMC impacts on radionuclide transport. This research activity addresses several key Features, Events and Processes (FEPs), including FEP 2.2.08, Hydrologic Processes, FEP 2.2.07, Mechanical Processes and FEP 2.2.09, Chemical Process— Transport, by studying near-field coupled THMC processes in clay/shale repositories and their impacts on radionuclide transport. This report documents the progress that has been made in FY12. Section 2 discusses the development of THMC modeling capability. Section 3 reports modeling results of THMC impacts on radionuclide transport. Planned work for the remaining months of FY12 and proposed work for FY13 are presented in Section 4.« less
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  1. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States