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Title: MODELING OF THE GROUNDWATER TRANSPORT AROUND A DEEP BOREHOLE NUCLEAR WASTE REPOSITORY

The concept of disposal of high-level nuclear waste in deep boreholes drilled into crystalline bedrock is gaining renewed interest and consideration as a viable mined repository alternative. A large amount of work on conceptual borehole design and preliminary performance assessment has been performed by researchers at MIT, Sandia National Laboratories, SKB (Sweden), and others. Much of this work relied on analytical derivations or, in a few cases, on weakly coupled models of heat, water, and radionuclide transport in the rock. Detailed numerical models are necessary to account for the large heterogeneity of properties (e.g., permeability and salinity vs. depth, diffusion coefficients, etc.) that would be observed at potential borehole disposal sites. A derivation of the FALCON code (Fracturing And Liquid CONvection) was used for the thermal-hydrologic modeling. This code solves the transport equations in porous media in a fully coupled way. The application leverages the flexibility and strengths of the MOOSE framework, developed by Idaho National Laboratory. The current version simulates heat, fluid, and chemical species transport in a fully coupled way allowing the rigorous evaluation of candidate repository site performance. This paper mostly focuses on the modeling of a deep borehole repository under realistic conditions, including modeling of amore » finite array of boreholes surrounded by undisturbed rock. The decay heat generated by the canisters diffuses into the host rock. Water heating can potentially lead to convection on the scale of thousands of years after the emplacement of the fuel. This convection is tightly coupled to the transport of the dissolved salt, which can suppress convection and reduce the release of the radioactive materials to the aquifer. The purpose of this work has been to evaluate the importance of the borehole array spacing and find the conditions under which convective transport can be ruled out as a radionuclide transport mechanism. Preliminary results show that modeling of the borehole array, including the surrounding rock, predicts convective flow in the system with physical velocities of the order of 10-5 km/yr over 105 years. This results in an escape length on the order of kilometers, which is comparable to the repository depth. However, a correct account of the salinity effects reduces convection velocity and escape length of the radionuclides from the repository.« less
Authors:
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1237326
Report Number(s):
INL/CON-15-34979
DOE Contract Number:
AC07-05ID14517
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: NEURETH, Charleston Marriott, Charleston, SC, 4/12/2015 - 4/16/2015
Research Org:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
Modeling; Used Fuel Disposition