Near-field/altered-zone models report

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The U.S. Department of Energy is studying Yucca Mountain as the possible site for the first underground repository for permanent disposal of spent fuel from commercial nuclear reactors as well as for other types high-level nuclear waste. Emplacement of high-level radioactive waste, especially commercial spent nuclear fuel (CSNF), in Yucca Mountain will release a large amount of heat into the rock above and below the repository. The heating rate will decrease with time, creating a thermal pulse. Over a period of several thousand years, the rock temperature will rise initially, then drop when the production of decay heat falls below ... continued below

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755 pages

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Hardin, E. L., LLNL March 1, 1998.

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Description

The U.S. Department of Energy is studying Yucca Mountain as the possible site for the first underground repository for permanent disposal of spent fuel from commercial nuclear reactors as well as for other types high-level nuclear waste. Emplacement of high-level radioactive waste, especially commercial spent nuclear fuel (CSNF), in Yucca Mountain will release a large amount of heat into the rock above and below the repository. The heating rate will decrease with time, creating a thermal pulse. Over a period of several thousand years, the rock temperature will rise initially, then drop when the production of decay heat falls below the rate at which heat escapes from the hot zone. Besides raising the rock temperature, much of this heat will vaporize water, which will then condense in cooler regions. The condensate is likely to form a gravity-driven heat pipe above the repository, creating the possibility that water may drain back onto the waste packages (WPs) or that it may ''shed'' through the pillars between emplacement drifts. The long-term importance of these effects has been investigated through the development, testing, and application of thermohydrologic (TH) models. Other effects, such coupled chemical and mechanical processes, may also influence the movement of water above, within, and below the emplacement drifts. A recent report on thermally driven coupled processes (Hardin and Chesnut, 1997) provides a qualitative assessment of the probable significance of these processes for the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project (YMSCP) and is the phenomenological framework for the present report. This report describes the conceptual and numerical models that have been developed to predict the thermal, mechanical, hydrologic, and chemical responses to the cumulative heat production of the potential host rock at Yucca Mountain. As proposed, the repository horizon will be situated within the Topopah Spring tuff, in the adjacent middle nonlithophysal and lower lithophysal units. These units are made up of moderately to densely welded, devitrified, fractured tuff. The rock's chemical composition is comparable to that of typical granite, but has textural features and mineralogical characteristics of large-scale, silicic volcanism. Because the repository horizon will be approximately 300 m below the ground surface and 200 m above the water table, the repository will be partially saturated. The welded tuff matrix in the host units is highly impermeable, but water and gas flow readily through fractures. The degree of fracturing in these units is highly variable, and the hydrologic significance of fracturing is an important aspect of site investigation. This report describes the characterization and modeling of a region around the potential repository--the altered zone--a region in which the temperature will be increased significantly by waste-generated heat. Numerical simulation has shown that, depending on the boundary conditions, rock properties, and repository design features incorporated in the models, the altered zone (AZ) may extend from the water table to the ground surface. This report also describes models of the near field, the region comprising the repository emplacement drifts and the surrounding rock, which are critical to the performance of engineered components. Investigations of near-field and altered-zone (NF/AZ) processes support the design of underground repository facilities and engineered barriers and also provide constraint data for probabilistic calculations of waste-isolation performance (i.e., performance assessment). The approach to investigation, which is an iterative process involving hypothesis testing and experimentation, has relied on conceptualizing engineered barriers and on performance analysis. This report is a collection, emphasizing conceptual and numerical models, of the recent results contributed from studies of NF/AZ processes and of quantitative measures of NF/AZ performance. The selection and presentation of contributions are intended to show the iterative development of understanding in this area.

Physical Description

755 pages

Notes

INIS; OSTI as DE00016725

Source

  • Other Information: Supercedes report DE98057891; PBD: 01 Mar 1998

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  • Other: DE98057891
  • Report No.: UCRL-ID--129179
  • Grant Number: W-7405-Eng-48
  • DOI: 10.2172/16725 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 16725
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc622431

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • March 1, 1998

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • June 16, 2015, 7:43 a.m.

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  • May 18, 2016, 6:26 p.m.

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Hardin, E. L., LLNL. Near-field/altered-zone models report, report, March 1, 1998; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc622431/: accessed December 13, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.