Thermal modeling for a potential high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

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Repository performance models based on numerical simulation of fluid and heat flows have recently been developed by several different groups. Model conceptualizations generally focus on large-scale average behavior. This comparison finds that current performance assessment (PA) models use generally similar approximations and parameters. Certain differences exist in some performance-relevant parameters, especially absolute permeabilities, characteristic curves, and thermal conductivities. These reflect present uncertainties about the most appropriate parameters applicable to Yucca Mountain and must be resolved through future field observations and laboratory measurements. For a highly heterogeneous fractured-porous hydrogeologic system such as Yucca Mountain, water infiltration through the unsaturated zone is ... continued below

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83 p.

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Pruess, K. & Tsang, Y. March 1, 1994.

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Description

Repository performance models based on numerical simulation of fluid and heat flows have recently been developed by several different groups. Model conceptualizations generally focus on large-scale average behavior. This comparison finds that current performance assessment (PA) models use generally similar approximations and parameters. Certain differences exist in some performance-relevant parameters, especially absolute permeabilities, characteristic curves, and thermal conductivities. These reflect present uncertainties about the most appropriate parameters applicable to Yucca Mountain and must be resolved through future field observations and laboratory measurements. For a highly heterogeneous fractured-porous hydrogeologic system such as Yucca Mountain, water infiltration through the unsaturated zone is expected to be dominated by highly localized phenomena. These include fast channelized flow along preferential paths in fractures, and frequent local ponding. The extended dry repository concept proposed by the Livermore group is reviewed. Predictions of large-scale drying around the repository on the average for large thermal loads cannot be taken to indicate that waste packages will not be contacted by liquid water, and that aqueous-phase transport of contaminants is not possible. Specifically, the authors find that modest water infiltration, on the order of a few millimeters per year, would be sufficient to overwhelm the vaporization capacity of the repository heat and inundate the waste packages within a time frame of a few thousand years. A preliminary analysis indicates that channelized flow of water may persist over large vertical distances. The vaporization-condensation cycle has a capacity for generating huge amounts of ponded water. A small fraction of the total condensate, if ponded and then episodically released, would be sufficient to cause liquid phase to make contact with the waste packages.

Physical Description

83 p.

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INIS; OSTI as DE94011016

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  • Other Information: PBD: Mar 1994

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  • Other: DE94011016
  • Report No.: LBL--35381
  • Grant Number: AC03-76SF00098
  • DOI: 10.2172/144920 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 144920
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc622669

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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.

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  • March 1, 1994

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • June 16, 2015, 7:43 a.m.

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  • April 5, 2016, 12:08 p.m.

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Pruess, K. & Tsang, Y. Thermal modeling for a potential high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, report, March 1, 1994; California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc622669/: accessed October 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.