The impact of buoyant gas-phase flow and heterogeneity on thermo-hydrological behavior at Yucca Mountain

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To safety and permanently store high-level nuclear waste, the potential Yucca Mountain repository system must mitigate the release and transport of radionuclides for tens of thousands of years. In the failure scenario of greatest concern, water would contact a waste package, accelerate its failure rate, and eventually transport radionuclides to the water table. Our analyses have demonstrated that the only significant source of liquid water is fracture flow from: (1) natural infiltration, (2) condensate drainage generated under boiling conditions, and (3) condensate drainage generated under sub-boiling conditions. The first source of liquid water arises from the ambient system; the second ... continued below

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Buscheck, T.A. & Nitao, J.J. January 1, 1994.

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To safety and permanently store high-level nuclear waste, the potential Yucca Mountain repository system must mitigate the release and transport of radionuclides for tens of thousands of years. In the failure scenario of greatest concern, water would contact a waste package, accelerate its failure rate, and eventually transport radionuclides to the water table. Our analyses have demonstrated that the only significant source of liquid water is fracture flow from: (1) natural infiltration, (2) condensate drainage generated under boiling conditions, and (3) condensate drainage generated under sub-boiling conditions. The first source of liquid water arises from the ambient system; the second and third sources are generated by repository heat. Buoyant, gas-phase flow, occurring either on a sub-repository scale or on a mountain scale, may play an important role in generating the second and third sources of liquid water. By considering a wide range in bulk permeability of the fractured rock, we identify a threshold bulk permeability at which buoyant, gas-phase convection begins to dominate hydrological behavior. At 10 times this threshold, convection begins to dominate thermal behavior. These effects can dominate moisture movement in the unsaturated zone on the order of 100,000 yr. We find that the development of a large above-boiling zone suppresses the effects of buoyant vapor flow. Zones of sharply contrasting bulk permeability also influence condensate generation and drainage. Of particular concern are conditions that focus vapor flow and condensate drainage, which could result in persistent refluxing at the repository, causing water to drip onto waste packages. These effects can occur under both sub-boiling and boiling conditions Long-term in situ heater tests are required to diagnose the potential for major repository-heat- driven sources of fractures flow.

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25 p.

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INIS; OSTI as DE94019050

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  • International high-level radioactive waste management conference, Las Vegas, NV (United States), 22-26 May 1994

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  • Other: DE94019050
  • Report No.: UCRL-JC--115351
  • Report No.: CONF-940553--81
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 145513
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc623932

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  • January 1, 1994

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  • June 16, 2015, 7:43 a.m.

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  • Feb. 16, 2016, 7:49 p.m.

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Buscheck, T.A. & Nitao, J.J. The impact of buoyant gas-phase flow and heterogeneity on thermo-hydrological behavior at Yucca Mountain, article, January 1, 1994; California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc623932/: accessed June 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.