A Natural Analogue for Thermal-Hydrological-Chemical Coupled Processes at the Proposed Nuclear Waste Repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

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Dike and sill complexes that intruded tuffaceous host rocks above the water table are suggested as natural analogues for thermal-hydrologic-chemical (THC) processes at the proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Scoping thermal-hydrologic calculations of temperature and saturation profiles surrounding a 30-50 m wide intrusion suggest that boiling conditions could be sustained at distances of tens of meters from the intrusion for several thousand years. This time scale for persistence of boiling is similar to that expected for the Yucca Mountain repository with moderate heat loading. By studying the hydrothermal alteration of the tuff host rocks surrounding the intrusions, ... continued below

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42 p.

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Carey, Bill; Keating, Gordon & Lichtner, Peter C. August 1, 1999.

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Dike and sill complexes that intruded tuffaceous host rocks above the water table are suggested as natural analogues for thermal-hydrologic-chemical (THC) processes at the proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Scoping thermal-hydrologic calculations of temperature and saturation profiles surrounding a 30-50 m wide intrusion suggest that boiling conditions could be sustained at distances of tens of meters from the intrusion for several thousand years. This time scale for persistence of boiling is similar to that expected for the Yucca Mountain repository with moderate heat loading. By studying the hydrothermal alteration of the tuff host rocks surrounding the intrusions, insight and relevant data can be obtained that apply directly to the Yucca Mountain repository and can shed light on the extent and type of alteration that should be expected. Such data are needed to bound and constrain model parameters used in THC simulations of the effect of heat produced by the waste on the host rock and to provide a firm foundation for assessing overall repository performance. One example of a possible natural analogue for the repository is the Paiute Ridge intrusive complex located on the northeastern boundary of the Nevada Test Site, Nye County, Nevada. The complex consists of dikes and sills intruded into a partially saturated tuffaceous host rock that has stratigraphic sequences that correlate with those found at Yucca Mountain. The intrusions were emplaced at a depth of several hundred meters below the surface, similar to the depth of the proposed repository. The tuffaceous host rock surrounding the intrusions is hydrothermally altered to varying extents depending on the distance from the intrusions. The Paiute Ridge intrusive complex thus appears to be an ideal natural analogue of THC coupled processes associated with the Yucca Mountain repository. It could provide much needed physical and chemical data for understanding the influence of heat released from the repository on the tuff host rock and for THC modeling studies of the repository. Many other such intrusive complexes exist at the Nevada Test Site and in other parts of the world that could provide an extensive data set for understanding and predicting the behavior of the Yucca Mountain repository, for which the Paiute Ridge complex is just one example.

Physical Description

42 p.

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INIS; OSTI as DE00010600

Medium: P; Size: 42 pages

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  • Other Information: PBD: 1 Aug 1999

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  • Report No.: LA-13610-MS
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-36
  • DOI: 10.2172/10600 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 10600
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc625786

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

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  • August 1, 1999

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • June 16, 2015, 7:43 a.m.

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  • April 12, 2017, 3:34 p.m.

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Carey, Bill; Keating, Gordon & Lichtner, Peter C. A Natural Analogue for Thermal-Hydrological-Chemical Coupled Processes at the Proposed Nuclear Waste Repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, report, August 1, 1999; New Mexico. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc625786/: accessed November 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.