Vaporizing Flow in Hot Fractures: Observations from Laboratory Experiments

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Understanding water seepage in hot fractured rock is important in a number of fields including geothermal energy recovery and nuclear waste disposal. Heat-generating high-level nuclear waste packages which will be emplaced in the partially saturated fractured tuffs at the potential high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, if it becomes a high-level nuclear waste repository, will cause significant impacts on moisture distribution and migration. Liquid water, which occupies anywhere from 30 to 100% of the porespace, will be vaporized as the temperature reaches the boiling temperature. Flowing primarily in fractures, the vapor will condense where it encounters cooler rock, ... continued below

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4 pages

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Kneafsey, T. & Pruess, K. December 1, 1998.

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Understanding water seepage in hot fractured rock is important in a number of fields including geothermal energy recovery and nuclear waste disposal. Heat-generating high-level nuclear waste packages which will be emplaced in the partially saturated fractured tuffs at the potential high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, if it becomes a high-level nuclear waste repository, will cause significant impacts on moisture distribution and migration. Liquid water, which occupies anywhere from 30 to 100% of the porespace, will be vaporized as the temperature reaches the boiling temperature. Flowing primarily in fractures, the vapor will condense where it encounters cooler rock, generating mobile water. This water will flow under gravitational and capillary forces and may flow back to the vicinity of the emplaced waste where it may partially escape vaporization. Water flowing down (sub-) vertical fractures may migrate considerable distances through fractured rock that is at above-boiling temperatures; thus, flowing condensate may contact waste packages, and provide a pathway for the transport of water-soluble radionuclides downward to the saturated zone. Thermally-driven flow processes induced by repository heat may be as important or even more important for repository performance than natural infiltration. For a nominal thermal loading of 57 kW/acre, vaporization may generate an average equivalent percolation flux from condensate of 23.1 mm/yr over 1,000 years, and 5.2 mm/yr over 10,000 years. These numbers are comparable to or larger than current estimates of net infiltration at Yucca Mountain. This condensate, which is generated in the immediate vicinity (meters) of the waste packages, will likely have a larger impact on waste package and repository performance than a similar amount of water introduced at the land surface.

Physical Description

4 pages

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INIS; OSTI as DE00789982

Source

  • Dynamics of Fluids in Fractured Rocks, Berkeley, CA (US), 02/10/1999--02/12/1999

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  • Report No.: LBNL--42292
  • Grant Number: AC03-76SF00098
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 789982
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc717088

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

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  • December 1, 1998

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 29, 2015, 5:31 a.m.

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  • April 4, 2016, 3:53 p.m.

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Kneafsey, T. & Pruess, K. Vaporizing Flow in Hot Fractures: Observations from Laboratory Experiments, article, December 1, 1998; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc717088/: accessed October 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.