Fluid flow and reactive transport around potential nuclear waste emplacement tunnels at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

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The evolution of fluid chemistry and mineral alteration around a potential waste emplacement tunnel (drift) is evaluated using numerical modeling. The model considers the flow of water, gas, and heat, plus reactions between minerals, CO{sub 2} gas, and aqueous species, and porosity permeability-capillary pressure coupling for a dual permeability (fractures and matrix) medium. Two possible operating temperature modes are investigated: a ''high-temperature'' case with temperatures exceeding the boiling point of water for several hundred years, and a ''low-temperature'' case with temperatures remaining below boiling for the entire life of the repository. In both cases, possible seepage waters are characterized by ... continued below

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Spycher, N.F.; Sonnenthal, E.L. & Apps, J.A. September 1, 2002.

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The evolution of fluid chemistry and mineral alteration around a potential waste emplacement tunnel (drift) is evaluated using numerical modeling. The model considers the flow of water, gas, and heat, plus reactions between minerals, CO{sub 2} gas, and aqueous species, and porosity permeability-capillary pressure coupling for a dual permeability (fractures and matrix) medium. Two possible operating temperature modes are investigated: a ''high-temperature'' case with temperatures exceeding the boiling point of water for several hundred years, and a ''low-temperature'' case with temperatures remaining below boiling for the entire life of the repository. In both cases, possible seepage waters are characterized by dilute to moderate salinities and mildly alkaline pH values. These trends in fluid composition and mineral alteration are controlled by various coupled mechanisms. For example, upon heating and boiling, CO{sub 2} exsolution from pore waters raises pH and causes calcite precipitation. In condensation zones, this CO{sub 2} redissolves, resulting in a decrease in pH that causes calcite dissolution and enhances feldspar alteration to clays. Heat also enhances dissolution of wallrock minerals leading to elevated silica concentrations. Amorphous silica precipitates through evaporative concentration caused by boiling in the high-temperature case, but does not precipitate in the low-temperature case. Some alteration of feldspars to clays and zeolites is predicted in the high-temperature case. In both cases, calcite precipitates when percolating waters are heated near the drift. The predicted porosity decrease around drifts in the high-temperature case (several percent of the fracture volume) is larger by at least one order of magnitude than in the low temperature case. Although there are important differences between the two investigated temperature modes in the predicted evolution of fluid compositions and mineral alteration around drifts, these differences are small relative to the mode l uncertainty and the variability of water compositions at Yucca Mountain.

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INIS; OSTI as DE00840322

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  • Journal Name: Journal of Contaminant Hydrology; Journal Volume: 62-63; Journal Issue: SI; Other Information: Submitted to Journal of Contaminant Hydrology: Volume 62-63, Special Issue; Journal Publication Date: 04-05/2003

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  • Report No.: LBNL--49875
  • Grant Number: AC03-76SF00098
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 840322
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc785425

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  • September 1, 2002

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Dec. 3, 2015, 9:30 a.m.

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  • April 4, 2016, 4:11 p.m.

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Spycher, N.F.; Sonnenthal, E.L. & Apps, J.A. Fluid flow and reactive transport around potential nuclear waste emplacement tunnels at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, article, September 1, 2002; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc785425/: accessed October 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.