A comparative simulation study of coupled THM processes and their effect on fractured rock permeability around nuclear waste repositories

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This paper presents an international, multiple-code, simulation study of coupled thermal, hydrological, and mechanical (THM) processes and their effect on permeability and fluid flow in fractured rock around heated underground nuclear waste emplacement drifts. Simulations were conducted considering two types of repository settings: (a) open emplacement drifts in relatively shallow unsaturated volcanic rock, and (b) backfilled emplacement drifts in deeper saturated crystalline rock. The results showed that for the two assumed repository settings, the dominant mechanism of changes in rock permeability was thermal-mechanically-induced closure (reduced aperture) of vertical fractures, caused by thermal stress resulting from repository-wide heating of the rock ... continued below

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Rutqvist, Jonny; Barr, Deborah; Birkholzer, Jens T.; Fujisaki, Kiyoshi; Kolditz, Olf; Liu, Quan-Shen et al. October 23, 2008.

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This paper presents an international, multiple-code, simulation study of coupled thermal, hydrological, and mechanical (THM) processes and their effect on permeability and fluid flow in fractured rock around heated underground nuclear waste emplacement drifts. Simulations were conducted considering two types of repository settings: (a) open emplacement drifts in relatively shallow unsaturated volcanic rock, and (b) backfilled emplacement drifts in deeper saturated crystalline rock. The results showed that for the two assumed repository settings, the dominant mechanism of changes in rock permeability was thermal-mechanically-induced closure (reduced aperture) of vertical fractures, caused by thermal stress resulting from repository-wide heating of the rock mass. The magnitude of thermal-mechanically-induced changes in permeability was more substantial in the case of an emplacement drift located in a relatively shallow, low-stress environment where the rock is more compliant, allowing more substantial fracture closure during thermal stressing. However, in both of the assumed repository settings in this study, the thermal-mechanically-induced changes in permeability caused relatively small changes in the flow field, with most changes occurring in the vicinity of the emplacement drifts.

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  • Journal Name: Environmental Geology

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  • Report No.: LBNL-1129E
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-05CH11231
  • DOI: 10.1007/s00254-008-1552-1 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 941675
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc902145

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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.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • October 23, 2008

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  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Sept. 29, 2017, 4:20 p.m.

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Rutqvist, Jonny; Barr, Deborah; Birkholzer, Jens T.; Fujisaki, Kiyoshi; Kolditz, Olf; Liu, Quan-Shen et al. A comparative simulation study of coupled THM processes and their effect on fractured rock permeability around nuclear waste repositories, article, October 23, 2008; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc902145/: accessed November 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.