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Numerical analysis of thermal-hydrological conditions in thesingle heater test at Yucca Mountain

Description: The Single Heater Test (SHT) is one of two in-situ thermal tests included in the site characterization program for the potential underground nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. The heating phase of the SHT started in August 1996, and was completed in May 1997 after 9 months of heating. The coupled processes in the unsaturated fractured rock mass around the heater were monitored by numerous sensors for thermal, hydrological, mechanical and chemical data. In addition to passive monitoring, active testing of the rock mass moisture content was performed using geophysical methods and air injection testing. The extensive data set available from this test gives a unique opportunity to improve the understanding of the thermal-hydrological situation in the natural setting of the repository rocks. The present paper focuses on the 3-D numerical simulation of the thermal-hydrological processes in the SHT using TOUGH2. In the comparative analysis, they are particularly interested in the accuracy of different fracture-matrix-interaction concepts such as the Effective Continuum (ECM), the Dual Continuum (DKM), and the Multiple Interacting Continua (MINC) method.
Date: August 8, 1998
Creator: Birkholzer, Jens T. & Tsang, Yvonne W.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Esimation of field-scale thermal conductivities of unsaturatedrocks from in-situ temperature data

Description: A general approach is presented here which allows estimationof field-scale thermal properties of unsaturated rock using temperaturedata collected from in situ heater tests. The approach developed here isused to determine the thermal conductivities of the unsaturated host rockof the Drift Scale Test (DST) at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The DST wasdesigned to obtain thermal, hydrological, mechanical, and chemical (THMC)data in the unsaturated fractured rock of Yucca Mountain. Sophisticatednumerical models have been developed to analyze these THMC data. However,though the objective of those models was to analyze "field-scale" (of theorder of tens-of-meters) THMC data, thermal conductivities measured from"laboratory-scale" core samples have been used as input parameters.While, in the absence of a better alternative, using laboratory-scalethermal conductivity values in field-scale models can be justified, suchapplications introduce uncertainties in the outcome of the models. Thetemperature data collected from the DST provides a unique opportunity toresolve some of these uncertainties. These temperature data can be usedto estimate the thermal conductivity of the DST host rock and, given thelarge volume of rock affected by heating at the DST, such an estimatewill be a more reliable effective thermal conductivity value for fieldscale application. In this paper, thus, temperature data from the DST areused to develop an estimate of the field-scale thermal conductivityvalues of the unsaturated host rock of the DST. An analytical solution isdeveloped for the temperature rise in the host rock of the DST; and usinga nonlinear fitting routine, a best-fit estimate of field-scale thermalconductivity for the DST host rock is obtained. Temperature data from theDST show evidence of two distinct thermal regimes: a zone below boiling(wet) and a zone above boiling (dry). Estimates of thermal conductivityfor both the wet and dry zones are obtained in this paper. Sensitivity ofthese estimates to the input heating power of the DST is alsoinvestigated in this paper. These estimated ...
Date: June 26, 2006
Creator: Mukhopadhyay, Sumit; Tsang, Yvonne W. & Birkholzer, Jens T.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

A Semi-Analytical Solution for Large-Scale Injection-Induced PressurePerturbation and Leakage in a Laterally Bounded Aquifer-AquitardSystem

Description: A number of (semi-)analytical solutions are available to drawdown analysis and leakage estimation of shallow aquifer-aquitard systems. These solutions assume that the systems are laterally infinite. When a large-scale pumping from (or injection into) an aquifer-aquitard system of lower specific storativity occurs, induced pressure perturbation (or hydraulic head drawdown/rise) may reach the lateral boundary of the aquifer. We developed semi-analytical solutions to address the induced pressure perturbation and vertical leakage in a 'laterally bounded' system consisting of an aquifer and an overlying/underlying aquitard. A one-dimensional radial flow equation for the aquifer was coupled with a one-dimensional vertical flow equation for the aquitard, with a no-flow condition imposed on the outer radial boundary. Analytical solutions were obtained for (1) the Laplace-transform hydraulic head drawdown/rise in the aquifer and in the aquitard, (2) the Laplace-transform rate and volume of leakage through the aquifer-aquitard interface integrated up to an arbitrary radial distance, (3) the transformed total leakage rate and volume for the entire interface, and (4) the transformed horizontal flux at any radius. The total leakage rate and volume depend only on the hydrogeologic properties and thicknesses of the aquifer and aquitard, as well as the duration of pumping or injection. It was proven that the total leakage rate and volume are independent of the aquifer's radial extent and wellbore radius. The derived analytical solutions for bounded systems are the generalized solutions of infinite systems. Laplace-transform solutions were numerically inverted to obtain the hydraulic head drawdown/rise, leakage rate, leakage volume, and horizontal flux for given hydrogeologic and geometric conditions of the aquifer-aquitard system, as well as injection/pumping scenarios. Application to a large-scale injection-and-storage problem in a bounded system was demonstrated.
Date: July 15, 2008
Creator: Zhou, Quanlin; Birkholzer, Jens T. & Tsang, Chin-Fu
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

On Water Flow in Hot Fractured Rock -- A Sensitivity Study on theImpact of Fracture-Matrix Heat Transfer

Description: Dual-continuum models have been widely used in modeling flowand transport in fractured porous rocks. Among many other applications,dual-continuum approaches were utilized in predictive models of thethermal-hydrological conditions near emplacement tunnels (drifts) atYucca Mountain, Nevada, the proposed site for a radioactive wasterepository in the U.S. In unsaturated formations such as those at YuccaMountain, the magnitude of mass and heat exchange between the twocontinua fracture network and matrix is largely dependent on the flowcharacteristics in the fractures, because channelized finger-type flowstrongly reduces the interface area between the matrix surfaces and theflowing liquid. This effect may have important implications, for example,during the time period that the fractured rock near the repository driftswould be heated above the boiling point of water. Depending on themagnitude of heat transfer from the matrix, water percolating down thefractures will either boil off in the hot rock region above drifts or maypenetrate all the way to the drift walls and possibly seep into the opencavities. In this paper, we describe a sensitivity analysis using avariety of approaches to treat fracture-matrix interaction in athree-dimensional dual-continuum setting. Our simulation example is alaboratory heater experiment described in the literature that providesevidence of rapid water flow in fractures, leading to drift seepagedespite above-boiling conditions in the adjacent fractured rock. Theexperimental finding can only be reproduced when the interface area forheat transfer between the matrix and fracture continua is reduced toaccount for flow channeling.
Date: June 1, 2005
Creator: Birkholzer, Jens T. & Zhang, Yingqi
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

A Temperature-Profile Method for Estimating Flow Processes inGeologic Heat Pipes

Description: Above-boiling temperature conditions, as encountered, forexample, in geothermal reservoirs and in geologic repositories for thestorage of heat-producing nuclear wastes, may give rise to stronglyaltered liquid and gas flow processes in porous subsurface environments.The magnitude of such flow perturbation is extremely hard to measure inthe field. We therefore propose a simple temperature-profile method thatuses high-resolution temperature data for deriving such information. Theenergy that is transmitted with the vapor and water flow creates a nearlyisothermal zone maintained at about the boiling temperature, referred toas a heat pipe. Characteristic features of measured temperature profiles,such as the differences in the gradients inside and outside of the heatpipe regions, are used to derive the approximate magnitude of the liquidand gas fluxes in the subsurface, for both steady-state and transientconditions.
Date: December 6, 2004
Creator: Birkholzer, Jens T.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Simulation of groundwater flow at the LBNL site using TOUGH2

Description: In the late 1980s, groundwater contamination was detected at the site of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). A detailed investigation was conducted to locate the source and the extent of the contamination. Interim corrective measures were initiated where appropriate and required, typically directed towards removing the source of contamination, excavating contaminated soil, and limiting further spreading of contaminants. As the first step for predicting the fate of remaining contaminants, a three-dimensional transient groundwater flow model was developed for the complex hydrogeological situation. This flow model captured strong variations in thickness, slope, and hydrogeological properties of geologic units, representative of a mountainous groundwater system with accentuated morphology. The flow model accounts for strong seasonal fluctuations in the groundwater table. Other significant factors are local recharge from leaking underground storm drains and significant water re charge from steep hills located upstream. The strong heterogeneous rock properties were calibrated using the inverse simulator ITOUGH2. For validation purposes, the model was calibrated for a time period from 1994 to 1996, and then applied to a period from 1996 to 1998. Comparison of simulated and measured water levels demonstrated that the model accurately represents the complex flow situation, including the significant seasonal fluctuations in water table and flow rate. Paths of particles originating from contaminant plumes in the simulated transient flow fields were obtained to represent advective transport.
Date: May 12, 2003
Creator: Zhou, Quanlin; Birkholzer, Jens T.; Javandel, Iraj & Jordan, Preston D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

TH{_}PULSE: Program for Calculating Infiltration of Episodic Liquid Fingers in Superheated Rock Fractures - Theory, User's Manual and Sample Applications

Description: This report describes the code TH{_}PULSE developed at the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). The code handles gravity-driven flow of episodic infiltration events entering above-boiling rock-temperature regions. Such temperature conditions are expected, for example, after emplacement of heat-generating nuclear waste in underground repositories. Complex fluid-flow and heat-transfer phenomena occur, as the infiltrating water is subject to vigorous boiling from the hot rock. A new efficient semi-analytical method is presented herein that simulates such phenomena. It is assumed that flow forms in localized preferential flow paths (referred to as ''fingers''). The first section of this report gives the conceptual and mathematical background for the solution scheme. The second section is a user's manual for TH{_}PULSE, providing all information required to run the code, including a detailed description of the input and output files. In the third section, the new solution scheme is applied to several test cases. Sample simulations are performed for conditions representative of the potential nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. A brief summary is given in Section 4.
Date: July 10, 2002
Creator: Birkholzer, Jens T.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Modeling Three-Dimensional Groundwater Flow and Advective Contaminant Transport at a Heterogeneous Mountainous Site in Support of Remediation Strategy

Description: A calibrated groundwater flow model for a contaminated site can provide substantial information for assessing and improving hydraulic measures implemented for remediation. A three-dimensional transient groundwater flow model was developed for a contaminated mountainous site, at which interim corrective measures were initiated to limit further spreading of contaminants. This flow model accounts for complex geologic units that vary considerably in thickness, slope, and hydrogeologic properties, as well as large seasonal fluctuations of the groundwater table and flow rates. Other significant factors are local recharge from leaking underground storm drains and recharge from steep uphill areas. The zonation method was employed to account for the clustering of high and low hydraulic conductivities measured in a geologic unit. A composite model was used to represent the bulk effect of thin layers of relatively high hydraulic conductivity found within bedrock of otherwise low conductivity. The inverse simulator ITOUGH2 was used to calibrate the model for the distribution of rock properties. The model was initially calibrated using data collected between 1994 and 1996. To check the validity of the model, it was subsequently applied to predicting groundwater level fluctuation and groundwater flux between 1996 and 1998. Comparison of simulated and measured data demonstrated that the model is capable of predicting the complex flow reasonably well. Advective transport was approximated using pathways of particles originating from source areas of the plumes. The advective transport approximation was in good agreement with the trend of contaminant plumes observed over the years. The validated model was then refined to focus on a subsection of the large system. The refined model was subsequently used to assess the efficiency of hydraulic measures implemented for remediation.
Date: January 14, 2004
Creator: Zhou, Quanlin; Birkholzer, Jens T.; Javandel, Iraj & Jordan, Preston D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

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

Description: 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.
Date: October 23, 2008
Creator: Rutqvist, Jonny; Barr, Deborah; Birkholzer, Jens T.; Fujisaki, Kiyoshi; Kolditz, Olf; Liu, Quan-Shen et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Modeling seepage into heated waste emplacement tunnels in unsaturated fractured rock

Description: Predicting the amount of water that may seep into waste emplacement tunnels (drifts) is important for assessing the performance of the proposed geologic repository for high-level radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The repository will be located in thick, partially saturated fractured tuff that-for the first several hundred years after emplacement-will be heated to above-boiling temperatures as a result of heat generation from the decay of radioactive waste. Heating of rock water to above-boiling conditions induces water saturation changes and perturbs water fluxes that affect the potential for water seepage into drifts. In this paper, we describe numerical analyses of the coupled thermal-hydrological (TH) processes in the vicinity of waste emplacement drifts, evaluate the potential of seepage during the heating phase of the repository, and discuss the implications for the performance of the site. In addition to the capillary barrier at the rock-drift interface-independent of the thermal conditions-a second barrier exists to downward percolation at above-boiling conditions. This barrier is caused by vaporization of water in the fractured rock overlying the repository. A TOUGH2 dual-permeability simulation model was developed to analyze the combined effect of these two barriers; it accounts for all relevant TH processes in response to heating, while incorporating the capillary barrier condition at the drift wall. Model results are presented for a variety of simulation cases that cover the expected variability and uncertainty of relevant rock properties and boundary conditions.
Date: October 1, 2003
Creator: Birkholzer, Jens T.; Mukhopihadhyay, Sumit & Tsang, Yvonne W.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Disposal systems evaluations and tool development : Engineered Barrier System (EBS) evaluation.

Description: Key components of the nuclear fuel cycle are short-term storage and long-term disposal of nuclear waste. The latter encompasses the immobilization of used nuclear fuel (UNF) and radioactive waste streams generated by various phases of the nuclear fuel cycle, and the safe and permanent disposition of these waste forms in geological repository environments. The engineered barrier system (EBS) plays a very important role in the long-term isolation of nuclear waste in geological repository environments. EBS concepts and their interactions with the natural barrier are inherently important to the long-term performance assessment of the safety case where nuclear waste disposition needs to be evaluated for time periods of up to one million years. Making the safety case needed in the decision-making process for the recommendation and the eventual embracement of a disposal system concept requires a multi-faceted integration of knowledge and evidence-gathering to demonstrate the required confidence level in a deep geological disposal site and to evaluate long-term repository performance. The focus of this report is the following: (1) Evaluation of EBS in long-term disposal systems in deep geologic environments with emphasis on the multi-barrier concept; (2) Evaluation of key parameters in the characterization of EBS performance; (3) Identification of key knowledge gaps and uncertainties; and (4) Evaluation of tools and modeling approaches for EBS processes and performance. The above topics will be evaluated through the analysis of the following: (1) Overview of EBS concepts for various NW disposal systems; (2) Natural and man-made analogs, room chemistry, hydrochemistry of deep subsurface environments, and EBS material stability in near-field environments; (3) Reactive Transport and Coupled Thermal-Hydrological-Mechanical-Chemical (THMC) processes in EBS; and (4) Thermal analysis toolkit, metallic barrier degradation mode survey, and development of a Disposal Systems Evaluation Framework (DSEF). This report will focus on the multi-barrier concept of EBS and variants of ...
Date: January 1, 2011
Creator: Rutqvist, Jonny (LBNL); Liu, Hui-Hai (LBNL); Steefel, Carl I. (LBNL); Serrano de Caro, M. A. (LLNL); Caporuscio, Florie Andre (LANL); Birkholzer, Jens T. (LBNL) et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department