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A review of the available technologies for sealing a potential underground nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

Description: The purpose of this report is to assess the availability of technologies to seal underground openings. The technologies are needed to seal the potential high-level radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain. Technologies are evaluated for three basic categories of seal components: backfill (general fill and graded fill), bulkheads, and grout curtains. Not only is placement of seal components assessed, but also preconditioning of the placement area and seal component durability. The approach taken was: First, review selected sealing case histories (literature searches and site visits) from the mining, civil, and defense industries; second, determine whether reasonably available technologies to seal the potential repository exist; and finally, identify deficiencies in existing technologies. It is concluded that reasonably available technologies do exist to place backfill, bulkheads, and grout curtains. Technologies also exist to precondition areas where seal components are to be placed. However, if final performance requirements are stringent for these engineered structures, some existing technologies may need to be developed. Deficiencies currently do exist in technologies that demonstrate the long-term durability and performance of seal components. Case histories do not currently exist that demonstrate the placement of seal components in greatly elevated thermal and high-radiation environments and in areas where ground support (rock bolts and concrete liners) has been removed. The as-placed, in situ material properties for sealing materials appropriate to Yucca Mountain are not available.
Date: November 1, 1994
Creator: Fernandez, J. A. & Richardson, A. M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Seismic design of circular-section concrete-lined underground openings: Preclosure performance considerations for the Yucca Mountain Site

Description: Yucca Mountain, the potential site of a repository for high-level radioactive waste, is situated in a region of natural and man-made seismicity. Underground openings excavated at this site must be designed for worker safety in the seismic environment anticipated for the preclosure period. This includes accesses developed for site characterization regardless of the ultimate outcome of the repository siting process. Experience with both civil and mining structures has shown that underground openings are much more resistant to seismic effects than surface structures, and that even severe dynamic strains can usually be accommodated with proper design. This paper discusses the design and performance of lined openings in the seismic environment of the potential site. The types and ranges of possible ground motions (seismic loads) are briefly discussed. Relevant historical records of underground opening performance during seismic loading are reviewed. Simple analytical methods of predicting liner performance under combined in situ, thermal, and seismic loading are presented, and results of calculations are discussed in the context of realistic performance requirements for concrete-lined openings for the preclosure period. Design features that will enhance liner stability and mitigate the impact of the potential seismic load are reviewed. The paper is limited to preclosure performance concerns involving worker safety because present decommissioning plans specify maintaining the option for liner removal at seal locations, thus decoupling liner design from repository postclosure performance issues.
Date: July 1, 1992
Creator: Richardson, A.M. & Blejwas, T.E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Seismic considerations in sealing a potential high-level radioactive waste repository

Description: The potential repository system is intended to isolate high-level radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain. One subsystem that may contribute to achieving this objective is the sealing subsystem. This subsystem is comprised of sealing components in the shafts, ramps, underground network of drifts, and the exploratory boreholes. Sealing components can be rigid, as in the case of a shaft seal, or can be more compressible, as in the case of drift fill comprised of mined rockfill. This paper presents the preliminary seismic response of discrete sealing components in welded and nonwelded tuff. Special consideration is given to evaluating the stress in the seal, and the behavior of the interface between the seal and the rock. The seismic responses are computed using both static and dynamic analyses. Also presented is an evaluation of the maximum seismic response encountered by a drift seal with respect to the angle of incidence of the seismic wave. Mitigation strategies and seismic design considerations are proposed which can potentially enhance the overall response of the sealing component and subsequently, the performance of the overall repository system.
Date: July 1, 1992
Creator: Fernandez, J.A.; Richardson, A.M. & Lin, Ming
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Exploratory Shaft Seismic Design Basis Working Group report; Yucca Mountain Project

Description: This report was prepared for the Yucca Mountain Project (YMP), which is managed by the US Department of Energy. The participants in the YMP are investigating the suitability of a site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, for construction of a repository for high-level radioactive waste. An exploratory shaft facility (ESF) will be constructed to permit site characterization. The major components of the ESF are two shafts that will be used to provide access to the underground test areas for men, utilities, and ventilation. If a repository is constructed at the site, the exploratory shafts will be converted for use as intake ventilation shafts. In the context of both underground nuclear explosions (conducted at the nearby Nevada Test Site) and earthquakes, the report contains discussions of faulting potential at the site, control motions at depth, material properties of the different rock layers relevant to seismic design, the strain tensor for each of the waveforms along the shaft liners, and the method for combining the different strain components along the shaft liners. The report also describes analytic methods, assumptions used to ensure conservatism, and uncertainties in the data. The analyses show that none of the shafts` structures, systems, or components are important to public radiological safety; therefore, the shafts need only be designed to ensure worker safety, and the report recommends seismic design parameters appropriate for this purpose. 31 refs., 5 figs., 6 tabs.
Date: August 1, 1990
Creator: Subramanian, C.V.; King, J.L.; Perkins, D.M.; Mudd, R.W.; Richardson, A.M.; Calovini, J.C. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department