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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

Determination of Transport Properties From Flowing Fluid Temperature LoggingIn Unsaturated Fractured Rocks: Theory And Semi-Analytical Solution

Description: Flowing fluid temperature logging (FFTL) has been recently proposed as a method to locate flowing fractures. We argue that FFTL, backed up by data from high-precision distributed temperature sensors, can be a useful tool in locating flowing fractures and in estimating the transport properties of unsaturated fractured rocks. We have developed the theoretical background needed to analyze data from FFTL. In this paper, we present a simplified conceptualization of FFTL in unsaturated fractured rock, and develop a semianalytical solution for spatial and temporal variations of pressure and temperature inside a borehole in response to an applied perturbation (pumping of air from the borehole). We compare the semi-analytical solution with predictions from the TOUGH2 numerical simulator. Based on the semi-analytical solution, we propose a method to estimate the permeability of the fracture continuum surrounding the borehole. Using this proposed method, we estimated the effective fracture continuum permeability of the unsaturated rock hosting the Drift Scale Test (DST) at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Our estimate compares well with previous independent estimates for fracture permeability of the DST host rock. The conceptual model of FFTL presented in this paper is based on the assumptions of single-phase flow, convection-only heat transfer, and negligible change in system state of the rock formation. In a sequel paper [Mukhopadhyay et al., 2008], we extend the conceptual model to evaluate some of these assumptions. We also perform inverse modeling of FFTL data to estimate, in addition to permeability, other transport parameters (such as porosity and thermal conductivity) of unsaturated fractured rocks.
Date: August 1, 2008
Creator: Mukhopadhyay, Sumit & Tsang, Yvonne W.
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