Description: Reconsolidation of crushed rock salt is a phenomenon of great interest to programs studying isolation of hazardous materials in natural salt geologic settings. Of particular interest is the potential for disaggregated salt to be restored to nearly an impermeable state. For example, reconsolidated crushed salt is proposed as a major shaft seal component for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) Project. The concept for a permanent shaft seal component of the WIPP repository is to densely compact crushed salt in the four shafts; an effective seal will then be developed as the surrounding salt creeps into the shafts, further consolidating the crushed salt. Fundamental information on placement density and permeability is required to ensure attainment of the design function. The work reported here is the first large-scale compaction demonstration to provide information on initial salt properties applicable to design, construction, and performance expectations. The shaft seals must function for 10,000 years. Over this period a crushed salt mass will become less permeable as it is compressed by creep closure of salt surrounding the shaft. These facts preclude the possibility of conducting a full-scale, real-time field test. Because permanent seals taking advantage of salt reconsolidation have never been constructed, performance measurements have not been made on an appropriately large scale. An understanding of potential construction methods, achievable initial density and permeability, and performance of reconsolidated salt over time is required for seal design and performance assessment. This report discusses fielding and operations of a nearly full-scale dynamic compaction of mine-run WIPP salt, and presents preliminary density and in situ (in place) gas permeability results.
Date: October 1, 1995
Creator: Ahrens, E.H. & Hansen, F.D.
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