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Reaction of bentonite in low-alkali cement leachates: an overview of the Cyprus Natural Analogue Project (CNAP)

  • W. R. Alexander (a1), A. E. Milodowski (a2), A. F. Pitty (a3), S. M. L. Hardie (a4), S. J. Kemp (a2), P. Korkeakoski (a5), M. Rigas (a6), J. C. Rushton (a2), P. Sellin (a7) and C. J. Tweed (a8)...

Abstract

The Cyprus Natural Analogue Project was carried out due to the requirement to support ongoing laboratory and modelling efforts on the potential reaction of the bentonite buffer with cementitious leachates in the repository engineered barrier system. Although it is known that the higher pH (12.5–13) leachates from ordinary Portland cement will degrade bentonite, it is unclear if this will also be the case for the lower pH (10–11) leachates typical of low alkali cements. Ongoing laboratory and underground rock laboratory programmes, which are currently investigating this, face the obstacle of slow kinetics and the production of short-lived metastable phases, meaning obtaining unambiguous results may take decades. It was therefore decided to implement a focussed natural analogue study on bentonite/low alkali cement leachate reactions to provide indications of the probable long-term reaction products and reaction pathways to provide feedback on the existing short-term investigations noted above and to ascertain if any critical path research and development needs to be instigated now. The results of the analyses presented here, in this short overview of the project, suggest that there has been very limited alkaline groundwater reaction with the bentonite. This is generally supported by both the geomorphological evidence and the natural decay series data which imply groundwater/rock interaction in the last 105 a.

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Copyright

© [2012] The Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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References

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Alexander, W.R. and Milodowski, A.E. (editors) (2011) Cyprus Natural Analogue Project: Phase II Final Report. Posiva Working Report WR2011-08. Posiva, Olkiluoto, Finland.
Alexander, W.R. Milodowski, A.E. and Pitty, A.F. (editors) (2011) Cyprus Natural Analogue Project (CNAP) Phase III Final Report. Posiva Working Report WR 2011–77. Posiva, Eurajoki, Finland.
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Miller, W.M., Alexander, W.R., Chapman, N.A., McKinley, I.G. and Smellie, J.A.T. (2000) Geological disposal of radioactive wastes and natural analogues. Waste management series, volume 2. Pergamon, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
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Neal, C. and Shand, P. (2002) Spring and surface water quality of the Cyprus Ophiolites. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 6, 797817.

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