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Leaching of Nirex Reference Vault Backfill cement by clay, granite and saline groundwaters

  • Rita G. W. Vasconcelos (a1), Andres Idiart (a2), Neil C. Hyatt (a1), John L. Provis (a1) and Claire L. Corkhill (a1)...


For the UK geological disposal facility (GDF) concept in a high strength crystalline rock, Nirex Reference Vault Backfill (NRVB) has been considered to use as a cementitious backfill material. The lifetime performance of this high pH material is required to be extremely long, and as a consequence of the interaction with the geological environment (e.g. groundwater), the backfill material will evolve and age with time. In this paper, we present the results of a leaching experiment, where NRVB is placed in contact with three different groundwater compositions representative of granitic, clay and saline groundwater for 35 days. Some differences were observed related with the mineralogy. X-ray Diffraction results showed the formation of more ettringite, mainly in the NRVB samples leached in clay and saline groundwater. An increase of the pH was also observed in the NRVB samples leached with the three different ground waters, being these results in accordance with the reactive transport modelling performed.


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