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Coupled Thermo-Hydro-Geochemical Models of Engineered Barrier Systems: The Febex Project

  • J. Samper (a1), R. Juncosa (a2), V. Navarro (a2), J. Delgado (a2), L. Montenegro (a2) and A. Vázquez (a2)...

Abstract

FEBEX (Full-scale Engineered Barrier EXperiment) is a demonstration and research project dealing with the bentonite engineered barrier designed for sealing and containment of waste in a high level radioactive waste repository (HLWR). It includes two main experiments: an situ full-scale test performed at Grimsel (GTS) and a mock-up test operating since February 1997 at CIEMAT facilities in Madrid (Spain) [1,2,3]. One of the objectives of FEBEX is the development and testing of conceptual and numerical models for the thermal, hydrodynamic, and geochemical (THG) processes expected to take place in engineered clay barriers. A significant improvement in coupled THG modeling of the clay barrier has been achieved both in terms of a better understanding of THG processes and more sophisticated THG computer codes. The ability of these models to reproduce the observed THG patterns in a wide range of THG conditions enhances the confidence in their prediction capabilities. Numerical THG models of heating and hydration experiments performed on small-scale lab cells provide excellent results for temperatures, water inflow and final water content in the cells [3]. Calculated concentrations at the end of the experiments reproduce most of the patterns of measured data. In general, the fit of concentrations of dissolved species is better than that of exchanged cations. These models were later used to simulate the evolution of the large-scale experiments (in situ and mock-up). Some thermo-hydrodynamic hypotheses and bentonite parameters were slightly revised during TH calibration of the mock-up test. The results of the reference model reproduce simultaneously the observed water inflows and bentonite temperatures and relative humidities. Although the model is highly sensitive to one-at-a-time variations in model parameters, the possibility of parameter combinations leading to similar fits cannot be precluded. The TH model of the “in situ” test is based on the same bentonite TH parameters and assumptions as for the “mock-up” test. Granite parameters were slightly modified during the calibration process in order to reproduce the observed thermal and hydrodynamic evolution. The reference model captures properly relative humidities and temperatures in the bentonite [3]. It also reproduces the observed spatial distribution of water pressures and temperatures in the granite. Once calibrated the TH aspects of the model, predictions of the THG evolution of both tests were performed. Data from the dismantling of the in situ test, which is planned for the summer of 2001, will provide a unique opportunity to test and validate current THG models of the EBS.

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References

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1. McKinley, I., Kickmaier, W., Olmo, C. del and Huertas, F., Nagra Bulletin, 27, 56 (1996).
2.ENRESA, FEBEX Full-scale engineered barriers experiment in crystalline rock: Pre-operational Stage Summary Report, ENRESA Tech. Pub. 1/98 (1998).
3.Full-scale engineered barriers experiment for a deep geological repository in crystalline host rock (FEBEX Project), European Commission, EUR 19147 EN. 403 pp, (2000).
4. Delgado, J., Carretero, P., Juncosa, R., Samper, J., Huertas, F.J., Cisneros, C. Jiménez de, Caballero, E., Huertas, F., Linares, J., Ion exchange behavior of the FEBEX bentonite. 2. batch experiments and geochemical modeling, in Scientific Basis for Nuclear Waste Management XXIV (Mater. Res. Soc. Proc., Sydney, Autralia, 2000) This issue.
5. Navarro, V., Modelo de comportamiento mecánico e hidráulico de suelos no saturados en condiciones no isotermas. Ph. D. Dissertation, Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña, (1997).
6. Samper, J. Delgado, J., Molinero, J. & Juncosa, R. Predictive numerical modeling of artificial tracers migration in the large-scale heating and hydration experiments of the FEBEX Project, In: Scientific Basis for Nuclear Waste Management, Mckinley, I. & McCombie, Ch. Eds; Mat. Res. Soc. Symp. Proc. Vol. 506, 457464, (1998).

Coupled Thermo-Hydro-Geochemical Models of Engineered Barrier Systems: The Febex Project

  • J. Samper (a1), R. Juncosa (a2), V. Navarro (a2), J. Delgado (a2), L. Montenegro (a2) and A. Vázquez (a2)...

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