The 2008 UK government White Paper, published as part of the Managing Radioactive Waste Safety programme, identified benefits to disposing of all of the UK's higher activity wastes at the same site. That is, a single geological disposal facility (GDF) could be constructed that consists of a module for low- and intermediate-level waste, and a module for high-level waste and spent fuel.
A safety case for a co-located GDF will have to consider the extent to which evolving thermo-hydro-mechanical-chemical and gas (THMCG) conditions in and around one module may affect conditions in the other module, including the extent to which barrier performance and radionuclide migration behaviour could be altered. Several research projects have been undertaken on behalf of Radioactive Waste Management Directorate aimed at understanding and evaluating the THMCG interactions that might occur during the disposal facility operational and post-closure phases.
This paper describes research on THMCG interactions between disposal modules based on illustrative GDF designs for different host rock environments. Interactions were evaluated using simple analytical solutions and detailed three-dimensional models. The analyses demonstrated that interactions can be controlled by design constraints.