Nuclear Technology / Volume 174 / Number 3 / June 2011 / Pages 375-400
Technical Paper / TOUGH2 Symposium / Thermal Hydraulics
A new numerical method is described for the fully iterated, conjugate solution of two discrete submodels, involving (a) a transport network model for heat, moisture, and airflows in a high-permeability, air-filled cavity; and (b) a variably saturated fractured porous medium. The transport network submodel is an integrated-parameter, computational fluid dynamics solver, describing the thermal-hydrologic transport processes in the flow channel system of the cavity with laminar or turbulent flow and convective heat and mass transport, using MULTIFLUX. The porous medium submodel, using TOUGH2, is a solver for the heat and mass transport in the fractured rock mass. The new model solution extends the application fields of TOUGH2 by integrating it with turbulent flow and transport in a discrete flow network system. We present demonstrational results for a nuclear waste repository application at Yucca Mountain with the most realistic model assumptions and input parameters including the geometrical layout of the nuclear spent fuel and waste with variable heat load for the individual containers. The MULTIFLUX and TOUGH2 model elements are fully iterated, applying a programmed reprocessing of the Numerical Transport Code Functionalization model-element in an automated Outside Balance Iteration loop. The natural, convective airflow field and the heat and mass transport in a representative emplacement drift during postclosure are explicitly solved in the new model. The results demonstrate that the direction and magnitude of the air circulation patterns and all transport modes are strongly affected by the heat and moisture transport processes in the surrounding rock, justifying the need for a coupled, fully iterated model solution such as the one presented in the paper.