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Home / Publications / Journals / Nuclear Technology / Volume 148 / Number 3

Modeling of Colloid Transport Mechanisms Facilitating Migration of Radionuclides in Fractured Media

Shih-Hai Li, Hui-Ting Yang, Chun-Ping Jen

Nuclear Technology / Volume 148 / Number 3 / December 2004 / Pages 358-368

Technical Paper / Radioactive Waste Management and Disposal

Performance assessments of high-level radioactive waste disposal have emphasized the role of colloids in the migration of radionuclides in the geosphere. The transport of colloids often brings them in contact with fracture surfaces or porous rock matrix. Colloids that attach to these surfaces are treated as being immobile and are called filtered colloids. The filtered colloids could be released into the fracture again; that is, the attachment of colloids may be reversible. Also, the colloids in the fracture could diffuse into the porous matrix rock. A methodology is proposed to evaluate a predictive model to assess transport within the fractured rock as well as various phenomenological coefficients employed in the different mechanisms, such as filtration, remobilization, and matrix diffusion of colloids. The governing equations of colloids considering mechanisms of the colloidal transport in the fractured media, including filtration, remobilization, and matrix diffusion, have been modeled and solved analytically in previous studies. In the present study, transport equations of colloids and radionuclides that consider the combination of the aforementioned transport mechanisms have also been solved numerically and investigated. The total concentration of mobile radionuclides in the fracture becomes lower because the concentration of mobile colloids in the fracture decreases when the filtration coefficient for colloids increases. Additionally, the concentration of mobile radionuclides was increased at any given time step due to the higher sorption partition coefficient of radionuclides associated with colloids. The results also show that the concentration of radionuclides in the fracture zone decreases when the remobilization coefficient of colloids or the percentages of the matrix diffusion flux of colloids increase.

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