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Results from an International Simulation Study on Coupled Thermal, Hydrological, and Mechanical Processes near Geological Nuclear Waste Repositories

J. Rutqvist, D. Barr, J. T. Birkholzer, M. Chijimatsu, O. Kolditz, Quansheng Liu, Y. Oda, Wenqing Wang, Chengyuan Zhang

Nuclear Technology / Volume 163 / Number 1 / July 2008 / Pages 101-109

Technical Paper / High-Level Radioactive Waste Management /

As part of the ongoing international DECOVALEX project, four research teams used five different models to simulate coupled thermal, hydrological, and mechanical (THM) processes near waste emplacement drifts of geological nuclear waste repositories. The simulations were conducted for two generic repository types, one with open and the other with back-filled repository drifts, under higher and lower postclosure temperatures, respectively. In the completed first model inception phase of the project, a good agreement was achieved between the research teams in calculating THM responses for both repository types, although some disagreement in hydrological responses is currently being resolved. In particular, good agreement in the basic thermal-mechanical responses was achieved for both repository types, even though some teams used relatively simplified thermal-elastic heat-conduction models that neglected complex near-field thermal-hydrological processes. The good agreement between the complex and simplified process models indicates that the basic thermal-mechanical responses can be predicted with a relatively high confidence level.

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