Experiments on thermo-hydro-mechanical behaviour of Opalinus Clay at Mont Terri rock laboratory, Switzerland

Published on Jun 1, 2017in Journal of rock mechanics and geotechnical engineering4.338
· DOI :10.1016/J.JRMGE.2016.11.014
Paul Bossart12
Estimated H-index: 12
,
David Jaeggi6
Estimated H-index: 6
,
Christophe Nussbaum14
Estimated H-index: 14
Sources
Abstract
Abstract Repositories for deep geological disposal of radioactive waste rely on multi-barrier systems to isolate waste from the biosphere. A multi-barrier system typically comprises the natural geological barrier provided by the repository host rock – in our case the Opalinus Clay – and an engineered barrier system (EBS). The Swiss repository concept for spent fuel and vitrified high-level waste (HLW) consists of waste canisters, which are emplaced horizontally in the middle of an emplacement gallery and are separated from the gallery wall by granular backfill material (GBM). We describe here a selection of five in-situ experiments where characteristic hydro-mechanical (HM) and thermo-hydro-mechanical (THM) processes have been observed. The first example is a coupled HM and mine-by test where the evolution of the excavation damaged zone (EDZ) was monitored around a gallery in the Opalinus Clay (ED-B experiment). Measurements of pore-water pressures and convergences due to stress redistribution during excavation highlighted the HM behaviour. The same measurements were subsequently carried out in a heater test (HE-D) where we were able to characterise the Opalinus Clay in terms of its THM behaviour. These yielded detailed data to better understand the THM behaviours of the granular backfill and the natural host rock. For a presentation of the Swiss concept for HLW storage, we designed three demonstration experiments that were subsequently implemented in the Mont Terri rock laboratory: (1) the engineered barrier (EB) experiment, (2) the in-situ heater test on key-THM processes and parameters (HE-E) experiment, and (3) the full-scale emplacement (FE) experiment. The first demonstration experiment has been dismantled, but the last two ones are on-going.
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#1Herwig MüllerH-Index: 4
#2Benoit GaritteH-Index: 10
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Opalinus Clay is currently being assessed as the host rock for a deep geological repository for high-level and low- and intermediate-level radioactive wastes in Switzerland. Within this framework, the ‘Full-Scale Emplacement’ (FE) experiment was initiated at the Mont Terri rock laboratory close to the small town of St-Ursanne in Switzerland. The FE experiment simulates, as realistically as possible, the construction, waste emplacement, backfilling and early post-closure evolution of a spent fuel...
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Geologic repositories for radioactive waste are designed as multi-barrier disposal systems that perform a number of functions including the long-term isolation and containment of waste from the human environment, and the attenuation of radionuclides released to the subsurface. The rock laboratory at Mont Terri (canton Jura, Switzerland) in the Opalinus Clay plays an important role in the development of such repositories. The experimental results gained in the last 20 years are used to study the ...
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