Generic Argillite/Shale Disposal Reference Case
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Generic Argillite/Shale Disposal Reference Case


Radioactive waste disposal in a deep subsurface repository hosted in clay/shale/argillite is a subject of widespread interest given the desirable isolation properties, geochemically reduced conditions, and widespread geologic occurrence of this rock type (Hansen 2010; Bianchi et al. 2013). Bianchi et al. (2013) provides a description of diffusion in a clay-hosted repository based on single-phase flow and full saturation using parametric data from documented studies in Europe (e.g., ANDRA 2005). The predominance of diffusive transport and sorption phenomena in this clay media are key attributes to impede radionuclide mobility making clay rock formations target sites for disposal of high-level radioactive waste. The reports by Hansen et al. (2010) and those from numerous studies in clay-hosted underground research laboratories (URLs) in Belgium, France and Switzerland outline the extensive scientific knowledge obtained to assess long-term clay/shale/argilliterepository isolation performance of nuclear waste. In the past several years under the UFDC, various kinds of models have been developed for argillite repository to demonstrate the model capability, understand the spatial and temporal alteration of the repository, and evaluate different scenarios. These models include the coupled Thermal-Hydrological-Mechanical (THM) and Thermal-Hydrological-Mechanical-Chemical (THMC) models (e.g. Liu et al. 2013; Rutqvist et al. 2014a, Zheng et al. 2014a) that focus on THMC processes in the Engineered Barrier System (EBS) bentonite and argillite host hock, the large scale hydrogeologic model (Bianchi et al. 2014) that investigates the hydraulic connection between an emplacement drift and surrounding hydrogeological units, and Disposal Systems Evaluation Framework (DSEF) models (Greenberg et al. 2013) that evaluate thermal evolution in the host rock approximated as a thermal conduction process to facilitate the analysis of design options.However, the assumptions and the properties (parameters) used in these models are different, which not only make inter-model comparisons difficult, but also compromise the applicability of the lessons learned from one model to another model. The establishment of a reference case would therefore be helpful to set up a baseline for model development. A generic salt repository reference case was developed in Freeze et al. (2013) and the generic argillite repository reference case is presented in this report. The definition of a reference case requires the characterization of the waste inventory, waste form, waste package, repository layout, EBS backfill, host rock, and biosphere. This report mainly documents the processes in EBS bentonite and host rock that are potentially important for performance assessment and properties that are needed to describe these processes, with brief description other components such as waste inventory, waste form, waste package, repository layout,aquifer, and biosphere. A thorough description of the generic argillite repository reference case will be given in Jové Colon et al. (2014).

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