A Conceptual and Numerical Model for Thermal-Hydrological-Chemical Processes in the Yucca Mountain Drift Scale Test
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A Conceptual and Numerical Model for Thermal-Hydrological-Chemical Processes in the Yucca Mountain Drift Scale Test

  • Author(s): Sonnenthal, Eric L.
  • Spycher, Nicolas F.
  • Conrad, Mark
  • Apps, John
  • et al.
Abstract

A numerical model was developed to predict the coupled thermal, hydrological, and chemical (THC) processes accompanying the Drift Scale Test (DST) at Yucca Mountain, NV. The DST has been closely monitored through the collection of gas, water, and mineral samples as well as thermal, hydrological, and mechanical measurements. A two-dimensional dual permeability model was developed to evaluate multiphase, multicomponent, reaction-transport processes in the fractured tuff. Comparisons between results using the TOUGHREACT code and measured water (e.g., pH, SiO2(aq), Na+, K+) and gas (CO2) compositions show that the model captures the chemical evolution in the DST. Non-reactive aqueous species (e.g., Cl) show strong dilution in fracture waters, indicating little fracture-matrix interaction. Silica concentrations are higher than in the initial pore water and show a trend of increasing reaction with fracture-lining silicates at higher temperatures. The narrow precipitation zone of predominantly amorphous silica observed above the heaters was also captured.

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