A triple-continuum approach for modeling flow and transport processes in fractured rock
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A triple-continuum approach for modeling flow and transport processes in fractured rock

  • Author(s): Wu, Yu-Shu;
  • Liu, H.H.;
  • Bodvarsson, G.S;
  • Zellmer, K .E.
  • et al.
Abstract

This paper presents a triple-continuum conceptual model for simulating flow and transport processes in fractured rock. Field data collected from the unsaturated zone of Yucca Mountain, a repository site of high-level nuclear waste, show a large number of small-scale fractures. The effect of these small fractures has not been considered in previous modeling investigations within the context of a continuum approach. A new triple-continuum model (consisting of matrix, small-fracture, and large-fracture continua) has been developed to investigate the effect of these small fractures. This paper derives the model formulation and discusses the basic triple-continuum behavior of flow and transport processes under different conditions, using both analytical solutions and numerical approaches. The simulation results from the site-scale model of the unsaturated zone of Yucca Mountain indicate that these small fractures may have an important effect on radionuclide transport within the mountain

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