Geothermal reservoir simulation to enhance confidence in predictions for nuclear waste disposal
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Geothermal reservoir simulation to enhance confidence in predictions for nuclear waste disposal

  • Author(s): Kneafsey, Timothy J.
  • Pruess, Karsten
  • O'Sullivan, Michael J.
  • Bodvarsson, Gudmundur S.
  • et al.
Abstract

Numerical simulation of geothermal reservoirs is useful and necessary in understanding and evaluating reservoir structure and behavior, designing field development, and predicting performance. Models vary in complexity depending on processes considered, heterogeneity, data availability, and study objectives. They are evaluated using computer codes written and tested to study single and multiphase flow and transport under nonisothermal conditions. Many flow and heat transfer processes modeled in geothermal reservoirs are expected to occur in anthropogenic thermal (AT) systems created by geologic disposal of heat-generating nuclear waste. We examine and compare geothermal systems and the AT system expected at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, and their modeling. Time frames and spatial scales are similar in both systems, but increased precision is necessary for modeling the AT system, because flow through specific repository locations will affect long-term ability radionuclide retention. Geothermal modeling experience has generated a methodology, used in the AT modeling for Yucca Mountain, yielding good predictive results if sufficient reliable data are available and an experienced modeler is involved. Codes used in geothermal and AT modeling have been tested extensively and successfully on a variety of analytical and laboratory problems.

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