Hydro-chemical modelling of in situ behaviour of bituminized radioactive waste in Boom Clay
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The hydro-chemical (CH) interaction between swelling Eurobitum bituminized radioactive waste (BW) and Boom Clay was investigated to assess the feasibility of geological disposal for the long-term management of this waste. First, the long-term behaviour of BW in contact with water was studied. A CH formulation of chemically and hydraulically coupled flow processes in porous materials containing salt crystals is discussed. The formulation incorporates the strong dependence of the osmotic efficiency of the bitumen membrane on porosity and assumes the existence of high salt concentration gradients that are maintained for a long time and that influence the density and motion of the fluid. The impacts of temporal and spatial variations of key transport parameters (i.e. osmotic efficiency (s), intrinsic permeability (k), diffusion, etc.) were investigated. Porosity was considered the basic variable. For BW porosity varies in time because of the water uptake and subsequent processes (i.e. dissolution of salt crystals, swelling of hydrating layers, compression of highly leached layers). New expressions of s and k describing the dependence of these parameters on porosity are proposed. Several cases were analysed. The numerical analysis was proven to be able to furnish a satisfactory representation of the main observed patterns of the behaviour in terms of osmotic-induced swelling, leached mass of NaNO3 and progression of the hydration front when heterogeneous porosity and crystal distributions have been assumed. Second, the long-term behaviour of real Eurobitum drums in disposal conditions, and in particular its interaction with the surrounding clay, was investigated. Results of a CH analysis are presented.
CitationMokni, N., Olivella, S., Valcke, E., Bleyen, N., Smets, E., Li, X.L., Sillen, X. Hydro-chemical modelling of in situ behaviour of bituminized radioactive waste in Boom Clay. "Geological Society, London, special publications (Print)", Juny 2014, vol. 400, p. 117-134.