Modeling of Strongly Heat-Driven Flow Processes at a Potential High-Level Nuclear Waste Repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

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by Karsten Pruess, Univ of California, Berkeley, United States,
Yvonne Tsang, Univ of California, Berkeley, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: High Level Radioactive Waste Management 1993:

Abstract: Two complementary numerical models for analyzing high-level nuclear waste emplacement at Yucca Mountain have been developed. A vertical cross-sectional (X-Z) model permits a realistic representation of hydrogeologic features, such as alternating tilting layers of welded and non-welded tuffs, fault zones, and surface topography. An alternative radially symmetric (R-Z) model is more limited in its ability to describe the hydrogeology of the site, but is better suited to model heat transfer in the host rock. Our model include a comprehensive description of multiphase fluid and heat flow processes, including strong enhancements of vapor diffusion from pore-level phase change effects. The neighborhood of the repository is found to partially dry out from the waste heat. A condensation halo or large liquid saturation forms around the drying zone, from which liquid flows downward at large rates. System response to infiltration from the surface and to ventilation of mined openings is evaluated. The impact of the various flow processes on the waste isolation capabilities of the site is discussed.

Subject Headings: Radioactive wastes | Heat flow | Fluid flow | Groundwater flow | Potential flow | Hydrologic models | Industrial wastes | Numerical models | Heat transfer | Waste disposal | Nevada | North America | United States

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