A Gas-Flow Source Term from a Nuclear Waste Container in an Unsaturated Medium

by E. D. Zwahlen, Univ of California, United States,
T. H. Pigford, Univ of California, United States,
P. L. Chambré, Univ of California, United States,
W. W. -L. Lee, Univ of California, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: High Level Radioactive Waste Management 1990


The potential nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain is to be in partially saturated rock. Released radioactive gases would have a direct pathway to the biosphere. The entry of air into spent fuel would promote the oxidation of uranium matrix to more soluble forms. For licensing, the waste package must provide for substantially complete containment of radionuclides, including gases, for 300 to 1,000 years. For safety assessment, a gaseous source term is needed. Thus it is important to study gas flow into and out of nuclear waste containers. This paper presents some initial analyses of gas flow into and out of nuclear waste containers, through holes of specified timing and sizes. Also, we predict the release rate of selected volatile species. We investigate the effect of initial temperature and pressure of the container gas and consider the definition of container failure proposed in the Site Characterization Plan.

Subject Headings: Gas flow | Radioactive wastes | Dissolved gases | Fuels | Site investigation | Fluid flow | Saturated soils | Rocks

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