A Numerical Study of Some Effects of Nuclear Fuel Waste Vault Construction and Closure on Evolution of Groundwater Flow Paths in the Geosphere

by Tin Chan, Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd, Canada,
Frank Stanchell, Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd, Canada,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: High Level Radioactive Waste Management 1990


We have performed a series of three dimensional finite-element simulations on the sensitivity of the groundwater flow paths and travel times in a conceptual hydrogeological model with a hypothetical vault located at 500-m depth in plutonic rock. The results indicate that (a) an exclusion zone separating the waste from a major fracture zone significantly increases the groundwater travel time from the vault to the biosphere; (b) properly sealed shafts and tunnels do not necessarily provide fast flow paths; (c) excavation-induced damage of the rock surrounding the underground openings does not appear to have any harmful effect on the long-term performance; and (d) a 150-m-deep perturbed fissure zone near ground surface has little effect on the travel times.

Subject Headings: Travel time | Numerical analysis | Groundwater flow | Numerical methods | Fuels | Industrial wastes | Radioactive wastes | Construction wastes | Canada

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