Coupled flow and transport modelling of a large-scale in situ migration experiment with 14C-labelled natural organic matter colloids in Boom Clay

Research outputpeer-review


Twenty-five years ago, a unique long-term and large-scale in situ experiment with 14C-labelled natural organic matter (NOM) was set up at the HADES underground research facility in Mol (Belgium) to study its migration behaviour. Natural organic matter plays an important role in the mobility of various safety-relevant radionuclides, which is critical in the context of Safety & Performance Assessment (SA/PA) calculations for a possible nuclear waste repository. The objective of this work is to enlarge the confidence in current NOM transport models by validating them with the in situ experiment, which is still continued to this day. Stepwise adding more complexity to the model resulted in a 10-parameter model with which excellent fits to the data are obtained. The model considers two different fractions that are transported by advection and diffusion and can be subject to both irreversible and reversible immobilization processes. The associated fitted parameter values compare well with values determined on small-scale migration experiments. This builds confidence in the NOM transport model, which in turn contributes to the confidence in the outcome of the radionuclide migration calculations performed in the context of SA/PA. These results again highlight the incredible value of such longrunning experiments at underground research facilities like HADES.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-158
Number of pages14
JournalGeological Society, London, Special Publications
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2023

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