Interaction Swelling Bitumen – Host Formation: Scoping Calculations

Xiang Ling Li, Frédéric Bernier, Elie Valcke

    Research outputpeer-review


    The Eurobitum bituminised waste product (BWP) from the former EUROCHEMIC reprocessing plant in Mol-Dessel (Belgium) contains a lot of salts, mainly NaNO3 and CaSO4. In contact with water in an underground repository, the dehydrated salts in the BWP will rehydrate, resulting in swelling and, possibly, a swelling pressure build-up. A high swelling pressure might impede the integrity and the safety of the repository by creation of preferential pathways for radionuclide migration. The interaction between the swelling BWP and the host formation depends on the hydromechanical behaviour of both. The hydromechanical constitutive law of Eurobitum is not yet established. We have therefore realised scoping calculations to assess the stress redistribution and deformation due to the recompression of the clay around a disposal gallery caused by a swelling pressure. Sensitivity studies have evidenced some important influencing factors. The convergence during the excavation of the disposal galleries is of primary importance for a safe waste disposal system design. The scoping calculations showed that the swelling pressure exercised to the host formation (Boom Clay) should be limited to 7 - 8 MPa. Beyond this limit, the risk of preferential paths in Boom Clay for radionuclide transport becomes very high.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationSymposium Proceedings. Scientific Basis for Nuclear Waste Management XXIX
    Place of PublicationWarrendale, United States
    StatePublished - Jun 2006
    Event29th symposium on the Scientific Basis of Nuclear Waste Management - SCK•CEN, Ghent
    Duration: 12 Sep 200516 Sep 2005


    Conference29th symposium on the Scientific Basis of Nuclear Waste Management

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