Exploring the governing transport mechanisms of corrosive agents in a Canadian deep geological repository

Tarek L. Rashwan, Md. Abdullah Asad, Ian L. Molnar, Mehran Behazin, Peter G. Keech, Magdalena M. Krol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

All nuclear energy producing nations face a common challenge associated with the long-term solution for their used nuclear fuel. After decades of research, many nuclear safety agencies worldwide agree that deep geological repositories (DGRs) are appropriate long-term solutions to protect the biosphere. The Canadian DGR is planned in either stable crystalline or sedimentary host rock (depending on the final site location) to house the used nuclear fuel in copper-coated used fuel containers (UFCs) surrounded by highly compacted bentonite. The copper-coating and bentonite provide robust protection against many corrosion processes anticipated in the DGR. However, it is possible that bisulfide (HS−) produced near the host rock-bentonite interface may transport through the bentonite and corrode the UFCs during the DGR design life (i.e., one million years); although container performance assessments typically account for this process, while maintaining container integrity. Because the DGR design life far exceeds those of practical experimentation, there is a need for robust numerical models to forecast HS− transport. In this paper we present the development of a coupled 3D thermal-hydraulic-chemical model to explore the impact of key coupled physics on HS− transport in the proposed Canadian DGR. These simulations reveal that, although saturation delayed and heating accelerated HS− transport over the first 100s and 10,000s of years, respectively, these times of influence were small compared to the long DGR design life. Consequently, the influence from heating only increased total projected HS− corrosion by
Original languageEnglish
Article number153944
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume828
Early online date19 Feb 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2022

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