Thermal, Mechanical and Thermo-Mechanical Assessment of the Rock Mass Surrounding SKB's Prototype Repository at Äspö HRL
Journal article, 2016
The Prototype Repository (PR) was a field test of six, electrically heated, full-scale waste containers resembling the key component of a KBS-3 nuclear waste repository. The design and heat load was similar to the proposed repository at Forsmark, Sweden. In this paper, the thermal, mechanical and thermo-mechanical response of the PR host rock to excavation and to the subsequent heating is assessed. The assessment is carried out using three-dimensional models (numerical and analytical) in combination with monitoring data and visual observations from the excavations. Certain measurements and observations agree well with results from the models. These include temperature measurements during the heating phase. Additional measurements include patterns of low-magnitude acoustic emission events around the deposition holes tracked during the excavation. The spatial distribution of these events coincide with regions of modelled high compressive stresses. Models with a simple fracture network, consisting of planar disks with laboratory-scale properties, appear to give upper bound estimates of the stress disturbances caused by a real fracture network. The magnitude of the modelled stresses around the deposition hole is typically below the spalling strength. The lack of any significant or systematic occurrence of spalling in the deposition hole walls supports the modelling results. Several instruments installed at different positions to monitor stress change, strain and deformation malfunctioned during the nearly 8-year-long monitoring period. Despite this, there is ample evidence to support the overall conclusion that the modelling results and observations are in sufficient agreement to strengthen the confidence in the modelling approach.
Nuclear waste storage