Quantitative characterization of the excavation damaged zone fracture network in the Meuse/Haute-Marne Underground Research Laboratory: in situ experiment and numerical interpretation of helium injection test
Hua Shao, Sebastian Göthling, Wenting Liu, Jürgen Hesser, Jacques Morel, Jürgen Sönnke, 2017. "Quantitative characterization of the excavation damaged zone fracture network in the Meuse/Haute-Marne Underground Research Laboratory: in situ experiment and numerical interpretation of helium injection test", Radioactive Waste Confinement: Clays in Natural and Engineered Barriers, S. Norris, J. Bruno, M. van Geet, E. Verhoef
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In the underground laboratory of Meuse/Haute-Marne (Bure) in France, different fracture types have been intensively investigated. Within a co-operative project between BGR and ANDRA, geophysical measurements and borehole gas tests were conducted in three well-designed boreholes in the gallery GRM to characterize the fracture structure and to determine the gas tracer velocity within fracture networks.
On the basis of seismic measurements and nitrogen gas interference tests, helium was injected into an interval of borehole OHZ3003, where an unloading joint has been identified. The injection took place in the form of a 10 min ‘pulse’ with an injection pressure of 2 bar. The other two boreholes, OHZ3002, where an upper part of the shear-mode fractures (‘chevron’ pattern) dominate, and OHZ3001, where shear-mode fractures (subvertical ‘oblique’ fractures and ‘chevron’ pattern) exist, served as observation holes. To maintain the pressure gradient between the injection hole and the observation holes, nitrogen gas was subsequently flushed into the injection hole. Two breakthrough curves of helium concentration and pressure developments in the two observation holes were continuously monitored using two helium leakage detectors and pressure gauges.
To interpret the measured pressure and concentration data, numerical models were constructed. A 3D model was used to simulate nitrogen gas flow and 2D models were applied to simulate a helium transport process. The real volume of the injection interval was considered in the model and the experimental process was simulated. Using the calibrated transport parameter data for a helium tracer from previous studies in the Mont Terri Rock Laboratory, the calculated breakthrough curves agreed well with those obtained from measuring the variation in permeability. The permeability derived from the helium tracer test agrees well with the estimation obtained from the nitrogen gas tests.
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It is internationally accepted that the safest and most sustainable option for managing radioactive waste is geological disposal, utilizing both engineering and geology to isolate the waste and contain the radioactivity.
This Special Publication contains 25 scientific studies presented at the 6th conference on ‘Clays in natural and engineered barriers for radioactive waste confinement’ held in Brussels, Belgium in 2015. The conference and this resulting volume cover many of the aspects of clay characterization and behaviour considered at various temporal and spatial scales relevant to the confinement of radionuclides in clay, from basic phenomenological process descriptions to the global understanding of performance and safety at repository and geological scales.
The papers in this volume consider research into argillaceous media under the following topic areas: large-scale geological characterization; general strategy for clay-based disposal systems; geomechanics; mass transfer; bentonite evolution and gas transfer.
The collection of different topics presented in this Special Publication demonstrates the diversity of geological repository research.