A pragmatic approach to abstract the excavation damaged zone around tunnels of a geological radioactive waste repository: application to the HG-A experiment in Mont Terri
Andrés Alcolea, Uli Kuhlmann, Paul Marschall, Andrea Lisjak, Giovanni Grasselli, Omid Mahabadi, Rémi de La Vaissière, Helen Leung, Hua Shao, 2017. "A pragmatic approach to abstract the excavation damaged zone around tunnels of a geological radioactive waste repository: application to the HG-A experiment in Mont Terri", Radioactive Waste Confinement: Clays in Natural and Engineered Barriers, S. Norris, J. Bruno, M. van Geet, E. Verhoef
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The excavation damaged zone (EDZ) around the backfilled tunnels of a geological repository represents a possible release path for radionuclides, corrosion and degradation gases that needs to be adequately addressed by safety assessment (SA) modelling tools. The hydromechanical phenomena associated with the creation and temporal evolution of the EDZ are of high complexity, precluding detailed representations of the EDZ in conventional SA. Thus, simplified EDZ models mimicking the safety-relevant features of the EDZ are required. In this context, a heuristic modelling approach has been developed to represent the creation and evolution of the EDZ in an abstracted and simplified manner. The key features addressed are the stochastic character of the excavation-induced fracture network and the self-sealing processes associated with the re-saturation after backfilling of the tunnels. The approach has been applied to a range of generic repository settings to investigate the impact of repository depth and in situ conditions on the hydraulic significance of the EDZ after repository closure. The model has been benchmarked with a dataset from a self-sealing experiment at the Mont Terri underground rock laboratory (URL), demonstrating the ability of the approach to mimic the evolution of the hydraulic significance of the EDZ during the re-saturation phase.