Vertical distribution of helium and 40Ar/36Ar in porewaters of the Eastern Paris Basin (Bure/Haute-Marne): constraints on transport processes through the sedimentary sequence
P. Jean-Baptiste, B. Lavielle, E. Fourre, T. Smith, M. Pagel, 2017. "Vertical distribution of helium and 40Ar/36Ar in porewaters of the Eastern Paris Basin (Bure/Haute-Marne): constraints on transport processes through the sedimentary sequence", Radioactive Waste Confinement: Clays in Natural and Engineered Barriers, S. Norris, J. Bruno, M. van Geet, E. Verhoef
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As part of its ongoing project on repositories for high-activity, long-lived radioactive waste, a 2000 m deep borehole was drilled by the French Nuclear Waste Agency (ANDRA) in the layered structure of alternating aquifers and aquitards of the Eastern Paris Basin. Among the information retrieved from this borehole, the vertical distribution of chloride in porewaters showed that, in addition to vertical diffusion, lateral advection in the aquifers plays a major part in transporting chlorine away from the study area. Helium concentrations were also measured in porewaters along the borehole. Because the helium input function is different from that of chlorine, it represents an excellent alternative tracer to further constrain transport characteristics. We applied an advection–diffusion model to the helium profiles with the appropriate source term for 4He based on U–Th measured concentrations of uranium and thorium. 40Ar/36Ar data, which were available along the whole sequence, were also simulated. The modelled and measured 4He profiles were in good agreement, indicating that the transport parameters used for the chlorine simulations were robust. 40Ar/36Ar simulations also gave coherent results and confirmed that most of the radiogenic 40Ar remained trapped in the rocks (primarily in clays and feldspars).
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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.