Modeling transient thermal conditions for nuclear waste in deep boreholes

Robert J. Geringer, Clifford Singer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Previous deep borehole studies have focused on feasibility, providing proof-of-concept that a deep borehole repository can meet containment standards; but the basic design is not yet optimized. The thermal analysis presented in this paper provides insight into a design-to-performance approach, namely by modeling how changes in disposal depth, disposal zone rock type, disposal zone geometry, and initial heat load affect facility performance. As compared to a 5 km vertical deep borehole, a shallower borehole with multiple branches from a single vertical access shaft could cost less than a very deep vertical bore. This paper also considers heat transport from disposal in deep sedimentary rock in addition to disposal in granite. Borehole geometry changes, especially near-horizontal boreholes in sedimentary rock, can lead to longer disposal zone lengths and decrease the mechanical load on disposal canisters. The combination of shallower wells, rock types which require less effort to drill through, and the savings of a shared vertical access hole could considerably decrease facility construction costs. Cost savings could be redistributed among involved parties, which in turn may increase the likelihood of project success. Thermal transport analysis is also useful because it can provide insight into the physical processes relevant to the transport of radioisotopes in groundwater, including thermally-driven fluid flow and canister corrosion rates. Modeling the link between canister temperature and corrosion rates can inform better estimates of materials costs for canisters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication15th International High-Level Radioactive Waste Management Conference 2015, IHLRWM 2015
PublisherAmerican Nuclear Society
Pages642-645
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781510808102
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Event15th International High-Level Radioactive Waste Management Conference, IHLRWM 2015 - Charleston, United States
Duration: Apr 12 2015Apr 16 2015

Publication series

Name15th International High-Level Radioactive Waste Management Conference 2015, IHLRWM 2015

Other

Other15th International High-Level Radioactive Waste Management Conference, IHLRWM 2015
CountryUnited States
CityCharleston
Period4/12/154/16/15

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Radiation
  • Waste Management and Disposal

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  • Cite this

    Geringer, R. J., & Singer, C. (2015). Modeling transient thermal conditions for nuclear waste in deep boreholes. In 15th International High-Level Radioactive Waste Management Conference 2015, IHLRWM 2015 (pp. 642-645). (15th International High-Level Radioactive Waste Management Conference 2015, IHLRWM 2015). American Nuclear Society.