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Energies 2019, 12(4), 596; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12040596

Thermal Evolution near Heat-Generating Nuclear Waste Canisters Disposed in Horizontal Drillholes

1
Finsterle GeoConsulting; 315 Vassar Ave, Kensington, CA 94708, USA
2
Deep Isolation Inc., 2120 University Ave, Suite 623, Berkeley, CA 94704, USA
3
Corrosion Engineering, University of Akron, Whitby Hall 211, Akron, OH 44325, USA
4
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California; Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 December 2018 / Revised: 29 January 2019 / Accepted: 11 February 2019 / Published: 13 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Deep Borehole Disposal of Nuclear Waste)
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Abstract

We consider the disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste in horizontal holes drilled into deep, low-permeable geologic formations using directional drilling technology. Residual decay heat emanating from these waste forms leads to temperature increases within the drillhole and the surrounding host rock. The spacing of waste canisters and the configuration of the various barrier components within the horizontal drillhole can be designed such that the maximum temperatures remain below limits that are set for each element of the engineered and natural repository system. We present design calculations that examine the thermal evolution around heat-generating waste for a wide range of material properties and disposal configurations. Moreover, we evaluate alternative layouts of a monitoring system to be part of an in situ heater test that helps determine the thermal properties of the as-built repository system. A data-worth analysis is performed to ensure that sufficient information will be collected during the heater test so that subsequent model predictions of the thermal evolution around horizontal deposition holes will reliably estimate the maximum temperatures in the drillhole. The simulations demonstrate that the proposed drillhole disposal strategy can be flexibly designed to ensure dissipation of the heat generated by decaying nuclear waste. Moreover, an in situ heater test can provide the relevant data needed to develop a reliable prediction model of repository performance under as-built conditions. View Full-Text
Keywords: nuclear waste isolation; horizontal disposal drillholes; thermal period; design calculations; in situ heater test; data-worth analysis; iTOUGH2 nuclear waste isolation; horizontal disposal drillholes; thermal period; design calculations; in situ heater test; data-worth analysis; iTOUGH2
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Finsterle, S.; Muller, R.A.; Baltzer, R.; Payer, J.; Rector, J.W. Thermal Evolution near Heat-Generating Nuclear Waste Canisters Disposed in Horizontal Drillholes. Energies 2019, 12, 596.

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