Failure behavior of granite material is paramount for host rock stability of geological repositories for high-level waste (HLW) disposal. Failure behavior also affects the seepage behavior related to transportation of radionuclide. Few of the published studies gave a consistent analysis on how confinement and water pressure affect the failure behavior, which in turn influences the seepage behavior of the rock during the damage process. Based on a series of laboratory experiments on NRG01 granite samples cored from Alxa area, a candidate area for China’s HLW disposal, this paper presents some detailed observations and analyses for a better understanding on the failure mechanism and seepage behavior of the samples under different confinements and water pressure. The main findings of this study are as follows: (1) Strength reduction properties were found for the granite under water pressure. Besides, the complete axial stress–strain curves show more obvious yielding process in the pre-peak region and a more gradual stress drop in the post-peak region; (2) Shear fracturing pattern is more likely to form in the granite samples with the effect of water pressure, even under much lower confinements, than the predictions from the conventional triaxial compressive results; (3) Four stages of inflow rate curves are divided and the seepage behaviors are found to depend on the failure behavior affected by the confinement and water pressure.
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