Numerical analysis of canister movements in an engineered barrier system
The mid-term safety of deep geological nuclear waste repositories is based in part on the presence of a buffer, the main role of which is to isolate the environment from radionuclides. A design evaluation of such a repository is necessary to assess the potential vertical canister movement inside the drift that could reduce the buffer efficiency. A thermo-hydro-mechanical (THM) simulation is performed in a vertical cross-section of the drift. The THM couplings are described, and their influences on the mid-term (300 years) response of the engineered barrier system (EBS) are revealed. This study uses an advanced constitutive model to simulate the THM processes that occur in a specific EBS design case. The near-field simulations of the nuclear waste canister are performed in a two-dimensional finite element configuration that considers the effect of gravity. The focus of this study is on the mechanical behaviour of the buffer, which consists of two different forms of bentonite. Such an approach allows realistic consideration of the effect of the wetting and drying of the buffer material in non-isothermal conditions. Due to a specific design that includes bentonite blocks and pellets, the canister is observed to heave slightly during the re-saturation period, which extends up to 100 years.