Long-term Bentonite Behaviour in Geological Disposal Facilities


Research Area:

Waste and Fuel Management


Miss Macarena Leal Olloqui

Contact details:


The Challenge

Despite producing considerable power density from a small volume of nuclear material, the main perceived drawback of nuclear-fission power generation are the long-term environmental impacts. A key environmental theme addressed by work at the University of Bristol includes long-term Bentonite behaviour in Geological Disposal Facilities (GDF).

Achieving a greater understanding regarding plausible alterations in the coupled Thermo-Hydro-Mechanical-Chemical (THMC) behaviour of the bentonite, in the long-term, under geological disposal conditions is key to dealing with these issues.

The Solution

The fulfilment of large-scale ‘in-situ’ tests are intricate, time-consuming and with an abundance of influences that are not always constant. For this reason, the University of Bristol is performing a series of well constrained time-resolved laboratory tests in which bentonite is subjected to different possible scenarios that would be relevant to a disposal system at temperatures in excess of 200°C and less than 150°C.

As a direct result of these works, it is possible to understand the processes and conditions under long-term geological disposal that may alter the bentonite’s THMC properties.

The Impact

Developed was a better understanding and knowledge of the mechanisms that govern the possible alterations on the THMC properties of the bentonite, over extended periods of time, in a fluctuating temperature and saturation rate environment.


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