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Coupled thermo-hydro-mechanical processes in the near field of a high-level radioactive waste repository in clay formations



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International Journal of Rock Mechanics & Mining Sciences / Volume 49, janvier 2012, Pages 31–44

Type de document > *Article de revue

Mots clés >

Unité de recherche > IRSN/DEI/SARG/LR2S

Auteurs > TSANG Chin Fu, BARNICHON Jean-Dominique, BIRKHOLZER Jens, LI Xiang Ling, LIU H.H., SILLEN Xavier

Date de publication > 01/01/2012


The present paper provides an overview of key coupled thermo-hydro-mechanical (THM) processes in clay formations that would result from the development of a high-level radioactive waste repository. Here, in this paper, clay formations include plastic clay such as the Boom Clay of Belgium, as well as more indurated clay such as the Callovo-Oxfordian and Upper Toarcian of France and Opalinus Clay of Switzerland. First, we briefly introduce and describe four major Underground Research Laboratories (URLs) that have been devoted to clay repository research over the last few decades. Much of the research results in this area have been gained through investigations in these URLs and their supporting laboratory and modeling research activities. Then, the basic elements in the development of a waste repository in clays are presented in terms of four distinct stages in repository development. For each of these four stages, key processes and outstanding issues are discussed. A summary of the important areas of research needs and some general remarks then conclude this paper.