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Hydrogeologic Modelling in Support of a Proposed Deep Geologic Repository in Canada for Low and Intermediate Level Radioactive Waste

[+] Author Affiliations
Jonathan F. Sykes, Stefano D. Normani, Yong Yin

University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada

Eric A. Sykes, Mark R. Jensen

Nuclear Waste Management Organization, Toronto, ON, Canada

Paper No. ICEM2009-16264, pp. 433-442; 10 pages
  • ASME 2009 12th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management
  • ASME 2009 12th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management, Volume 1
  • Liverpool, UK, October 11–15, 2009
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division and Environmental Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4407-6 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3865-X
  • Copyright © 2009 by ASME


A Deep Geologic Repository (DGR) for Low and Intermediate Level radioactive waste has been proposed by Ontario Power Generation for the Bruce Nuclear Power Development site in Ontario, Canada. The DGR is to be constructed at a depth of about 680 m below ground surface within the argillaceous Ordovician limestone of the Cobourg Formation. This paper describes a regional-scale geologic conceptual model for the DGR site and analyzes flow system evolution using the FRAC3DVS-OPG flow and transport model. This provides a framework for the assembly and integration of site-specific geoscientific data that explains and illustrates the factors that influence the predicted long-term performance of the geosphere barrier. In the geologic framework of the Province of Ontario, the Bruce DGR is located at the eastern edge of the Michigan Basin. Borehole logs covering Southern Ontario combined with site specific data have been used to define the structural contours at the regional and site scale of the 31 sedimentary strata that may be present above the Precambrian crystalline basement rock. The regional-scale domain encompasses an 18.500km2 region extending from Lake Huron to Georgian Bay. The groundwater zone below the Devonian is characterized by units containing stagnant water having high concentrations of total dissolved solids that can exceed 300g/l. The computational sequence involves the calculation of steady-state density independent flow that is used as the initial condition for the determination of pseudo-equilibrium for a density dependent flow system that has an initial TDS distribution developed from observed data. Long-term simulations that consider future glaciation scenarios include the impact of ice thickness and permafrost. The selection of the performance measure used to evaluate a groundwater system is important. The traditional metric of average water particle travel time is inappropriate for geologic units such as the Ordovician where solute transport is diffusion dominant. The use of life expectancy and groundwater age is a more appropriate metric for such a system. The mean life expectancy for the DGR and base case parameters has been estimated to be in excess of 8 million years.

Copyright © 2009 by ASME



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