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The Hydrogeologic Environment for 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

Mark R. Jensen

Nuclear Waste Management Organization, Toronto, ON, Canada

Paper No. ICEM2011-59285, pp. 1043-1052; 10 pages
  • ASME 2011 14th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management
  • ASME 2011 14th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management, Parts A and B
  • Reims, France, September 25–29, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division and Environmental Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5498-3
  • Copyright © 2011 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 site in Ontario, Canada. As proposed the DGR would be constructed at a depth of about 680 m below ground surface within the argillaceous Ordovician limestone of the Cobourg Formation. This paper describes the hydrogeology of the DGR site developed through both site characterization studies and regional-scale numerical modelling analysis. The analysis provides a framework for the assembly and integration of the site-specific geoscientific data and examines the factors that influence the predicted long-term performance of the geosphere barrier. Flow system evolution was accomplished using both the density-dependent FRAC3DVS-OPG flow and transport model and the two-phase gas and water flow computational model TOUGH2-MP. In the geologic framework of the Province of Ontario, the DGR is located on the eastern flank of the Michigan Basin. Borehole logs covering Southern Ontario combined with site-specific data from 6 deep boreholes have been used to define the structural contours and hydrogeologic properties at the regional-scale of the modelled 31 sedimentary strata that may be partially present above the Precambrian crystalline basement rock. The regional-scale domain encompasses an approximately 18500km2 region extending from Lake Huron to Georgian Bay. The groundwater zone below the Devonian includes units containing stagnant water having high concentrations of total dissolved solids that can exceed 300g/L. The Ordovician sediments are significantly under-pressured. The horizontal hydraulic conductivity for the Cobourg limestone is estimated to be 2 × 10−14 m/s based on straddle-packer hydraulic tests. The low advective velocities in the Cobourg and other Ordovician units result in solute transport that is diffusion dominant with Peclet numbers less than 0.003 for a characteristic length of unity. Long-term simulations that consider future glaciation scenarios include the impact of ice thickness and permafrost. Solute transport in the Ordovician limestone and shale was diffusion dominant in all simulations. The Salina formations of the Upper Silurian prevented the deeper penetration of basal meltwater.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME



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