Scoping study examining the behaviour of Boom Clay at disposal depths investigated in OPERA

Harrington, J.F.; Cuss, R.J.; Wiseall, A.C.; Daniels, K.A.; Graham, C.C.; Tamayo-Mas, E.. 2017 Scoping study examining the behaviour of Boom Clay at disposal depths investigated in OPERA. COVRA, 215pp. (Unpublished)

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The Onderzoeks Programma Eindberging Radioactief Afval (OPERA) is the third national research programme for the geological disposal of radioactive waste in the Netherlands, operating during the period 2011 to 2017. The rock types to host a geological disposal facility that are currently being considered in the Netherlands are salt and clay. Earlier Dutch work focussed mostly on salt, but the present programme OPERA is focused on a specific clay formation the Boom Clay. Previous studies have primarily focused on examining behaviour at the Belgium reference depth (~220m). The work presented in this study extends this knowledge-base to repository depths of potential interest in the Netherlands (~500m). In this report, results from a scoping study examining the hydromechanical properties of Boom Clay are presented, including investigations on consolidation, swelling, hydraulic, gas and deformation behaviour. These were performed on preserved core material retrieved from the HADES underground research laboratory, Belgium. Sections of core were then consolidated to a depth representative of the Netherlands. Permeability was sensitive to stress state and thermal load, though incremental changes in NaCl concentration had minimal impact. Hysteresis was observed in thermally induced changes in permeability. Gas entry was closely linked to the minimum principal stress component, with mass and volume changes of samples observed as a result of gas migration. Stress, porewater pressure and gas flow were integrally linked with pathways evolving temporally and spatially. A transition from brittle to ductile deformation was noted with increasing stress in both compression and shear. Boom Clay is both complex and anisotropic in its behaviour.

Item Type: Publication - Report
Funders/Sponsors: COVRA, British Geological Survey
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Report can be also be found on COVRA website at:
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Date made live: 29 Sep 2022 14:16 +0 (UTC)

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