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Test on Gas Migration in Rock and Soil


Tests and Studies on Gas Migration in Rock and Soil for Geological Disposal of Radioactive Wastes.

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-WDS/Waste Disposal/Environment

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Nagai H

Leading Institute
GERS, Russia, Murmansk reg., Zapolyarny

Supporting institutes

  • VNIITF, Russia, Chelyabinsk reg., Snezhinsk\nVNIPI Promtechnology, Russia, Moscow


  • Forschungzentrum für Umweltund Gesundbeit / Institut für Tieflsgertung, Germany, Braunschweig\nBritish Nuclear Fuels Ltd (BNFL), UK, Chesire, Risley Warrington\nECN Petten, The Netherlands, Petten\nSCK-CEN, Belgium, Mol\nRadioactive Waste Management Center, Japan, Tokyo

Project summary

In the radioactive waste disposal safety it is needed to keep the integrity of the facility from being damaged (e.g. destruction of the concrete well) by the increased gas pressure.

Various gases are generated and liberated in the radioactive waste storage as a result of metal corrosion, the attack of microorganisms, etc. Hydrogen, methane, carbon dioxide, etc. diffuse and infiltrate the rocks surrounded the devices for waste storage. For reliable evaluation of these migration processes it is necessary to know the ability of these gases to penetrate the layers of different rocks. It is also necessary for prevention of gas accumulation in arrangements designed for waste storage and for prevention of the accumulated gas excessive pressure build up.

Gas accumulation is the function of the gas amount passing through the facility and this permeability and gas pressure in the facility is influenced by the pressure difference between outside and inside of the facility. This pressure difference is influenced by how much of gas which is coming out from the facility is passing through the bedrock. Thus order to evaluate the accumulated gas amount in the facility and incorporate the necessary measures for this gas accumulation, it is needed to estimate the permeability of bedrock or soil.

The main purpose of this project is to begin with making a fundamental input-database for evaluation of permeability characteristics, by collection, assembling, filing and processing necessary data for the evaluation out of various type of rocks and soil, then, to examine and evaluate the permeability characteristics of the rock and soil (here and further the terms "soil" means quaternary sediments) based on these database. It is necessary to underline that though the reservoir properties (including gas permeability) of sedimentary rocks were adequately studied the similar properties of igneous and metamorphic rocks were insufficiently investigated. The information of that kind is extremely scarce. And it is necessary to obtain it anew or to find it in different separate papers. The same can be stated about the water permeability of rocks which is important for the project, because the majority of sedimentary rock permeability investigations was conducted with oil or with mixture consisting of oil (gas) and water. The igneous rock permeability (especially the fractured one) up to nowadays was investigated in connection of the conduction of subsurface nuclear exposition, the construction of subsurface buildings, the basing of atomic submarines, etc.

Large experience has been accumulated RIC "GERS" while studying the section of Kola superdeep wall, and for such rocks which present the highest interest for disposal of radwaste (volcanogenic-sedimental and metamorphic rocks). In VNIPromtecnologii sections of boreholes were investigated concerning the conduction of nuclear explosions. However all those data are not unified and practically unusable.

Concerning all stated above the Project being considered will solve the following main tasks:

– collection and systematization of available data on gas and liquid permeability etc. physical characteristics of rocks and soils interested for location facilities form radwaste disposal;
– receipt of new data on rock permeability for which these data are insufficient, or absent;
– generalization and analysis of data received;
– creation of fundamental base of data on the basis of collected materials.

In process of Project implementation it is planned to fulfill: theoretical works on examination of a conceptual model, numeric modeling of gas migrations (two-phase flowing and diffusion, assessment of the acceptability of model for gas filtration; assessment of dependence of permeability characteristics on types of rocks. As result for every type of studied rocks numeric massif of information will be compiled on permeability etc., physical properties which together will make a. data base applicable for different types of comparisons, generalization and analysis aimed at utilization in project for radwaste disposal.

Investigations are supposed to conduct at depth up to 1500 m i.e. in a zone of possible disposal of radwaste.

The results received in process of the Project implementation will be of use for specialists of foreign states plan to dispose of spent nuclear fuel and radwaste (Japan, Sweden, Germany, France et al.).

The scientific significance of the designed works consists in the determination of fundamental laws of permeability-changing for different rock types.


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