Proceedings of the 4th International Congress on Rock Mechanics, Geneva, Switzerland, September 1979
Authors: M. P. Hardy and C. M. St. John (University of Minnesota), and G. Hocking (Dames & Moore)

Geotechnical numerical models capable of predicting the thermomechanical response and groundwater movements around an underground radioactive waste repository are vital to the success of the nuclear waste disposal program. In the absence of directly related engineering experience, the design, risk assessment and licensing procedures of a repository will be reliant on predictions made using such models. This paper reviews models being used to assist in repository design and summarizes the results of a recent parametric study of underground disposal in basaltic rocks. On the basis of preliminary site data, it is concluded that the allowable areal density of heat generating waste will be controlled by the stability of placement rooms and the boreholes in which waste canisters are placed. Regional effects, including thermally induced upward groundwater flow, appear to present less severe problems.

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