The KBS-3 underground nuclear waste repository concept designed by the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Co. (SKB) includes a bentonite buffer barrier surrounding the copper canisters and the iron insert where spent nuclear fuel will be placed. Bentonite is also part of the backfill material used to seal the access and deposition tunnels of the repository. The bentonite barrier has three main safety functions: to ensure the physical stability of the canister, to retard the intrusion of groundwater to the canisters, and in case of canister failure, to retard the migration of radionuclides to the geosphere. Laboratory experiments (< 10 years long) have provided evidence of the control exerted by accessory minerals and clay surfaces on the pore water chemistry. The evolution of the pore water chemistry will be a primordial factor on the long-term stability of the bentonite barrier, which is a key issue in the safety assessments of the KBS-3 concept.
- High-level nuclear waste repository
- Reactive transport modelling