The feasibility of modelling coupled processes in safety analysis of spent nuclear fuel disposal

Kari Rasilainen, Ari Luukkonen, Auli Niemi, Markus Olin, Jukka Pöllä

    Research output: Book/ReportReport


    The potential of applying coupled modelling in the Finnish safety analysis programme has been reviewed. The study focused on the migration of radionuclides escaping from a spent fuel repository planned to be excavated in fractured bedrock. Two effects that can trigger various couplings in and around a spent fuel repository in Finland were studied in detail; namely heat generation in the spent fuel and the presence of deep, saline groundwaters. The latter have been observed in coastal areas. A systematic survey of the requirements of coupled modelling identified features that render such migration calculations a challenging task. In groundwater flow modelling there appears to be wide ranging uncertainty related to conceptualisation of flow systems and to the corresponding input data. In terms of migration related chemistry there appear to be large gaps in the underlying thermodynamic database for geochemical systems. Rock mechanical predictions are heavily dependent on knowing the location, structure and properties of dominant fractures; information which is extremely difficult to obtain. Conduction and convection of heat is understood well in principle. On the basis of this review, it appears that coupled migration modelling may not yet be at the stage of development that would allow its use as a standard modelling tool in performance assessments. However, a firmer basis for the conclusions reached can only be obtained after a systematic modelling exercise on a relevant and real migration problem has been carried out.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationEspoo
    PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
    Number of pages87
    ISBN (Electronic)951-38-5465-5
    ISBN (Print)951-38-5464-7
    Publication statusPublished - 1999
    MoE publication typeD4 Published development or research report or study

    Publication series

    SeriesVTT Tiedotteita - Meddelanden - Research Notes


    • nuclear fuels
    • spent fuels
    • waste management
    • repositories
    • safety analysis
    • modelling
    • feasibility studies
    • ground water
    • fluid flow
    • radionuclide migration


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