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Thermal Impact on the Damaged Zone Around a Radioactive Waste Disposal in Clay Host Rocks

Final Report Summary - TIMODAZ (Thermal impact on the damaged zone around a radioactive waste disposal in clay host rocks)

In all nuclear power generating countries, spent nuclear fuel and long lived radioactive-waste management is an important environmental issue. Disposal in deep clay geological formations is one of the promising options for the disposal of such waste. An important item for the long-term safety of underground disposal is the proper evaluation of the Damaged zone (DZ) in the clay host rock.

The TIMODAZ project focussed on the study of the combined effect of the Excavation damaged zone (EDZ) and of the temperature increase on the EDZ evolution as well as on the possible additional damage created by the thermal load. Three types of clay were investigated. For the assessment of the impact of the different repository evolution stages on the host rock numerical tools were developed. These innovations were built on an experimental programme including laboratory and field tests.

The knowledge gained within the project allowed for an assessment of the significance of the Thermal damaged zone (TDZ) in the safety case for disposal in clay host rock, as well as for the provision of direct feedback to repository design teams. In order to ensure appropriate and continuous linkage between the end users' needs and the priorities of the project, an end users' group was constituted, being active throughout the duration of the project. This group consisted of mainly national agencies for management of radioactive waste.