Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Fractures and Self-healing within the Excavation Disturbed Zone in Clays (SELFRAC), Final report, EUR 22585

Project ID: FIKW-CT-2001-00182
Funded under: FP5-EAECTP C


Radioactive waste must be managed and disposed off in ways that ensure the protection of people and the environment. In this sense, the long-term prediction of disturbances in the surrounding rock mass induced by the construction and the operation of a waste repository is essential to ensure a maximal protection of the environment and the people for both current and future generations against soil contamination and radionuclide release. The Damaged Zone (DZ) is first initiated during the repository construction. Its behaviour is a dynamic problem, dependent on changing conditions that vary from open-drift period, to initial closure period, to the entire heating-cooling cycle of the decaying waste. Other factors concern the even longer-term issues of chemical reactions and biological activities. The SELFRAC project focuses on the DZ created by the excavation (EDZ) in clay host rocks. Two different potential geological formations for deep radioactive waste repositories were investigated: the indurated opalinus clay of Mont Terri (Switzerland) and the plastic Boom Clay of HADES (Belgium).
For a high-level nuclear waste repository, the damaged zone caused by excavation is of concern for the performance assessment if it affects the radionuclide migration. Damage in Performance Assessment (PA) is therefore different from damage in geomechanics. Consequently, a clear distinction has been proposed within the SELFRAC project between the Excavation Damaged Zone (EDZ) and Excavation disturbed Zone (EdZ).

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