Exploring the governing transport mechanisms of corrosive agents in a Canadian deep geological repository

Rashwan, Tarek; Asad, Md. Abdullah; Molnar, Ian L.; Behazin, Mehran; Keech, Peter G. and Krol, Magdalena M. (2022). Exploring the governing transport mechanisms of corrosive agents in a Canadian deep geological repository. Science of The Total Environment, 828, article no. 153944.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.153944


All nuclear energy producing nations face a common challenge associated with the long-term solution for their used nuclear fuel. After decades of research, many nuclear safety agencies worldwide agree that deep geological repositories (DGRs) are appropriate long-term solutions to protect the biosphere. The Canadian DGR is planned in either stable crystalline or sedimentary host rock (depending on the final site location) to house the used nuclear fuel in copper-coated used fuel containers (UFCs) surrounded by highly compacted bentonite. The copper-coating and bentonite provide robust protection against many corrosion processes anticipated in the DGR. However, it is possible that bisulfide (HS) produced near the host rock-bentonite interface may transport through the bentonite and corrode the UFCs during the DGR design life (i.e., one million years); although container performance assessments typically account for this process, while maintaining container integrity. Because the DGR design life far exceeds those of practical experimentation, there is a need for robust numerical models to forecast HS transport. In this paper we present the development of a coupled 3D thermal-hydraulic-chemical model to explore the impact of key coupled physics on HS transport in the proposed Canadian DGR. These simulations reveal that, although saturation delayed and heating accelerated HS transport over the first 100s and 10,000s of years, respectively, these times of influence were small compared to the long DGR design life. Consequently, the influence from heating only increased total projected HS corrosion by <20% and the influence from saturation had a negligible impact (<1%). By comparing the corrosion rate results with a simplified model, it was shown that nearly-steady DGR design parameters governed most of the projected HS corrosion. Therefore, those parameters need to be carefully resolved to reliably forecast the extent of HS corrosion.

Viewing alternatives

Download history


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions

Item Actions