Institute for Nuclear Waste Disposal

BEACON: Bentonite mechanical evolution

The overall objective of the project is to develop and test the tools necessary for the assessment of the mechanical evolution of an installed bentonite barrier and the resulting performance of the barrier. This will be achieved by cooperation between design and engineering, science and performance assessment. The evolution from an installed engineered system to a fully functioning barrier will be assessed. This will require a more detailed understanding of material properties, of the fundamental processes that lead to homogenization via water saturation, of the role of scale effects and improved capabilities for numerical modelling. The goal is to verify the performance of current designs for buffers, backfills, seals and plugs. For some repository designs mainly in crystalline host rock, the results can also be used for the assessment of consequences of mass loss from a bentonite barrier in long-term perspective.