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Analysis of Water Flow Paths: Methodology and Example Calculations for a Potential Geological Repository in Sweden

Kent Werner, Emma Bosson and Sten Berglund
Ambio
Vol. 35, No. 8, Transdisciplinary Ecosystem Modeling for Safety Assessments of Radioactive Waste Disposal (Dec., 2006), pp. 425-434
Published by: Springer on behalf of Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4315765
Page Count: 10
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Analysis of Water Flow Paths: Methodology and Example Calculations for a Potential Geological Repository in Sweden
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Abstract

Safety assessment related to the siting of a geological repository for spent nuclear fuel deep in the bedrock requires identification of potential flow paths and the associated travel times for radionuclides originating at repository depth. Using the Laxemar candidate site in Sweden as a case study, this paper describes modeling methodology, data integration, and the resulting water flow models, focusing on the Quaternary deposits and the upper 150 m of the bedrock. Example simulations identify flow paths to groundwater discharge areas and flow paths in the surface system. The majority of the simulated groundwater flow paths end up in the main surface waters and along the coastline, even though the particles used to trace the flow paths are introduced with a uniform spatial distribution at a relatively shallow depth. The calculated groundwater travel time, determining the time available for decay and retention of radionuclides, is on average longer to the coastal bays than to other biosphere objects at the site. Further, it is demonstrated how GIS-based modeling can be used to limit the number of surface flow paths that need to be characterized for safety assessment. Based on the results, the paper discusses an approach for coupling the present models to a model for groundwater flow in the deep bedrock.

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