, Volume 90, Issue 1, pp 95-112

A Structured Approach to the Derivation of Effective Properties for Combined Water and Gas Flow in the EDZ

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The generation, accumulation, and release of corrosion gases is an important issue in the assessment of long-term repository performance. For repository concepts in clay-rich rock formations such as the Opalinus Clay of Northern Switzerland the transport path through the Excavation Damage Zone (EDZ) around the emplacement tunnels is of particular interest because the gas transport capacity of the host rock is limited and therefore a significant fraction of the produced gas could be released along the EDZ. This article describes the development of a structured approach to abstract complex geoscientific models of two-phase flow through the EDZ to simplified models suitable for use within a Probabilistic Safety Assessment (PSA). The approach utilizes three different models: a discrete fracture network (DFN) model of the EDZ, an equivalent heterogeneous continuum porous medium (CPM) model and a simplified CPM model suitable for use within PSA. Equivalent properties of the elements of the heterogeneous CPM models are upscaled from DFN realizations. Results from gas injection simulations with the heterogeneous CPM models are then used to derive appropriate parameters for the simplified CPM model. The modeling presented in this article represents the first step in the development of a structured methodology for treatment of gas, solute, and water flow through the EDZ. The emphasis is on methodology development, and both input data and structural models used in this study are of a generic nature and would have to be adapted to the actual conditions at a real repository site.