Ventilation Design for Yucca Mountain Exploratory Studies Facility

Jurani, Romeo S.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1995
Yucca Mountain, located in Southern Nevada approximately 160 krn northwest of Las Vegas, is currently the site of intensive surfacebased and underground investigations. The investigations are required to determine if the site is suitable for long term isolation of the Nation's high level nuclear waste inventory. A major component of the program is the Exploratory Studies Facility, or ESF. The ESF, when completed, will consist of approximately 25,600 meters of tunnels and drifts. The network of tunnels and drifts (Figure 1) will house and support a wide array of testing programs conceived to provide physical information about the site. Information on geologic, geomechanical, and hydrologic data will be used in the repository design if the site is found suitable. Besides a few special requirements, the general ESF ventilation criteria during construction are similar to that of commercial tunneling and mining operations. The minimum air velocity at the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) and other active mining faces is 0.51 meter per second (m/s) (100 feet per minute [fpm]). Airways, estimated leakages and ventilation controls are converted into equivalent resistances for input to mine ventilation network computer simulations. VNETPC Version 3.1 computer software is used to generate the ventilation models for optimized system design and component selection. Subsequently, actual performance of the ventilation system will be verified and validated to comply with applicable nuclear regulatory quality assurance requirements. Dust control in the ESF is dependent on effective dust collection, enclosure, and airflow dilution. Minimum use of water, as feasible, is necessary to avoid adding moisture to the potential repository horizon. The limitation of water use for test drilling and TBM operation, and the rigid compliance with applicable federal and state regulations, make the ESF a ventilation design challenge.
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