Numerical modeling of seepage into underground openings

Finsterle, S. ; Trautz, R. C.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 5
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2002
Numerical modeling studies were performed to investigate water seepage into underground openings excavated in unsaturated fractured rock. Water seepage is an important factor affecting the performance of a nuclear waste repository, such as the one proposed at Yucca Mountain, NV. The amount of water dripping into an underground opening depends on the connectivity and permeability of the fracture network, as well as on the capillarity of individual fractures intersecting the opening. A high-resolution numerical model of an unsaturated fracture network was developed, and the appropriateness of seepage predictions using a fracture-continuum model was examined. Model calibrations to liquid-release tests performed at Yucca Mountain are also discussed.
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