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  • . . . I I . .. - - 1 - ., - I .11 I

    SANDIA REPORT SAND84-0468 * UC-70 Unlimited Release Printed March 1989

    Yucca Mountain Project

    Experimental Plan for Investigating Water Movement Through Fractures

    E. A. Klavetter, R. R. Peters, B. M. Schwartz

    Prepared by Sandia National Laboratories Albuquerque, New Mexico 87185 and Uvermore, California 94550 for the United States Department of Energy under Contract DE-AC04-760P_0789

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  • "Prepared by Yucca Mountain Project (YMP) participants as part of the Civilian Radioactive Waste Management Program (CRWM). The YMP is managed by the Yucca Mountain Project Office of the U.S. Department of Energy, Nevada Operations Office (DOE/NV). YMP work is sponsored by the Office of Geologic Repositories (OGR) of the DOE Office of Civilian Radio- active Waste Management (OCRWM)."

    Issued by Sandia National Laboratories, operated for the United States Department of Energy by Sandia Corporation. NOTICE: This report was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States Government. Neither the United States Govern- ment nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, nor any of their contractors, subcontractors, or their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government, any agency thereof or any of their contractors or subcontractors. The views and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government, any agency thereof or any of their contractors.

    Printed in the United States of America Available from National Technical Information Service U.S. Department of Commerce 5285 Port Royal Road Springfield, VA22161

    NTIS price codes Printed copy: A06 Microfiche copy A01

  • Distribution Category UC-70

    SAND84-0468 Unlimited Release

    Printed March 1989

    EXPERIMENTAL PLAN FOR INVESTIGATING WATER MOVEMENT THROUGH FRACTURES

    E. A. Klavetter, R. R. Peters and B. M. Schwartz Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations Project Department

    Sandia National Laboratories Albuquerque, New Mexico 87185

    ABSTRACT

    The Yucca Mountain site In southern Nevada is being Investigated by the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations (NNWSI) project*as a possible site for a nuclear waste repository. The manner in which the water flows downward from the repository through the unsaturated zone to the water table can affect the transport of radionuclides. The travel time of water across a rock unit is considerably shorter if the flow s predominantly through fractures than if It is predominantly through the rock matrix. Current data and postulated physical models indicate that there is little or no significant flow through fractures in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain. Fracture data are required to increase confidence in this conclusion and would be used qualitatively to increase understanding and quantitatively in modeling. The evaluation of water flow in fractures Is also necessary for abnormal scenarios where significant fracture flow may occur because of future climatic conditions. An experimental system is described for the purpose of investigating the movement of water through fractures. The system will be used to perform the tests described in this report.

    * The name of the NNWSI Project was changed to Yucca Mountain Project (YMP) on November 9, 1988.

    I

  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

    The authors wish to express their appreciation to J. R. Wayland and D. 0. Lee of Sandia +

    National Laboratories for their help In formulating initial concepts and for their

    comments and suggestions concerning the Laboratory Impedance Measurement of

    Fracture Flow technique. We would also like to express our appreciation to the peer

    reviewers, R. M. Zimmerman and M. J. Martinez of Sandia National Laboratories, for

    their comments and suggestions.

    ii

  • TABLE OF CONTENTS

    Page

    INTRODUCTION.......................................................................1.........................

    OBJECTIVES ............. . . . ..E............. ............ 5............................... 5

    DESCRIPTION OF LABORATORY IMPEDANCE MEASUREMENTS OF FRACTURE FLOW (LIMI8FF)......6

    Description of Technique ........Desritin o T ch iqu ............................................ .......................... Establishment of Relationship between Impedance Response

    and Water Volume and Movement .16

    TEST DESCRIPTION.. 21

    EXPECTED RESULTS . . .27

    EXPERIMENTAL APPARATUS CONFIGURATION. 33

    General Description... 33 System Components . . . 37

    Pore-Fluid Loop . . .57 Confining-Fluto Loop . . . 38 Pressure Vessel ... 38 Instrumentation.................................................................................. 39

    QUALITY ASSURCANCE .42

    Quality Assurance Procedure (QAP) . . .42 Safe Operating Procedure (SOP) . . .42 Identification and Control of Samples . . .42 Control of Measuring and Test Equipment. . . 43 Sample Preparation . . . .45 Quality Assurance Records .. . .45 System Function Verification . . . .45

    SAFETY............................................................................................................ 47

    SUMMAR Y ......... .............................................................................................. 48

    REFERENCES. .................................................................................................. 49

    Appendix A Sample Preparation ... A-

    Appendix B Procedure for Placement of an Electrode Gild on Rock Samples .B-1

    Appendix C Quality Assurance Procedure .................................................... C-I

    Appendix D Safe Operating Procedure ........................................................ D-l

    I1

  • FIGURES

    Page

    1. Schematic of the Effects on Measured Capacitance When a Conductive Fluid is Displaced by an Insulating Fluid in a Fracture...................................................................................................... 10

    2. Response to be Expected for Idealized Frontal nstabilities .............................. 12

    3. Definition of Times Associated with Frontal Instability Measurements ............. 13

    4. Computation of the Areal Fraction, W. Occupied by Fingers in an Advancing Front ................................................................ 15

    5. Simulated Fracture ................................................................ 18

    6a. Core Sample Encased In Core Holder Assembly with Cutaway View of the Fracture Surface ................................................................ 23

    6b. Electrode Grid Pattern on the Fracture Surface .............................................. 23

    7. Fracture Aperture Versus the Effective Confining Pressure ............................. 28

    8. Normalized Fracture Permeability Versus the Effective Confining Pressure ................................................................ 29

    9. Normalized Fracture Permeability Versus the Effective Confining Pressure ................................................................ 30

    10. Fracture Flow Experimental Apparatus Schematic .34

    11. Instrumentation/Data Acquisition System ....................................................... 40

    TABLES

    1. Sample Specification.................................................................................... 22

    2. Equipment and Instrumentation Specification .35

    3. Calibration Guidelines .44

    iv

  • INTRODUCTION

    The Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations (NNWSI) project is characterizing

    the unsaturated geologic formations at Yucca Mountain, on and adjacent to the Nevada

    Test Site, as a possible site for a high-level nuclear waste repository. Flow through

    fractures is considered in the NNWSI project to be a potential mechanism for major water

    movement in certain units of Yucca Mountain. The travel time of water across a rock

    unit Is considerably shorter if the flow is predominantly through fractures than if it is

    predominantly through the rock matrix. Therefore, the time for radionuclides to travel

    from the repository to the accessible environment is affected by the manner in which the

    water moves through the rock units. Current data and postulated physical models indicate

    that there is little or no significant flow through fractures in the unsaturated geologic

    formations at Yucca Mountain. Fracture data are required to increase confidence in this

    conclusion and would be used qualitatively to increase understanding and quantitatively in

    modeling. The evaluation of water flow In fractures is also necessary for abnormal

    scenarios where significant fracture flow may occur because of future climatic co

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