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Effects of Glaciation on the Rock Formations Around a Proposed Nuclear Waste Repository

Abstract of the technical presentation presented at:
GeoProc conference, Paris, France
July 4‒7, 2017

Prepared by:
T. S. Nguyen
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission


Currently in Canada, both sedimentary rocks of the Michigan Basin and crystalline rocks of the Canadian Shield are being considered as potential host rock types for the deep geological disposal of radioactive waste. The CNSC has developed a mathematical model that couples mechanical, hydraulic and chemical processes to simulate the nine glacial cycles that occurred over the last million years over the Michigan Basin. The model was able to confirm, consistently with data from site characterization, that porewaters at and around the depths of a proposed deep geological repository (DGR) for low- and intermediate-level waste have remained unconnected to surface waters and shallow groundwaters despite the past nine glacial cycles. The model was then used to assess the effect of a future glacial cycle on the proposed DGR. The model showed that the rock formations would remain resilient to such a future glaciation event and would effectively contain any radionuclide released from the DGR, ensuring long-term safety. Surface water bodies, such as the Great Lakes, would be unaffected.

View the presentation on which this abstract is based.

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