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01.01.2014 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 1/2014

Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering 1/2014

Geometry and Properties of the Excavation-Induced Fractures at the Meuse/Haute-Marne URL Drifts

Zeitschrift:
Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering > Ausgabe 1/2014
Autoren:
G. Armand, F. Leveau, C. Nussbaum, R. de La Vaissiere, A. Noiret, D. Jaeggi, P. Landrein, C. Righini

Abstract

The performance and safety assessment and technology demonstration are the main objectives of research programs for feasibility studies for deep geological repository of radioactive waste. In this context, the French national radioactive waste management agency (ANDRA) started to develop the Meuse/Haute-Marne underground research laboratory (URL) at Bure, nearly 300 km East of Paris. The host formation consists of a Callovo-Oxfordian claystone found between 420 and 550 m below ground, overlain and underlain by poorly permeable carbonate formations. One of the major concerns related to performance assessment is the excavation-induced fractures which may provide groundwater preferential pathway for radionuclide migration. The extent of the fractures possibly acting significantly in the radionuclide migration is known as the excavation damaged zone (EDZ). A scientific study on the EDZ characterization is performed at the main level of the URL (−490 m). Observations such as structural analysis on core, overcored resin-filled samples, geological survey of the drift face and sidewalls, were made to better understand the fracture network characteristics, extent and its generation. Pulse and constant head test hydraulic conductivity measurements were performed with multi packer system to estimate the extension of the EDZ hydraulic conductivity. Fractures exhibited high transmissivity near the excavation walls, but farther from the exaction walls, shear fractures showed hydraulic conductivity values reflecting values of undisturbed or slightly disturbed rock mass condition. The major findings in terms of geometry and properties of excavation-induced fractures are discussed in detail in this paper. For example, it is observed that the shape of the fracture network depends on the orientation of the drift in relation to the orientation of the in situ stress field.

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