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Open Access The Tournemire industrial analogue: reactive-transport modelling of a cement–clay interface

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In the post-closure period of a geological disposal facility for radioactive waste, leaching of cement components is likely to give rise to an alkaline plume which will be in chemical disequilibrium with the host rock (which is clay in some concepts) and other engineered barrier system materials used in the facility, such as bentonite. An industrial analogue for cement-clay interaction can be found at Tournemire, southern France, where boreholes filled with concrete and cement remained in contact with the natural mudstone for 15 20 years. The boreholes have been overcored, extracted and mineralogical characterization has been performed. In this study, a reactive-transport model of the Tournemire system has been set up using the general-purpose modelling tool QPAC. Previous modelling work has been built upon by using the most up-to-date data and modelling techniques, and by adding both ion exchange and surface complexation processes in the mudstone. The main features observed at Tournemire were replicated by the model, including porosity variations and precipitation of carbonates, K-feldspar, ettringite and calcite. It was found that ion exchange needed to be included in order for C-S-H minerals to precipitate in the mudstone, providing a better match with the mineralogical characterization. The additional inclusion of surface complexation, however, led to limited calcite growth at the concrete-mudstone interface unlike samples taken from the Tournemire site that have a visible line of crusty carbonates along the interface.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2013-05-01

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