THE HYDROGEOLOGY OF THERMALLY ACTIVE ENERGY WASTE IN BEDDED SALT (Invited Presentation)
We report results from a shakedown test in a sub-horizontal borehole in the underground at WIPP that includes a 10.2 cm diameter borehole equipped with a heater surrounded with smaller diameter boreholes instrumented with thermocouples. The central borehole contains an inflatable packer, heater, and constantly flowing nitrogen gas circulation system. In the heated borehole, nitrogen gas circulation outflows to a desiccant container where water mass is measured daily during the experiment to quantify vapor removal. Thermocouples in the nearby boreholes allow us to determine the efficiency of several heater arrangements.
Using data from the shakedown testing, we build simulations using the Los Alamos developed Finite Element Heat and Mass transfer code (FEHM) to evaluate the experimental results and determine field-scale parameters. Simulations of the experiment allow us to confirm our conceptual model and provide checks on previously measure physical properties.
Results from this experiment show that water flow into the borehole agrees with previous experimental results and results from the TOUGH-FLAC simulator. Further, the shakedown test led to a design change to better transfer energy to the rock salt using an infrared heater. Simulations also show the impact of long-term pressure drainage during the 30 years that the drift was open before the heater testing.