iCross: Integrity of nuclear waste repository systems – Cross-scale system understanding and analysis

Time Frame: 2018-2021

Funding: Helmholtz Gemeinschaft and BMBF

Principal Investigator:  Oliver Heidbach

Personnel: Moritz Ziegler

Project Webpage

Cooperations: Umweltforschungszentrum Leipzig, KIT, Forschungszentrum Jülich, Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf

The tectonic stress field of the Earth's crust is directly related to numerous site selection criteria. It determines the stability of deep geological repositories (DGR) in the design and storage phase and significantly controls the modeling of the long-term stability to minimize the impact of e.g. tectonic earthquakes or glacial loads. A reliable prognosis in advance of exploration, however, is difficult since the stress field is not uniform in its orientation and magnitude. Rather, it depends on the underground structure (lithologies, faults) locally significant deviations from the regionally partly well-know stress feidl can occur. Furthermore, the geomechanics on the scale of the DGR perimeter is controlled ba far field forces of plate tectonics on wavelength of thousands of kilometers, so that cross-scale understanding is essential. For this purpose, 4 D geomechanical-numerical stress models are created, which are calibrated with measured stress data. On the basis of continuum mechanical approaches, predictions can be made for the quantification of all six components of the stress tensor. Key objectives of this subproject are:

  • Further development of the multi-scale model concept from the 1000 km scale to the scale of the effective containment zone and the excavation damage zone around the tunnel wall.
  • Quantification of the epistemic and aleatoric uncertainties of the models and development of methods for their reduction by integration of different data sets (strengths, stress magnitudes)
  • Scenario simulations to investigate the impact of tectonic earthquakes and glacial loads on the stress field in the area of ​​the DGR


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