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Article Dans Une Revue Physics and Chemistry of the Earth. Parts A/B/C Année : 2022

The contribution of swelling to self-sealing of claystone studied through x-ray tomography


Many countries, as among others France, Belgium and Switzerland, are facing the issue of finding a proper solution to store radioactive waste coming from nuclear power plants. The possibility to store them in underground tunnels is largely considered and investigated. In France, Andra (Agence Nationale pour la gestion des Déchets RAdioactifs) selected the Callovo-Oxfordian clay rock situated in the Meuse/Haute Marne site between 400 and 600 m depth as possible host rock deposit. The excavation of the storage tunnels is expected to create a fractured zone around galleries. The factures will be then gradually re-saturated by the underground water coming from the surrounding rock and they are expected to self-seal in contact with water, thanks to the swelling potential of COx. The capacity of selfsealing, i.e. closing of fractures after water contact and possibly restoring of permeability, is thus of primary interest for the safety of the storage system with respect to water, gas and solutes transport. The physical mechanisms driving this phenomenon are mainly the swelling and de-structuration of the clay matrix present in the claystone. In this work, the self-sealing response of COx was investigated through x-ray tomography at multi-micrometre and sub-micrometre voxel size. The objective was to study the influence of mineralogy, size of the discontinuity, hydraulic paths, mutual orientation of the bedding plane and fractures. The size of the discontinuity is of primary importance in determining the percentage of closure. Fractures parallel to the bedding plane are more likely to seal as swelling is anisotropic and occurs mainly perpendicular to the bedding plane. The main novelty is represented by the direct and local observation of the physical process of self-sealing down to a scale lower than 1 μm.
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hal-03740695 , version 1 (29-07-2022)



Alice Di Donna, Pascal Charrier, Jelke Dijkstra, Edward Andò, Pierre Bésuelle. The contribution of swelling to self-sealing of claystone studied through x-ray tomography. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth. Parts A/B/C, 2022, 127, pp.103191. ⟨10.1016/j.pce.2022.103191⟩. ⟨hal-03740695⟩


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