Geophysical monitoring of high-level radioactive waste repositories

Hansruedi Maurer, Edgar Manukyan , Lenka Koskova, Milan Hokr , Juhani Korkealaakso , Edgar Bohner, Bruna De Carvalho Faria Lima Lopes, Alessandro Tarantino

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Non-invasive monitoring of radioactive waste repositories is one of the key objectives addressed in the MODERN2020 project. For this task, geophysical techniques offer excellent means. Previous studies have identified seismic full waveform inversion (FWI) to be the most promising option for delineating subtle changes within a repository using data acquired outside of the repository. Significant anisotropy of the host rock, particularly in clay environments, precluded so far application of FWI technology for repository monitoring. With the development of a novel model parameterization, this problem could be resolved. Moreover, incorporation of structural constraints further improved the quality and reliability of our FWI algorithms. This was demonstrated with a field data set acquired in the Mont Terri rock laboratory. For a better characterization of small differential changes between two consecutive experiments, a novel differential tomography methodology was developed. It was tested with field data sets, with which differential traveltime inversions were performed. It is expected that this new method can be transferred in a straightforward manner to FWI problems. FWI technologies require extensive data analyses and substantial computer resources. Therefore, it was checked, if it is possible to employ quick and inexpensive tools, with which temporal changes in a repository can be detected, but not necessarily imaged. For that purpose, an anomaly detection algorithm was developed, and it will be tested with field data. In addition to seismic methods, geoelectrical techniques can provide valuable information for repository monitoring. For that purpose, tomographic algorithms for geoelectrical and induced polarization data were established and tested with laboratory data. For transferring the electrical parameters, obtained from these tomographic inversions, into relevant physical parameters, such as temperature and moisture content, calibration measurements were performed, and constitutive relationships between these parameters were established.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationModern2020 Final Conference Proceedings
Subtitle of host publicationDeliverable n°6.3
Place of PublicationBrussels
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2019
EventModern2020 2nd International Conference about Monitoring in Geological Disposal of Radioactive Waste - Cité Universitaire de Paris, Paris, France
Duration: 9 Apr 201911 Apr 2019


ConferenceModern2020 2nd International Conference about Monitoring in Geological Disposal of Radioactive Waste
Abbreviated titleModern2020
Internet address


  • geophysical monitoring
  • high-level radioactive waste repositories
  • non-invasive monitoring
  • full waveform inversion (FWI)
  • radioactive waste


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