Monte Carlo simulation of nonlinear reactive contaminant transport in unsaturated porous media

F. Giacobbo, E. Patelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


In the current proposed solutions of radioactive waste repositories, the protective function against the radionuclide water-driven transport back to the biosphere is to be provided by an integrated system of engineered and natural geologic barriers. The occurrence of several nonlinear interactions during the radionuclide migration process may render burdensome the classical analytical-numerical approaches. Moreover, the heterogeneity of the barriers' media forces approximations to the classical analytical-numerical models, thus reducing their fidelity to reality. In an attempt to overcome these difficulties, in the present paper we adopt a Monte Carlo simulation approach, previously developed on the basis of the Kolmogorov-Dmitriev theory of branching stochastic processes. The approach is here extended for describing transport through unsaturated porous media under transient flow conditions and in presence of nonlinear interchange phenomena between the liquid and solid phases. This generalization entails the determination of the functional dependence of the parameters of the proposed transport model from the water content and from the contaminant concentration, which change in space and time during the water infiltration process. The corresponding Monte Carlo simulation approach is verified with respect to a case of nonreactive transport under transient unsaturated flow and to a case of nonlinear reactive transport under stationary saturated flow. Numerical applications regarding linear and nonlinear reactive transport under transient unsaturated flow are reported.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-63
Number of pages13
JournalAnnals of Nuclear Energy
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007


  • radioactive waste disposal
  • radioactivity
  • waste disposal
  • computer simulation
  • mathematical models
  • monte carlo methods
  • natural geologic barriers
  • nonlinear reactive contaminant transport


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