Ventilation and Traffic Study for a Proposed Deep Geological Repository in Crystalline Geosphere

Author(s): J. Imrie, D. Witow, A. Lee, A. Živković
International High-level Radioactive Waste Management (IHLRWM 2017)


The management of nuclear waste products in Canada is undertaken by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO). The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) is implementing Adaptive Phased Management (APM), Canada’s plan for the long-term management of used nuclear fuel. The APM approach encompasses centralized containment and isolation of the used fuel in a Deep Geological Repository (DGR) in a suitable rock formation, such as crystalline rock or sedimentary rock, in an informed and willing host community. A conceptual adaptive layout design that can adapt to the structural anisotropy of the rock mass as expected in a hypothetical crystalline geosphere is being considered. This layout will incorporate significant flexibility in addressing geoscientific, safety and engineering aspects as details become available during progressive site specific study stages and construction.

This paper presents the conceptual design requirements, preliminary engineering analyses, and results for this adaptive layout. The overall layout configuration considers the functionality of the:

  • Ventilation strategy
  • Establishment of flow-through ventilation
  • Traffic flow management
  • Underground central services area (CSA)
  • Completion of the demonstration rooms during initial construction
  • Completion of the first panel of the placement rooms prior to operations
  • Worker safety and preliminary thoughts on emergency responsiveness

 The results of this study conclude that there is significant flexibility of the layout to adapt to the geosphere as it becomes progressively defined; the ventilation system and traffic flow can be configured for different scenarios through the DGR operations; and, potential worker exposure for defined emergency events is minimized with this adaptive layout.