Team selected for US deep borehole field test for nuclear waste disposal (January 2016)

A team led by Battelle Memorial Institute has been selected by the US Department of Energy (DOE) to drill a 16,000 feet (4880 metre) test borehole into a crystalline basemat rock formation in North Dakota as part of studies into the feasibility of using boreholes for nuclear waste disposal.

The team, which also includes the University of Dakota Energy and Environmental Research Center, Schlumberger of Houston, Texas, and Swiss company Solexperts, will drill the borehole at a location in Rugby, North Dakota. The field test will provide insights into subsurface science, and engineering challenges such as drilling techniques, wellbore stability and sealing, and subsurface characterization. Similar large, geologically stable rock formations have been identified in many regions across the USA, and the DOE said that the work in North Dakota will help to increase understanding of similar locations across the country.

US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said that the project was an “important first step to increasing our scientific understanding of the potential uses for crystalline rock formations including the feasibility of boreholes as an option for long-term nuclear waste disposal.”

Deep borehole disposal of high-level radioactive waste has been considered as an option for geological isolation for many years, and was first evaluated by the US National Academy of Sciences in 1957. The concept consists of drilling a borehole into crystalline basement rock to a depth of about 5000 metres, emplacing waste canisters containing used nuclear fuel or vitrified radioactive waste from reprocessing in the lower 2000 metres of the borehole, and sealing the upper 3000 metres of the borehole with materials such as bentonite, asphalt or concrete. The contents would not be retrievable…

08 January 2016, Source: World Nuclear News. Read full story at http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/WR-Team-selected-for-US-deep-borehole-field-test-0801168.html
NOTE: WORLD NUCLEAR NEWS IS AN INDUSTRY MEDIA, AND IS NOT ALWAYS FULLY ACCURATE. KEY POINTS SHOULD BE VERIFIED BY A THIRD-PARTY SOURCE.

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