Navigation Links
Virtual lab for nuclear waste repository research
Date:3/13/2014

The nuclear power phaseout in Germany is a done deal and is supposed to be finalized by 2022 at the latest. Where should the radioactive waste produced be put, though? Suitable sites for nuclear waste repositories have to be found as quickly as possible. This is not easy, though since waste is required to be sealed off from the biosphere for one million years. A potential site's real suitability as a nuclear waste repository can only be analyzed once such a repository has been designed, planned and studied together with its equipment modules. Various physical and chemical processes, which are very complex and interact, take place in a nuclear waste repository the rock may be heated by the waste stored and gases may develop. Until now, researchers have studied such processes in underground laboratories such as the ones in Mont Terri in Switzerland or in sp in Sweden as well as in France and Belgium. Time and again, German researchers have to pack their bags and travel to the underground laboratories for their experiments where they test the quality of sealing systems for instance. The period of a study is limited, though, because none of these tests can be conducted for more than a few years.

Laying out and studying deep geological repositories virtually

The most important nuclear waste repository research organizations the Gesellschaft fr Anlagen- und Reaktorsicherheit GRS, the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources BGR and DBE Technology GmbH therefore need to supplement real underground laboratories. They contracted researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF in Magdeburg the world's first virtual underground laboratory, VIRTUS. A software platform is the virtual underground laboratory's central component. It realistically represents all of the conditions there, whether the types of rocks in the soil or the physical or chemical processes that take place in a deep geological repository. This enables researchers sitting at their desks to perform virtual experiments in a realistic scenario and to review plans and sites for nuclear waste re-positories down to the minutest detail.

In a first step, the researchers recreate a site's geological formations. Since concrete sites for nuclear waste repositories do not exist yet, they work with a generic model rock formations are structured realistically but do not recreate any real site. "After all, the first task is to develop the system and to test VIRTUS's performance on the basis of initial calculations," says Steffen Masik, engineer at the Fraunhofer IFF. Users can lay out a virtual deep geological repository in this rock formation. They have a great deal of freedom in the process: They can specify the depth, area, height and width of the repository. They can also import a repository complex created beforehand and specify the locations of boreholes and adits in which radioactive waste will be stored.

Once they have created a repository complex, the researchers can commence their studies just like in a real underground laboratory and select an area of the deep geological repository. A special interface transfers the location selected and the repository data to a simulator, which computes, for instance, rises in temperature in the repository caused by the radioactive waste. The results are visualized in VIRTUS. Users can also display cross sections of the rock together with the temperatures there. Mechanical stresses and thus the probability of crack formation can also be computed. Researchers can closely examine permeability to water or other liquids and gases. VIRTUS displays all of the calculations together with the geological model. "The software visualizes the computed thermal, hydraulic and mechanical processes in a nuclear waste repository as well as their complex interactions," says Klaus Wieczorek, who works in the division of nuclear waste repository safety research at GRS and is heading the VIRTUS project.

VIRTUS is still in development at present. A first prototype is supposed to be publicly accessible at the end of April: In the future, visitors to the large, 360 degree projection system at the Virtual Development and Training Center VDTC in Magdeburg will be able to see the workings of a nuclear waste repository and the simulation results. "This is a good opportunity for us to win people's confidence in our work and to develop their understanding for decisions," says Wieczorek.


'/>"/>

Contact: Dipl.-Ing. Steffen Masik
steffen.masik@iff.fraunhofer.de
49-391-409-0127
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Virtual bees help to unravel complex causes of colony decline
2. Can a virtual brain replace lab rats?
3. Researchers hit virtual heads to make safer games
4. Virtual skin model reveals secrets of skin aging
5. Amazon River exhales virtually all carbon taken up by rain forest
6. Virtual patient advocate delivers preconception care to improve pregnancy outcomes
7. Virtual, squishy creatures evolve to run using evolutionary algorithms
8. Virtual vehicle vibrations
9. UT Dallas researchers pushing the boundaries of virtual reality
10. Virtual women reveal more skin, regardless of body proportions
11. U of M to lead international virtual institute studying climatic and human effects on Earth
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Virtual lab for nuclear waste repository research
(Date:4/13/2017)... 13, 2017 UBM,s Advanced Design and Manufacturing ... feature emerging and evolving technology through its 3D Printing ... run alongside the expo portion of the event and ... demonstrations focused on trending topics within 3D printing and ... manufacturing event will take place June 13-15, 2017 at the ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... DUBLIN , Apr. 11, 2017 Research ... Tracking Market 2017-2021" report to their offering. ... The global eye tracking market to grow at ... The report, Global Eye Tracking Market 2017-2021, has been prepared based ... report covers the market landscape and its growth prospects over the ...
(Date:4/6/2017)... Forecasts by Product Type (EAC), Biometrics, Card-Based ... & Logistics, Government & Public Sector, Utilities / Energy ... Nuclear Power), Industrial, Retail, Business Organisation (BFSI), Hospitality & ... for a definitive report on the $27.9bn Access Control ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2017 , ... ... first brain mirroring wellness product via Kickstarter campaign on June 15th to fund ... already pre-ordered the B2v2, exceeding the original Kickstarter goal by more than 150% ...
(Date:6/27/2017)... ... June 27, 2017 , ... ... DuPont gains exclusive rights to the ERS patent portfolio covering CRISPR-Cas genome editing ... commercialize the foundational intellectual property (IP) of the CRISPR-Cas technology from co-inventor and ...
(Date:6/26/2017)... ... ... Two new members were elected to the University City Science Center’s Board ... J Nowak Strategy and Michele Masucci, Ph.D., Vice President for Research Administration at Temple ... Kenneth L. Kring, and re-election of David P. Holveck and Richard P. Jaffe, as ...
(Date:6/23/2017)... ... June 23, 2017 , ... ... of a redesigned, easier-to-navigate website for all six of their healthcare job ... nurses, dentists, pharmacists, physical and occupational therapists, and biotechnicians, DocCafe.com and the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: