On November 4-5, 2019, the Environmental Geosciences Division co-hosted the DECOVALEX 2019 Symposium on “Coupled Processes in Radioactive Waste Disposal and Subsurface Engineering Applications” in Brugg, Switzerland.
Coupled thermo-hydro-mechanical-chemical (THMC) processes in geological systems are critically important to the performance and safety assessment of geologic disposal systems for radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel. Understanding of such processes is also essential for a number of other subsurface engineering processes, including mining, geothermal exploration, geological carbon sequestration, energy storage, and oil and gas production.
More than 150 experts on coupled processes from Europe, Asia, and the Americas came together for two days to advance the current status of understanding and modeling of coupled processes in geologic systems. A total of 38 oral and 56 poster presentations provided exciting insights across several subsurface applications, showcasing new coupled processes simulation advances, novel laboratory tests, and interesting in situ experiments.
Co-chaired by Bastian Graupner from the Swiss Nuclear Energy Safety Inspectorate and Jens Birkholzer from Berkeley Lab, the symposium was sponsored by the international DECOVALEX Project. DECOVALEX, which stands for “Development of Coupled Models and Their Validation against Experiments,” focuses on the comparative evaluation of sophisticated coupled-processes modeling challenges involving complex field and/or laboratory experiments in geological systems. The current project phase, referred to as DECOVALEX 2019, runs from January 2016 to December 2019 and features 14 international partner organizations with seven modeling tasks. A new project phase is already planned starting in 2020 and running through 2023.