Long-Term Cement Studies (LCS) - Phase 1 (2006-2009)

In-situ Site Selection and Site Characterisation

Different test sites at the Grimsel Test Site (GTS) have been considered and investigated in 2006 and early 2007 to find a suitable site for the planned field experiments.

A site characterisation report of the BK area was documented in an NAB (NAB06-17) and distributed among the partners. The report consists of information about the existing boreholes as well as their present status, detailed geological mapping of fracture zones and an overview of the actual water inflow points of the west-northern part of the BK area.

Though the area would provide the right conditions for grouting experiments (i.e. high flow rates) it was found to be unsuitable for further investigations because the site was heavily used in past projects, particularly with artificial tracers. A further argument against this site was the fact that potential long-term experiments with radionuclides could not be performed on the same shear zone.

In order to enable a comparison with the HPF results and to facilitate later tests with radionuclides, two investigation boreholes were drilled into the VE (or GMT) shear zone between the VE tunnel and the GMT cavern. The sub-horizontal borehole (LCS06-001) revealed unsaturated conditions in this area and pressures of only about 2 bars. Both points disqualified this site as being suitable for long term experiments. The second borehole (LCS07-001) was drilled 42° upward and found a surrounding pressure of about 4 bars. This is seen to be a suitable site to set up the first experiment (grout injection).

Radionuclide behaviour could be tested on the same shear zone but in the controlled zone in a later phase of the project. The experiences on long-term monitoring developed in the first experiments could then be applied for this more demanding experiment.

Figure 1. Geological map in the vicinity of the VE tunnel
Figure 1. Geological map in the vicinity of the VE tunnel

On the 12th December 2006 the shear zone was photographed and the groundwater inflow into the VE tunnel was mapped. Figure 2 shows the photograph of the shear zone at the west side of the tunnel (towards the GMT silo). Water bearing fracture planes are partly wet (dark). The yellow “V” indicate groundwater outflow points that were in use during the active pressure phase of GMT.

Figure 2: Photograph of VE shear zone in the VE tunnel between VE 465 m and VE 475 m (view towards western side, GMT side)



Since a grouting experiment was planned within the LCS project which aims at investigating the hydrochemical and hydraulic changes induced due to rock grouting, a new removable packer system was designed (Figure 1).

Long-Term Cement Studies (LCS) Experiment - Pre Grout Test Packer
Figure 1: New packer system designed for grouting experiment.

In order to test equipment and test procedures for grout injection, a test was carried out in one of the LCS boreholes (LCS 06-001). Figure 2 shows the field setup. Parallel to the test standard lab tests were performed to assure the quality of the grout material and to provide the necessary data for later modelling purposed.

Long-Term Cement Studies : Field setup of cement injection test
Figure 2: Field setup of cement injection test.

The results of the groute tests are summarised in Figure 3.

Long-Term Cement Studies : Results of grouting test
Figure 3: Results of grouting test

The pre-test showed that the equipment developed for grout injection is applicable for the intended purpose. Furthermore, the fact that grout was observed in LCS07-02 (at about 8m) showed that grout penetration occurred over several meters – far more than what was expected.


Long-Term Cement Studies (LCS) Experiment

The GTS underground facilities are also available to interested 3rd parties for underground testing and research. The GTS offers cost-effective access to a fully developed, well characterised underground research facility with round the year logistical support - please contact Dr. Ingo Blechschmidt, Head of the Grimsel Test Site, for further details.
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