Full-scale Engineered Barriers Experiment (FEBEX) II - Bentonite Excavation

The second stage was to remove the bentonite blocks to allow removal of the first heater. This task required careful work to avoid disturbing the monitoring instrumentation installed within the Engineered Barrier System (EBS).

A careful sampling program was also carried out to examine the properties of the bentonite after 4 years of heating and hydration.


Exposure of the bentonite blocks behind the concrete plug
 
Close up of the bentonite blocks, note the lack of gaps between the blocks
     

During the original emplacement of the EBS, gaps could be seen between the. bentonite, these then sealed up as the clay expanded due to hydration with groundwater (October 1996)
 
Compare the original gaps (shown left) to the situation found when excavating in June 2002
     

Sampling of the bentonite was carried out
 
Cores of bentonite removed from the EBS

 

Full-scale High Level Waste Engineered Barriers (FEBEX) - Excavation Phase

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.