Underground tests dig into how heat affects salt-bed repository behavior

Scientists from Sandia, Los Alamos and Lawrence Berkeley national laboratories have just begun the third phase of a years-long experiment to understand how salt and very salty water behave near hot nuclear waste containers in a salt-bed repository.Salt’s unique physical properties can be used to provide safe disposal of radioactive waste, said Kristopher Kuhlman, a Sandia geoscientist and technical lead for the project.

Sandia to put nuclear waste storage canisters to the test

Sandia National Laboratories is outfitting three 22.5-ton, 16.5-feet-long stainless-steel storage canisters with heaters and instrumentation to simulate nuclear waste so researchers can study their durability. The three canisters, which arrived in mid-November and have never contained any nuclear materials, will be used to study how much salt gathers on canisters over time. Sandia will also study the potential for cracks caused by salt- and stress-induced corrosion with additional canisters that will be delivered during the next stage of the project.