The NEA Expert Group on Repositories in Rock Salt Formations (Salt Club) met virtually on 8 December 2020 to discuss ongoing activities and potential future initiatives for the exchange of scientific information on the use of rock salt in deep geological repositories.
Rock salt is a candidate rock to host a repository for high-level radioactive waste due to its favourable characteristics, such as low hydraulic conductivity, which helps ensure better isolation of the waste from groundwater. The Salt Club was established in 2011 to make the current knowledge base on rock salt more readily available to member countries participating in the Integration Group for the Safety Case (IGSC) – particularly those countries with adequate rock salt deposits to host a repository.
During its December meeting, the group reviewed its scientific analysis on actinide/chemistry modeling and microbial activities in saline systems. In the coming months, the Salt Club will focus on actinide-organic interactions in the actinide/brine chemistry area and more realistic and mechanistic assessments of microbial gas generation processes in saline systems. It will also complete data gap assessments and start discussions on building a co-ordinated Pitzer model for actinide/brine chemistry.
The meeting also included discussions on the ABC-Salt workshop series, ongoing co-operation with the NEA Thermochemical Database Project (TDB), and a forthcoming technical report entitled “Generic Features, Events and Processes (FEPs) Catalogue and Salt Knowledge Archive”.
The group thanked its outgoing chair Jörg Mönig of Gesellschaft für Anlagen- und Reaktorsicherheit (GRS) for serving as chair for eight years and elected Kristopher Kuhlman of Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) as its new chair.