The 2nd International Conference on Discrete Fracture Network Engineering DFNE-2018 was held in Seattle, USA. The conference examines a very wide range of DFN applications, including rock stability, groundwater flow, contaminant transport and unconventional gas and had over 200 delegates; an excellent participation given the extremely specialist subject matter. DECOVALEX was very well represented, with oral presentations given on work from DECOVALEX 2019 Task A, DECOVALEX 2019 Task C and DECOVALEX 2015 Task C1. In addition, Alex Bond (Technical Coordinator) chaired one of the sessions on groundwater flow and transport. We'd like to thank the organisers of the meeting for their efforts, and we look forward to future DFNE conferences.
We are pleased to announce that the 5th workshop will be held in Nancy, France on the 24th to 27th April, kindly hosted by Andra. The schedule currently plans for a whole-day visit to the Meuse/Haute-Marne underground research laboratory for the French CIGEO deep radioactive waste disposal project. Registration and further details are expected to be available from from Andra shortly.
Jens Birkholzer gave an invited paper on "25 Years of DECOVALEX Research Advances and Lessons Learned from an International Model Comparison Initiative" at the 2017 Fall AGU meeting in New Orleans. The paper was well-received and Jens, with co-authors, now plans to produce a 25-year project overview paper for a peer-reviewed journal outlining the significant developments that DECOVALEX has helped foster in radioactive waste management.
With many thanks to the generosity to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, an excellent fourth workshop was hosted in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. In addition to the detailed technical discussions and an excellent overview of CNSC's nuclear research on geological disposal by Peter Elder (CNSC), the project team had the opportunity to visit a series of sites at the Port Hope Area Initiative. This ambitious project is talked with resolving historical low-level radioactive contamination in and around Port Hope, some of which is in extremely close proximity to domestic properties, and in some cases forms part of the building material of buildings. The DECOVALEX project would like to thank CNSC for being such excellent hosts, and we'll look forward to future opportunities to return to Canada.
The third workshop of DECOVALEX-2019 will be hosted by SSM in the beautiful city of Stockholm. The meeting will take place from the 25th to the 28th of April and includes a technical visit to SFR (SKB’s final repository for short-lived radioactive waste) and a special session celebrating 25 years of the DECOVALEX project. DECOVALEX is very grateful to SSM for hosting this meeting and we look forward to a highly productive workshop.
The dates and location for the fourth workshop have also been agreed; the meeting will be hosted by CNSC in Canada from the 10th to the 13th of October. More details about the meeting will be made available after the third workshop.
The second workshop of D-2019 was held in Taipei hosted with excellent organisation and great generosity by the Taiwan Power Company. In addition to some excellent work being discussed as part of the first phase of technical analysis, there was a fascinating field trip to the Taroko National Park where the D-2019 participants could get a true impression of the scale and speed of landscape evolution in such a geologically active area.
Jens and Alex would like to thank Allan Lee and his team once again for their key part in making this workshop a success, and we look forward to the opportunity to return to Taipei in a future phase of DECOVALEX.
DECOVALEX has always been focussed on the complexities of the geological disposal of radioactive waste. However, it has become increasingly clear that many of the topics considered under DECOVALEX have direct relevance to other areas of Earth science and sub-surface engineering. Within the current phase of DECOVALEX, Task B, which considers the hydraulic-mechanical interaction of groundwater and fault reactivation has obvious links to topics such as geothermal energy, shale gas etc. We are therefore pleased to announce that we are opening Task B to external groups, not normally associated with DECOVALEX or radioactive waste management in order to broaden the experience we can bring to bear on this interesting and valuable area of research. If you are potentially interested in participating in this task, please contact Jens Birkholzer in the first instance so we can start a discussion on possible future engagement.
The DECOVALEX steering committee are pleased to announce that the second workshop for DECOVALEX-2019 will be held between the 28th November and 1st December, 2016 in Taipei, Taiwan. Taiwan Power Company (a new participant in DECOVALEX) have kindly offered to host the event. In addition to the first full round of technical discussions, there will be a technical visit on the 2nd of December to the fascinating and beautiful Taroko National Geological Park. For further information please contact Alex Bond.
The first workshop of the latest phase of DECOVALEX was held in Berkeley, California between the 17th and 20th of May. The workshop was hosted by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and provided the first opportunity for the participants of the new phase to meet and discuss the technical structure of the forthcoming tasks. In total, seven tasks will be taken forward [link to D-2019], with topics as diverse as advective gas movement through clays through to field scale resaturation and heater experiments. The work planned during this workshop sets the foundation for another successful phase of DECOVALEX.
In addition to the technical discussion, LBNL organised a technical visit to The Geyser’s geothermal field on the final day. A very interesting site with direct relevance to much of the DECOVALEX work, this field generated an average of 600 MW in 2014 (with a total capacity now of 725 MW), supported by large-scale water injection.