In this paper. coupled thermo-hydro-mechanical (THM) issues relating to nuclear waste repository design and performance are reviewed. Concise statements. that were developed from DECOVALEX discussions, on the current state-of-knowledge are presented. Section 1 describes the THM background and the interface with performance assessment (PA). The role of THM issues in the overall repository design context is amplified in Section 2, which includes a review of the processes in terms of repository excavation. operation and post-closure stages. It is important to understand the overall context, the detailed THM issues, the associated modelling and how these issues will be resolved in the wider framework. Also, because uncoupled and coupled numerical codes have been used fur this subject, there is discussion in Section 3 on the nature of the codes and how the content of the codes can be audited. To what extent does a particular code capture the essence of the problem in hand? Consideration is also given to the associated question of code selection and the future of numerical codes. The state-of-knowledge statements are presented in Section 4 under 11 headings which follow the repository design sequence. The overview conclusion is that A predictive THM capability is required to support repository design because precedent practice information is insufficient. Many aspects of THM processes and modelling are now well understood and there is a variety of numerical codes available to provide solutions for different host rock and repository conditions. However, modelling all the THM mechanisms in space and time is extremely complex and simplifications will have to be made - if only because it is not possible to obtain all the necessary detailed supporting information. Therefor, an important step is to clarify the THM modelling requirement within the PA context. This will help to indicate the complexity of THM modelling required and hence the models. mechanisms, type of computing, supporting data, laboratory and in situ testing, etc, required. An associated transparent and open audit trail should be developed. We also include comments from reviewers and highlight four outstanding issues which are currently being studied in the DECOVALEX III programme.
2001. Vol. 38, no 1, 143-161 p.