Predictions of waste canister and repository driftwall temperatures as functions of space and time are important to evaluate pre-closure performance of the proposed repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Variations in the lithostratigraphic features in densely welded and crystallized rocks of the 12.8-million-year-old Topopah Spring Tuff, especially the porosity resulting from lithophysal cavities, affect thermal properties. A simulated emplacement drift is based on projecting lithophysal cavity porosity values 50 to 800 m from the Enhanced Characterization of the Repository Block cross drift. Lithophysal cavity porosity varies from 0.00 to 0.05 cm3/cm3 in the middle nonlithophysal zone and from 0.03 to 0.28 cm3/cm3 in the lower lithophysal zone. A ventilation model and computer program titled “Monte Carlo Simulation of Ventilation” (MCSIMVENT), which is based on a composite thermal-pulse calculation, simulates statistical variability and uncertainty of rock-mass thermal properties and ventilation performance along a simulated emplacement drift for a preclosure period of 50 years. Although ventilation efficiency is relatively insensitive to thermal properties, variations in lithophysal porosity along the drift can result in a range of peak driftwall temperatures can range from 40 to 85 °C for the preclosure period.

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