It has been shown that contacts between host rock and engineered barriers may be critical in the design of deep radioactive waste repositories. Water is expected to reach the interface zone after the resaturation of the geological massive and its presence may lead to concrete leaching. Such a phenomenon could increase the interface transmissivity and compromise the confinement of radioactive waste. This paper intends to investigate the influence of concrete leaching on the hydromechanical behaviour of host rock-concrete interfaces. Some concrete specimens have been subjected to an accelerated leaching process using ammonium nitrate. The hydromechanical response of degraded concrete-rock interfaces has been studied under shearing and compared to that of sound interfaces. Consistent with the results available in the literature on bulk concrete, a loss of mechanical strength has been observed for the degraded interface. Unlike the sound specimens, the degraded interfaces do not dilate when sheared and they tend to be closed, thereby preventing water from flowing.
Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering Vol. 41, Issue 3, p. 445-466