A geological repository for low and intermediate radioactive waste (bottom at −130 m a.s.l.) was constructed from 2008 to 2014 in the southeastern coastal area in Korea. This research aimed to evaluate the hydrogeochemistry in this area during the construction period and to determine the characteristics that should be monitored during the operational period. During construction, the groundwater level decreased up to 136 m and the upper groundwater flow in the southeastern area reversed. After the groundwater level dropped below the sea level, the electrical conductivity (EC) in several wells along the coastal line started to increase; 23.2% of the measured water was classified as brackish water and the highest EC observed in groundwater was 18.9 mS/cm, nearly 38% of EC in seawater. The response time of the groundwater chemistry differs depending on the depth, even in wells, because of fracture networks. Among locations that showed drastic changes in EC, only the shallow depth of GM-4 showed a peak pattern in EC, but other locations showed increasing EC patterns or patterns with initial increase and sustained high till the end of the construction period. Based on the Cl/Br ratio, the source of the groundwater salinity was seawater intrusion, and ion exchange played an important role. Compared to Cl concentration, sodium was depleted and calcium was in excess in brackish water; however, the SO4/Cl ratio remained constant at a level similar to seawater. Ca and Fe concentrations showed distinguishable characteristics depending on the location, suggesting differences in geological media. During the operational period, periodical evaluation of the groundwater chemistry in the mixing zone and continuous monitoring of EC patterns and seawater fractions are required.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors appreciate KORAD for providing monitoring data through the Korean Society of Soil and Groundwater Environment. Youn-Tae Kim was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) and the Center for Women In Science, Engineering, and Technology (WISET) grant under the Program for Returners into R & D.
© 2018 Elsevier B.V.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Water Science and Technology