The first GAS/HITEC Joint training course is a Doctoral School entitled “Multiphysical Couplings in
Geomechanics, a focus on thermal effect and gas transfer impact on the behaviour of geomaterials”. The school was organized from 22 to 24 January 2020 at Liège University, within the framework of EURAD, the European Joint programme on Radioactive waste management (grant agreement No 847593).
Objectives of EURAD include the development of new knowledge and consolidation of
existing knowledge for the safe start of operation of the first geological disposal facilities for spent fuel,
HLW, and other long-lived radioactive waste, and supporting optimization linked with the step wise
implementation of disposal.
This doctoral school is related to two of the WPs of the EURAD Joint Programme, namely the GAS
and HITEC WPs. In both WPs, geomechanics plays a significant role in the understanding of the
relevant thermo-hydro-mechanical couplings taking place around the disposal area. The objectives of
the school is therefore to present the students with the state-of-the-art on basic concepts related to the
thermo-hydro-mechanical (multi-physical) couplings, the physical impacts of thermal loading and a
mechanistic understanding of gas migration.
This school allows the attendees to improve their understanding of heat transfers, water and gas
migration, stress and strain evolution in a repository. The school addresses both experimental and
numerical investigations, at small (lab) and large (in situ) scale. These investigations involve
geomaterials such as the host rock, either clayey or crystalline rock, but also bentonite which is
typically used in engineered barriers for its sealing capacity. The provided lecture notes are based on
key references in these fields (e.g. state-of-the-art, scientific reports and papers). A selection of this
material was made available from the beginning of the school.
The school was organized firstly for people coming from institutions active in EURAD, including staff
members from agencies as well as young researchers, involved or interested in the geomechanics
field. The school also offered a limited number of places to people from institutions not directly
participating in EURAD. The attendance was limited to 80 people. The number of registered
participants was about 70. The number of attendees (including the teachers) was 70 on Wednesday,
65 on Thursday and 55 on Friday. During the feedback organized at the end of the school, almost half
of the participants were PhD students, about one-quarter were researchers in a research entity and 7
were members of agency (both WMOs and regulators).