PhD opportunity at GeoEnvironmental Group UCLM (Ciudad Real, Spain)

Project Title

THCM characterisation of engineered bentonite barriers in the very near field behaviour in deep geological repositories of high-level radioactive waste

Project description

The retention properties, the low permeability and the swelling capacity of compacted bentonites have led to an interest in their use in various fields of technology. This is particularly true in the design of deep geological repositories for spent nuclear fuel and other high-level nuclear waste. The objective of the project is to develop a coupled THCM formulation, with non-simplistic geochemistry and consideration of thermal effects at high temperatures that includes the thermodynamics of bentonite hydration. The mathematical formulation will be implemented in a numerical tool to simulate the behaviour of bentonite barriers at repository scale. This will be especially useful for the study of the repository in the short term, when, in unsaturated conditions, temperatures in the engineering barriers are expected to be the highest. As a result, the characterisation of critical phenomena for the safety of the repository (maximum temperatures, corrosion, dissolution) will be improved, highlighting the scope and limitations of the formulations used to date.

As a starting point, a base model in Comsol Multiphysics integrating coupled THM and THC developments will be used.


A 4 year FPI grant by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation is available to support the candidate. The collaboration will start as soon as the administrative procedure is solved, expected to be in the first quarter of 2022. The terms and conditions for submitting applications can be found at :
Subprograma Estatal de Formación | Programa Estatal para Desarrollar, Atraer y Retener Talento | Plan Estatal de Investigación Científica, Técnica y de Innovación 2021-2023 | Convocatorias – Agencia Estatal de Investigación (es) (

More information on this website.

The deadline is 11 November 2021. The project code is PID2020-118291RB-I00.

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