The gallery will be heated for 10 years at a constant temperature of 80°C, measured at the point of contact between the concrete wall of the gallery and the clay. This corresponds to the temperature that would be expected in a high-level waste repository.
The idea is to confirm and refine existing knowledge about clay behaviour and to demonstrate that the models developed on the basis of earlier, small-scale experiments are still valid under conditions that are representative of a real disposal facility.
Research has shown that 10 years is long enough to make a reliable assessment of the impact of heat on the stability of the clay. Scientists will already be able to make the first important conclusions after 2 years of heating.
During this phase, the thermal impact on the gallery lining will also be studied. This is important information if the option of retrieving the waste from the repository is to be considered.
Click here to find out what is measured in the PRACLAY experiment and how.