At the Meuse/Haute Marne Underground Research Laboratory, Andra has developed a technical and scientific program to test the feasibility of excavation of disposal cells for nuclear waste in a 500 m deep clay formation. Five micro-tunnels, 20 m long and 74 cm diameter will be excavated using a specially designed guided auger drilling machine. Different kinds of measurements and instrumentations will be carried out before, during and after excavation, to evaluate the performance of the excavation method, and to study the hydro-mechanical behavior of the host rock in response to the excavation. 3D numerical modeling has been performed for the prediction of hydro-mechanical and visco-plastic behav-ior and in the view of assisting the choice of measurements and instrumentations location.

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