ESR N°4 : Flow and transport in fracture networks: reducing uncertainty of DFN models by conditioning to geology and geophysical data

Research Fellow : Justine Molron

Host institution: Itasca Consultants S.A.S, Lyon, France and Department of Geosciences, University of Rennes, France

Objectives : Develop and test a general framework to condition discrete fracture network (DFN) models to geological mapping and Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) data in order to reduce the uncertainty of fractured rock properties and flow patterns.

More details about ESR4-project:


    • SKB : 1 month
      04/11/2017 – 11/11/2017 and 15/10/2018-09/11/2018
    • CNRS : 4months
      21 January 2018-21 May 2018
    • UNIL: 4 months
      19 nov2018-21 dec2018 and 07/01/2019-29/01/2019 and 1 month during fall 2019

Project description :

Predicting the flow and mechanical behaviour of fractured rock masses is a major challenge for a large number of hydrological and geotechnical applications. This is mostly achieved by deriving DFN models from field and core mapping and pumping tests. The present research project is focused on the conditioning of DFN models to geophysical imaging data close to tunnel walls.

The objective is to develop a new approach for better assessing the safety of the bedrock barrier around canisters for nuclear waste disposal.

The first part is to investigate the possibility to use the Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) method to identify fractures close to tunnel walls at depth. Several data acquisition campaigns (GPR data acquisition + tracer tests) are planned at the SKB Äspö tunnel Hard Rock Laboratory (HRL) in Sweden. Secondly, the geophysical data shall be introduced in a broader DFN modelling framework which already involves fracture structural and hydrological data.
All the data acquired during the project will be made available to the community to understand flow and transport patterns in fractured media. The methodology will offer a new approach for SKB to assess confinement properties of the bedrock barrier around canisters for nuclear waste disposal.

Supervisors :

  • Caroline Darcel – Itasca Consultants S.A.S – France
  • Philippe Davy – University of Rennes – France
  • Niklas Linde – University of Lausanne – Switzerland

Co-Supervisors :

Jan-Olof Selroos – SKB company – Sweden

Dissemination and communications

( If you encounter issues to open the PDF documents using Chrome : please follow the Google advice : Chrome Help or use Firefox)


  • Video of a field experiments on the Aspö site :

Database for the future datasets : H+ database

Previous page : See ESR3-Project

Next page : See ESR5-Project