Progress at the Beishan site

Beishan is regarded as the most likely area for China’s GDF, because there is/are:

• no economic prospects for the Gobi desert area, future possibilities may be in wind energy and solar energy but they will be located at the surface;

• very low population density and the prediction is that it will remain the same in the foreseeable future since there are no important mineral resources;

• extremely low rain fall (60-80 mm/year) and very high evaporation rate (2900-3200 mm/year),

• convenient transportation, as it is on the edge of the Gobi desert and about 200 km from the main east-west train lines and motorways.

• favourable geology with stable granite and diorite rocks and suitable hydrogeological conditions;

• international programmes in similar granite host rock using the multi­barrier concept [16-18].

Progress at Beishan includes site selection of an area covering hundreds of square miles with a crust thickness of 47-50 km and no earthquakes with magnitudes over 4.75 on the Richter scale ever having taken place. The topography of the area is flat with some small hills with elevations above sea level ranging from 100-2,000 m. Original site characterization, in particular its hydrogeological properties, showed very poor groundwater resources. Average precipitation is 70 mm/year while evaporation is about 3,000 mm/year and there is no year-long stream and other surface water body in the area. Geo-stress and borehole measurements also gave positive results with tensile strength from 5 to 7 MPa and compression strength from 5 to 13 MPa, reflecting samples obtained from a depth of 200-500 m, while maximum lateral stress reached is 25 MPa at a depth of 500 m.

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