The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) is a repository vault, mined deep into a salt strata. It eventually closes in on itself, encapsulating its contents. At room temperature salt may be regarded as a linear, isotropic, viscoelastic material. In this study, using triaxial compression test results on salt, we determine the relaxation functions and set up the boundary value problem for the encapsulation mechanism of a salt vault. Closure of the repository as a function of time is determined using a three-dimensional finite element model. The Tresca failure criterion is used to predict the stability of the repository. Finally, the study is validated by comparing our results to in-situ measured data.

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