WorldWideScience

Sample records for biointrusion

  1. Biointrusion test plan for the Permanent Isolation Surface Barrier Prototype

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This document provides a testing and monitoring plan for the biological component of the prototype barrier slated for construction at the Hanford Site. The prototype barrier is an aboveground structure engineered to demonstrate the basic features of an earthen cover system. It is designed to permanently isolate waste from the biosphere. The features of the barrier include multiple layers of soil and rock materials and a low-permeability asphalt sublayer. The surface of the barrier consists of silt loam soil, covered with plants. The barrier sides are reinforced with rock or coarse earthen-fill to protect against wind and water erosion. The sublayers inhibit plant and animal intrusion and percolation of water. A series of tests will be conducted on the prototype barrier over the next several years to evaluate barrier performance under extreme climatic conditions. Plants and animals will play a significant role in the hydrologic and water and wind erosion characteristics of the prototype barrier. Studies on the biological component of the prototype barrier will include work on the initial revegetation of the surface, continued monitoring of the developing plant community, rooting depth and dispersion in the context of biointrusion potential, the role of plants in the hydrology of the surface and toe regions of the barrier, the role of plants in stabilizing the surface against water and wind erosion, and the role of burrowing animals in the hydrology and water and wind erosion of the barrier

  2. UMTRA project disposal cell cover biointrusion sensitivity assessment, Revision 1

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This study provides an analysis of potential changes that may take place in a Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action (UMTRA) Project disposal cell cover system as a result of plant biointrusion. Potential changes are evaluated by performing a sensitivity analysis of the relative impact of root penetrations on radon flux out of the cell cover and/or water infiltration into the cell cover. Data used in this analysis consist of existing information on vegetation growth on selected cell cover systems and information available from published studies and/or other available project research. Consistent with the scope of this paper, no new site-specific data were collected from UMTRA Project sites. Further, this paper does not focus on the issue of plant transport of radon gas or other contaminants out of the disposal cell cover though it is acknowledged that such transport has the potential to be a significant pathway for contaminants to reach the environment during portions of the design life of a disposal cell where plant growth occurs. Rather, this study was performed to evaluate the effects of physical penetration and soil drying caused by plant roots that have and are expected to continue to grow in UMTRA Project disposal cell covers. An understanding of the biological and related physical processes that take place within the cover systems of the UMTRA Project disposal cells helps the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) determine if the presence of a plant community on these cells is detrimental, beneficial, or of mixed value in terms of the cover system's designed function. Results of this investigation provide information relevant to the formulation of a vegetation control policy

  3. An assessment of plant biointrusion at the Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action Project rock-covered disposal cells

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    1990-10-01

    This study is one of a number of special studies that have been conducted regarding various aspects of the Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action (UMTRA) Project. This special study was proposed following routine surveillance and maintenance surveys and observations reported in a special study of vegetative covers (DOE, 1988), in which plants were observed growing up through the rock erosion layer at recently completed disposal cells. Some of the plants observed were deep-rooted woody species, and questions concerning root intrusion into disposal cells and the need to control plant growth were raised. The special study discussed in this report was designed to address some of the ramifications of plant growth on disposal cells that have rock covers. The NRC has chosen rock covers over vegetative covers in the arid western United States because licenses cannot substantiate that the vegetative covers will be significantly greater than 30 percent and preferably 70 percent,'' which is the amount of vegetation required to reduce flow to a point of stability.'' The potential impacts of vegetation growing in rock covers are not addressed by the NRC (1990). The objectives, then, of this study were to determine the species of plants growing on two rock-covered disposal cells, study the rooting pattern of plants on these cells, and identify possible impacts of plant root penetration on these and other UMTRA Project rock-covered cells.

  4. An assessment of plant biointrusion at the Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action Project rock-covered disposal cells

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This study is one of a number of special studies that have been conducted regarding various aspects of the Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action (UMTRA) Project. This special study was proposed following routine surveillance and maintenance surveys and observations reported in a special study of vegetative covers (DOE, 1988), in which plants were observed growing up through the rock erosion layer at recently completed disposal cells. Some of the plants observed were deep-rooted woody species, and questions concerning root intrusion into disposal cells and the need to control plant growth were raised. The special study discussed in this report was designed to address some of the ramifications of plant growth on disposal cells that have rock covers. The NRC has chosen rock covers over vegetative covers in the arid western United States because licenses cannot substantiate that the vegetative covers ''will be significantly greater than 30 percent and preferably 70 percent,'' which is the amount of ''vegetation required to reduce flow to a point of stability.'' The potential impacts of vegetation growing in rock covers are not addressed by the NRC (1990). The objectives, then, of this study were to determine the species of plants growing on two rock-covered disposal cells, study the rooting pattern of plants on these cells, and identify possible impacts of plant root penetration on these and other UMTRA Project rock-covered cells

  5. Technology development for the design of shallow land burial facilities at semiarid sites

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The following topics are discussed: effectiveness of a moisture barrier, physical basis for capillary barriers, trench cap designs for long-term stabilization, biointrusion barrier testing, and joint DOE/NRC tracer migration experiment. (LM)

  6. Status of corrective measures technology for shallow land burial at arid sites

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abeele, W. V.; Nyhan, J. W.; Drennon, B. J.; Lopez, E. A.; Herrera, W. J.; Langhorst, G. J.

    The field research program involving corrective measure technologies for arid shallow land burial sites is described. Soil erosion and infiltration of water into a simulated trench cap with various surface treatments was measured and compared with similar data from agricultural systems across the United States. Report of field testing of biointrusion barriers continues at a closed-out waste disposal site at Los Alamos. Final results of an experiment designed to determine the effects of subsidence on the performance of a cobble-gravel biobarrier system are reported, as well as the results of hydrologic modeling activities involving biobarrier systems.

  7. Status of corrective measures technology for shallow land burial at arid sites

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The field research program involving corrective measure technologies for arid shallow land burial sites is described. Soil erosion and infiltration of water into a simulated trench cap with various surface treatments was measured and compared with similar data from agricultural systems across the United States. Report of field testing of biointrusion barriers continues at a closed-out waste disposal site at Los Alamos. Final results of an experiment designed to determine the effects of subsidence on the performance of a cobble-gravel biobarrier system are reported, as well as the results of hydrologic modeling activities involving biobarrier systems. 11 refs., 10 figs

  8. Animal intrusion studies for protective barriers: Status report for FY 1988

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Cadwell, L.L.; Eberhardt, L.E.; Simmons, M.A.

    1989-05-01

    The objective of the Biointrusion Control Task is to provide technical support to Westinghouse Hanford Company's Protective Barrier Development Program for evaluating and predicting potential impacts of animal burrowing on long-term barrier performance. This document reviews the major accomplishments for FY 1988, which is the initial year of the work. The scope of work includes a literature review, field studies, and modeling to assess burrowing impacts as they may contribute to increased infiltration of surface water through barriers, increased quantities of soil available for erosion because of surface soil disturbance, and direct physical transport of contaminants to the surface. 68 refs., 8 figs., 5 tabs.

  9. Permanent isolation surface barrier: Functional performance

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    This document presents the functional performance parameters for permanent isolation surface barriers. Permanent isolation surface barriers have been proposed for use at the Hanford Site (and elsewhere) to isolate and dispose of certain types of waste in place. Much of the waste that would be disposed of using in-place isolation techniques is located in subsurface structures, such as solid waste burial grounds, tanks, vaults, and cribs. Unless protected in some way, the wastes could be transported to the accessible environment via transport pathways, such as water infiltration, biointrusion, wind and water erosion, human interference, and/or gaseous release

  10. Biological intrusion barriers for large-volume waste-disposal sites

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    intrusion of plants and animals into shallow land burial sites with subsequent mobilization of toxic and radiotoxic materials has occured. Based on recent pathway modeling studies, such intrusions can contribute to the dose received by man. This paper describes past work on developing biological intrusion barrier systems for application to large volume waste site stabilization. State-of-the-art concepts employing rock and chemical barriers are discussed relative to long term serviceability and cost of application. The interaction of bio-intrusion barrier systems with other processes affecting trench cover stability are discussed to ensure that trench cover designs minimize the potential dose to man. 3 figures, 6 tables

  11. Role of trench caps in the shallow land burial of low-level wastes

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Experience dating back to the early 1940s clearly documents the importance of isolating waste disposed of by shallow land burial from the biosphere. While no significant threat to the health and safety of the public has occurred to date, poor facility siting and/or design has resulted in a number of sites failing to perform as predicted or in an acceptable manner. The trench cap may be the single most important component of the LLW disposal system. It must effectively isolate the waste from the biosphere by controlling infiltration, gaseous emissions, and biointrusions. At the same time, a number of other forces (i.e., erosion and subsidence) are acting to destroy its integrity. Results of experiments and operational experience to date indicate that while one design feature may be effective at controlling one problem (e.g., cobble-gravel effectively controls biointrusion), that same design feature may be ineffective or actually exacerbate another problem (e.g., cobble-gravel may allow increased infiltration rates). Therefore, trench cap design must evaluate the systems effects of the various options either using intuitive methods as is currently the case or by using mathematical models which are currently being developed and validated. 36 references

  12. Conceptual design of covering method for the proposed LILW near-surface repository at Cernavoda

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The disposal concept of the low and intermediate level (LIL) wastes resulting during NPP operation combines both the natural and engineered barriers in order to ensure the safety of the environment and population. Saligny site has been proposed for LIL waste disposal. Preliminary performance assessments indicate that the loess and clay layers are efficient natural barriers against water flow and radionuclide migration through the vadose zone to the local aquifers. At present, the studies on site characterization are concentrated on investigation of the potential factors affecting the long-term integrity of the disposal facility. This analysis showed that surface erosion by wind and water and bio-intrusion by plant roots and burrowing animals could affect the long-term disposal safety. Based on the preliminary erosion results, as well as on the high probability of bio-intrusion by the plant roots and burrowing animals (i.e. moles, mice), different covering systems able to ensure the long-term safety of the repository has been proposed and analyzed. FEHM and HYDRUS 2D water flow simulations have been performed in order to compare their efficiency in the diminution of the infiltration rate in the repository. From this point of view, the covering system combining the capillary barrier and the resistive layer proved to have the best behavior

  13. The role of plants on isolation barrier systems

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Surface barriers are used to isolate buried wastes from the environment. Most have been built for short-term isolation. The need to isolate radioactive wastes from the environment requires that the functional integrity of a barrier be maintained for thousands of years. Barrier function strongly depends on vegetation. Plants reduce wind and water erosion and minimize drainage, but may transport contaminants if roots extend into buried wastes. Our review of the function of plants on surface barriers focuses on the role of plants across mesic to arid environments and gives special consideration to studies done at Hanford. The Hanford Barrier Development Program was created to design and test an earthen cover system to inhibit water infiltration, plant and animal intrusion, and wind and water erosion, while isolating buried wastes for at least 1000 years. Studies at the Hanford have shown that plants will significantly interact with the barrier. Plants transpire soil water back into the atmosphere. Deep-rooted perennials best recycle water; soil water may drain through the root zone of shallow-rooted annuals. Lysimeter studies indicate that a surface layer of fine soil with deep-rooted plants precludes drainage even with three times normal precipitation. The presence of vegetation greatly reduces water and wind erosion, but deep-rooted plants pose a threat of biointrusion and contaminant transport. The Hanford barrier includes a buried rock layer and asphalt layer to prevent biointrusion

  14. Development of corrective measures technology for shallow land burial facilities at arid sites

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The field research program involving corrective measure technologies for arid shallow land burial sites is described. Soil erosion and infiltration of water into a simulated trench cap with various surface treatments was measured and compared with similar data from agricultural systems across the United States. Field testing of biointrusion barriers at closed-out waste disposal sites at Los Alamos and in the experimental clusters are reported. The final results of an experiment designed to measure the extent of contaminant transport to the surface of a SLB facility, and the influence of plants on this relationship, are presented. An experiment designed to determine the effects of subsidence on the performance of a cobble-gravel biobarrier system is described and current field data are presented. 11 refs., 10 figs., 5 tabs

  15. Remedial action technology - arid

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    A summary is presented of the low-level waste remedial action program at Los Alamos. The experimental design and progress is described for the experiments on second generation intrusion barriers, subsidence effects on SLB components, moisture cycling effects on chemical transport, and erosion control methodologies. The soil moisture data from the bio-intrusion and moisture cycling experiments both demonstrate the overwhelming importance of vegetation in minimizing infiltration of water through trench covers and backfill. Evaporation, as a water loss component in trench covers, is only effective in reducing soil moisture within 40 cm of the trench cover surface. Moisture infiltrating past the zone of evaporation in unvegetated or poorly vegetated trench covers is in storage and accumulates until drainage out of the soil profile occurs. Judicious selection of vegetation species for revegetating a low-level waste site may prevent infiltration of moisture into the trench and, when coupled with other design features (i.e. trench cover slope, tilling and seeding practice), may greatly reduce problems with erosion. Standard US Department of Agriculture erosion plots, when coupled with a state-of-the-art water balance and erosion model (CREAMS) promises to be highly useful in screening proposed remedial action cover designs for low-level waste sites. The erosion plot configuration allows for complete accounting of the water balance in a soil profile. This feature enables the user to optimize cover designs to minimize erosion and infiltration of water into the trench

  16. Project test plan for runoff and erosion on fine-soil barrier surfaces and rock-covered side slopes

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Walters, W.H.; Hoover, K.A.; Cadwell, L.L.

    1990-06-01

    Pacific Northwest Laboratory (PNL) and Westinghouse Hanford Company are working together to develop protective barriers to isolate near-surface radioactive waste. The purpose of the barriers is to protect defense wastes at the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Hanford Site from infiltration of precipitation, biointrusion, and surficial erosion for up to 10,000 years without the need for long-term monitoring, maintenance, or institutional control. The barriers will be constructed of layered earth and rock material designed to direct surface and groundwater pathways away from the buried waste. To address soil erosion as it applies to barrier design and long-term stability, a task designed to study this problem has been included in the Protective Barriers Program at PNL. The barrier soil-erosion task will investigate the ability of the soil cover and side slopes to resist the erosional and destabilizing processes from externally applied water. The study will include identification and field testing of the dominant processes contributing to erosion and barrier failure. The effects of rock mulches, vegetation cover on the top fine-grained soil surface, as well as the stability of rock armoring on the side slopes, will be evaluated. Some of the testing will include the effects of animal intrusion on barrier erosion, and these will be coordinated with other animal intrusion studies. 6 refs., 4 figs., 1 tab.

  17. Paleoclimatic data applications: Long-term performance of uranium mill tailings repositories

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Waugh, W.J. [Environmental Sciences Lab., Grand Junction, CO (United States); Petersen, K.L. [Washington State Univ., Richland, WA (United States)

    1995-09-01

    Abandoned uranium mill tailings sites in the Four Corners region are a lasting legacy of the Cold War. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is designing landfill repositories that will isolate hazardous constituents of tailings from biological intrusion, erosion, and the underlying aquifer for up to 1,000 years. With evidence of relatively rapid past climate change, and model predictions of global climatic variation exceeding the historical record, DOE recognizes a need to incorporate possible ranges of future climatic and ecological change in the repository design process. In the Four Corners region, the center of uranium mining and milling activities in the United States, proxy paleoclimatic records may be useful not only as a window on the past, but also as analogs of possible local responses to future global change. We reconstructed past climate change using available proxy data from tree rings, packrat middens, lake sediment pollen, and archaeological records. Interpretation of proxy paleoclimatic records was based on present-day relationships between plant distribution, precipitation, and temperature along a generalized elevational gradient for the region. For the Monticello, Utah, uranium mill tailings site, this first approximation yielded mean annual temperature and precipitation ranges of 2 to 10{degrees} C, and 38 to 80 cm, respectively, corresponding to late glacial and Altithermal periods. These data are considered to be reasonable ranges of future climatic conditions that can be input to evaluations of groundwater recharge, radon-gas escape, erosion, frost penetration, and biointrusion in engineered earthen barriers designed to isolate tailings.

  18. Subsurface moisture regimes and tracer movement under two types of trench-cap designs for shallow land burial sites

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The Los Alamos work has focused on proper design of shallow land burial (SLB) sites in arid and semiarid regions and on applying corrective measures to existing sites. One of the most important design features affecting the probability of movement of radionuclides in SLB sites is the type of trench cap placed over the waste. The cap influences such interdependent parameters as erosion, water infiltration and percolation, and biointrusion. To obtain experimental data for arid and semiarid sites, two different designs of trench caps, one with topsoil underlain with a cobble/gravel biobarrier and one with topsoil underlain with crushed tuff, were compared with respect to (1) seasonal changes in volumetric soil water content, and (2) downward migration of tracers emplaced directly below each type of trench cap. The causes for the large differences in concentrations found in this experiment need to be investigated further. Problems in environmental modeling and monitoring of arid and semiarid SLB sites because of heterogeneities in the soil profiles and their implications for SLB waste management need to be better understood. More work in trench-cap design and its influence on the many pathways available for mobilization is needed

  19. Subsurface moisture regimes and tracer movement under two types of trench-cap designs for shallow land burial sites

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Perkins, B.A.; Cokal, E.J.

    1986-03-01

    The Los Alamos work has focused on proper design of shallow land burial (SLB) sites in arid and semiarid regions and on applying corrective measures to existing sites. One of the most important design features affecting the probability of movement of radionuclides in SLB sites is the type of trench cap placed over the waste. The cap influences such interdependent parameters as erosion, water infiltration and percolation, and biointrusion. To obtain experimental data for arid and semiarid sites, two different designs of trench caps, one with topsoil underlain with a cobble/gravel biobarrier and one with topsoil underlain with crushed tuff, were compared with respect to (1) seasonal changes in volumetric soil water content, and (2) downward migration of tracers emplaced directly below each type of trench cap. The causes for the large differences in concentrations found in this experiment need to be investigated further. Problems in environmental modeling and monitoring of arid and semiarid SLB sites because of heterogeneities in the soil profiles and their implications for SLB waste management need to be better understood. More work in trench-cap design and its influence on the many pathways available for mobilization is needed.

  20. Hanford Site Long-term Surface Barrier Development Program: Fiscal year 1994 highlights

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Petersen, K.L.; Link, S.O.; Gee, G.W.

    1995-08-01

    The Hanford Site Surface Barrier Development Program was organized in 1985 to test the effectiveness of various barrier designs in minimizing the effects of water infiltration; plant, animal and human intrusion; and wind and water erosion on buried wastes, plus preventing or minimizing the emanation of noxious gases. A team of scientists from the Pacific Northwest Laboratory (PNL) and engineers from Westinghouse Hanford Company (WHC) direct the barrier development effort. ICF Kaiser Hanford Company, in conjunction with WHC and PNL, developed design drawings and construction specifications for a 5-acre prototype barrier. The highlight of efforts in FY 1994 was the construction of the prototype barrier. The prototype barrier was constructed on the Hanford Site at the 200 BP-1 Operable Unit of the 200 East Area. Construction was completed in August 1994 and monitoring instruments are being installed so experiments on the prototype barrier can begin in FY 1995. The purpose of the prototype barrier is to provide insights and experience with issues regarding barrier design, construction, and performance that have not been possible with individual tests and experiments conducted to date. Additional knowledge and experience was gained in FY 1994 on erosion control, physical stability, water infiltration control, model testing, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) comparisons, biointrusion control, long-term performance, and technology transfer.

  1. Field evaluation of two shallow land burial trench cap designs for long-term stabilization and closure of waste repositories at Los Alamos, New Mexico

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The results from several field experiments on methods to control soil erosion, biointrusion, and water infiltration were used to design and test a burial site cover which improves the ability of the disposal site to isolate the wastes. The performance of the improved cover design in managing water and biota at the disposal site was compared with a more conventional design widely used in the industry. The conventional trench cover design consists of 15 cm of sandy loam topsoil over 75 cm of sandy silt backfill, whereas the improved trench cover design consists of 75 cm of topsoil over a minimum of 25 cm of gravel and 90 cm of river cobble. Each plot was lined with an impermeable liner to allow for mass balance calculation of water dynamics and contains hydrologic tracer ions (iodide and bromide) to demonstrate movement of water through the various zones of the trench cap. Cesium was emplaced beneath the trench cap to indicate root penetration through the trench cap, observed by sampling plant samples collected on the plots and assaying them for cesium. The field data are summarized and discussed in terms of its usefulness for waste management decisions. 67 refs., 44 figs., 4 tabs

  2. Monitoring the Long-Term Performance of Engineered Containment Systems: Role of Ecological Processes

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Engineered covers have been widely used to minimize water infiltration into landfills used by U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) for the disposal of radioactive and hazardous chemical waste. The degradation of engineered covers over time is a complex process that is influenced by site specific characteristics, the structure and dynamics of the indigenous plant community, and the interplay of physical and biological factors at contaminated sites. It is necessary to develop a rigorous method to evaluate long-term performance of covers and other engineered barriers with quantification of risk and uncertainty. Because many of the contaminants of concern are long-lived, this methodology must consider changes in the environmental setting (e.g., precipitation, temperature) and cover components for long time periods (>100 years). Current monitoring approaches focus solely on hydrologic properties of the cover system. Additionally, cover design guidelines, such as those from RCRA, are not performance based and do not consider long-term site-specific influences such as climate, vegetation, and soils. Fundamental ecological processes such as succession are not even factored into current models, yet they directly affect the integrity of landfill covers through biointrusion, erosion, and water balance. Therefore, it is useful to identify ecological parameters and processes most important to performance for prioritization of site characterization and long-term monitoring activities. This investigation into the role of ecological monitoring of isolation containment systems utilizes the software platform GoldSim to identify important parameters and processes for performance verification and monitoring. (authors)

  3. A water balance study of two landfill cover designs for semiarid regions

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The results from several field experiments on methods to control soil erosion, biointrusion, and water infiltration were used to design and test an enhanced landfill cover that improves the ability of the disposal site to isolate buried wastes. The performance of the improved cover design in managing water and biota at the disposal site was compared for 3 yr with that obtained from a more conventional design that has been widely used in the industry. The conventional cover design consisted of 20 cm of sandy loam topsoil over 108 cm of a sandy silt backfill, whereas the improved design consists of 71 cm of topsoil over a minimum of 46 cm of gravel, 91 cm of river cobble, and 38 cm of sandy silt backfill. Each plot was lined with an impermeable liner to allow for mass balance calculation of water dynamics. Results over a 3-yr period, including 2 wet yr, demonstrated that the improved design reduced percolation of water through the landfill cover by a factor of >4 over the conventional design. This decrease in percolation was attributed to a combination of increased evapotranspiration from the plant cover and the effect of a capillary barrier embedded in the enhanced cover profile in diverting water laterally in the cover. The field data are finally discussed in terms of its usefulness for waste management decisions to be made in the future for both new and existing landfills at Los Alamos, NM, and at other semiarid waste disposal sites

  4. Development of corrective measures and site stabilization technologies for shallow land burial facilities at semiarid sites

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The overall purpose of the corrective measures task performed for the National Low-Level Waste Management Program has been to develop and test methods that can be used to correct any actual or anticipated problems with new and existing shallow land burial (SLB) sites in a semiarid environment. These field tests have not only evaluated remedial actions, but have also investigated phenomena suspected of being a possible problem at semiarid SLB sites. The approach we have taken in developing remedial action and site closure technologies for low-level waste sites is to recognize that physical and biological processes affecting site integrity are interdependent, and therefore, cannot be treated as separate problems. The field experiments performed for this task were to identify, evaluate, and model erosion control technologies, field test second generation biointrusion barriers, determine by field experiments the extent of upward radionuclide migration due to moisture cycling, and measure the effects of subsidence on remedial action of other system components. Progress made in each of these research areas is described

  5. Hanford Site Long-term Surface Barrier Development Program: Fiscal year 1994 highlights

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The Hanford Site Surface Barrier Development Program was organized in 1985 to test the effectiveness of various barrier designs in minimizing the effects of water infiltration; plant, animal and human intrusion; and wind and water erosion on buried wastes, plus preventing or minimizing the emanation of noxious gases. A team of scientists from the Pacific Northwest Laboratory (PNL) and engineers from Westinghouse Hanford Company (WHC) direct the barrier development effort. ICF Kaiser Hanford Company, in conjunction with WHC and PNL, developed design drawings and construction specifications for a 5-acre prototype barrier. The highlight of efforts in FY 1994 was the construction of the prototype barrier. The prototype barrier was constructed on the Hanford Site at the 200 BP-1 Operable Unit of the 200 East Area. Construction was completed in August 1994 and monitoring instruments are being installed so experiments on the prototype barrier can begin in FY 1995. The purpose of the prototype barrier is to provide insights and experience with issues regarding barrier design, construction, and performance that have not been possible with individual tests and experiments conducted to date. Additional knowledge and experience was gained in FY 1994 on erosion control, physical stability, water infiltration control, model testing, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) comparisons, biointrusion control, long-term performance, and technology transfer

  6. Lysimeters at the Hanford Site: present use and future needs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lysimeters have been built and used at the Hanford Site for a variety of reasons, including the assessment of recharge (drainage) rates, biointrusion studies, the development of shallow-land burial monitoring and measurement methods, radionuclide transport studies, evapotranspiration studies, and field-scale waste-form leaching tests. A common feature of lysimeters is that they provide a way either to directly measure or to estimate water balance parameters such as soil-water storage changes, evapotranspiration, and drainage for a given site. The number of water balance parameters and the precision with which they can be measured vary depending on the design features of the lysimeter. In this report we describe key design features of the six major lysimeters facilities at Hanford and the types of data available from them. We also address the deficiencies of the present facilities for adequately determining recharge rates and propose additional facilities to evaluate protective barrier systems and arid-land water dynamics. 44 refs., 9 figs., 4 tabs

  7. The Field Lysimeter Test Facility (FLTF) at the Hanford Site: Installation and initial tests

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The objectives of this program are to test barrier design concepts and to demonstrate a barrier design that meets established performance criteria for use in isolating wastes disposed of near-surface at the Hanford Site. Specifically, the program is designed to assess how well the barriers perform in controlling biointrusion, water infiltration, and erosion, as well as evaluating interactions between environmental variables and design factors of the barriers. To assess barrier performance and design with respect to infiltration control, field lysimeters and small- and large-scale field plots are planned to test the performance of specific barrier designs under actual and modified (enhanced precipitation) climatic conditions. The Field Lysimeter Test Facility (FLTF) is located in the 600 Area of the Hanford Site just east of the 200 West Area and adjacent to the Hanford Meteorological Station. The FLTF data will be used to assess the effectiveness of selected protective barrier configurations in controlling water infiltration. The facility consists of 14 drainage lysimeters (2 m dia x 3 m deep) and four precision weighing lysimeters (1.5 m x 1.5 m x 1.7 m deep). The lysimeters are buried at grade and aligned in a parallel configuration, with nine lysimeters on each side of an underground instrument chamber. The lysimeters were filled with materials to simulate a multilayer protective barrier system. Data gathered from the FLTF will be used to compare key barrier components and to calibrate and test models for predicting long-term barrier performance

  8. The influence of small mammal burrowing activity on water storage at the Hanford Site

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The amount and rate at which water may penetrate a protective barrier and come into contact with buried radioactive waste is a major concern. Because burrowing animals eventually will reside on the surface of any protective barrier, the effect these burrow systems may have on the loss or retention of water needs to be determined. The first section of this document summarizes the known literature relative to small mammals and the effects that burrowing activities have on water distribution, infiltration, and the overall impact of burrows on the ecosystem. Topics that are summarized include burrow air pressures, airflow, burrow humidity, microtopography, mounding, infiltration, climate, soil evaporation, and discussions of large pores relative to water distribution. The second section of this document provides the results of the study that was conducted at the Hanford Site to determine what effect small mammal burrows have on water storage. This Biointrusion task is identified in the Permanent Isolation Surface Barrier Development Plan in support of protective barriers. This particular animal intrusion task is one part of the overall animal intrusion task identified in Animal Intrusion Test Plan

  9. Development of corrective measures and site stabilization technologies for shallow land burial facilities at semiarid sites: summary paper

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The overall purpose of the corrective measures task performed for the national Low-Level Waste Management Program (NLLWMP) has been to develop and test methods that can be used to correct any actual or anticipated problems with new and existing shallow land burial (SLB) sites in a semiarid environment. These field tests have not only evaluated remedial actions, but have also investigated phenomena suspected of being a possible problem at semiarid SLB sites. The approach the authors have taken in developing remedial action and site closure technologies for low-level waste sites is to recognize the physical and biological processes affecting site integrity are interdependent, and therefore, cannot be treated as separate problems. More specifically the field experiments performed for this task were to identify, evaluate, and model erosion control technologies, field test second generation biointrusion barriers, determine by field experiments the extent of upward radionuclide migration due to moisture cycling, and measure the effects of subsidence on remedial action of other system components. In the following sections of this final task summary report, the authors describe the progress made in establishing the facility in which many of these field experiments were performed, the Los Alamos Experimental Engineered Test Facility (EETF), as well as a brief description of the four research areas encompassed by this task. 45 references, 4 figures

  10. Alternative systems of covering the low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste storage at Sallying

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    The current concept of managing the low- and intermediate-level radioactive wastes produced during the operation of Cernavoda NPP provides their final disposal underground in the Sallying repository located within the NPP exclusion area. The safety requirements of the disposal imposed adopting of efficient natural and engineered systems to prevent population and environment exposure for at least 300 years time. Preliminary studies on the Sallying site showed that geological formations can prevent release radioisotopes in Eocene and Baramine aquifers both by their composition and structures. On the other hand investigation of the potential factors which could affect the long term stability of the repository showed that soil erosion due to climatic factors and soil degradation produced by animals burrowing underground drifts could rise the probability of environment contamination. These factors could enhance the escape of 14C and 3H radionuclides in the environment and a rise of water infiltration rate into the repository. A technical solution aiming at diminishing these effects specific to superficial or low-depth repositories appear to be a system of covering technical barriers as well as minimizing the effects of biointrusion. The paper analyses several geo textile membranes (polyesters and rubber) as well as soils compositions (loess, clay, sand, gravel) as technical a natural covering solutions. The studies and the experiments carried out led to the following four conclusions. 1. Without a multilayer covering system the saturation degree of the loess above the repository keeps low values varying between 20% and 25%. Although, the humidity increases considerably at the interface with the repository's concrete, so that within 0.5 m it reaches a saturation degree of 96%. The concrete block having a compact and fine structure directs laterally the water flow what entails a slight increase of humidity. 2. The capillary barriers keep the humidity in the upper part of

  11. Enhanced Cover Assessment Project:Soil Manipulation and Revegetation Tests

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Waugh, W. Joseph [Navarro Research and Engineering, Inc.; Albright, Dr. Bill [Desert Research Inst. (DRI), Reno, NV (United States); Benson, Dr. Craig [University of Wisconsin-Madison

    2014-02-01

    The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Legacy Management is evaluating methods to enhance natural changes that are essentially converting conventional disposal cell covers for uranium mill tailings into water balance covers. Conventional covers rely on a layer of compacted clayey soil to limit exhalation of radon gas and percolation of rainwater. Water balance covers rely on a less compacted soil “sponge” to store rainwater, and on soil evaporation and plant transpiration (evapotranspiration) to remove stored water and thereby limit percolation. Over time, natural soil-forming and ecological processes are changing conventional covers by increasing hydraulic conductivity, loosening compaction, and increasing evapotranspiration. The rock armor on conventional covers creates a favorable habitat for vegetation by slowing soil evaporation, increasing soil water storage, and trapping dust and organic matter, thereby providing the water and nutrients needed for plant germination, survival, and sustainable transpiration. Goals and Objectives Our overall goal is to determine if allowing or enhancing these natural changes could improve cover performance and reduce maintenance costs over the long term. This test pad study focuses on cover soil hydrology and ecology. Companion studies are evaluating effects of natural and enhanced changes in covers on radon attenuation, erosion, and biointrusion. We constructed a test cover at the Grand Junction disposal site to evaluate soil manipulation and revegetation methods. The engineering design, construction, and properties of the test cover match the upper three layers of the nearby disposal cell cover: a 1-foot armoring of rock riprap, a 6-inch bedding layer of coarse sand and gravel, and a 2-foot protection layer of compacted fine soil. The test cover does not have a radon barrier—cover enhancement tests leave the radon barrier intact. We tested furrowing and ripping as means for creating depressions parallel to the slope

  12. Long-Term Performance of Uranium Tailings Disposal Cells - 13340

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bostick, Kent; Daniel, Anamary; Pill, Ken [Professional Project Services, Inc., 1100 Bethel Valley Road, Oak Ridge, TN, 37922 (United States); Tachiev, Georgio; Noosai, Nantaporn; Villamizar, Viviana [Florida International University, 10555 W. Flagler St., EC 2100, Miami FL, 33174 (United States)

    2013-07-01

    Recently, there has been interest in the performance and evolution of Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action (UMTRA) Project disposal cell covers because some sites are not compliant with groundwater standards. Field observations of UMTRA disposal cells indicate that rock covers tend to become vegetated and that saturated conductivities in the upper portion of radon barriers may increase due to freeze/thaw cycles and biointrusion. This paper describes the results of modeling that addresses whether these potential changes and transient drainage of moisture in the tailings affect overall performance of the disposal cells. A numerical unsaturated/saturated 3-dimensional flow model was used to simulate whether increases in saturated conductivities in radon barriers with rock covers affect the overall performance of the disposal cells using field data from the Shiprock, NM, UMTRA site. A unique modeling approach allowed simulation with daily climatic conditions to determine changes in moisture and moisture flux from the disposal cell. Modeling results indicated that increases in the saturated conductivity at the top of radon barrier do not influence flux from the tailings with time because the tailings behave similar hydraulically to the radon barrier. The presence of a thin layer of low conductivity material anywhere in the cover or tailings restricts flux in the worst case to the saturated conductivity of that material. Where materials are unsaturated at depth within the radon barrier of tailings slimes, conductivities are typically less than 10{sup -8} centimeters per second. If the low conductivity layer is deep within the disposal cell, its saturated properties are less likely to change with time. The significance of this modeling is that operation and maintenance of the disposal cells can be minimized if they are allowed to progress to a natural condition with some vegetation and soil genesis. Because the covers and underlying tailings have a very low saturated