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Sample records for canyon tuff yucca

  1. Geochemical and Pb, Sr, and O isotopic study of the Tiva Canyon Tuff and Topopah Spring Tuff, Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Neymark, L.A.; Marshall, B.D.; Kwak, L.M.; Futa, Kiyoto; Mahan, S.A.

    1995-01-01

    Yucca Mountain is currently being studied as a potential site for an underground repository for high-level radioactive waste. One aspect of the site characterization studies is an evaluation o the resource potential at Yucca Mountain. Geochemical and isotopic signatures of past alteration of the welded tuffs that underlie Yucca Mountain provide a means of assessing the probability of hydrothermal ore deposits being present within Yucca Mountain. In this preliminary report, geochemical and isotopic measurements of altered Tiva Canyon Tuff and Topopah Spring Tuff collected from fault zones exposed on the east flank of Yucca Mountain and from one drill core are compared to their unaltered equivalents sampled both in outcrop and drill core. The geochemistry and isotopic compositions of unaltered Tiva Canyon Tuff and Topopah Spring Tuff (high-silica rhyolite portions) are fairly uniform; these data provide a good baseline for comparisons with the altered samples. Geochemical analyses indicate that the brecciated tuffs are characterized by addition of calcium carbonate and opaline silica; this resulted in additions of calcium and strontium,increases in oxygen-18 content, and some redistribution of trace elements. After leaching the samples to remove authigenic carbonate, no differences in strontium or lead isotope compositions between altered and unaltered sections were observed. These data show that although localized alteration of the tuffs has occurred and affected their geochemistry, there is no indication of additions of exotic components. The lack of evidence for exotic strontium and lead in the most severely altered tuff samples at Yucca Mountain strongly implies a similar lack of exotic base or precious metals

  2. Transport of neptunium through Yucca Mountain tuffs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Triay, I.R.; Robinson, B.A.; Mitchell, A.J.; Overly, C.M.; Lopez, R.M.

    1993-01-01

    Neptunium has a high solubility in groundwaters from Yucca Mountain [1]. Uranium in nuclear reactors produces 237 Np which has a half-life of 2.1 4 x 10 6 years. Consequently, the transport of 237 Np through tuffs is of major importance in assessing the performance of a high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. The objective of this work is to determine the amount of Np retardation that is provided by the minerals in Yucca Mountain tuffs as a function of groundwater chemistry

  3. Mechanical excavator performance in Yucca Mountain tuffs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ozdemir, L.; Hansen, F.D.

    1991-01-01

    A research effort of four phases is in progress at the Colorado School of Mines. The overall program will evaluate the cutability of welded tuff and other lithologies likely to be excavated at Yucca Mountain in the site characterization process. Several mechanical systems are considered with emphasis given to the tunnel boring machine. The research comprises laboratory testing, linear drag bit and disc cutter tests and potentially large-scale laboratory demonstrations to support potential use of a tunnel boring machine in welded tuff. Preliminary estimates of mechanical excavator performance in Yucca Mountain tuff are presented here. As phases of the research project are completed, well quantified estimates will be made of performance of mechanical excavators in the Yucca Mountain tuffs. 3 refs., 2 tabs

  4. Mechanical excavator performance in Yucca Mountain tuffs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ozdemir, L.; Hansen, F.D.

    1991-01-01

    A research effort of four phases is in progress at the Colorado School of Mines. The overall program will evaluate the cutability of welded tuff and other lithologies likely to be excavated at Yucca Mountain in the site characterization process. Several mechanical systems are considered with emphasis given to the tunnel boring machine. The research comprises laboratory testing, linear drag bit and disc cutter tests, and potentially large-scale lab. demonstrations to support potential use of a tunnel boring machine in welded tuff. Preliminary estimates of mechanical excavator performance in Yucca Mountain tuff are presented here. As phases of the research project are completed, well-quantified estimates will be made of performance of mechanical excavators in the Yucca Mountain tuffs

  5. Geochemistry of core samples of the Tiva Canyon Tuff from drill hole UE-25 NRG number-sign 3, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Peterman, Z.E.; Futa, K.

    1996-01-01

    The Tiva Canyon Tuff of Miocene age is composed of crystal-poor, high-silica rhyolite overlain by a crystal-rich zone that is gradational in composition from high-silica rhyolite to quartz latite. Each of these zones is divided into subzones that have distinctive physical, mineralogical, and geochemical features.Accurate identification of these subzones and their contacts is essential for detailed mapping and correlation both at the surface and in the subsurface in drill holes and in the exploratory studies facility (ESF). This report presents analyses of potassium (K), calcium (Ca), titanium (Ti), rubidium (Rb), strontium (Sr), yttrium (Y), zirconium (Zr), niobium (Nb), barium (Ba), lanthanum (La), and cerium (Ce) in core samples of the Tiva Canyon Tuff from drill hole UE-25 NRG number-sign 3. The concentrations of most of these elements are remarkably constant throughout the high-silica rhyolite, but at its upper contact with the crystal-rich zone, Ti, Zr, Ba, Ca, Sr, La, Ce, and K begin to increase progressively through the crystal-rich zone. In contrast, Rb and Nb decrease, and Y remains essentially constant. Initial 87 Sr/ 86 Sr ratios are relatively uniform in the high-silica rhyolite with a mean value of 0.7117, whereas initial 87 Sr/ 86 Sr ratios decrease upward in the quartz latite to values as low as 0.7090

  6. Geologic map of the Paintbrush Canyon Area, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dickerson, R.P.; Drake, R.M. II

    1998-01-01

    This geologic map is produced to support site characterization studies of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, site of a potential nuclear waste storage facility. The area encompassed by this map lies between Yucca Wash and Fortymile Canyon, northeast of Yucca Mountain. It is on the southern flank of the Timber Mountain caldera complex within the southwest Nevada volcanic field. Miocene tuffs and lavas of the Calico Hills Formation, the Paintbrush Group, and the Timber Mountain Group crop out in the area of this map. The source vents of the tuff cones and lava domes commonly are located beneath the thickest deposits of pyroclastic ejecta and lava flows. The rocks within the mapped area have been deformed by north- and northwest-striking, dominantly west-dipping normal faults and a few east-dipping normal faults. Faults commonly are characterized by well developed fault scarps, thick breccia zones, and hanging-wall grabens. Latest movement as preserved by slickensides on west-dipping fault scarps is oblique down towards the southwest. Two of these faults, the Paintbrush Canyon fault and the Bow Ridge fault, are major block-bounding faults here and to the south at Yucca Mountain. Offset of stratigraphic units across faults indicates that faulting occurred throughout the time these volcanic units were deposited

  7. Geologic map of the Paintbrush Canyon Area, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Dickerson, R.P. [Geological Survey, Denver, CO (United States); Drake, R.M. II [Pacific Western Technologies, Ltd., Lakewood, CO (United States)

    1998-11-01

    This geologic map is produced to support site characterization studies of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, site of a potential nuclear waste storage facility. The area encompassed by this map lies between Yucca Wash and Fortymile Canyon, northeast of Yucca Mountain. It is on the southern flank of the Timber Mountain caldera complex within the southwest Nevada volcanic field. Miocene tuffs and lavas of the Calico Hills Formation, the Paintbrush Group, and the Timber Mountain Group crop out in the area of this map. The source vents of the tuff cones and lava domes commonly are located beneath the thickest deposits of pyroclastic ejecta and lava flows. The rocks within the mapped area have been deformed by north- and northwest-striking, dominantly west-dipping normal faults and a few east-dipping normal faults. Faults commonly are characterized by well developed fault scarps, thick breccia zones, and hanging-wall grabens. Latest movement as preserved by slickensides on west-dipping fault scarps is oblique down towards the southwest. Two of these faults, the Paintbrush Canyon fault and the Bow Ridge fault, are major block-bounding faults here and to the south at Yucca Mountain. Offset of stratigraphic units across faults indicates that faulting occurred throughout the time these volcanic units were deposited.

  8. Air-injection testing in vertical boreholes in welded and nonwelded Tuff, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    LeCain, G.D.

    1997-12-31

    Air-injection tests, by use of straddle packers, were done in four vertical boreholes (UE-25 UZ-No.16, USW SD-12, USW NRG-6, and USW NRG-7a) at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The geologic units tested were the Tiva Canyon Tuff, nonwelded tuffs of the Paintbrush Group, Topopah Spring Tuff, and Calico Hills Formation. Air-injection permeability values of the Tiva Canyon Tuff ranged from 0.3 x 10{sup -12} to 54.0 x 10{sup -12} m{sup 2}(square meter). Air-injection permeability values of the Paintbrush nonwelded tuff ranged from 0.12 x 10{sup -12} to 3.0 x 10{sup -12} m{sup 2}. Air-injection permeability values of the Topopah Spring Tuff ranged from 0.02 x 10{sup -12} to 33.0 x 10{sup -12} m{sup 2}. The air-injection permeability value of the only Calico Hills Formation interval tested was 0.025 x 10{sup -12} m{sup 2}. The shallow test intervals of the Tiva Canyon Tuff had the highest air-injection permeability values. Variograms of the air-injection permeability values of the Topopah Spring Tuff show a hole effect; an initial increase in the variogram values is followed by a decrease. The hole effect is due to the decrease in permeability with depth identified in several geologic zones. The hole effect indicates some structural control of the permeability distribution, possibly associated with the deposition and cooling of the tuff. Analysis of variance indicates that the air-injection permeability values of borehole NRG-7a of the Topopah Spring Tuff are different from the other boreholes; this indicates areal variation in permeability.

  9. Pyritic ash-flow tuff, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Castor, S.B.; Tingley, J.V.; Bonham, H.F. Jr.

    1994-01-01

    The Yucca Mountain site is underlain by a 1,500-m-thick Miocene volcanic sequence that comprises part of the southwestern Nevada volcanic field. Rocks of this sequence, which consists mainly of ash-flow tuff sheets with minor flows and bedded tuff, host precious metal mineralization in several areas as near as 10 km from the site. In two such areas, the Bullfrog and Bare Mountain mining districts, production and reserves total over 60 t gold and 150 t silver. Evidence of similar precious metal mineralization at the Yucca Mountain site may lead to mining or exploratory drilling in the future, compromising the security of the repository. The authors believe that most of the pyrite encountered by drilling at Yucca Mountain was introduced as pyroclastic ejecta, rather than by in situ hydrothermal activity. Pyritic ejecta in ash-flow tuff are not reported in the literature, but there is no reason to believe that the Yucca Mountain occurrence is unique. The pyritic ejecta are considered by us to be part of a preexisting hydrothermal system that was partially or wholly destroyed during eruption of the tuff units. Because it was introduced as ejecta in tuff units that occur at depths of about 1,000 m, such pyrite does not constitute evidence of shallow mineralization at the proposed repository site; however, the pyrite may be evidence for mineralization deep beneath Yucca Mountain or as much as tens of kilometers from it

  10. Repository site data report for unsaturated tuff, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tien, P.L.; Updegraff, C.D.; Siegel, M.D.; Wahi, K.K.; Guzowski, R.V.

    1985-11-01

    The US Department of Energy is currently considering the thick sequences of unsaturated, fractured tuff at Yucca Mountain, on the southwestern boundary of the Nevada Test Site, as a possible candidate host rock for a nuclear-waste repository. Yucca Mountain is in one of the most arid areas in the United States. The site is within the south-central part of the Great Basin section of the Basin and Range physiographic province and is located near a number of silicic calderas of Tertiary age. Although localized zones of seismic activity are common throughout the province, and faults are present at Yucca Mountain, the site itself is basically aseismic. No data are available on the composition of ground water in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain. It has been suggested that the composition is bounded by the compositions of water from wells USW-H3, UE25p-1, J-13, and snow or rain. There are relatively few data available from Yucca Mountain on the moisture content and saturation, hydraulic conductivity, and characteristic curves of the unsaturated zone. The available literature on thermomechanical properties of tuff does not always distinguish between data from the saturated zone and data from the unsaturated zone. Geochemical, hydrologic, and thermomechanical data available on the unsaturated tuffs of Yucca Mountain are tabulated in this report. Where the data are very sparse, they have been supplemented by data from the saturated zone or from areas other than Yucca Mountain. 316 refs., 58 figs., 37 tabs

  11. Repository site data report for unsaturated tuff, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Tien, P.L.; Updegraff, C.D.; Siegel, M.D.; Wahi, K.K.; Guzowski, R.V.

    1985-11-01

    The US Department of Energy is currently considering the thick sequences of unsaturated, fractured tuff at Yucca Mountain, on the southwestern boundary of the Nevada Test Site, as a possible candidate host rock for a nuclear-waste repository. Yucca Mountain is in one of the most arid areas in the United States. The site is within the south-central part of the Great Basin section of the Basin and Range physiographic province and is located near a number of silicic calderas of Tertiary age. Although localized zones of seismic activity are common throughout the province, and faults are present at Yucca Mountain, the site itself is basically aseismic. No data are available on the composition of ground water in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain. It has been suggested that the composition is bounded by the compositions of water from wells USW-H3, UE25p-1, J-13, and snow or rain. There are relatively few data available from Yucca Mountain on the moisture content and saturation, hydraulic conductivity, and characteristic curves of the unsaturated zone. The available literature on thermomechanical properties of tuff does not always distinguish between data from the saturated zone and data from the unsaturated zone. Geochemical, hydrologic, and thermomechanical data available on the unsaturated tuffs of Yucca Mountain are tabulated in this report. Where the data are very sparse, they have been supplemented by data from the saturated zone or from areas other than Yucca Mountain. 316 refs., 58 figs., 37 tabs.

  12. Structural character of the northern segment of the Paintbrush Canyon fault, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dickerson, R.P.; Spengler, R.W.

    1994-01-01

    Detailed mapping of exposed features along the northern part of the Paintbrush Canyon fault was initiated to aid in construction of the computer-assisted three-dimensional lithostratigraphic model of Yucca Mountain, to contribute to kinematic reconstruction of the tectonic history of the Paintbrush Canyon fault, and to assist in the interpretation of geophysical data from Midway Valley. Yucca Mountain is segmented into relatively intact blocks of east-dipping Miocene volcanic strata, bounded by north-striking, west-dipping high-angle normal faults. The Paintbrush Canyon fault, representing the easternmost block-bounding normal fault, separates Fran Ridge from Midway Valley and continues northward across Yucca Wash to at least the southern margin of the Timber Mountain Caldera complex. South of Yucca Wash, the Paintbrush Canyon Fault is largely concealed beneath thick Quaternary deposits. Bedrock exposures to the north reveal a complex fault, zone, displaying local north- and west-trending grabens, and rhombic pull-apart features. The fault scarp, discontinuously exposed along a mapped length of 8 km north of Yucca Wash, dips westward by 41 degrees to 74 degrees. Maximum vertical offset of the Rhyolite of Comb Peak along the fault measures about 210 m in Paintbrush Canyon and, on the basis of drill hole information, vertical offset of the Topopoah Spring Tuff is about 360 m near the northern part of Fran Ridge. Observed displacement along the fault in Paintbrush Canyon is down to the west with a component of left-lateral oblique slip. Unlike previously proposed tectonic models, strata adjacent to the fault dip to the east. Quaternary deposits do not appear displaced along the fault scarp north of Yucca Wash, but are displaced in trenches south of Yucca Wash

  13. Petrology and geochemistry of the Grouse Canyon Member of the Belted Range Tuff, Rock-Mechanics Drift, U12g Tunnel, Nevada Test Site

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Connolly, J.R.; Mansker, W.L.; Hicks, R.; Allen, C.C.; Husler, J.; Keil, K.; Lappin, A.R.

    1983-04-01

    G-Tunnel at Nevada Test Site (NTS) is the site of thermal and thermomechanical experiments examining the feasibility of emplacing heat-producing nuclear wastes in silicic tuffs. This report describes the general stratigraphy, mineralogy, and bulk chemistry of welded portions of the Grouse Canyon Member of the Belted Range Tuff, the unit in which most of these experiments will be performed. The geologic characteristics of the Grouse Canyon Member are compared with those of the Topopah Spring Member of the Paintbrush Tuff, presently the preferred horizon for an actual waste repository at Yucca Mountain, near the southwest boundary of Nevada Test Site. This comparison suggests that test results obtained in welded tuff from G-Tunnel are applicable, with limitations, to evaluation of the Topopah Spring Member at Yucca Mountain

  14. The effect of saturation of the mechanical properties of tuff at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Karakouzian, M.; Hudyma, N.

    1996-01-01

    This study investigates the effect of saturation on the mechanical properties, namely compressive strength and Young's Modulus, of Tiva Canyon welded tuff and Topopah Spring welded tuff from the Nevada Test Site. Unconfined compression tests on air dried and saturated specimens show that saturation lowers both the average compressive strength and the average Young's Modulus of Topopah Spring and Tiva Canyon tuff specimens. Saturation increases the variability of the mechanical properties of Topopah Spring tuff and the variability of the compressive strength of Tiva Canyon tuff

  15. Estimates of spatial correlation in volcanic tuff, Yucca Mountain, Nevada: Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rautman, C.A.

    1991-02-01

    The spatial correlation structure of volcanic tuffs at and near the site of the proposed high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is estimated using samples obtained from surface outcrops and drill holes. Data are examined for four rock properties: porosity, air permeability, saturated hydraulic conductivity, and dry bulk density. Spatial continuity patterns are identified in both lateral and vertical (stratigraphic) dimensions. The data are examined for the Calico Hills tuff stratigraphic unit and also without regard for stratigraphy. Variogram models fitted to the sample data from the tuffs of Calico Hills indicate that porosity is correlated laterally over distances of up to 3000 feet. If air permeability and saturated conductivity values are viewed as semi-interchangeable for purposes of identifying spatial structure, the data suggest a maximum range of correlation of 300 to 500 feet without any obvious horizontal to vertical anisotropy. Continuity exists over vertical distances of roughly 200 feet. Similar variogram models fitted to sample data taken from vertical drill holes without regard for stratigraphy suggest that correlation exists over distances of 500 to 800 feet for each rock property examined. Spatial correlation of rock properties violates the sample-independence assumptions of classical statistics to a degree not usually acknowledged. In effect, the existence of spatial structure reduces the ''equivalent'' number of samples below the number of physical samples. This reduction in the effective sampling density has important implications for site characterization for the Yucca Mountain Project. 19 refs., 43 figs., 5 tabs

  16. Monitoring the vadose zone in fractured tuff, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Montazer, P.; Weeks, E.P.; Thamir, F.; Yard, S.N.; Hofrichter, P.B.

    1985-01-01

    Unsaturated tuff beneath Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is being evaluated by the US Department of Energy as a host rock for a potential repository for high-level radioactive waste. As part of the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations Project of the US Department of Energy, the US Geological Survey has been conducting hydrologic, geologic, and geophysical investigations at Yucca Mountain and the surrounding region to provide data evaluation of the potential suitability of the site. Hydrologic investigations of the unsaturated zone at this site were started in 1982. A 17.5-inch- (44.5-centimeter-) diameter borehole (USW UZ-1) was drilled by the reverse-air vacuum-drilling technique to a depth of 1269 feet (387 meters). This borehole was instrumented at 33 depth levels. At 15 of the levels, 3 well screens were embedded in coarse-sand columns. The sand columns were isolated from each other by thin layers of bentonite, columns of silica flour, and isolation plugs consisting of expansive cement. Thermocouple psychrometers and pressure transducers were installed within the screens and connected to the data-acquisition system at the land surface through thermocouple and logging cables. Two of the screens at each level were equipped with access tubes to allow collection of pore-gas samples. In addition to these instruments, 18 heat-dissipation probes were installed within the columns of silica flour, some of which also had thermocouple psychrometers. 20 refs., 13 figs., 2 tabs

  17. TBM performance prediction in Yucca Mountain welded tuff from linear cutter tests

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gertsch, R.; Ozdemir, L.; Gertsch, L.

    1992-01-01

    This paper discusses performance prediction which were developed for tunnel boring machines operating in welded tuff for the construction of the experimental study facility and the potential nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. The predictions were based on test data obtained from an extensive series of linear cutting tests performed on samples of Topopah String welded tuff from the Yucca Mountain Project site. Using the cutter force, spacing, and penetration data from the experimental program, the thrust, torque, power, and rate of penetration were estimated for a 25 ft diameter tunnel boring machine (TBM) operating in welded tuff. The result show that the Topopah Spring welded tuff (TSw2) can be excavated at relatively high rates of advance with state-of-the-art TBMs. The result also show, however, that the TBM torque and power requirements will be higher than estimated based on rock physical properties and past tunneling experience in rock formations of similar strength

  18. Magnetism and magnetic mineralogy of ash flow tuffs from Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Schlinger, C.M.; Veblen, D.R.; Rosenbaum, J.G.

    1991-01-01

    The magnetic susceptibility χ and remanent magnetization of an ash flow sheet are profoundly influenced by cooling history after emplacement. Maxima and minima in χ measured along profiles at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, identify persistent magnetic marker horizons within vitric portions of the Tiva Canyon and underlying Topopah Spring Members of the Paintbrush Tuff. The observed stratigraphic changes in magnetic properties reflect variations in amounts and mineralogy of Fe-Ti oxide phenocrysts, and the presence, shape, size, and mineralogy of magnetic Fe-oxide microcrystals that precipitated at high temperature after emplacement of each sheet. The size variations of the precipitated Fe-oxides, which were established using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and petrographic observation, are consistent both with variations in magnetic susceptibility measured at the outcrop and with variations in the intensity of remanent magnetization. Several interpretations of the shape anisotropy of the precipitated Fe-oxide are possible, including growth by a dislocation mechanism. Additionally, the observed elongation of precipitated microcrystals is consistent with theoretical predictions for growth in a uniaxial stress field. Susceptibility variations as established at the outcrop, as well as in the borehole, offer a potentially useful tool for stratigraphic correlation of ash flow sheets

  19. Mineralogy, petrology and whole-rock chemistry data compilation for selected samples of Yucca Mountain tuffs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Connolly, J.R.

    1991-12-01

    Petrologic, bulk chemical, and mineralogic data are presented for 49 samples of tuffaceous rocks from core holes USW G-1 and UE-25a number-sign 1 at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Included, in descending stratigraphic order, are 11 samples from the Topopah Spring Member of the Paintbrush Tuff, 12 samples from the Tuffaceous Beds of Calico Hills, 3 samples from the Prow Pass Member of the Crater Flat Tuff, 20 samples from the Bullfrog Member of the Crater Flat Tuff and 3 samples from the Tram Member of the Crater Flat Tuff. The suite of samples contains a wide variety of petrologic types, including zeolitized, glassy, and devitrified tuffs. Data vary considerably between groups of samples, and include thin section descriptions (some with modal analyses for which uncertainties are estimated), electron microprobe analyses of mineral phases and matrix, mineral identifications by X-ray diffraction, and major element analyses with uncertainty estimates

  20. Analysis of the rock mechanics properties of volcanic tuff units from Yucca Mountain, Nevada Test Site

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Price, R.H.

    1983-08-01

    Over two hundred fifty mechanical experiments have been run on samples of tuff from Yucca Mountain, Nevada Test Site. Cores from the Topopah Spring, Calico Hills, Bullfrog and Tram tuff units were deformed to collect data for an initial evaluation of mechanical (elastic and strength) properties of the potential horizons for emplacement of commercial nuclear wastes. The experimental conditions ranged in sample saturation from room dry to fully saturated, confining pressure from 0.1 to 20 MPa, pore pressure from 0.1 to 5 MPa, temperature from 23 to 200 0 C, and strain rate from 10 -7 to 10 -2 s -1 . These test data have been analyzed for variations in elastic and strength properties with changes in test conditions, and to study the effects of bulk-rock characteristics on mechanical properties. In addition to the site-specific data on Yucca Mountain tuff, mechanical test results on silicic tuff from Rainier Mesa, Nevada Test Site, are also discussed. These data both overlap and augment the Yucca Mountain tuff data, allowing more definitive conclusions to be reached, as well as providing data at some test conditions not covered by the site-specific tests

  1. Geologic character of tuffs in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, southern Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Scott, R.B.; Spengler, R.W.; Diehl, S.; Lappin, A.R.; Chornack, M.P.

    1982-01-01

    At Yucca Mountain, a potential site for a high-level nuclear waste repository on the Nevada Test Site in southern Nevada, evaluation of the geologic setting and rock physical properties, along with previous regional hydrologic studies, has provided background that can be used for construction of a preliminary conceptual hydrologic model of the unsaturated zone. The 500-m-thick unsaturated portion of Yucca Mountain consists of alternating layers of two contrasting types of tuff. One type consists of highly fractured, densely welded, relatively nonporous but highly transmissive ash-flow tuffs. The other type consists of relatively unfractured, nonwelded, highly porous but relatively nontransmissive, argillic and zeolitic bedded tuffs and ash-flow tuffs. The contrast between these two sets of distinctive physical properties results in a stratified sequence best described as ''physical-property stratigraphy'' as opposed to traditional petrologic stratigraphy of volcanic rocks. The vast majority of recharge through the unsaturated zone is assumed to be vertical; the dominant migration may occur in fractures of densely welded tuffs and in the matrix of nonwelded tuff, but the mode of fluid flow in these unsaturated systems is undetermined. Limited lateral flow of recharge may occur at horizons where local perched water tables may exist above relatively nontransmissive zeolitized nonwelded tuffs. The pervasive north-northwest-striking fractures may control the direction of lateral flow of recharge, if any, in the unsaturated zone, and certainly that direction coincides closely with the observed southeasterly flow direction in the saturated zone under Yucca Mountain. Empirical evaluation of this conceptual hydrologic model has begun. 41 refs., 18 figs., 2 tabs

  2. Geologic character of tuffs in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, southern Nevada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Scott, R.B.; Spengler, R.W.; Diehl, S.; Lappin, A.R.; Chornack, M.P.

    1982-12-31

    At Yucca Mountain, a potential site for a high-level nuclear waste repository on the Nevada Test Site in southern Nevada, evaluation of the geologic setting and rock physical properties, along with previous regional hydrologic studies, has provided background that can be used for construction of a preliminary conceptual hydrologic model of the unsaturated zone. The 500-m-thick unsaturated portion of Yucca Mountain consists of alternating layers of two contrasting types of tuff. One type consists of highly fractured, densely welded, relatively nonporous but highly transmissive ash-flow tuffs. The other type consists of relatively unfractured, nonwelded, highly porous but relatively nontransmissive, argillic and zeolitic bedded tuffs and ash-flow tuffs. The contrast between these two sets of distinctive physical properties results in a stratified sequence best described as "physical-property stratigraphy" as opposed to traditional petrologic stratigraphy of volcanic rocks. The vast majority of recharge through the unsaturated zone is assumed to be vertical; the dominant migration may occur in fractures of densely welded tuffs and in the matrix of nonwelded tuff, but the mode of fluid flow in these unsaturated systems is undetermined. Limited lateral flow of recharge may occur at horizons where local perched water tables may exist above relatively nontransmissive zeolitized nonwelded tuffs. The pervasive north-northwest-striking fractures may control the direction of lateral flow of recharge, if any, in the unsaturated zone, and certainly that direction coincides closely with the observed southeasterly flow direction in the saturated zone under Yucca Mountain. Empirical evaluation of this conceptual hydrologic model has begun. 41 refs., 18 figs., 2 tabs.

  3. Some geochemical considerations for a potential repository site in tuff at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Erdal, B.R.; Bish, D.L.; Crowe, B.M.; Daniels, W.R.; Ogard, A.E.; Rundberg, R.S.; Vaniman, D.T.; Wolfsberg, K.

    1982-01-01

    The Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations, which is evaluating potential locations for a high-level waste repository at the Nevada Test Site and environs, is currently focusing its investigations on tuff, principally in Yucca Mountain, as a host rock. This paper discusses some of the geochemical investigations. Particular emphasis is placed on definition of some basic elements and necessary technical approaches for the geochemistry data acquisition and modeling program. Some site-specific tuff geochemical information that is important for site selection and repository performance will be identified and the current status of knowledge will then be discussed

  4. Excavation effects on tuff - recent findings and plans for investigations at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Blejwas, T.E.; Zimmerman, R.M.; Shephard, L.E.

    1989-01-01

    Plans for site-characterization testing and constructing an exploratory shaft facility (ESF) at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, have been influenced by the construction and monitoring of stable openings in G-Tunnel on the Nevada Test Site. G-Tunnel provides access for testing in a thin bed of unsaturated welded tuff that is similar to that at Yucca Mountain. The data from the experiments in the ESF will be used to validate analytical methods for predicting the response of underground openings to the excavation process and to the heat generated by the waste

  5. Feldspar dissolution rates in the Topopah Spring Tuff, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bryan, C.R.; Helean, K.B.; Marshall, B.D.; Brady, P.V.

    2009-01-01

    Two different field-based methods are used here to calculate feldspar dissolution rates in the Topopah Spring Tuff, the host rock for the proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The center of the tuff is a high silica rhyolite, consisting largely of alkali feldspar (???60 wt%) and quartz polymorphs (???35 wt%) that formed by devitrification of rhyolitic glass as the tuff cooled. First, the abundance of secondary aluminosilicates is used to estimate the cumulative amount of feldspar dissolution over the history of the tuff, and an ambient dissolution rate is calculated by using the estimated thermal history. Second, the feldspar dissolution rate is calculated by using measured Sr isotope compositions for the pore water and rock. Pore waters display systematic changes in Sr isotopic composition with depth that are caused by feldspar dissolution. The range in dissolution rates determined from secondary mineral abundances varies from 10-16 to 10-17 mol s-1 kg tuff-1 with the largest uncertainty being the effect of the early thermal history of the tuff. Dissolution rates based on pore water Sr isotopic data were calculated by treating percolation flux parametrically, and vary from 10-15 to 10-16 mol s-1 kg tuff-1 for percolation fluxes of 15 mm a-1 and 1 mm a-1, respectively. Reconciling the rates from the two methods requires that percolation fluxes at the sampled locations be a few mm a-1 or less. The calculated feldspar dissolution rates are low relative to other measured field-based feldspar dissolution rates, possibly due to the age (12.8 Ma) of the unsaturated system at Yucca Mountain; because oxidizing and organic-poor conditions limit biological activity; and/or because elevated silica concentrations in the pore waters (???50 mg L-1) may inhibit feldspar dissolution. ?? 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  6. Development of the data base for tuffs at Yucca Mountain, Nevada Test Site

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lappin, A.R.

    1981-11-01

    The purposes of the data-base development described here are: (1) to provide sufficient input for the modeling and analysis required to support a horizon-selection decision in December, 1982; and (2) to support follow-on detailed horizon evaluation. Initial data collection must, therefore, be complete by August, 1982. Data will include; (1) thermal conductivity; (2) thermal expansion; (3) matrix and fracture mechanical properties; (4) bulk properties; and (5) functional thermomechanical stratigraphy of the tuffs at Yucca Mountain

  7. METHODS FOR PORE WATER EXTRACTION FROM UNSATURATED ZONE TUFF, YUCCA MOUNTAIN, NEVADA

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    K.M. SCOFIELD

    2006-01-01

    Assessing the performance of the proposed high-level radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, requires an understanding of the chemistry of the water that moves through the host rock. The uniaxial compression method used to extract pore water from samples of tuffaceous borehole core was successful only for nonwelded tuff. An ultracentrifugation method was adopted to extract pore water from samples of the densely welded tuff of the proposed repository horizon. Tests were performed using both methods to determine the efficiency of pore water extraction and the potential effects on pore water chemistry. Test results indicate that uniaxial compression is most efficient for extracting pore water from nonwelded tuff, while ultracentrifugation is more successful in extracting pore water from densely welded tuff. Pore water splits taken from a single nonwelded tuff core during uniaxial compression tests have shown changes in pore water chemistry with increasing pressure for calcium, chloride, sulfate, and nitrate, while the chemistry of pore water splits from welded and nonwelded tuffs using ultracentrifugation indicates that there is no significant fractionation of solutes

  8. TRM performance prediction in Yucca Mountain welded tuff from linear cutter tests

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gertsch, R.; Ozdemir, L.; Gertsch, L.

    1992-01-01

    Performance predictions were developed for tunnel boring machines operating in welded tuff for the construction of the experimental study facility and the potential nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. The predictions were based on test data obtained from an extensive series of linear cutting tests performed on samples of Topopah Spring welded tuff from the Yucca Mountain Project site. Using the cutter force, spacing, and penetration data from the experimental program, the thrust, torque, power, and rate of penetration were estimated for a 25 ft diameter tunnel boring machine (TBM) operating in welded tuff. Guidelines were developed for the optimal design of the TBM cutterhead to achieve high production rates at the lowest possible excavation costs. The results show that the Topopah Spring welded tuff (TSw2) can be excavated at relatively high rates of advance with state-of-the-art TBMs. The results also show, however, that the TBM torque and power requirements will be higher than estimated based on rock physical properties and past tunneling experience in rock formations of similar strength

  9. Triaxial-compression extraction of pore water from unsaturated tuff, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Yang, I.C.; Turner, A.K.; Sayre, T.M.; Montazer, P.

    1988-01-01

    The purpose of this experiment was to design and validate methods for extracting uncontaminated pore water from nonwelded parts of this tuff. Pore water is needed for chemical analysis to help characterize the local hydrologic system. A standard Hoek-Franklin triaxial cell was modified to create a chemically inert pore-water-extraction system. Experimentation was designed to determine the optimum stress and duration of triaxial compression for efficient extraction of uncontaminated pore water. Experimental stress paths consisted of a series of increasing stress levels. Trial axial stress levels ranged from 41 to 190 megapascals with lateral confining stresses of 34 to 69 megapascals. The duration of compression at any given stress level lasted from 10 minutes to 15 hours. A total of 40 experimental extraction trials were made. Tuff samples used in these tests were collected from drill-hole core from the Paintbrush nonwelded unit at Yucca Mountain. Pore water was extracted from tuff samples that had a water content greater than 13 percent by weight. Two stress paths have been determined to be applicable for future pore-water extraction from nonwelded tuff at Yucca Mountain. The initial water content of a sample affects the selection of an appropriate period of compression. 39 refs., 55 figs

  10. Stratigraphic relations and hydrologic properties of the Paintbrush Tuff (PTn) hydrologic unit, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Moyer, T.C.; Geslin, J.K.; Flint, L.E.

    1996-01-01

    Yucca Mountain is being investigated as a potential site for a high- level nuclear waste repository. The intent of this study was to clarify stratigraphic relations within the Paintbrush Tuff (PTn) unit at Yucca Mountain in order to better understand vertical and lateral variations in hydrologic properties as they relate to the lithologic character of these rocks. This report defines informal stratigraphic units within the PTn interval, demonstrates their lateral continuity in the Yucca Mountain region, describes later and vertical variations within them, and characterizes their hydrologic properties and importance to numerical flow and transport models. We present tables summarizing the depth to stratigraphic contacts in cored borehole studies, and unit descriptions and correlations in 10 measured sections

  11. Stratigraphic relations and hydrologic properties of the Paintbrush Tuff (PTn) hydrologic unit, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Moyer, T.C.; Geslin, J.K. [Science Applications International Corp., Golden, CO (United States); Flint, L.E. [U.S. Geological Survey, Yucca Mountain Project, Mercury, NV (United States)

    1996-08-01

    Yucca Mountain is being investigated as a potential site for a high- level nuclear waste repository. The intent of this study was to clarify stratigraphic relations within the Paintbrush Tuff (PTn) unit at Yucca Mountain in order to better understand vertical and lateral variations in hydrologic properties as they relate to the lithologic character of these rocks. This report defines informal stratigraphic units within the PTn interval, demonstrates their lateral continuity in the Yucca Mountain region, describes later and vertical variations within them, and characterizes their hydrologic properties and importance to numerical flow and transport models. We present tables summarizing the depth to stratigraphic contacts in cored borehole studies, and unit descriptions and correlations in 10 measured sections.

  12. Distribution of rubidium, strontium, and zirconium in tuff from two deep coreholes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Spengler, R.W.; Peterman, Z.E.

    1991-01-01

    Variations in concentrations of trace elements Rb, Sr, and Zr within the sequence of high-silica tuff and dacitic lava beneath Yucca Mountain reflect both primary composition and secondary alteration. Rb and K concentrations have parallel trends. Rb concentrations are significantly lower within intervals containing zeolitic nonwelded to partially welded and bedded tuffs and are higher in thick moderately to densely welded zones. Sr concentrations increase with depth from about 30 parts per million (ppM) in the Topopah Spring Member of the Paintbrush Tuff to almost 300 ppM in the older tuffs. Zr concentrations are about 100 ppM in the Topopah Spring Member and also increase with depth to about 150 ppM in the Lithic Ridge Tuff and upper part of the older tuffs. Conspicuous local high concentrations of Sr in the lower part of the Tram Member, in the dacite lava, and in unit c of the older tuffs in USW G-1, and in the densely welded zone of the Bullfrog Member in USW GU-3/G-3 closely correlate with high concentrations of less-mobile Zr and may reflect either primary composition or elemental redistribution resulting largely from smectitic alteration. Initial 87 Sr/ 86 Sr values from composite samples increase upward in units above the Bullfrog Member of the Crater Flat Tuff. The progressive tenfold increase in Sr with depth coupled with the similarity of initial 87 Sr/ 86 Sr values within the Bullfrog Member and older units to those of Paleozoic marine carbonates are consistent with a massive influx or Sr from water derived from a Paleozoic carbonate aquifer. 23 refs., 4 figs., 1 tab

  13. Triaxial- and uniaxial-compression testing methods developed for extraction of pore water from unsaturated tuff, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Mower, T.E.; Higgins, J.D. [Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO (USA). Dept. of Geology and Geological Engineering; Yang, I.C. [Geological Survey, Denver, CO (USA). Water Resources Div.

    1989-12-31

    To support the study of hydrologic system in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, two extraction methods were examined to obtain representative, uncontaminated pore-water samples from unsaturated tuff. Results indicate that triaxial compression, which uses a standard cell, can remove pore water from nonwelded tuff that has an initial moisture content greater than 11% by weight; uniaxial compression, which uses a specifically fabricated cell, can extract pore water from nonwelded tuff that has an initial moisture content greater than 8% and from welded tuff that has an initial moisture content greater than 6.5%. For the ambient moisture conditions of Yucca Mountain tuffs, uniaxial compression is the most efficient method of pore-water extraction. 12 refs., 7 figs., 2 tabs.

  14. Clinoptilolite compositions in diagenetically-altered tuffs at a potential nuclear waste repository, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Broxton, D.E.

    1987-01-01

    The compositions of Yucca Mountain clinoptilolites and their host tuffs are highly variable. Clinoptilolites and heulandites in fractures near the repository and in a thin, altered zone at the top of the Topopah Spring basal vitrophyre have consistent calcium-rich compositions. Below this level, clinoptilolites in thick zones of diagenetic alteration on the east side of Yucca Mountain have calcic-potassic compositions and become more calcium rich with depth. Clinoptilolites in stratigraphically equivalent tuffs to the west have sodic-potassic compositions and become more sodic with depth. Clinoptilolite properties important for repository performance assessment include thermal expansion/contraction behavior, hydration/dehydration behavior, and ion-exchange properties. These properties can be significantly affected by clinoptilolite compositions. The compositional variations for clinoptilolites found by this study suggest that the properties will vary vertically and laterally at Yucca Mountain. Used in conjunction with experimental data, the clinoptilolite compositions presented here can be used to model the behavior of clinoptilolites in the repository environment and along transport pathways

  15. Hydraulic Characterization of Overpressured Tuffs in Central Yucca Flat, Nevada Test Site, Nye County, Nevada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    K.J. Halford; R.J. Laczniak; D.L. Galloway

    2005-10-07

    A sequence of buried, bedded, air-fall tuffs has been used extensively as a host medium for underground nuclear tests detonated in the central part of Yucca Flat at the Nevada Test Site. Water levels within these bedded tuffs have been elevated hundreds of meters in areas where underground nuclear tests were detonated below the water table. Changes in the ground-water levels within these tuffs and changes in the rate and distribution of land-surface subsidence above these tuffs indicate that pore-fluid pressures have been slowly depressurizing since the cessation of nuclear testing in 1992. Declines in ground-water levels concurrent with regional land subsidence are explained by poroelastic deformation accompanying ground-water flow as fluids pressurized by underground nuclear detonations drain from the host tuffs into the overlying water table and underlying regional carbonate aquifer. A hydraulic conductivity of about 3 x 10-6 m/d and a specific storage of 9 x 10-6 m-1 are estimated using ground-water flow models. Cross-sectional and three-dimensional ground-water flow models were calibrated to measured water levels and to land-subsidence rates measured using Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar. Model results are consistent and indicate that about 2 million m3 of ground water flowed from the tuffs to the carbonate rock as a result of pressurization caused by underground nuclear testing. The annual rate of inflow into the carbonate rock averaged about 0.008 m/yr between 1962 and 2005, and declined from 0.005 m/yr in 2005 to 0.0005 m/yr by 2300.

  16. Fracture-lining minerals in the lower Topopah Spring Tuff at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Carlos, B.A.; Bish, D.L.; Chipera, S.J.

    1991-01-01

    Fracture-lining minerals in the lower Topopah Spring Member of the Paintbrush Tuff at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, are being examined to characterize potential flow paths within and away from the candidate repository horizon. Fracture coatings within this interval can be divided into five categories based on rock matrix and type of fracture. Fracture coatings in the densely welded tuff above the basal vitrophyre, near the candidate repository horizon, include (1) those related to lithophysal cavities; (2) mordenite and manganese oxides on nearly planar fractures; (3) later fracture coatings consisting of zeolites, smectite, and calcite. Fracture-coating minerals in the vitrophyre are fine-grained and consist of smectite and a variety of zeolites. The non- to partially-welded vitric and/or zeolitic stuff below the vitrophyre contains fractures mostly lined by cristobalite and clinoptilolite. 13 refs., 2 figs., 1 tab

  17. Mineralogic Zonation Within the Tuff Confining Unit, Yucca Flat, Nevada Test Site

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lance Prothro

    2005-01-01

    Recently acquired mineralogic data from drill hole samples in Yucca Flat show that the tuff confining unit (TCU) can be subdivided into three mineralogic zones based on the relative abundances of primary and secondary mineral assemblages. These zones are (1) an upper zone characterized by the abundance of the zeolite mineral clinoptilolite with lesser amounts of felsic and clay minerals; (2) a middle zone with felsic minerals dominant over clinoptilolite and clay minerals; and (3) a basal argillic zone where clay minerals are dominant over felsic minerals and clinoptilolite. Interpretation of the mineralogic data, along with lithologic, stratigraphic, and geophysical data from approximately 500 drill holes, reveals a three-layer mineralogic model for the TCU that shows all three zones are extensive beneath Yucca Flat. The mineralogic model will be used to subdivide the TCU in the Yucca Flat hydrostratigraphic framework model, resulting in a more accurate and versatile framework model. In addition, the identification of the type, quantity, and distribution of minerals within each TCU layer will permit modelers to better predict the spatial distribution and extent of contaminant transport from underground tests in Yucca Flat, at both the level of the hydrologic source term and the corrective action unit

  18. Distribution of moisture, tritium, and plutonium in the alluvium, aquifer, and underlying tuff in Mortandad Canyon

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Purtymun, W.D.; Maes, M.N.; Peters, R.

    1985-01-01

    A study of the distribution of moisture, tritium, and plutonium in the Mortandad Canyon aquifer indicates some infiltration of water into the underlying tuff. This infiltration was accompanied by similar movement of tritium. The concentrations of plutonium on the sediments in the aquifer were low when compared with the high concentrations in solution in an ionic complex that does not readily exchange or is adsorbed by clay minerals in the alluvium. 2 references, 4 figures, 2 tables

  19. Creep in Topopah Spring Member welded tuff. Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Martin, R.J. III; Boyd, P.J.; Noel, J.S. [New England Research, Inc., White River Junction, VT (United States); Price, R.H. [Sandia National Labs., Albuquerque, NM (United States)

    1995-06-01

    A laboratory investigation has been carried out to determine the effects of elevated temperature and stress on the creep deformation of welded tuffs recovered from Busted Butte in the vicinity of Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Water saturated specimens of tuff from thermal/mechanical unit TSw2 were tested in creep at a confining pressure of 5.0 MPa, a pore pressure of 4.5 MPa, and temperatures of 25 and 250 C. At each stress level the load was held constant for a minimum of 2.5 {times} 10{sup 5} seconds and for as long as 1.8 {times} 10{sup 6} seconds. One specimen was tested at a single stress of 80 MPa and a temperature of 250 C. The sample failed after a short time. Subsequent experiments were initiated with an initial differential stress of 50 or 60 MPa; the stress was then increased in 10 MPa increments until failure. The data showed that creep deformation occurred in the form of time-dependent axial and radial strains, particularly beyond 90% of the unconfined, quasi-static fracture strength. There was little dilatancy associated with the deformation of the welded tuff at stresses below 90% of the fracture strength. Insufficient data have been collected in this preliminary study to determine the relationship between temperature, stress, creep deformation to failure, and total failure time at a fixed creep stress.

  20. Creep in Topopah Spring Member welded tuff. Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Martin, R.J. III; Boyd, P.J.; Noel, J.S.; Price, R.H.

    1995-06-01

    A laboratory investigation has been carried out to determine the effects of elevated temperature and stress on the creep deformation of welded tuffs recovered from Busted Butte in the vicinity of Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Water saturated specimens of tuff from thermal/mechanical unit TSw2 were tested in creep at a confining pressure of 5.0 MPa, a pore pressure of 4.5 MPa, and temperatures of 25 and 250 C. At each stress level the load was held constant for a minimum of 2.5 x 10 5 seconds and for as long as 1.8 x 10 6 seconds. One specimen was tested at a single stress of 80 MPa and a temperature of 250 C. The sample failed after a short time. Subsequent experiments were initiated with an initial differential stress of 50 or 60 MPa; the stress was then increased in 10 MPa increments until failure. The data showed that creep deformation occurred in the form of time-dependent axial and radial strains, particularly beyond 90% of the unconfined, quasi-static fracture strength. There was little dilatancy associated with the deformation of the welded tuff at stresses below 90% of the fracture strength. Insufficient data have been collected in this preliminary study to determine the relationship between temperature, stress, creep deformation to failure, and total failure time at a fixed creep stress

  1. Gravity and magnetic investigations of the Ghost Dance and Solitario Canyon faults, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ponce, D.A.; Langenheim, V.E.

    1995-01-01

    Ground magnetic and gravity data collected along traverses across the Ghost Dance and Solitario Canyon faults on the eastern and western flanks, respectively, of Yucca Mountain in southwest Nevada are interpreted. These data were collected as part of an effort to evaluate faulting in the vicinity of a potential nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. Gravity and magnetic data and models along traverses across the Ghost Dance and Solitario Canyon faults show prominent anomalies associated with known faults and reveal a number of possible concealed faults beneath the eastern flank of Yucca Mountain. The central part of the eastern flank of Yucca Mountain is characterized by several small amplitude anomalies that probably reflect small scale faulting

  2. Geochemical homogeneity of tuffs at the potential repository level, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Peterman, Zell E.; Cloke, Paul

    2001-01-01

    In a potential high-level radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, radioactive waste and canisters, drip shields protecting the waste from seepage and from rock falls, the backfill and invert material of crushed rock, the host rock, and water and gases contained within pores and fractures in the host rock together would form a complex system commonly referred to as the near-field geochemical environment. Materials introduced into the rock mass with the waste that are designed to prolong containment collectively are referred to as the Engineered Barrier System, and the host rock and its contained water and gases compose the natural system. The interaction of these component parts under highly perturbed conditions including temperatures well above natural ambient temperatures will need to be understood to assess the performance of the potential repository for long-term containment of nuclear waste. The geochemistry and mineralogy of the rock mass hosting the emplacement drifts must be known in order to assess the role of the natural system in the near-field environment. Emplacement drifts in a potential repository at Yucca Mountain would be constructed in the phenocryst-poor member of the Topopah Spring Tuff which is composed of both lithophysal and nonlithophysal zones. The chemical composition of the phenocryst-poor member has been characterized by numerous chemical analyses of outcrop samples and of core samples obtained by surface-based drilling. Those analyses have shown that the phenocryst-poor member of the Topopah Spring Tuff is remarkably uniform in composition both vertically and laterally. To verify this geochemical uniformity and to provide rock analyses of samples obtained directly from the potential repository block, major and trace elements were analyzed in core samples obtained from drill holes in the cross drift, which was driven to provide direct access to the rock mass where emplacement drifts would be constructed

  3. Preliminary modeling of moisture movement in the tuff beneath Mortandad Canyon, Los Alamos National Laboratory

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Geddis, A.M.

    1992-01-01

    An area of upper/middle Mortandad Canyon on the Los Alamos National Laboratory is modeled in cross-section. UNSAT2, a finite element model (FEM) is used to predict moisture movement. Hydraulic characteristics of the tuff are described by van Genuchten parameters determined from laboratory tests on cores taken from a borehole within the cross-section. Material properties are distributed horizontal planar in space to cover the solution domain with required initial conditions. An estimate of seepage flux from a thin perched alluvial aquifer into the upper surface of the tuff is taken from a lumped parameter model. Moisture redistribution for a ponded boundary condition and a larger flux is investigated. A composite simulation using material properties from two separate coreholes is also evaluated

  4. Estimation of hydraulic conductivities of Yucca Mountain tuffs from sorptivity and water retention measurements

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Zimmerman, R.W.; Bodvarsson, G.S.

    1995-06-01

    The hydraulic conductivity functions of the matrix rocks at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, are among the most important data needed as input for the site-scale hydrological model of the unsaturated zone. The difficult and time-consuming nature of hydraulic conductivity measurements renders it infeasible to directly measure this property on large numbers of cores. Water retention and sorptivity measurements, however, can be made relatively rapidly. The sorptivity is, in principle, a unique functional of the conductivity and water retention functions. It therefore should be possible to invert sorptivity and water retention measurements in order to estimate the conductivity; the porosity is the only other parameter that is required for this inversion. In this report two methods of carrying out this inversion are presented, and are tested against a limited data set that has been collected by Flint et al. at the USGS on a set of Yucca Mountain tuffs. The absolute permeability is usually predicted by both methods to within an average error of about 0.5 - 1.0 orders of magnitude. The discrepancy appears to be due to the fact that the water retention curves have only been measured during drainage, whereas the imbibition water retention curve is the one that is relevant to sorptivity measurements. Although the inversion methods also yield predictions of the relative permeability function, there are yet no unsaturated hydraulic conductivity data against which to test these predictions

  5. Geologic evaluation of six nonwelded tuff sites in the vicinity of Yucca Mountain, Nevada for a surface-based test facility for the Yucca Mountain Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Broxton, D.E.; Chipera, S.J.; Byers, F.M. Jr.; Rautman, C.A.

    1993-10-01

    Outcrops of nonwelded tuff at six locations in the vicinity of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, were examined to determine their suitability for hosting a surface-based test facility for the Yucca Mountain Project. Investigators will use this facility to test equipment and procedures for the Exploratory Studies Facility and to conduct site characterization field experiments. The outcrops investigated contain rocks that include or are similar to the tuffaceous beds of Calico Hills, an important geologic and hydrologic barrier between the potential repository and the water table. The tuffaceous beds of Calico Hills at the site of the potential repository consist of both vitric and zeolitic tuffs, thus three of the outcrops examined are vitric tuffs and three are zeolitic tuffs. New data were collected to determine the lithology, chemistry, mineralogy, and modal petrography of the outcrops. Some preliminary data on hydrologic properties are also presented. Evaluation of suitability of the six sites is based on a comparison of their geologic characteristics to those found in the tuffaceous beds of Calico Hills within the exploration block

  6. Radionuclide sorption in Yucca Mountain tuffs with J-13 well water: Neptunium, uranium, and plutonium. Yucca Mountain site characterization program milestone 3338

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Triay, I.R.; Cotter, C.R.; Kraus, S.M.; Huddleston, M.H.

    1996-08-01

    We studied the retardation of actinides (neptunium, uranium, and plutonium) by sorption as a function of radionuclide concentration in water from Well J-13 and of tuffs from Yucca Mountain. Three major tuff types were examined: devitrified, vitric, and zeolitic. To identify the sorbing minerals in the tuffs, we conducted batch sorption experiments with pure mineral separates. These experiments were performed with water from Well J-13 (a sodium bicarbonate groundwater) under oxidizing conditions in the pH range from 7 to 8.5. The results indicate that all actinides studied sorb strongly to synthetic hematite and also that Np(V) and U(VI) do not sorb appreciably to devitrified or vitric tuffs, albite, or quartz. The sorption of neptunium onto clinoptilolite-rich tuffs and pure clinoptilolite can be fitted with a sorption distribution coefficient in the concentration range from 1 X 10 -7 to 3 X 10 -5 M. The sorption of uranium onto clinoptilolite-rich tuffs and pure clinoptilolite is not linear in the concentration range from 8 X 10 -8 to 1 X 10 -4 M, and it can be fitted with nonlinear isotherm models (such as the Langmuir or the Freundlich Isotherms). The sorption of neptunium and uranium onto clinoptilolite in J-13 well water increases with decreasing pH in the range from 7 to 8.5. The sorption of plutonium (initially in the Pu(V) oxidation state) onto tuffs and pure mineral separates in J-13 well water at pH 7 is significant. Plutonium sorption decreases as a function of tuff type in the order: zeolitic > vitric > devitrified; and as a function of mineralogy in the order: hematite > clinoptilolite > albite > quartz

  7. Paleotransport of lanthanides and strontium recorded in calcite compositions from tuffs at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, USA

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Vaniman, D.T.; Chipera, S.J.

    1996-01-01

    Secondary calcite occurs in both saturated and unsaturated hydrologic zones (SZ and UZ, respectively) in the tuffs at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, USA. In the upper UZ, the major constituents of the calcite crystal structure (C, O) have surface origins. At greater depth there is a open-quotes barren zone,close quotes straddling the water table, where calcite is rare and mixing of surface and subsurface sources may occur. Deep in the SZ, distinctive Mn calcites reflect deep sources, including Ca released as analcime or albite formed and carbonates derived from underlying Paleozoic rocks. In the UZ and in the barren zone, above the deep Mn calcites, variations in calcite lanthanide chemistry can be used to distinguish rhyolitic from quartz-latitic sources. Lanthanide ratios and Sr contents of calcites record the chemical evolution of waters flowing through the UZ and upper SZ. Variations in calcite chemistry in the UZ and in the barren zone show that (1) Sr, which is readily exchanged with clays or zeolites, is essentially removed from some flowpaths that are in contact with these minerals and (2) traces of Mn oxides found in the tuffs have a significant effect of groundwater chemistry in the UZ and in the barren zone by removing almost all Ce from solution (evidenced by characteristic Ce depletions in calcite throughout this zone). Extreme Ce removal may be a result of Ce oxidation (Ce 3+ → Ce 4+ ) at the surfaces of some Mn oxides, particularly rancieite. Higher Sr contents and lack of Ce depletions in the deeper Mn calcites reflect different ages, origins, and transport systems. The calcite record of lanthanide and Sr transport in the UZ shows that minor minerals (clays and zeolites) and even trace minerals (Mn oxides) will affect the compositions of groundwaters that flow over distances greater than a few tens of meters. 43 refs., 8 figs., 4 tabs

  8. LITHOSTRATIGRAPHY AND SHEAR-WAVE VELOCITY IN THE CRYSTALLIZED TOPOPAH SPRING TUFF, YUCCA MOUNTAIN, NEVADA

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    D. BUESCH; K.H. STOKOE; M. SCHUHEN

    2006-01-01

    Evaluation of the seismic response of the proposed spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is in part based on the seismic properties of the host rock, the 12.8-million-year-old Topopah Spring Tuff. Because of the processes that formed the tuff, the densely welded and crystallized part has three lithophysal and three nonlithophysal zones, and each zone has characteristic variations in lithostratigraphic features and structures of the rocks. Lithostratigraphic features include lithophysal cavities, rims on lithophysae and some fractures, spots (which are similar to rims but without an associated cavity or aperture), amounts of porosity resulting from welding, crystallization, and vapor-phase corrosion and mineralization, and fractures. Seismic properties, including shear-wave velocity (V s ), have been measured on 38 pieces of core, and there is a good ''first order'' correlation with the lithostratigraphic zones; for example, samples from nonlithophysal zones have larger V s values compared to samples from lithophysal zones. Some samples have V s values that are beyond the typical range for the lithostratigraphic zone; however, these samples typically have one or more fractures, ''large'' lithophysal cavities, or ''missing pieces'' relative to the sample size. Shear-wave velocity data measured in the tunnels have similar relations to lithophysal and nonlithophysal rocks; however, tunnel-based values are typically smaller than those measured in core resulting from increased lithophysae and fracturing effects. Variations in seismic properties such as V s data from small-scale samples (typical and ''flawed'' core) to larger scale traverses in the tunnels provide a basis for merging our understanding of the distributions of lithostratigraphic features (and zones) with a method to scale seismic properties

  9. CONTACT ANGLE OF YUCCA MOUNTAIN WELDED TUFF WITH WATER AND BRINES

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    H. Kalia

    2006-01-01

    A number of tests were performed to acquire contact angles between Yucca Mountain welded tuff from Topopah Springs Lower Lithophysal geologic unit and various brine solutions. The tests were performed on core disks received from Sample Management Facility (SMF), oven dried to a constant weight and the core disks vacuum saturated in: distilled water, J-13 water, calcium chloride brine and sodium chloride brine to constant weight. The contact angles were acquired from eight points on the surface of the core disks, four on rough surface, and four on polished surface. The contact angle was measured by placing a droplet of the test fluid, distilled water, J-13 water, calcium chloride brine and sodium chloride brine on the core disks. The objective of this test was to acquire contact angles as a potential input to estimating capillary forces in accumulated dust on the waste packages and drip shields slated for the proposed High-Level Radioactive Waste Repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. It was noted that once the droplet contacts the test surface, it continues to spread hence the contact angle continues to decrease with elapsed time. The maximum observed angle was at time 0 or when the drop contacted the rock surface. The measured contact angle, in all cases has significant scatter. In general, the time zero contact angles for core disks saturated in sodium chloride brine were smaller than those saturated in calcium chloride brine, distilled water, and J-13 water. The contact angles for samples saturated in distilled water, J-13 water and calcium chloride brine at time zero were similar. There was slight difference between the observed contact angles for smooth and rough surface of the test samples. The contact angles for smooth surfaces were smaller than for the rough surfaces

  10. Pressurized Slot Testing to Determine Thermo-Mechanical Properties of Lithophysal Tuff at Yucca Mountain Nevada.

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    George, James T.; Sobolik, Steven R.; Lee, Moo Y.; Park, Byoung; Costin, Laurence

    2018-05-01

    The study described in this report involves heated and unheated pressurized slot testing to determine thermo-mechanical properties of the Tptpll (Tertiary, Paintbrush, Topopah Spring Tuff Formation, crystal poor, lower lithophysal) and Tptpul (upper lithophysal) lithostratigraphic units at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. A large volume fraction of the proposed repository at Yucca Mountain may reside in the Tptpll lithostratigraphic unit. This unit is characterized by voids, or lithophysae, which range in size from centimeters to meters, making a field program an effective method of measuring bulk thermal-mechanical rock properties (thermal expansion, rock mass modulus, compressive strength, time-dependent deformation) over a range of temperature and rock conditions. The field tests outlined in this report provide data for the determination of thermo-mechanical properties of this unit. Rock-mass response data collected during this field test will reduce the uncertainty in key thermal-mechanical modeling parameters (rock-mass modulus, strength and thermal expansion) for the Tptpll lithostratigraphic unit, and provide a basis for understanding thermal-mechanical behavior of this unit. The measurements will be used to evaluate numerical models of the thermal-mechanical response of the repository. These numerical models are then used to predict pre- and post-closure repository response. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The authors would like to thank David Bronowski, Ronnie Taylor, Ray E. Finley, Cliff Howard, Michael Schuhen (all SNL) and Fred Homuth (LANL) for their work in the planning and implementation of the tests described in this report. This is a reprint of SAND2004-2703, which was originally printed in July 2004. At that time, it was printed for a restricted audience. It has now been approved for unlimited release.

  11. Decreasing Slip Rates From 12.8 Ma to Present on the Solitario Canyon Fault at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    D. Buesch

    2006-01-01

    The Solitario Canyon fault, which bounds the west side of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is the closest fault with Quaternary offset adjacent to the proposed spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste repository. Dip-slip offset between 12.8 and 10.7 Ma is determined from lithostratigraphic displacement in boreholes USW H-3 and USW WT-7, drilled in the footwall and hanging wall, respectively. The base of the 12.8-Ma Topopah Spring Tuff is interpreted to have 463.3 m of separation across the fault, an average dip slip rate of 0.036 mm/yr. Previous researchers identified a geothermal system active from 11.5 to 10.0 Ma with peak activity at 10.7 Ma that resulted in pervasive alteration of vitric rock to zeolitic minerals where the rocks were in the ground-water saturated zone. The contact between vitric (V) and pervasively zeolitic (Z) rocks cuts across the lithostratigraphic section and offset of this V-Z boundary can be used to measure slip rates between 12.8 and 10.7 Ma. In H-3, the V-Z boundary is 138.4 m below the base of the vitric, densely welded subzone of the Topopah Spring Tuff (Tptpv3). In WT-7, although the V-Z boundary is identified at the base of the Tptpv3, borehole video, cuttings, and geophysical log data indicate the Tptpv3 has well-developed zeolitic alteration along fractures, and this implies 19.5 m of the total thickness of Tptpv3 (and probably additional overlying crystallized rocks) also were in the saturated zone by 10.7 Ma. The V-Z relations across the Solitario Canyon fault in H-3 and WT-7 indicate a minimum of 157.9 m of separation before 10.7 Ma, which is 34.1 percent of the total slip of the Topopah Spring Tuff, and a minimum dip slip rate of 0.075 mm/yr from 12.8 to 10.7 Ma. These data are consistent with the broader structural history of the area near Yucca Mountain. Previous workers used angular unconformities, tilting of structural blocks, and paleomagnetic data to constrain the main period of extensional faulting between 12.7 and 8

  12. Preliminary safety assessment study for the conceptual design of a repository in tuff at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Jackson, J.L.; Gram, H.F.; Hong, K.J.; Ng, H.S.; Pendergrass, A.M.

    1984-12-01

    Preliminary estimates of the upper bounds on postulated worst-case radiological releases resulting from possible accidents during the operating period of a prospective repository in tuff at Yucca Mountain are presented. Possible disrupting events are screened to identify the accidents of greatest potential consequence. The radiological dose commitments for the general public and repository personnel are estimated for postulated releases caused by natural phenomena, man-made events, and operational accidents. All postulated worst-case releases result in doses to the public that are lower than the 0.5-rem, whole-body dose-per-accident limit set by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in 10 CFR 60. Doses to repository personnel are within the NRC's 5.0-rem/yr occupational exposure limit set in 10 CFR 20 for normal operations. Doses are within this limit for all accidents except the transportation accident and fire in a drift. A preliminary risk assessment has also been performed. Based on this preliminary safety study, the proposed site boundaries and design criteria routinely used in constructing nuclear facilities appear to be adequate to protect the safety of the general public during the operating phase of the repository

  13. Manganese-oxide minerals in fractures of the Crater Flat Tuff in drill core USW G-4, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Carlos, B.A.; Bish, D.L.; Chipera, S.J.

    1990-07-01

    The Crater Flat Tuff is almost entirely below the water table in drill hole USW G-4 at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Manganese-oxide minerals from the Crater Flat Tuff in USW G-4 were studied using optical, scanning electron microscopic, electron microprobe, and x-ray powder diffraction methods to determine their distribution, mineralogy, and chemistry. Manganese-oxide minerals coat fractures in all three members of the Crater Flat Tuff (Prow Pass, Bullfrog, and Tram), but they are most abundant in fractures in the densely welded devitrified intervals of these members. The coatings are mostly of the cryptomelane/hollandite mineral group, but the chemistry of these coatings varies considerably. Some of the chemical variations, particularly the presence of calcium, sodium, and strontium, can be explained by admixture with todorokite, seen in some x-ray powder diffraction patterns. Other chemical variations, particularly between Ba and Pb, demonstrate that considerable substitution of Pb for Ba occurs in hollandite. Manganese-oxide coatings are common in the 10-m interval that produced 75% of the water pumped from USW G-4 in a flow survey in 1983. Their presence in water-producing zones suggests that manganese oxides may exert a significant chemical effect on groundwater beneath Yucca Mountain. In particular, the ability of the manganese oxides found at Yucca Mountain to be easily reduced suggests that they may affect the redox conditions of the groundwater and may oxidize dissolved or suspended species. Although the Mn oxides at Yucca Mountain have low exchange capacities, these minerals may retard the migration of some radionuclides, particularly the actinides, through scavenging and coprecipitation. 23 refs., 21 figs., 2 tabs

  14. SNL Yucca Mountain Project data report: Density and porosity data for tuffs from the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Schwartz, B.M.

    1990-02-01

    Yucca Mountain, located on and adjacent to the Nevada Test Site in southern Nevada, is being evaluated as a potential site for underground disposal of nuclear wastes. At present, the physical, thermal, and mechanical properties of tuffaceous rocks from Yucca Mountain are being determined as part of the Yucca Mountain Project. This report documents experiment data, which have been obtained by Sandia National Laboratories or its contractors, for the density and porosity of tuffaceous rocks that lie above the water table at Yucca Mountain. 7 refs., 2 figs., 3 tabs

  15. Geohydrology of volcanic tuff penetrated by test well UE-25b#1, Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lahoud, R.G.; Lobmeyer, D.H.; Whitfield, M.S.

    1984-01-01

    Test well UE-25bNo1, located on the east side of Yucca Mountain in the southwestern part of the Nevada Test Site, was drilled to a total depth of 1,220 meters and hydraulically tested as part of a program to evaluate the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a nuclear-waste repository. The well penetrated almost 46 meters of alluvium and 1,174 meters of Tertiary volcanic tuffs. The composite hydraulic head for aquifers penetrated by the well was 728.9 meters above sea level (471.4 meters below land surface) with a slight decrease in loss of hydraulic head with depth. Average hydraulic conductivities for stratigraphic units determined from pumping tests, borehole-flow surveys, and packer-injection tests ranged from less than 0.001 meter per day for the Tram Member of the Crater Flat Tuff to 1.1 meters per day for the Bullfrog Member of the Crater Flat Tuff. The small values represented matrix permeability of unfractured rock; the large values probably resulted from fracture permeability. Chemical analyses indicated that the water is a soft sodium bicarbonate type, slightly alkaline, with large concentrations of dissolved silica and sulfate. Uncorrected carbon-14 age dates of the water were 14,100 and 13,400 years. (USGS)

  16. Measurements of matric and water potentials in unsaturated tuff at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Thamir, F.; McBride, C.M.

    1985-01-01

    Two types of instruments were installed in a borehole in order to monitor matric and water potentials of various hydrogeologic units consisting of tuff. The borehole was drilled as part of a study to provide information to the US Department of Energy for their use in evaluating Yucca Mountain, Nevada, for a repository for high-level radioactive waste. Heat-dissipation probes were used to monitor matric potentials and thermocouple psychrometers were used to monitor water potentials. Two major concerns regarding the use of these instruments in deep boreholes are: (1) the effect of length of the lead wires, and (2) the inability to recalibrate the instruments after installation. The length of the lead wire contributes to the source resistance and lead capacitance, which affects the signal settling time. Both instruments tested proved to be insensitive to lead-wire length, except when connected to smaller input-impedance data loggers. Thermocouple wires were more sensitive than heat-dissipation probe wires because of their greater resistance and quality of voltmeters used. Two thermocouple psychrometers were installed at every instrument station for backup and verification of data, because the instruments could not be recalibrated in situ. Multiple scanning rather than single-point scanning of the evaporation curve of a thermocouple psychrometer could give more reliable data, especially in differentiating between very wet and very dry environments. An isolated power supply needs to be used for each heat dissipation probe rather than a single power supply for a group of probes to avoid losing data from all probes when one probe malfunctions. This type of system is particularly desirable if the site is unattended by an operator for as long as a month. 20 refs., 13 figs., 2 tabs

  17. A strategy to seal exploratory boreholes in unsaturated tuff; Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Fernandez, J.A. [Sandia National Labs., Albuquerque, NM (United States); Case, J.B.; Givens, C.A.; Carney, B.C. [IT Corp., Albuquerque, NM (United States)

    1994-04-01

    This report presents a strategy for sealing exploratory boreholes associated with the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project. Over 500 existing and proposed boreholes have been considered in the development of this strategy, ranging from shallow (penetrating into alluvium only) to deep (penetrating into the groundwater table). Among the comprehensive list of recommendations are the following: Those boreholes within the potential repository boundary and penetrating through the potential repository horizon are the most significant boreholes from a performance standpoint and should be sealed. Shallow boreholes are comparatively insignificant and require only nominal sealing. The primary areas in which to place seals are away from high-temperature zones at a distance from the potential repository horizon in the Paintbrush nonwelded tuff and the upper portion of the Topopah Spring Member and in the tuffaceous beds of the Calico Hills Unit. Seals should be placed prior to waste emplacement. Performance goals for borehole seals both above and below the potential repository are proposed. Detailed construction information on the boreholes that could be used for future design specifications is provided along with a description of the environmental setting, i.e., the geology, hydrology, and the in situ and thermal stress states. A borehole classification scheme based on the condition of the borehole wall in different tuffaceous units is also proposed. In addition, calculations are presented to assess the significance of the boreholes acting as preferential pathways for the release of radionuclides. Design calculations are presented to answer the concerns of when, where, and how to seal. As part of the strategy development, available technologies to seal exploratory boreholes (including casing removal, borehole wall reconditioning, and seal emplacement) are reviewed.

  18. Measurement of unsaturated hydraulic conductivity and chemical transport in Yucca Mountain Tuff: Milestone Report 3044-WBS1.2.3.4.1.4.1

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Conca, J.L.

    1993-12-01

    Hydraulic conductivities, K, were experimentally determined as a function of volumetric water content, θ, in tuff from the Yucca Mountain site. In addition, the retardation factor, R f , in Yucca Mountain tuff with respect to selenium, as the selenite species, was measured under unsaturated conditions. These data were used to determine the feasibility of applying a new unsaturated flow technology (UFA) to further hydrologic studies at Yucca Mountain. The UFA directly measures K(θ) rapidly in Yucca Mountain tuff and is shown to agree well with traditional methods. Hysteresis does not appear important during this testing. Hydraulic steady-state is achieved fastest during desaturation from a saturated state. Imbibition into dry tuff requires a long time for steady-state to occur because of slow filling of the diffusion porosity which can take a few weeks. The existing UFA is a prototype, and a new design of the next generation UFA is completed that eliminates some of the earlier problems. These preliminary investigations demonstrates that the UFA is a useful investigate technique that should be used to compliment existing techniques for hydrogeochemical characterization at Yucca Mountain and other arid sites

  19. Petrochemical variation of Topopah Spring tuff matrix with depth (stratigraphic level), drill hole USW G-4, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Byers, F.M. Jr.

    1985-12-01

    This study describes and interprets petrochemical variation of the matrix (excluding fractures and large gas cavities) of the Topopah Spring Member of the Paintbrush Tuff. This tuff includes the candidate host rock for a high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain on the Nevada Test Site. Cored hole USW G-4, near the site of a potential exploratory shaft at Yucca Mountain, penetrated 359.4 m (1179 ft) of the member within the unsaturated zone. This study shows that petrographic textures and chemistry of the matrix vary systematically within recognizable lithologic subunits related to crystallization (cooling) zones, welding (compaction) zones, and compositional zones (rhyolite versus quartz latite). The methods used for this study include petrographic modal thin section analysis using an automated counter and electron microprobe analysis of the groundmass. Distinctive textural categories are defined, and they can be ranked from finest to coarsest as vitrophyre (glass), cryptocrystalline groundmass, spherulites, granophyre, lithic fragments, and phenocrysts. The two main groundmass compositions are also defined: rhyolite high silica) and quartz latite. The value of these petrochemical studies lies in providing microscopic criteria for recognizing the zonal subunits where they may have greatly limited exposure, as in mined drifts and in core from horizontal drill holes. For example, the lower nonlithophysal zone can be distinguished microscopically from the middle nonlithophysal zone by (1) degree of compaction, (2) amount of quartz, and (3) amount of lithic fragments. The variability between these textural categories should also be considered in designing physical and chemical tests of the Topopah Spring

  20. Petrochemical variation of Topopah Spring tuff matrix with depth (stratigraphic level), drill hole USW G-4, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Byers, F.M. Jr.

    1985-12-01

    This study describes and interprets petrochemical variation of the matrix (excluding fractures and large gas cavities) of the Topopah Spring Member of the Paintbrush Tuff. This tuff includes the candidate host rock for a high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain on the Nevada Test Site. Cored hole USW G-4, near the site of a potential exploratory shaft at Yucca Mountain, penetrated 359.4 m (1179 ft) of the member within the unsaturated zone. This study shows that petrographic textures and chemistry of the matrix vary systematically within recognizable lithologic subunits related to crystallization (cooling) zones, welding (compaction) zones, and compositional zones (rhyolite versus quartz latite). The methods used for this study include petrographic modal thin section analysis using an automated counter and electron microprobe analysis of the groundmass. Distinctive textural categories are defined, and they can be ranked from finest to coarsest as vitrophyre (glass), cryptocrystalline groundmass, spherulites, granophyre, lithic fragments, and phenocrysts. The two main groundmass compositions are also defined: rhyolite high silica) and quartz latite. The value of these petrochemical studies lies in providing microscopic criteria for recognizing the zonal subunits where they may have greatly limited exposure, as in mined drifts and in core from horizontal drill holes. For example, the lower nonlithophysal zone can be distinguished microscopically from the middle nonlithophysal zone by (1) degree of compaction, (2) amount of quartz, and (3) amount of lithic fragments. The variability between these textural categories should also be considered in designing physical and chemical tests of the Topopah Spring.

  1. Geochemistry of outcrop samples from the Raven Canyon and Paintbrush Canyon reference sections, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Peterman, Z.E.; Spengler, R.W.; Singer, F.R.; Dickerson, R.P.

    1996-01-01

    The Yucca Mountain area in southern Nevada is being evaluated for its suitability as a potential site for the construction of an underground, high-level nuclear waste repository. With support from the Department of Energy, the US Geological Survey is conducting detailed petrographic, geochemical, and isotopic analyses of samples collected from drill cores and from outcrops. The geochemical and isotopic compositions of the volcanic rocks of Yucca Mountain derive from those of their parental magmas, from changes resulting from the eruptive processes and from post-depositional alteration. In this study, geochemical and isotopic data were acquired on samples from reference sections selected in areas where the effects of the post-depositional alteration has been minimal. These data will be used as baseline information for delineating and correlating zonal features in the volcanic rock alteration that may occur in the thermal aureole of the potential repository after it has been loaded with nuclear waste

  2. Evaluation of past and future alterations in tuff at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, based on the clay mineralogy of drill cores USW G-1, G-2, and G-3

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bish, D.L.

    1989-03-01

    The tuffs at Yucca Mountain in south-central Nevada are being studied by the Yucca Mountain Project (YMP) to determine their suitability for a high-level radioactive waste repository. For predictive purposes, it is important to understand the alteration history of Yucca Mountain and to know how the minerals in Yucca Mountain tuffs respond to changing conditions such as elevated temperatures. The clay mineralogy of these tuffs has been examined using x-ray powder diffraction, and approximation temperatures of alteration have been determined using available clay mineral data and fluid inclusion analyses. Also, several illites from drill holes USW G-1 and G-2 have been dated using K/Ar techniques, yielding ages of about 11 Myr. The clay mineral in Yucca Mountain tuffs are predominantly interstratified illite/smectites, with minor amounts of chloride, kaolinite, and interstratified chlorite/smectite at depth in USW G-1 and G-2. The reactions observed for these illite/smectites are similar to those observed in pelitic rocks. With depths, the illite/smectites transform from random interstratifications (R = 0) through ordered intermediates (R = 1) to illite in USW G-2 and to Kalkberg (R ≥ 3) interstratifications in USW G-1. The illite/smectites in USW G-3 have not significantly transformed. It appears that the illites in deeper rock results from hydrothermal and diagenetic reactions of earlier-formed smectites. These data demonstrate that the rocks at depth in the northern end of Yucca Mountain were significantly altered about 11 Myr ago. Both clay mineralogy and fluid inclusions suggest that the rocks at depth in USW G-2 have been subjected to postdepositional temperatures of at least 275/degree/C, those in USW G-1 have reached 200/degree/C, and USW G-3 rocks probably have not exceeded 100/degree/C. 64 refs., 9 figs., 3 tabs

  3. Performance prediction of mechanical excavators from linear cutter tests on Yucca Mountain welded tuffs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gertsch, R.; Ozdemir, L.

    1992-09-01

    The performances of mechanical excavators are predicted for excavations in welded tuff. Emphasis is given to tunnel boring machine evaluations based on linear cutting machine test data obtained on samples of Topopah Spring welded tuff. The tests involve measurement of forces as cutters are applied to the rock surface at certain spacing and penetrations. Two disc and two point-attack cutters representing currently available technology are thus evaluated. The performance predictions based on these direct experimental measurements are believed to be more accurate than any previous values for mechanical excavation of welded tuff. The calculations of performance are predicated on minimizing the amount of energy required to excavate the welded tuff. Specific energy decreases with increasing spacing and penetration, and reaches its lowest at the widest spacing and deepest penetration used in this test program. Using the force, spacing, and penetration data from this experimental program, the thrust, torque, power, and rate of penetration are calculated for several types of mechanical excavators. The results of this study show that the candidate excavators will require higher torque and power than heretofore estimated

  4. Strontium isotope evolution of pore water and calcite in the Topopah Spring Tuff, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Marshall, Brian D.; Futa, Kiyoto

    2001-01-01

    Pore water in the Topopah Spring Tuff has a narrow range of (delta) 87 Sr values that can be calculated from the (delta) 87 Sr values of the rock considering advection through and reaction with the overlying nonwelded tuffs of the PTn. This model can be extended to estimate the variation of (delta) 87 Sr in the pore water through time; this approximates the variation of (delta) 87 Sr measured in calcite fracture coatings. In samples of calcite where no silica can be dated by other methods, strontium isotope data may be the only method to determine ages. In addition, other Sr-bearing minerals in the calcite and opal coatings, such as fluorite, may be dated using the same model

  5. Method development and strategy for the characterization of complexly faulted and fractured rhyolitic tuffs, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Karasaki, K. [Lawrence Berkeley Lab., CA (United States); Galloway, D. [Geological Survey, Sacramento, CA (United States)

    1991-06-01

    The planned high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, would exist in unsaturated, fractured welded tuff. One possible contaminant pathway to the accessible environment is transport by groundwater infiltrating to the water table and flowing through the saturated zone. Therefore, an effort to characterize the hydrology of the saturated zone is being undertaken in parallel with that of the unsaturated zone. As a part of the saturated zone investigation, there wells-UE-25c{number_sign}1, UE-25c{number_sign}2, and UE-25c{number_sign}3 (hereafter called the c-holes)-were drilled to study hydraulic and transport properties of rock formations underlying the planned waste repository. The location of the c-holes is such that the formations penetrated in the unsaturated zone occur at similar depths and with similar thicknesses as at the planned repository site. In characterizing a highly heterogeneous flow system, several issues emerge. (1) The characterization strategy should allow for the virtual impossibility to enumerate and characterize all heterogeneities. (2) The methodology to characterize the heterogeneous flow system at the scale of the well tests needs to be established. (3) Tools need to be developed for scaling up the information obtained at the well-test scale to the larger scale of the site. In the present paper, the characterization strategy and the methods under development are discussed with the focus on the design and analysis of the field experiments at the c-holes.

  6. Occurrence of fracture-lining manganese minerals in silicic tuffs, Yucca Mountain, Nevada, USA

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Carlos, B.A.

    1986-01-01

    Yucca Mountain, in southern Nevada, is being studied by the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations (NNWSI) Project as a potential site for an underground high-level nuclear waste repository. The site is within Miocene volcanic rocks that are 1.5 to 4 km thick and range in age from 12.5 to 14 MY. Several holes have been drilled in Yucca Mountain for geologic and hydrologic studies. Drill hole USW G-4, the most recently cored hole within the potential repository block, was chosen for detailed study of fracture-filling minerals because it is closest to the planned NNWSI exploratory shaft. Drill hole USW G-4 was drilled to 914.7 m (3001 ft) and continuously cored from 6.7 m (22 ft) to total depth (TD). The drilling history, lithology of the core, and geophysical logs of the well were published earlier. Because manganese oxides in fractures may act as a natural barrier to radionuclide migration, it is important to determine exactly which manganese minerals are present, in what intervals they occur, and how extensive these fracture coatings are

  7. Geology, physical properties, and surface effects at Discus Thrower Site, Yucca Flat, Nevada Test Site

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Carr, W.J.; Miller, C.H.; Dodge, H.W. Jr.

    1975-01-01

    Geologic studies in connection with Project Discus Thrower have furnished detailed stratigraphic and structural information about northwestern Yucca Flat, Nevada Test Site. The Paleozoic rocks consist of a lower carbonate sequence, argillite of the Eleana Formation, and an upper carbonate sequence. The distribution of these rocks suggests that both top and bottom of the Eleana are structural contacts, probably thrusts or reverse faults. The overlying tuff includes several units recognized in the subsurface, such as the Fraction Tuff and tuff of Redrock Valley. Other units recognized include bedded tuff associated with the Grouse Canyon Member of Belted Range Tuff, and the Rainier Mesa and Ammonia Tanks Members of the Timber Mountain Tuff. The Timber Mountain and Grouse Canyon are extensively altered to montmorillonite (a swelling clay), possibly as a result of ponding of alkaline water. The overlying alluvium locally contains at the base a clayey, tuffaceous sandstone

  8. Alteration history studies in the Exploratory Studies Facility, Yucca Mountain, Nevada, USA

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Levy, S.S.; Chipera, S.J.; Norman, D.I.

    1996-01-01

    By mid-1995, the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF) extended about 1. 1 km from Exile Hill westward toward Yucca Mountain, mostly within densely welded, devitrfied Tiva Canyon Tuff. Secondary mineral occurrences in this unit include breccia cements of mordenite, a fibrous zeolite, and vapor-phase deposits of silica, alkali feldspar, apatite, hollandite, amphibole, and zircon. Calcite is also a common secondary mineral in faults and fractures. Studies of water and gas contents in fluid inclusions in calcites from a fault in nonwelded tuff and a fracture in densely welded tuff suggest mineral deposition under transient locally saturated conditions. Calcite in the nonwelded tuff incorporated air from the unsaturated tuff adjacent to the fault. A highly altered interval within pre-Pah Canyon tuffs just above the top of the Topopah Spring Tuff may be a fossil fumarole or other hydrothermal feature associated with cooling pyroclastic deposits, overprinted by later zeolitic alteration. The observed quartz, cristobalite, opal-CT, and fluorite have been widely identified as products of syngenetic devitrification and vapor-phase alteration in and above the Topopah Spring Tuff. Smectite, also an abundant secondary mineral at the ESF site, has been observed elsewhere at this stratigraphic level. Zeolitic alteration of nonwelded tuffs above the Topopah Spring Tuff, as seen in the ESF, has also been noted in drill core and outcrop at northeastern Yucca Mountain. The hydrologic and geochemical conditions that favored zeolitization only in certain areas of this stratigraphic interval have yet to be determined

  9. Linear thermal expansion data for tuffs from the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Schwartz, B.M.; Chocas, C.S.

    1992-07-01

    Experiment results are presented for linear thermal expansion measurements on tuffaceous rocks from the unsaturated < one at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Data were obtained both with and without confining pressure. The accuracy of the unconfined data collected between 50 and 250 degrees C is better than 1.8 percent, with the precision better than 4.5;percent. The accuracy of the unconfined data collected between ambient temperature and 50 degrees C and is approximately 11 percent deviation from the true value, with a precision of 12 percent of the mean value. Because of experiment design and the lack of information related calibrations, the accuracy and precision of the confined thermal expansion measurements could not be determined

  10. Isotopic and trace element variability in altered and unaltered tuffs at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peterman, Z.E.; Spengler, R.W.; Singer, F.R.; Dickerson, R.P.

    1993-01-01

    Reference stratigraphic sections near Yucca Mountain, Nevada were established and sampled in outcrop areas where the volcanic rocks have been minimally altered. Isotopic and trace element analyses obtained for these reference sections are baseline data for assessing the degree and extent of element mobility attendant with past zonal alteration of the rock mass. In agreement with earlier studies, zeolitization is shown to have occurred under wholesale open-system conditions. Calcium was increased by two three times the baseline values and strontium up to twenty times. In contrast, barium displays less variability, and the high-field strength elements zirconium and titanium were the least mobile during zeolitization. The data reported here establish the usefulness of reference sections of assessing past elements mobility. The information gained will be helpful in predicting possible future element mobility induced by thermally activated fluids in the near field of a potential repository.

  11. Fluid inclusion studies of calcite veins from Yucca Mountain, Nevada, Tuffs: Environment of formation

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Roedder, E.; Whelan, J.F.; Vaniman, D.T.

    1994-01-01

    Calcite vein and vug fillings at fourth depths (130-314m), all above the present water table in USW G-1 bore hole at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, contain primary fluid inclusions with variable vapor/liquid ratios: most of these inclusions are either full of liquid or full of vapor. The liquid-filled inclusions show that most of the host calcite crystallized from fluids at 2 vapor phase at open-quotes 100 degrees Cclose quotes. Our new studies reveal the additional presence of major methane in the vapor-filled inclusion, indicating even lower temperatures of trapping, perhaps at near-surface temperatures. They also show that the host calcite crystals grew from a flowing film of water on the walls of fractures open to the atmosphere, the vapor-filled inclusions representing bubbles that exsolved from this film onto the crystal surface

  12. Fluid inclusion studies of calcite veins from Yucca Mountain, Nevada, Tuffs: Environment of formation

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Roedder, E.; Whelan, J.F.; Vaniman, D.T.

    1994-01-01

    Calcite vein and vug fillings at four depths (130-314m), all above the present water table in USW G-1 bore hole at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, contain primary fluid inclusions with variable vapor/liquid raitos: Most of these inclusions are either full of liquid or full of vapor. The liquid-filled inclusions show that most of the host calcite crystallized from fluids at 2 vapor phase at ''<100 degrees C''. Our new studies reveal the additional presence of major methane in the vapor-filled inclusion, indicating even lower temperatures of trapping, perhaps at near-surface temperatures. They also show that the host calcite crystals grew from a flowing film of water on the walls of fractures open to the atmosphere, the vapor-filled inclusions representing bubbles that exsolved from this film onto the crystal surface

  13. Bulk and mechanical properties of the Paintbrush tuff recovered from borehole USW NRG-7/7A: Data report. Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Martin, R.J.; Boyd, P.J.; Noel, J.S.; Price, R.H.

    1995-05-01

    An integral part of the licensing procedure for the potential nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, involves prediction of the in situ rheology for the design and construction of the facility and the emplacement of canisters containing radioactive waste. The data used to model the thermal and mechanical behavior of the repository and surrounding lithologies include dry and saturated bulk densities, average grain density, porosity, compressional and shear wave velocities, elastic moduli, and compressional and tensional fracture strengths. In this study, a suite of experiments was performed on cores recovered from the USW NRG-717A borehole drilled in support of the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF) at Yucca Mountain. USW NRG-7/7A was drilled to a depth of 1,513.4 feet through five thermal/mechanical units of Paintbrush tuff and terminating in the tuffaceous beds of the Calico IEUS. The thermal/mechanical stratigraphy was defined by Orfiz et al. to group rock horizons of similar properties for the purpose of simplifying modeling efforts. The relationship between the geologic stratigraphy and the thermal/mechanical stratigraphy is presented. The tuff samples in this study have a wide range of welding characteristics, and a smaller range of mineralogy and petrology characteristics. Generally, the samples are silicic, ash-fall tuffs that exhibit large variability in their elastic and strength properties

  14. Fluid inclusion studies of calcite veins from Yucca Mountain, Nevada, Tuffs: Environment of formation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Roedder, E. [Harvard Univ., Cambridge, MA (United States); Whelan, J.F. [Geological Survey, Denver, CO (United States); Vaniman, D.T. [Los Alamos National Lab., NM (United States)

    1994-12-31

    Calcite vein and vug fillings at four depths (130-314m), all above the present water table in USW G-1 bore hole at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, contain primary fluid inclusions with variable vapor/liquid raitos: Most of these inclusions are either full of liquid or full of vapor. The liquid-filled inclusions show that most of the host calcite crystallized from fluids at <100{degrees}C. The vapor-filled inclusions provide evidence that a separate vapor phase was present in the fluid during crystallization. Studies of these vapor-filled inclusions on the microscope crushing stage were interpreted in an earlier paper as indicating trapping of an air-water-CO{sub 2} vapor phase at ``<100{degrees}C``. Our new studies reveal the additional presence of major methane in the vapor-filled inclusion, indicating even lower temperatures of trapping, perhaps at near-surface temperatures. They also show that the host calcite crystals grew from a flowing film of water on the walls of fractures open to the atmosphere, the vapor-filled inclusions representing bubbles that exsolved from this film onto the crystal surface.

  15. The Occurrence of Erionite at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    NA

    2004-01-01

    The naturally-occurring zeolite mineral erionite has a fibrous morphology and is a known human carcinogen (inhalation hazard). Erionite has been found typically in very small quantities and restricted occurrences in the course of mineralogic characterization of Yucca Mountain as a host for a high-level nuclear waste repository. The first identification of erionite was made in 1984 on the basis of morphology and chemical composition and later confirmed by X-ray diffraction analysis. It was found in the lower vitrophyre (Tptpv3) of the Topopah Spring Tuff in a borehole sidewall sample. Most erionite occurrences identified at Yucca Mountain are in the Topopah Spring Tuff, within an irregular zone of transition between the lower boundary of devitrified tuff and underlying glassy tuff. This zone is fractured and contains intermingled devitrified and vitric tuff. In 1997, a second host of erionite mineralization was identified in the Exploratory Studies Facility within and adjacent to a high-angle fracture/breccia zone transgressing the boundary between the lowermost devitrified tuff (Tpcplnc) and underlying moderately welded vitric tuff (Tpcpv2) of the Tiva Canyon Tuff. The devitrified-vitric transition zones where erionite is found tend to have complex secondary-mineral assemblages, some of very localized occurrence. Secondary minerals in addition to erionite may include smectite, heulandite-clinoptilolite, chabazite, opal-A, opal-CT, cristobalite, quartz, kenyaite, and moganite. Incipient devitrification within the Topopah Spring Tuff transition zone includes patches that are highly enriched in potassium feldspar relative to the precursor volcanic glass. Geochemical conditions during glass alteration may have led to local evolution of potassium-rich fluids. Thermodynamic modeling of zeolite stability shows that erionite and chabazite stability fields occur only at aqueous K concentrations much higher than in present Yucca Mountain waters. The association of erionite

  16. Hydrologic mechanisms governing fluid flow in partially saturated, fractured, porous tuff at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wang, J.S.Y.; Narasimhan, T.N.

    1984-10-01

    In contrast to the saturated zone where fluid moves rapidly along fractures, the fractures (with apertures large relative to the size of matrix pores) will desaturate first during drainage process and the bulk of fluid flow would be through interconnected pores in the matrix. Within a partially drained fracture, the presence of a relatively continuous air phase will produce practically an infinite resistance to liquid flow in the direction parallel to the fracture. The residual liquid will be held by capillary force in regions around fracture contact areas where the apertures are small. Normal to the fracture surfaces, the drained portion of the fractures will reduce the effective area for liquid flow from one matrix block to another matrix block. A general statistical theory is constructed for flow along the fracture and for flow between the matrix blocks to the fractures under partially saturated conditions. Results are obtained from an aperture distribution model for fracture saturation, hydraulic conductivity, and effective matrix-fracture flow areas as functions of pressure. Drainage from a fractured tuff column is simulated. The parameters for the simulations are deduced from fracture surface characteristics, spacings and orientations based on core analyses, and from matrix characteristics curve based on laboratory measurements. From the cases simulated for the fractured, porous column with discrete vertical and horizontal fractures and porous matrix blocks explicitly taken into account, it is observed that the highly transient changes from fully saturated conditions to partially saturated conditions are extremely sensitive to the fracture properties. However, the quasi-steady changes of the fluid flow of a partially saturated, fractured, porous system could be approximately simulated without taking the fractures into account. 22 references, 16 figures

  17. Vacuum drilling of unsaturated tuffs at a potential radioactive-waste repository, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Whitfield, M.S.

    1985-01-01

    A vacuum reverse-air circulation drilling method was used to drill two 17-1/2-inch (44.5-centimeter) diameter test holes to depths of 1269 feet (387 meters) and 1887 feet (575 meters) at Yucca Mountain near the Nevada Test Site. The site is being considered by the US Department of Energy for construction of a high-level radioactive-waste repository. One of these two test holes (USW UZ-1) has been equipped with instrumentation to obtain a long-term record of pressure and moisture potential data; the other test hole (USW UZ-6) will be similarly instrumented in the near future. These investigations are being conducted as part of the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations Project of the US Department of Energy. The test holes were drilled using a 5-1/2-inch (14-centimeter) by 8-5/8-inch (22-centimeter) dual-string reverse-vacuum assembly. A vacuum, induced at the land surface, removed the drill cuttings through the inner string. Compressed air was injected into the dual-string annulus to cool the bit and to keep the bit and inner string clean. A tracer gas, sulfur hexafluoride (SF 6 ), was added to the compressed air for a later determination of atmospheric contamination that might have occurred during the drilling. After reaching the surface, the drill cuttings were routed to a dry separator for sample collection. Then return air and dust from the cuttings were routed to a wet separator where the dust was removed by a water spray, and the remaining air was exhausted through the vacuum unit (blower) to the atmosphere. 6 refs., 4 figs

  18. Nutrient limitation and microbially mediated chemistry: studies using tuff inoculum obtained from the Exploratory Studies Facility, Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Chen, C. I.; Chuu, Y. J.; Meike, A.; Ringelberg, D.; Sawvel, A.

    1998-01-01

    Flow-through bioreactors are used to investigate the relationship between the supply (and limitation) of major nutrients required by microorganisms (C, N, P, S) and effluent chemistry to obtain data that can be useful to develop models of microbially mediated aqueous chemistry. The bioreactors were inoculated with crushed tuff from Yucca Mountain. Six of the 14 bioreactor experiments currently in operation have shown growth, which occurred in as few as 5 days and as much as a few months after initiation of the experiment. All of the bioreactors exhibiting growth contained glucose as a carbon source, but other nutritional components varied. Chemical signatures of each bioreactor were compared to each other and selected results were compared to computer simulations of the equivalent abiotic chemical reactions. At 21 C, the richest medium formulation produced a microbial community that lowered the effluent pH from 6.4 to as low as 3.9. The same medium formulation at 50 C produced no significant change in pH but caused a significant increase in Cl after a period of 200 days. Variations in concentrations of other elements, some of which appear to be periodic (Ca, Mg, etc.) also occur. Bioreactors fed with low C, N, P, S media showed growth, but had stabilized at lower cell densities. The room temperature bioreactor in this group exhibited a phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) signature of sulfur- or iron-reducing bacteria, which produced a significant chemical signature in the effluent from that bioreactor. Growth had not been observed yet in the alkaline bioreactors, even in those containing glucose. The value of combining detailed chemical and community (e.g., ester-linked PLFA) analyses, long-duration experiments, and abiotic chemical models to distinguish chemical patterns is evident. Although all of the bioreactors contain the same initial microorganisms and mineral constituents, PLFA analysis demonstrates that both input chemistry and temperature determine the

  19. Lithostratigraphy of the Calico Hills Formation and Prow Pass Tuff (Crater Flat Group) at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Moyer, T.C.; Geslin, J.K.

    1995-01-01

    Lithostratigraphic relations within the Calico Hills Formation and Prow Pass Tuff (Crater Flat Group) were reconstructed from analysis of core samples and observation of outcrop exposures. The Calico Hills Formation is composed of five nonwelded pyroclastic units (each formed of one or more pyroclastic-flow deposits) that overlie an interval of bedded tuff and a basal volcaniclastic sandstone unit. The Prow Pass Tuff is divided into four pyroclastic units and an underlying interval of bedded tuff. The pyroclastic units of the Prow Pass Tuff are distinguished by the sizes and amounts of their pumice and lithic clasts and their degree of welding. Pyroclastic units of the Prow Pass Tuff are distinguished from those of the Calico Hills Formation by their phenocryst assemblage, chemical composition, and ubiquitous siltstone lithic clasts. Downhole resistivity tends to mirror the content of authigenic minerals, primarily zeolites, in both for-mations and may be useful for recognizing the vitric-zeolite boundary in the study area. Maps of zeolite distribution illustrate that the bedded tuff and basal sandstone units of the Calico Hills Formation are altered over a wider area than the pyroclastic units of both the Calico Hills Formation and the upper Prow Pass Tuff

  20. Lithostratigraphy of the Calico Hills Formation and Prow Pass Tuff (Crater Flat Group) at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Moyer, T.C.; Geslin, J.K. [Science Applications International Corp., Las Vegas, NV (United States)

    1995-07-01

    Lithostratigraphic relations within the Calico Hills Formation and Prow Pass Tuff (Crater Flat Group) were reconstructed from analysis of core samples and observation of outcrop exposures. The Calico Hills Formation is composed of five nonwelded pyroclastic units (each formed of one or more pyroclastic-flow deposits) that overlie an interval of bedded tuff and a basal volcaniclastic sandstone unit. The Prow Pass Tuff is divided into four pyroclastic units and an underlying interval of bedded tuff. The pyroclastic units of the Prow Pass Tuff are distinguished by the sizes and amounts of their pumice and lithic clasts and their degree of welding. Pyroclastic units of the Prow Pass Tuff are distinguished from those of the Calico Hills Formation by their phenocryst assemblage, chemical composition, and ubiquitous siltstone lithic clasts. Downhole resistivity tends to mirror the content of authigenic minerals, primarily zeolites, in both for-mations and may be useful for recognizing the vitric-zeolite boundary in the study area. Maps of zeolite distribution illustrate that the bedded tuff and basal sandstone units of the Calico Hills Formation are altered over a wider area than the pyroclastic units of both the Calico Hills Formation and the upper Prow Pass Tuff.

  1. Numerical simulation of air- and water-flow experiments in a block of variably saturated, fractured tuff from Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kwicklis, E.M.; Healy, R.W.; Thamir, F.; Hampson, D.

    1998-01-01

    Numerical models of water movement through variably saturated, fractured tuff have undergone little testing against experimental data collected from relatively well-controlled and characterized experiments. This report used the results of a multistage experiment on a block of variably saturated, fractured, welded tuff and associated core samples to investigate if those results could be explained using models and concepts currently used to simulate water movement in variably saturated, fractured tuff at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, the potential location of a high-level nuclear-waste repository. Aspects of the experiment were modeled with varying degrees of success. Imbibition experiments performed on cores of various lengths and diameters were adequately described by models using independently measured permeabilities and moisture-characteristic curves, provided that permeability reductions resulting from the presence of entrapped air were considered. Entrapped gas limited maximum water saturations during imbibition to approximately 0.70 to 0,80 of the fillable porosity values determined by vacuum saturation. A numerical simulator developed for application to fluid flow problems in fracture networks was used to analyze the results of air-injection tests conducted within the tuff block through 1.25-cm-diameter boreholes. These analyses produced estimates of transmissivity for selected fractures within the block. Transmissivities of other fractures were assigned on the basis of visual similarity to one of the tested fractures. The calibrated model explained 53% of the observed pressure variance at the monitoring boreholes (with the results for six outliers omitted) and 97% of the overall pressure variance (including monitoring and injection boreholes) in the subset of air-injection tests examined

  2. Laboratory investigation of constitutive property up-scaling in volcanic tuffs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tidwell, V.C.

    1996-08-01

    One of the critical issues facing the Yucca Mountain site characterization and performance assessment programs is the manner in which property up-scaling is addressed. Property up-scaling becomes an issue whenever heterogeneous media properties are measured at one scale but applied at another. A research program has been established to challenge current understanding of property up-scaling with the aim of developing and testing improved models that describe up-scaling behavior in a quantitative manner. Up-scaling of constitutive rock properties is investigated through physical experimentation involving the collection of suites of gas-permeability data measured over a range of discrete scales. To date, up-scaling studies have been performed on a series of tuff and sandstone (used as experimental controls) blocks. Samples include a welded, anisotropic tuff (Tiva Canyon Member of the Paintbrush Tuff, upper cliff microstratigraphic unit), and a moderately welded tuff (Tiva Canyon Member of the Paintbrush Tuff, Caprock microstratigraphic unit). A massive fluvial sandstone (Berea Sandstone) was also investigated as a means of evaluating the experimental program and to provide a point of comparison for the tuff data. Because unsaturated flow is of prime interest to the Yucca Mountain Program, scoping studies aimed at investigating the up-scaling of hydraulic properties under various saturated conditions were performed to compliment these studies of intrinsic permeability. These studies focused on matrix sorptivity, a constitutive property quantifying the capillarity of a porous medium. 113 refs

  3. Status of image analysis methods to delineate stratigraphic position in the Topopah Spring Member of the Paintbrush Tuff, Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Campbell, K.; Broxton, D.E.; Spaw, J.

    1989-10-01

    The Topopah Spring Member of the Paintbrush Tuff is an ash-flow cooling unit that is the candidate host rock for a potential high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The repository workings will be mostly confined to the member's rhyolitic portion, which is chemically homogenous but texturally variable. This report describes the status of work to develop a useful internal stratigraphy for the rhyolitic portion of the member; our approach is to use an image analysis technique to map textural variations within the member as a function of stratigraphic height. Fifteen petrographic thin sections of Topopah Spring rhyolitic tuff were studied in each of two drill holes (USW GU-3 and USW G-4). Digital color images were collected in transmitted light for two scenes 1 cm on a side for each thin section. Objects within a scene were classified by color, and measurements of area, elongation, and roughness were determined for each object. Summary statistics were compiled for all measurements for each color component within a scene, and each variable was statistically examined for correlations with stratigraphic position. Our initial studies using image analysis have not yet produced a useful method for determining stratigraphic position within the Topopah Spring Member. Simplifications made in this preliminary application of image analysis may be largely responsible for these negative results. The technique deserves further investigation, and more detailed analysis of existing data is recommended. 9 refs., 11 figs., 4 tabs

  4. Analysis of Conservative Tracer Tests in the Bullfrog, Tram, and Prow Pass Tuffs, 1996 to 1998, Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Umari, Amjad; Fahy, Michael F.; Earle, John D.; Tucci, Patrick

    2008-01-01

    To evaluate the potential for transport of radionuclides in ground water from the proposed high-level nuclear-waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, conservative (nonsorbing) tracer tests were conducted among three boreholes, known as the C-hole Complex, and values for transport (or flow) porosity, storage (or matrix) porosity, longitudinal dispersivity, and the extent of matrix diffusion were obtained. The C-holes are completed in a sequence of Miocene tuffaceous rock, consisting of nonwelded to densely welded ash-flow tuff with intervals of ash-fall tuff and volcaniclastic rocks, covered by Quaternary alluvium. The lower part of the tuffaceous-rock sequence includes the Prow Pass, Bullfrog, and Tram Tuffs of the Crater Flat Group. The rocks are pervaded by tectonic and cooling fractures. Paleozoic limestone and dolomite underlie the tuffaceous rocks. Four radially convergent and one partially recirculating conservative (nonsorbing) tracer tests were conducted at the C-hole Complex from 1996 to 1998 to establish values for flow porosity, storage porosity, longitudinal dispersivity, and extent of matrix diffusion in the Bullfrog and Tram Tuffs and the Prow Pass Tuff. Tracer tests included (1) injection of iodide into the combined Bullfrog-Tram interval; (2) injection of 2,6 difluorobenzoic acid into the Lower Bullfrog interval; (3) injection of 3-carbamoyl-2-pyridone into the Lower Bullfrog interval; and (4) injection of iodide and 2,4,5 trifluorobenzoic acid, followed by 2,3,4,5 tetrafluorobenzoic acid, into the Prow Pass Tuff. All tracer tests were analyzed by the Moench single- and dual-porosity analytical solutions to the advection-dispersion equation or by superposition of these solutions. Nonlinear regression techniques were used to corroborate tracer solution results, to obtain optimal parameter values from the solutions, and to quantify parameter uncertainty resulting from analyzing two of the three radially convergent conservative tracer tests

  5. Sorption-desorption studies on tuff III. A continuation of studies with samples from Jackass Flats and Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wolfsberg, K.; Aguilar, R.D.; Bayhurst, B.P.

    1981-05-01

    This report is the third in a series of reports describing studies of sorption and migration of radionuclides in tuff. The investigations were extended to lithologies of tuff not previously studied. Continuing experiments with uranium, plutonium, and americium are described. The dependence of sorption on the concentration of the sorbing element and on the solution-to-solid ratio was investigated for a number of nuclides and two lithologies. A circulating system was designed for measuring sorption ratios. Values obtained from this system, batch measurements, and column elutions are compared. Progress on measuring and controlling Eh is described

  6. Stratigraphy, structure, and some petrographic features of Tertiary volcanic rocks at the USW G-2 drill hole, Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Maldonado, F.; Koether, S.L.

    1983-01-01

    A continuously cored drill hole penetrated 1830.6 m of Tertiary volcanic strata comprised of the following in descending order: Paintbrush Tuff, tuffaceous beds of Calico Hills, Crater Flat Tuff, lava and flow breccia (rhyodacitic), tuff of Lithic Ridge, bedded and ash-flow tuff, lava and flow breccia bedded tuff, conglomerate and ash-flow tuff, and older tuffs of USW G-2. Comparison of unit thicknesses at USW G-2 to unit thicknesses at previously drilled holes at Yucca Mountain indicate: (1) thickening of the Paintbrush Tuff members and tuffaceous beds of Calico Hills toward the northern part of Yucca Mountain; (2) thickening of the Prow Pass Member but thinning of the Bullfrog Member and Tram unit; (3) thinning of the tuff of Lithic Ridge; (4) presence of about 280 m of lava and flow breccia not previously penetrated by any drill hole; and (5) presence of an ash-flow tuff unit at the bottom of the drill hole not previously intersected, apparently the oldest unit penetrated at Yucca Mountain to date. Petrographic features of some of the units include: (1) decrease in quartz and K-feldspar and increases in biotite and plagioclase with depth in the tuffaceous beds of Calico Hills; (2) an increase in quartz phenocrysts from the top to the bottom members of the Crater Flat Tuff; (3) a low quartz content in the tuff of Lithic Ridge, suggesting tapping of the magma chamber at quartz-poor levels; (4) a change in zeolitic alteration from heulandite to clinoptilolite to mordenite with increasing depth; (5) lavas characterized by a rhyolitic top and dacitic base, suggesting reverse compositional zoning; and (6) presence of hydrothermal mineralization in the lavas that could be related to an itrusive under Yucca Mountain or to volcanism associated with the Timber Mountain-Claim Canyon caldera complex. A fracture analysis of the core resulted in tabulation of 7848 fractures, predominately open and high angle

  7. Calculation of experiment uncertainty in laboratory determination of several geoengineering properties of tuffs from Yucca Mountain, Nevada; Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Nimick, F.B.; Schwartz, B.M.; Price, R.H.

    1991-11-01

    A method for estimating the precision and accuracy of measured parameters is described. Examples of application of the estimating method are presented for density, porosity, compressive strength, Young`s modulus, Poisson`s ratio, and thermal expansion. With the exception of the coefficient of linear thermal expansion, all laboratory data for these properties for tuff samples appear to have reasonable experiment uncertainties. Uncertainties in the thermal-expansion coefficients may be as high as 39% of the values, although most uncertainties for the coefficients are probably {le}2%. 4 refs., 1 fig., 15 tabs.

  8. Geology of the Yucca Mountain Region, Chapter in Stuckless, J.S., ED., Yucca Mountain, Nevada - A Proposed Geologic Repository for High-Level Radioactive Waste

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    J.S. Stuckless; D. O' Leary

    2006-09-25

    Yucca Mountain has been proposed as the site for the Nation's first geologic repository for high-level radioactive waste. This chapter provides the geologic framework for the Yucca Mountain region. The regional geologic units range in age from late Precambrian through Holocene, and these are described briefly. Yucca Mountain is composed dominantly of pyroclastic units that range in age from 11.4 to 15.2 Ma. The proposed repository would be constructed within the Topopah Spring Tuff, which is the lower of two major zoned and welded ash-flow tuffs within the Paintbrush Group. The two welded tuffs are separated by the partly to nonwelded Pah Canyon Tuff and Yucca Mountain Tuff, which together figure prominently in the hydrology of the unsaturated zone. The Quaternary deposits are primarily alluvial sediments with minor basaltic cinder cones and flows. Both have been studied extensively because of their importance in predicting the long-term performance of the proposed repository. Basaltic volcanism began about 10 Ma and continued as recently as about 80 ka with the eruption of cones and flows at Lathrop Wells, approximately 10 km south-southwest of Yucca Mountain. Geologic structure in the Yucca Mountain region is complex. During the latest Paleozoic and Mesozoic, strong compressional forces caused tight folding and thrust faulting. The present regional setting is one of extension, and normal faulting has been active from the Miocene through to the present. There are three major local tectonic domains: (1) Basin and Range, (2) Walker Lane, and (3) Inyo-Mono. Each domain has an effect on the stability of Yucca Mountain.

  9. Geology of the Yucca Mountain Region, Chapter in Stuckless, J.S., ED., Yucca Mountain, Nevada - A Proposed Geologic Repository for High-Level Radioactive Waste

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    J.S. Stuckless; D. O'Leary

    2006-01-01

    Yucca Mountain has been proposed as the site for the Nation's first geologic repository for high-level radioactive waste. This chapter provides the geologic framework for the Yucca Mountain region. The regional geologic units range in age from late Precambrian through Holocene, and these are described briefly. Yucca Mountain is composed dominantly of pyroclastic units that range in age from 11.4 to 15.2 Ma. The proposed repository would be constructed within the Topopah Spring Tuff, which is the lower of two major zoned and welded ash-flow tuffs within the Paintbrush Group. The two welded tuffs are separated by the partly to nonwelded Pah Canyon Tuff and Yucca Mountain Tuff, which together figure prominently in the hydrology of the unsaturated zone. The Quaternary deposits are primarily alluvial sediments with minor basaltic cinder cones and flows. Both have been studied extensively because of their importance in predicting the long-term performance of the proposed repository. Basaltic volcanism began about 10 Ma and continued as recently as about 80 ka with the eruption of cones and flows at Lathrop Wells, approximately 10 km south-southwest of Yucca Mountain. Geologic structure in the Yucca Mountain region is complex. During the latest Paleozoic and Mesozoic, strong compressional forces caused tight folding and thrust faulting. The present regional setting is one of extension, and normal faulting has been active from the Miocene through to the present. There are three major local tectonic domains: (1) Basin and Range, (2) Walker Lane, and (3) Inyo-Mono. Each domain has an effect on the stability of Yucca Mountain

  10. A mountain-scale model for characterizing unsaturated flow and transport in fractured tuffs of Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wu, Yu-Shu; Lu, Guoping; Zhang, Keni; Bodvarsson, G.S.

    2003-01-01

    This paper presents a large-scale modeling study characterizing fluid flow and tracer transport in the unsaturated zone of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, the proposed underground repository site for storing high-level radioactive waste. The modeling study is conducted using a three-dimensional numerical model, which incorporates a wide variety of field data and takes into account the coupled processes of flow and transport in Yucca Mountain's highly heterogeneous, unsaturated, fractured porous rock. The modeling approach is based on a dual-continuum formulation. Using different conceptual models of unsaturated flow, various scenarios of current and future climate conditions and their effects on the unsaturated zone are evaluated to aid in the assessment of the repository's system performance. These models are calibrated against field-measured data. Model-predicted flow and transport processes under current and future climates are discussed

  11. Assessment of hydrologic impact of extending exploratory shafts into the Calico Hills nonwelded tuff unit at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nichols, W.E.; Freshley, M.D.; Rockhold, M.L.

    1991-03-01

    The US Department of Energy (DOE) is performing analyses to address an objection by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission to plans in the Consultation Draft of the Site Characterization Plan for direct excavation of the Calico Hills nonwelded (CHn) unit within the repository exploration block at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The excavation was planned as part of site characterization activities for the potential high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. This characterization activities for the potential high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. This characterization activity has been deferred, pending the results of a risk/benefit analysis of alternative methods for obtaining needed characterization data from CHn unit. The benefits from characterizing the CHn unit are generally related to obtaining information leading to improved confidence in predictions of site performance. The risks are generally associated with potential adverse impacts to site performance that result from excavation or other intrusion into the CHn unit. The purpose of the risk/benefit analysis is to produce a recommendation to the Director, Regulatory and Site Evaluation Division. DOE/Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project Office for a strategy for characterizing the CHn unit. The recommendation will describe characterization activities that are expected to provide the needed information while limiting adverse impacts to site performance to the extent practical. The risk/benefit analysis was supported with scoping calculations to provide a quantitative evaluation of the impacts associated with different strategies. The working group responsible for the risk/benefit analysis requested that these scoping calculations to be supported with more detailed performance assessments for evaluating impacts of different characterization activities. This report summarizes the results of these performance assessment analyses. 9 refs., 30 figs., 1 tab

  12. Transport of Radon Gas into a Tunnel at Yucca Mountain-Estimating Large-Scale Fractured Tuff Hydraulic Properties and Implications for the Operation of the Ventilation System

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Unger, A.; Finsterle, S.; Bodvarsson, G.

    2003-01-01

    Radon gas concentrations have been monitored as part of the operation of a tunnel (the Exploratory Studies Facility-ESF) at Yucca Mountain to ensure worker safety. The objective of this study was to examine the potential use of the radon data to estimate large-scale formation properties of fractured tuffs. This objective was examined by developing a numerical model, based upon the characteristics of the ESF and the Topopah Spring welded (TSw) tuff unit, capable of predicting radon concentrations for prescribed ventilation conditions. The model was used to address two specific issues. First, it was used to estimate the permeability and porosity of the fractures in the TSw at the length scale of the ESF and extending tens of meters into the TSw, which surrounds the ESF. Second, the model was used to understand the mechanism leading to radon concentrations exceeding a specified level within the ESF. The mechanism controlling radon concentrations in the ESF is a function of atmospheric barometric fluctuations being propagated down the ESF along with ventilated air flow and the slight suction induced by the ventilation exhaust fans at the South Portal of the ESF. These pressure fluctuations are dampened in the TSw fracture continuum according to its permeability and porosity. Consequently, as the barometric pressure in the ESF drops rapidly, formation gases from the TSw are pulled into the ESF, resulting in an increase in radon concentrations. Model calibration to both radon concentrations measured in the ESF and gas-phase pressure fluctuations in the TSw yielded concurrent estimates of TSw fracture permeability and porosity of l x 10 -11 m 2 and 0.00034, respectively. The calibrated model was then used as a design tool to predict the effect of adjusting the current ventilation-system operation strategy for reducing the probability of radon gas concentrations exceeding a specified level

  13. Calculation of experiment uncertainty in laboratory determination of several geoengineering properties of tuffs from Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nimick, F.B.; Schwartz, B.M.; Price, R.H.

    1991-11-01

    A method for estimating the precision and accuracy of measured parameters is described. Examples of application of the estimating method are presented for density, porosity, compressive strength, Young's modulus, Poisson's ratio, and thermal expansion. With the exception of the coefficient of linear thermal expansion, all laboratory data for these properties for tuff samples appear to have reasonable experiment uncertainties. Uncertainties in the thermal-expansion coefficients may be as high as 39% of the values, although most uncertainties for the coefficients are probably ≤2%. 4 refs., 1 fig., 15 tabs

  14. Preliminary gravity and magnetic models across Midway Valley and Yucca Wash, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ponce, D.A.; Langenheim, V.E.

    1994-01-01

    Detailed gravity and ground magnetic data collected along ten traverses across Midway Valley and Yucca Wash on the eastern flank of Yucca Mountain in southwest Nevada are interpreted. These data were collected as part of an effort to evaluate faulting in the vicinity of proposed surface facilities for a potential nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. Geophysical data show that Midway Valley is bounded by large gravity and magnetic anomalies associated with the Bow Ridge and Paintbrush Canyon faults, on the west side of Exile Hill and on the west flank of Fran Ridge, respectively. In addition, Midway Valley itself is characterized by a number of small-amplitude anomalies that probably reflect small-scale faulting beneath Midway Valley. Gravity and magnetic data across the northwest trending Yucca Wash and the inferred Yucca Wash fault indicate no major vertical offsets greater than 100 m using a density contrast of 0.2 to 0.3 g/cm 3 along the proposed Yucca Wash fault. In addition, a broad magnetic high coincides with the approximate location of the hydrologic gradient and probably reflects moderately magnetic Topopah Spring Tuff or lavas in the Calico Hills Formation

  15. Cavity-based secondary mineralization in volcanic tuffs of Yucca Mountain, Nevada: a new type of the polymineral vadose speleothem, or a hydrothermal deposit?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dublyansky Yuri V.

    2005-07-01

    Full Text Available Secondary minerals (calcite, chalcedony, quartz, opal, fluorite, heulandite, strontianite residing in open cavities in the Miocenerhyolite tuffs of Yucca Mountain, Nevada have been interpreted by some researchers as "speleothemic" formations, deposited as aresult of downward infiltration of meteoric waters (DOE, 2001, Whelan et al., 2002. The major mineral of the paragenesis, calcite,shows spectacular trend of the textural and crystal morphology change: from anhedral granular occurrences, through (optionalplatelet, bladed and scepter varieties, to euhedral blocky morphologies. The trend is consistent with the overall decrease in thesupesaturation of the mineral forming solution. Stable isotope properties of calcite evolve from 13C-enriched (δ13C = +4 to +9 ‰ PDBat early stages of growth to 13C-depleted (-5 to -10 ‰ at late stages. The non-cyclic character of the isotope record and extremevariations of isotopic values argue against the meteoric origin of mineral forming fluids. The δ13C >4 ‰ PDB require isotope partitioningbetween dissolved CO2 and CH4, which is only possible in reducing anoxic environment, but not in aerated vadose zone.Fluid inclusions studied in calcite, quartz and fluorite revealed that the minerals were deposited from thermal solutions. Thetemperatures were higher at early stages of mineral growth (60 to 85oC and declined with time. Most late-stage calcites containonly all-liquid inclusions, suggesting temperatures less than ca. 35-50oC. Minerals collected close to the major fault show the highesttemperatures. Gases trapped in fluid inclusions are dominated by CO2 and CH4; Raman spectrometry results suggest the presenceof aromatic/cyclic hydrocarbon gases. The gas chemistry, thus, also indicates reduced (anoxic character of the mineral formingfluids.Secondary minerals at Yucca Mountain have likely formed during the short-term invasion(s of the deep-seated aqueous fluidsinto the vadose zone. Following the invasion

  16. Method development and strategy for the characterization of complexly faulted and fractured rhyolitic tuffs, Yucca Mountain, Nevada, USA

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Karasaki, K.; Galloway, D.

    1990-10-01

    Field experimental and analytical methods development is underway to define the hydraulic and transport properties of a thick saturated zone that underlies the planned high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The characterization strategy for the highly heterogeneous hydrology is that of hypothesis testing and confidence building. Three test wells, the UE-25c-holes, have been drilled and preliminary data have been collected. Hydro-mechanical analyses indicate formation fluid at depth is hydraulically connected to the water table. Preliminary hydraulic tests indicate highly localized, fracture-controlled transmissivity. Cross-hole seismic tomography is planned to assess the inter-borehole structure of fractures and faults. Multi-level cross-hole hydraulic interference and tracer tests are planned using up to 5 packed-off zones in each of the c-holes to assess the hydraulic conductivity and transport structure in a crude tomographic fashion. An equivalent discontinuum model conditioned with the observed hydraulic measurements will be applied to interpret the hydraulic test responses. As an approach to the scale problem the tests will be designed and analyzed to examine the hypothesis that the flow system may be represented by fractal geometry. 12 refs., 4 figs

  17. Initial field testing definition of subsurface sealing and backfilling tests in unsaturated tuff; Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Fernandez, J.A. [Sandia National Labs., Albuquerque, NM (United States); Case, J.B.; Tyburski, J.R. [I. T. Corp., Albuquerque, NM (United States)

    1993-05-01

    This report contains an initial definition of the field tests proposed for the Yucca Mountain Project repository sealing program. The tests are intended to resolve various performance and emplacement concerns. Examples of concerns to be addressed include achieving selected hydrologic and structural requirements for seals, removing portions of the shaft liner, excavating keyways, emplacing cementitious and earthen seals, reducing the impact of fines on the hydraulic conductivity of fractures, efficient grouting of fracture zones, sealing of exploratory boreholes, and controlling the flow of water by using engineered designs. Ten discrete tests are proposed to address these and other concerns. These tests are divided into two groups: Seal component tests and performance confirmation tests. The seal component tests are thorough small-scale in situ tests, the intermediate-scale borehole seal tests, the fracture grouting tests, the surface backfill tests, and the grouted rock mass tests. The seal system tests are the seepage control tests, the backfill tests, the bulkhead test in the Calico Hills unit, the large-scale shaft seal and shaft fill tests, and the remote borehole sealing tests. The tests are proposed to be performed in six discrete areas, including welded and non-welded environments, primarily located outside the potential repository area. The final selection of sealing tests will depend on the nature of the geologic and hydrologic conditions encountered during the development of the Exploratory Studies Facility and detailed numerical analyses. Tests are likely to be performed both before and after License Application.

  18. An experimental program for testing the validity of flow and transport models in unsaturated tuff: The Yucca Mountain Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Shephard, L.E.; Glass, R.J.; Siegel, M.D.; Tidwell, V.C.

    1990-01-01

    Groundwater flow and contaminant transport through the unsaturated zone are receiving increased attention as options for waste disposal in saturated media continue to be considered as a potential means for resolving the nation's waste management concerns. An experimental program is being developed to test the validity of conceptual flow and transport models that are being formulated to predict the long-term performance at Yucca Mountain. This program is in the developmental stage and will continue to evolve as information is acquired and knowledge is improved with reference to flow and transport in unsaturated fractured media. The general approach for directing the validation effort entails identifying those processes which may cause the site to fail relative to imposed regulatory requirements, evaluating the key assumptions underlying the conceptual models used or developed to describe these processes, and developing new conceptual models as needed. Emphasis is currently being placed in four general areas: flow and transport in unsaturated fractures; fracture-matrix interactions; infiltration flow instability; and evaluation of scale effects in heterogeneous fractured media. Preliminary results and plans or each of these areas for both the laboratory and field investigation components will be presented in the manuscript. 1 ref

  19. Mechanical tunnel excavation in welded tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sperry, P.E.

    1991-01-01

    The Technical Review Board for the US high-level radioactive waste facility at Yucca Mountain has recommended maximum use of open-quotes the most modern mechanical excavation techniques...in order to reduce disturbance to the rock walls and to achieve greater economy of time and cost.close quotes Tunnels for the waste repository at Yucca Mountain can be economically constructed with mechanical excavation equipment. This paper presents the results of mechanical excavation of a tunnel in welded tuff, similar to the tuffs of Yucca Mountain. These results are projected to excavation of emplacement drifts in Yucca Mountain using a current state-of-the-art tunnel boring machine (TBM)

  20. Long-Term Mechanical Behavior of Yucca Mountain Tuff and its Variability, Final Technical Report for Task ORD-FY04-021

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Daemen, Jaak J.K.; Ma, Lumin; Zhao, Guohua

    2006-01-01

    The study of the long term mechanical behavior of Yucca Mountain tuffs is important for several reasons. Long term stability of excavations will affect accessibility (e.g. for inspection purposes), and retrievability. Long term instabilities may induce loading of drip shields and/or emplaced waste, thus affecting drip shield and/or waste package corrosion. Failure of excavations will affect airflow, may affect water flow, and may affect temperature distributions. The long term mechanical behavior of rocks remains an elusive topic, loaded with uncertainties. A variety of approaches have been used to improve the understanding of this complex subject, but it is doubtful that it has reached a stage where firm predictions can be considered feasible. The long term mechanical behavior of ''soft'' rocks, especially evaporites, and in particular rock salt, has been the subject of numerous investigations (e.g. Cristescu and Hunsche, 1998, Cristescu et al, 2002), and basic approaches towards engineering taking into account the long term behavior of such materials have long been well established (e.g. Dreyer, 1972, 1982). The same is certainly not true of ''hard'' rocks. While it long has been recognized that the long term strength of ''hard'' rocks almost certainly is significantly less than that measured during ''short'', i.e. standard (ASTM D 2938), ISRM suggested (Bieniawski et al, 1978) and conventionally used test procedures (e.g. Bieniawski, 1970, Wawersik, 1972, Hoek and Brown, 1980, p. 150), what limited approaches have been taken to develop strategies toward determining the long term mechanical behavior of ''hard'' rock remain in the early research and investigation stage, at best. One early model developed specifically for time dependent analysis of underground ''hard'' rock structures is the phenomenological model by Kaiser and Morgenstern (1981). Brady and Brown (1985, p. 93) state that over a wide range of strain rates, from 10 -8 to 10 2 /s the difference in

  1. Further description of the petrology of the Topopah Spring member of the paintbrush tuff in drill holes UE25A-1 and USW-G1 and of the lithic-rich tuff in USW-G1, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Carroll, P.I.; Caporuscio, F.A.; Bish, D.L.

    1981-11-01

    The Topopah Spring Member of the Paintbrush Tuff and the Lithic-rich tuff and two Tertiary volcanic units that occur in cores from drill holes UE25a-1 and USW-G1 at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Recently they have been suggested as possibly suitable for the permanent storage of high-level radioactive waste. Earlier petrologic characterization of these units is augmented here. The Topopah Spring Member (approximately 350 m thick) has two compound cooling units. The upper, thinner unit is densely welded to vitrophyric. The lower unit ranges from nonwelded to vitrophyric, and its nonwelded base is extensively zeolitized to clinoptilolite and mordenite. Heulandite occurs as fracture fill in the overlying vitrophyric part, but zeolites are absent above that vitrophyre. Here primary devitrification plus vapor-phase crystallization dominate the mineralogy. Vapor-phase effects are especially prominent between the two vitrophyres in both cores and include numerous large lithophysal cavities throughout most of this moderately to densely welded tuff. The Lithic-rich tuff extends from 1203 to 1506 m in the USW-G1 drill core. It is nonwelded to partly welded but is well indurated due to pervasive intergrowths of authigenic minerals. These phases are analcime, albite, alkali feldspar, sericite, chlorite and quartz. The transition from analcime to secondary albite corresponds to Iijima's zeolite Zone IV boundary, and this boundary appears in USW-G1 at 1326 m. However, analcime remains as a prominent phase through most of the Lithic-rich tuff. Further work is necessary to assess the suitability of either of these horizons for a waste repository. In the Topopah Spring Member, both mechanical and hydrologic properties of thick lithophysal zone must be studied, as well as the complete sequence of fracture fill. For both units, zeolite and clay mineral stabilities need to be investigated

  2. Thermal conductivity, bulk properties, and thermal stratigraphy of silicic tuffs from the upper portion of hole USW-G1, Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lappin, A.R.; VanBuskirk, R.G.; Enniss, D.O.; Buters, S.W.; Prater, F.M.; Muller, C.B.; Bergosh, J.L.

    1982-03-01

    Thermal-conductivity and bulk-property measurements were made on welded and nonwelded silicic tuffs from the upper portion of Hole USW-G1, located near the southwestern margin of the Nevada Test Site. Bulk-property measurements were made by standard techniques. Thermal conductivities were measured at temperatures as high as 280 0 C, confining pressures to 10 MPa, and pore pressures to 1.5 MPa. Extrapolation of measured saturated conductivities to zero porosity suggests that matrix conductivity of both zeolitized and devitrified tuffs is independent of stratigraphic position, depth, and probably location. This fact allows development of a thermal-conductivity stratigraphy for the upper portion of Hole G1. Estimates of saturated conductivities of zeolitized nonwelded tuffs and devitrified tuffs below the water table appear most reliable. Estimated conductivities of saturated densely welded devitrified tuffs above the water table are less reliable, due to both internal complexity and limited data presently available. Estimation of conductivity of dewatered tuffs requires use of different air thermal conductivities in devitrified and zeolitized samples. Estimated effects of in-situ fracturing generally appear negligible

  3. Distribution of lithostratigraphic units within the central block of Yucca Mountain, Nevada: A three-dimensional computer-based model, Version YMP.R2.0

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Buesch, D.C.; Nelson, J.E.; Dickerson, R.P.; Drake, R.M. II; San Juan, C.A.; Spengler, R.W.; Geslin, J.K.; Moyer, T.C.

    1996-01-01

    Yucca Mountain, Nevada is underlain by 14.0 to 11.6 Ma volcanic rocks tilted eastward 3 degree to 20 degree and cut by faults that were primarily active between 12.7 and 11.6 Ma. A three-dimensional computer-based model of the central block of the mountain consists of seven structural subblocks composed of six formations and the interstratified-bedded tuffaceous deposits. Rocks from the 12.7 Ma Tiva Canyon Tuff, which forms most of the exposed rocks on the mountain, to the 13.1 Ma Prow Pass Tuff are modeled with 13 surfaces. Modeled units represent single formations such as the Pah Canyon Tuff, grouped units such as the combination of the Yucca Mountain Tuff with the superjacent bedded tuff, and divisions of the Topopah Spring Tuff such as the crystal-poor vitrophyre interval. The model is based on data from 75 boreholes from which a structure contour map at the base of the Tiva Canyon Tuff and isochore maps for each unit are constructed to serve as primary input. Modeling consists of an iterative cycle that begins with the primary structure-contour map from which isochore values of the subjacent model unit are subtracted to produce the structure contour map on the base of the unit. This new structure contour map forms the input for another cycle of isochore subtraction to produce the next structure contour map. In this method of solids modeling, the model units are presented by surfaces (structure contour maps), and all surfaces are stored in the model. Surfaces can be converted to form volumes of model units with additional effort. This lithostratigraphic and structural model can be used for (1) storing data from, and planning future, site characterization activities, (2) preliminary geometry of units for design of Exploratory Studies Facility and potential repository, and (3) performance assessment evaluations

  4. Preliminary report on the geology and geophysics of drill hole UE25a-1, Yucca Mountain, Nevada Test Site

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Spengler, R.W.; Muller, D.C.; Livermore, R.B.

    1979-01-01

    A subsurface geologic study in connection with the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations has furnished detailed stratigraphic and structural information about tuffs underlying northeastern Yucca Mountain on the Nevada Test Site. Drill hole UE25a-1 penetrated thick sequences of nonwelded to densely welded ash-flow and bedded tuffs of Tertiary age. Stratigraphic units that were identified from the drill-hole data include the Tiva Canyon and Topopah Spring Members of the Paintbrush Tuff, tuffaceous beds of Calico Hills, and the Prow Pass and Bullfrog Members of the Crater Flat Tuff. Structural analysis of the core indicated densely welded zones to be highly fractured. Many fractures show near-vertical inclinations and are commonly coated with secondary silica, manganese and iron oxides, and calcite. Five falt zones were recognized, most of which occurred in the Topopah Spring Member. Shear fractures commonly show oblique-slip movement and some suggest a sizable component of lateral compression. Graphic logs are included that show the correlation of lithology, structural properties, and geophysical logs. Many rock units have characteristic log responses but highly fractured zones, occurring principally in the Tiva Canyon and Topopah Spring Members restricted log coverage to the lower half of the drill hole

  5. The effect of sliding velocity on the mechanical response of an artificial joint in Topopah Spring Member tuff; Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Olsson, W.A.

    1994-04-01

    A smooth artificial joint in Topopah Spring Member tuff was sheared at constant normal stress at velocities from 0 to 100 {mu}m/s to determine the velocity-dependence of shear strength. Two different initial conditions were used: (1) unprimed -- the joint had been shear stress-free since last application of normal stress, and before renewed shear loading; and (2) primed -- the joint had undergone a slip history after application of normal stress, but before the current shear loading. Observed steady-state rate effects were found to be about 3 times lager than for some other silicate rocks. These different initial conditions affected the character of the stress-slip curve immediately after the onset of slip. Priming the joint causes a peak in the stress-slip response followed by a transient decay to the steady-state stress, i.e., slip weakening. Slide-hold-slide tests exhibit time-dependent strengthening. When the joint was subjected to constant shear stress, no slip was observed; that is, joint creep did not occur. One set of rate data was collected from a surface submerged in tap water, the friction was higher for this surface, but the rate sensitivity was the same as that for surfaces tested in the air-dry condition.

  6. Preliminary results of gravity investigations at Yucca Mountain and vicinity, Southern Nye County, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Snyder, D.B.; Carr, W.J.

    1982-01-01

    Exploration for a high-level-nuclear-waste-repository site in the Yucca Mountain area, Nevada, resulted in the addition of 423 new gravity stations during the past 2 years to the 934 existing stations to form the data base of this study. About 100 surface-rock samples, three borehole gamma-gamma logs, and one borehole gravity study provide excellent density control. A linear increase in density of 0.26 g/cm 3 per km is indicated in the tuff sequences makes the density contrast across the basal contact of the tuff the only strong source of gravity fluctuations. Isostatic and 2.0g/cm 3 Bouguer corrections were applied to the observed gravity values to remove deep-crust-related regional gradients and topographic effects, respectively. The resulting residual-gravity plot shows significant gravity anomalies that correlate closely with the structures inferred from drill-hole and surface geologic studies. Gravity highs over the three Paleozoic rock outcrops within the study area - Bare Mountain, the Calico Hills, and the Striped Hills - served as reference points for the gravity models. At least 3000 m of tuff fills a large steep-sided depression in the prevolcanic rocks beneath Yucca Mountain and Crater Flat. The gravity low and thick tuff section probably lie within a large collapse area comprising the Crater Flat-Timber Mountain-Silent Canyon caldera complexes. Gravity lows in Crater Flat itself are thought to coincide with the source areas of the Prow Pass Member, the Bullfrog Member, and the unnamed member of the Crater Flat Tuff. Southward extension of the broad gravity low associated with Crater Flat into the Amargosa Desert is evidence for sector graben-type collapse segments related to the Timber Mountain caldera and superimposed on the other structures within Crater Flat. 13 figures, 4 tables

  7. Measuring and modeling water imbibition into tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Peters, R.R.; Klavetter, E.A.; George, J.T.; Gauthier, J.H.

    1986-01-01

    Yucca Mountain (Nevada) is being investigated as a potential site for a high-level-radioactive-waste repository. The site combines a partially saturated hydrologic system and a stratigraphy of fractured, welded and nonwelded tuffs. The long time scale for site hydrologic phenomena makes their direct measurement prohibitive. Also, modeling is difficult because the tuffs exhibit widely varying, and often highly nonlinear hydrologic properties. To increase a basic understanding of both the hydrologic properties of tuffs and the modeling of flow in partially saturated regimes, the following tasks were performed, and the results are reported: (1) Laboratory Experiment: Water imbibition into a cylinder of tuff (taken from Yucca Mountain drill core) was measured by immersing one end of a dry sample in water and noting its weight at various times. The flow of water was approximately one-dimensional, filling the sample from bottom to top. (2) Computer Simulation: The experiment was modeled using TOSPAC (a one-dimensional, finite-difference computer program for simulating water flow in partially saturated, fractured, layered media) with data currently considered for use in site-scale modeling of a repository in Yucca Mountain. The measurements and the results of the modeling are compared. Conclusions are drawn with respect to the accuracy of modeling transient flow in a partially saturated, porous medium using a one-dimensional model and currently available hydrologic-property data

  8. Bedrock geologic Map of the Central Block Area, Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    W.C. Day; C. Potter; D. Sweetkind; R.P. Dickerson; C.A. San Juan

    1998-01-01

    Bedrock geologic maps form the foundation for investigations that characterize and assess the viability of the potential high-level radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. As such, this map focuses on the central block at Yucca Mountain, which contains the potential repository site. The central block is a structural block of Tertiary volcanic rocks bound on the west by the Solitario Canyon Fault, on the east by the Bow Ridge Fault, to the north by the northwest-striking Drill Hole Wash Fault, and on the south by Abandoned Wash. Earlier reconnaissance mapping by Lipman and McKay (1965) provided an overview of the structural setting of Yucca Mountain and formed the foundation for selecting Yucca Mountain as a site for further investigation. They delineated the main block-bounding faults and some of the intrablock faults and outlined the zoned compositional nature of the tuff units that underlie Yucca Mountain. Scott and Bonk (1984) provided a detailed reconnaissance geologic map of favorable area at Yucca Mountain in which to conduct further site-characterization studies. Of their many contributions, they presented a detailed stratigraphy for the volcanic units, defined several other block-bounding faults, and outlined numerous intrablock faults. This study was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Yucca Mountain Project to provide a detailed (1:6,000-scale) bedrock geologic map for the area within and adjacent to the potential repository area at Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada. Prior to this study, the 1:12,000-scale map of Scott and Bonk (1984) was the primary source of bedrock geologic data for the Yucca Mountain Project. However, targeted detailed mapping within the central block at Yucca Mountain revealed structural complexities along some of the intrablock faults that were not evident at 1:12,000 (Scott and Bonk, 1984). As a result, this study was undertaken to define the character and extent of the dominant structural features in the

  9. Yucca L.: yucca

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robert R. Alexander; Floyd W. Pond; Jane E. Rodgers

    2008-01-01

    There are about 30 species of yucca native to North America and the West Indies. Although most of these long-lived, evergreen plants grow in the arid southwestern United States and on Mexican tablelands, yuccas are found up to 2,400 m in elevation in the mountains of Colorado (Arnott 1962; Webber 1953). Four western species are considered here (table 1). Great Plains...

  10. Anisotropy of the Topopah Spring Member Tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Martin, R.J. III; Boyd, P.J.; Haupt, R.W.; Price, R.H.

    1992-07-01

    Mechanical properties of the tuffaceous rocks within Yucca Mountain are needed for near and far-field modeling of the potential nuclear waste repository. If the mechanical properties are significantly anisotropic (i.e., direction-dependent), a more complex model is required. Relevant data from tuffs tested in earlier studies indicate that elastic and strength properties are anisotropic. This scoping study confirms the elastic anisotropy and concludes some tuffs are transversely isotropic. An approach for sampling and testing the rock to determine the magnitude of the anisotropy is proposed

  11. Frictional properties of jointed welded tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Teufel, L.W.

    1981-07-01

    The results of the experiments on simulated joints in welded tuff from the Grouse Canyon Member of the Belted Range Tuff warrant the following conclusions: (1) The coefficient of friction of the joints is independent of normal stress at a given sliding velocity. (2) The coefficient of friction increases with both increasing time of stationary contact and decreasing sliding velocity. (3) Time and velocity dependence of friction is due to an increase in the real area of contact on the sliding surface, caused by asperity creep. (4) Joints in water-saturated tuff show a greater time and velocity dependence of friction than those in dehydrated tuff. (5) The enhanced time and velocity dependence of friction with water saturation is a result of increased creep at asperity contacts, which is in turn due to a reduction in the surface indentation hardness by hydrolytic weakening and/or stress corrosion cracking

  12. Interpretation of chemical and isotopic data from boreholes in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Yang, I.C.; Rattray, G.W.; Yu, P.

    1996-01-01

    Analyses of pore water from boreholes at Yucca Mountain indicate that unsaturated-zone pore water has significantly larger concentrations of chloride and dissolved solids than the saturated-zone water or perched-water bodies. Chemical compositions are of the calcium sulfate or calcium chloride types in the Paintbrush Group (Tiva Canyon, Yucca Mountain, Pah Canyon, and bedded tuffs), and sodium carbonate or bicarbonate type water in the Calico Hills Formation. Tritium profiles from boreholes at Yucca Mountain indicate tritium-concentration inversions (larger tritium concentrations are located below the smaller tritium concentration in a vertical profile) occur in many places. These inversions indicate preferential flow through fractures. Rock-gas compositions are similar to that of atmospheric air except that carbon dioxide concentrations are generally larger than those in the air. The delta carbon-13 values of gas are fairly constant from surface to 365.8 meters, indicating little interaction between the gas CO 2 and caliche in the soil. Model calculations indicate that the gas transport in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain agrees well with the gas-diffusion process. Tritium-modeling results indicate that the high tritium value of about 100 tritium units in the Calico Hills Formation of UZ-16 is within limits of a piston-flow model with a water residence time of 32 to 35 years. The large variations in tritium concentrations with narrow peaks imply piston flow or preferential fracture flow rather than matrix flow. In reality, the aqueous-phase flow in the unsaturated zone is between piston and well-mixed flows but is closer to a piston flow

  13. Use of thermal data to estimate infiltration, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    LeCain, Gary D.; Kurzmack, Mark

    2001-01-01

    Temperature and pressure monitoring in a vertical borehole in Pagany Wash, Yucca Mountain, Nevada, measured disruptions of the natural gradients associated with the February, 1998, El Nino precipitation events. The temperature and pressure disruptions indicated infiltration and percolation through the 12.1 m of Pagany Wash alluvium and deep percolation to greater than 35.2 m into the Yucca Mountain Tuff

  14. Spatial distribution of potential near surface moisture flux at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Flint, A.L.; Flint, L.E.

    1994-01-01

    An estimate of the areal distribution of present-day surface liquid moisture flux at Yucca Mountain was made using field measured water contents and laboratory measured rock properties. Using available data for physical and hydrologic properties (porosity, saturated hydraulic conductivity, moisture retention functions) of the volcanic rocks, surface lithologic units that are hydrologically similar were delineated. Moisture retention and relative permeability functions were assigned to each surface unit based on the similarity of the mean porosity and saturated hydraulic conductivity of the surface unit to laboratory samples of the same lithology. The potential flux into the mountain was estimated for each surface hydrologic unit using the mean saturated hydraulic conductivity for each unit and assuming all matrix flow. Using measured moisture profiles for each of the surface units, estimates were made of the depth at which seasonal fluctuations diminish and steady state downward flux conditions are likely to exist. The hydrologic properties at that depth were used with the current relative saturation of the tuff, to estimate flux as the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity. This method assumes a unit gradient. The range in estimated flux was 0.02 mm/yr for the welded Tiva Canyon to 13.4 mm/yr for the nonwelded Paintbrush Tuff. The areally averaged flux was 1.4 mm/yr. The major zones of high flux occur to the north of the potential repository boundary where the nonwelded tuffs are exposed in the major drainages

  15. Spatial distribution of potential near surface moisture flux at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Flint, A.L.; Flint, L.E.

    1994-01-01

    An estimate of the areal distribution of present-day surface liquid moisture flux at Yucca Mountain was made using field measured water contents and laboratory measured rock properties. Using available data for physical and hydrologic properties (porosity, saturated hydraulic conductivity moisture retention functions) of the volcanic rocks, surface lithologic units that are hydrologically similar were delineated. Moisture retention and relative permeability functions were assigned to each surface unit based on the similarity of the mean porosity and saturated hydraulic conductivity of the surface unit to laboratory samples of the same lithology. The potential flux into the mountain was estimated for each surface hydrologic unit using the mean saturated hydraulic conductivity for each unit and assuming all matrix flow. Using measured moisture profiles for each of the surface units, estimates were made of the depth at which seasonal fluctuations diminish and steady state downward flux conditions are likely to exist. The hydrologic properties at that depth were used with the current relative saturation of the tuff, to estimate flux as the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity. This method assumes a unit gradient. The range in estimated flux was 0.02 mm/yr for the welded Tiva Canyon to 13.4 mm/yr for the nonwelded Paintbrush Tuff. The areally averaged flux was 1.4 mm/yr. The major zones of high flux occur to the north of the potential repository boundary where the nonwelded tuffs are exposed in the major drainages

  16. Laboratory determined suction potential of Topopah Spring tuff at high temperatures

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Daily, W.; Lin, Wunan.

    1991-01-01

    The purpose of this work is to experimentally determine the capillary suction potential of Topopah Spring tuff from Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada. This data can be used to help characterize the unsaturated hydraulic properties of the densely welded tuff at this site. 7 refs., 4 figs., 1 tab

  17. Natural language solution to a Tuff problem

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Langkopf, B.S.; Mallory, L.H.

    1984-01-01

    A scientific data base, the Tuff Data Base, is being created at Sandia National Laboratories on the Cyber 170/855, using System 2000. It is being developed for use by scientists and engineers investigating the feasibility of locating a high-level radioactive waste repository in tuff (a type of volcanic rock) at Yucca Mountain on and adjacent to the Nevada Test Site. This project, the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations (NNWSI) Project, is managed by the Nevada Operations Office of the US Department of Energy. A user-friendly interface, PRIMER, was developed that uses the Self-Contained Facility (SCF) command SUBMIT and System 2000 Natural Language functions and parametric strings that are schema resident. The interface was designed to: (1) allow users, with or without computer experience or keyboard skill, to sporadically access data in the Tuff Data Base; (2) produce retrieval capabilities for the user quickly; and (3) acquaint the users with the data in the Tuff Data Base. This paper gives a brief description of the Tuff Data Base Schema and the interface, PRIMER, which is written in Fortran V. 3 figures

  18. Proposed stratigraphic nomenclature and macroscopic identification of lithostratigraphic units of the Paintbrush Group exposed at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Buesch, D.C.; Spengler, R.W.; Moyer, T.C.; Geslin, J.K.

    1996-09-01

    This paper describes the formations of the Paintbrush Group exposed at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, presents a detailed stratigraphic nomenclature for the Tiva Canyon and Topopah spring Tuffs, and discusses the criteria that define lithostratigraphic units. The Tiva Canyon and Topopah Spring Tuffs are divided into zones, subzones, and intervals on the basis of macroscopic features observed in surface exposures and borehole samples. Primary divisions reflect depositional and compositional zoning that is expressed by variations in crystal content, phenocryst assemblage, pumice content and composition, and lithic content. Secondary divisions define welding and crystlalization zones, depositional features, or fracture characteristics. Both formations are divided into crystal-rich and crystal-poor members that have an identical sequency of zones, although subzone designations vary slightly between the two units. The identified lithostratigraphic divisions can be used to approximate thermal-mechanical and hydrogeologic boundaries in the field. Linking these three systems of nomenclature provides a framework within which to correlate these properties through regions of sparse data.

  19. Proposed stratigraphic nomenclature and macroscopic identification of lithostratigraphic units of the Paintbrush Group exposed at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Buesch, D.C.; Spengler, R.W.; Moyer, T.C.; Geslin, J.K.

    1996-01-01

    This paper describes the formations of the Paintbrush Group exposed at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, presents a detailed stratigraphic nomenclature for the Tiva Canyon and Topopah spring Tuffs, and discusses the criteria that define lithostratigraphic units. The Tiva Canyon and Topopah Spring Tuffs are divided into zones, subzones, and intervals on the basis of macroscopic features observed in surface exposures and borehole samples. Primary divisions reflect depositional and compositional zoning that is expressed by variations in crystal content, phenocryst assemblage, pumice content and composition, and lithic content. Secondary divisions define welding and crystlalization zones, depositional features, or fracture characteristics. Both formations are divided into crystal-rich and crystal-poor members that have an identical sequency of zones, although subzone designations vary slightly between the two units. The identified lithostratigraphic divisions can be used to approximate thermal-mechanical and hydrogeologic boundaries in the field. Linking these three systems of nomenclature provides a framework within which to correlate these properties through regions of sparse data

  20. Ground magnetic studies along a regional seismic-reflection profile across Bare Mountain, Crater Flat and Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Langenheim, V.E.; Ponce, D.A.

    1995-01-01

    Ground magnetic data were collected along a 26-km-long regional seismic-reflection profile in southwest Nevada that starts in the Amargosa Desert, crosses Bare Mountain, Crater Flat and Yucca Mountain, and ends in Midway Valley. Parallel ground magnetic profiles were also collected about 100 m to either side of the western half of the seismic-reflection line. The magnetic data indicate that the eastern half of Crater Flat is characterized by closely-spaced faulting (1--2 km) in contrast to the western half of Crater Flat. Modeling of the data indicates that the Topopah Spring Tuff is offset about 250 m on the Solitario Canyon fault and about 50 m on the Ghost Dance fault. These estimates of fault offset are consistent with seismic-reflection data and geologic mapping. A broad magnetic high of about 500--600 nT is centered over Crater Flat. Modeling of the magnetic data indicates that the source of this high is not thickening and doming of the Bullfrog Tuff, but more likely lies below the Bullfrog Tuff. Possible source lithologies for this magnetic high include altered argillite of the Eleana Formation, Cretaceous or Tertiary intrusions, and mafic sills

  1. Characterizing fractured rock for fluid-flow, geomechanical, and paleostress modeling: Methods and preliminary results from Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Barton, C.C.; Larsen, E.; Page, W.R.; Howard, T.M.

    1993-01-01

    Fractures have been characterized for fluid-flow, geomechanical, and paleostress modeling at three localities in the vicinity of drill hole USW G-4 at Yucca Mountain in southwestern Nevada. A method for fracture characterization is introduced that integrates mapping fracture-trace networks and quantifying eight fracture parameters: trace length, orientation, connectivity, aperture, roughness, shear offset, trace-length density, and mineralization. A complex network of fractures was exposed on three 214- to 260-m 2 pavements cleared of debris in the upper lithophysal unit of the Tiva Canyon Member of the Miocene Paint-brush Tuff. The pavements are two-dimensional sections through the three-dimensional network of strata-bound fractures. All fractures with trace lengths greater than 0.2 m were mapped and studied

  2. Effects of mineralogy on sorption of strontium and cesium onto Calico Hills Tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Meyer, R.E.; Arnold, W.D.; Case, F.I.; O'Kelley, G.D.; Land, J.F.

    1990-04-01

    The sorption properties of tuff formations at the proposed site for the high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, have been extensively studied. Sorption and desorption measurements were made of strontium and cesium onto clinoptilolite and Calico Hills Tuff. The object was to see whether there was a correlation between sorption of strontium and cesium onto Calico Hills Tuff and the sorption of strontium and cesium onto clinoptilolite based on the content of clinoptilolite in the Calico Hills Tuff. 13 refs., 10 figs., 6 tabs

  3. Summary report on the geochemistry of Yucca Mountain and environs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Daniels, W.R.; Wolfsberg, K.; Rundberg, R.S.

    1982-12-01

    This report gives a detailed description of work at Los Alamos that will help resolve geochemical issues pertinent to siting a high-level nuclear waste repository in tuff at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. It is necessary to understand the properties and setting of the host tuff because this rock provides the first natural barrier to migration of waste elements from a repository. The geochemistry of tuff is being investigated with particular emphasis on retardation processes. This report addresses the various aspects of sorption by tuff, physical and chemical makeup of tuff, diffusion processes, tuff/groundwater chemistry, waste element chemistry under expected repository conditions, transport processes involved in porous and fracture flow, and geochemical and transport modeling

  4. Infiltration and Seepage Through Fractured Welded Tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    T.A. Ghezzehei; P.F. Dobson; J.A. Rodriguez; P.J. Cook

    2006-01-01

    The Nopal I mine in Pena Blanca, Chihuahua, Mexico, contains a uranium ore deposit within fractured tuff. Previous mining activities exposed a level ground surface 8 m above an excavated mining adit. In this paper, we report results of ongoing research to understand and model percolation through the fractured tuff and seepage into a mined adit both of which are important processes for the performance of the proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. Travel of water plumes was modeled using one-dimensional numerical and analytical approaches. Most of the hydrologic properly estimates were calculated from mean fracture apertures and fracture density. Based on the modeling results, we presented constraints for the arrival time and temporal pattern of seepage at the adit

  5. Infiltration and Seepage Through Fractured Welded Tuff

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    T.A. Ghezzehei; P.F. Dobson; J.A. Rodriguez; P.J. Cook

    2006-06-20

    The Nopal I mine in Pena Blanca, Chihuahua, Mexico, contains a uranium ore deposit within fractured tuff. Previous mining activities exposed a level ground surface 8 m above an excavated mining adit. In this paper, we report results of ongoing research to understand and model percolation through the fractured tuff and seepage into a mined adit both of which are important processes for the performance of the proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. Travel of water plumes was modeled using one-dimensional numerical and analytical approaches. Most of the hydrologic properly estimates were calculated from mean fracture apertures and fracture density. Based on the modeling results, we presented constraints for the arrival time and temporal pattern of seepage at the adit.

  6. Hydraulic characterization of hydrothermally altered Nopal tuff

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Green, R.T.; Meyer-James, K.A. [Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX (United States); Rice, G. [George Rice and Associates, San Antonio, TX (United States)

    1995-07-01

    Understanding the mechanics of variably saturated flow in fractured-porous media is of fundamental importance to evaluating the isolation performance of the proposed high-level radioactive waste repository for the Yucca Mountain site. Developing that understanding must be founded on the analysis and interpretation of laboratory and field data. This report presents an analysis of the unsaturated hydraulic properties of tuff cores from the Pena Blanca natural analog site in Mexico. The basic intent of the analysis was to examine possible trends and relationships between the hydraulic properties and the degree of hydrothermal alteration exhibited by the tuff samples. These data were used in flow simulations to evaluate the significance of a particular conceptual (composite) model and of distinct hydraulic properties on the rate and nature of water flow.

  7. Hydraulic characterization of hydrothermally altered Nopal tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Green, R.T.; Meyer-James, K.A.; Rice, G.

    1995-07-01

    Understanding the mechanics of variably saturated flow in fractured-porous media is of fundamental importance to evaluating the isolation performance of the proposed high-level radioactive waste repository for the Yucca Mountain site. Developing that understanding must be founded on the analysis and interpretation of laboratory and field data. This report presents an analysis of the unsaturated hydraulic properties of tuff cores from the Pena Blanca natural analog site in Mexico. The basic intent of the analysis was to examine possible trends and relationships between the hydraulic properties and the degree of hydrothermal alteration exhibited by the tuff samples. These data were used in flow simulations to evaluate the significance of a particular conceptual (composite) model and of distinct hydraulic properties on the rate and nature of water flow

  8. Uniaxial compression test series on Bullfrog Tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Price, R.H.; Jones, A.K.; Nimick, K.G.

    1982-04-01

    Nineteen uniaxial compressive experiments were performed on samples of the Bullfrog Member of the Crater Flat Tuff, obtained from drillhole USW-G1 at Yucca Mountain on the Nevada Test Site. The water saturated samples were deformed at a nominal strain rate of 10 -5 sec -1 , atmospheric pressure and room temperature. Resultant unconfined compressive strengths, axial strains to failure, Young's moduli and Poisson's ratios ranged from 4.63 to 153. MPa, .0028 to .0058, 2.03 to 28.9 GPa and .08 to .16, respectively

  9. Using chloride to trace water movement in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Fabryka-Martin, J.T.; Winters, S.T.; Wolfsberg, A.V.; Wolfsberg, L.E.; Roach, J.L.

    1998-01-01

    The nonwelded Paintbrush Tuff (PTn) hydrogeologic unit is postulated as playing a critical role in the redistribution of moisture in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Fracture-dominated flow in the overlying low-permeability, highly fractured Tiva Canyon welded (TCw) unit is expected to transition to matrix-dominated flow in the high-permeability, comparatively unfractured PTn. The transition process from fracture to matrix flow in the PTn, as well as the transition from low to high matrix storage capacity, is expected to damp out most of the seasonal, decadal, and secular variability in surface infiltration. This process should also result in the homogenization of the variable geochemical and isotopic characteristics of pore water entering the top of the PTn. In contrast, fault zones that provide continuous fracture pathways through the PTn may damp climatic and geochemical variability only slightly and may provide fast paths from the surface to the sampled depths, whether within the PTn or in underlying welded tuffs. Chloride (Cl) content and other geochemical data obtained from PTn pore-water samples can be used to independently derive infiltration rates for comparison with surface infiltration estimates, to evaluate the role of structural features as fast paths, and to assess the prevalence and extent to which water may be laterally diverted in the PTn due to contrasting hydrologic properties of its subunits

  10. The paleohydrology of unsaturated and saturated zones at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, and vicinity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paces, James B.; Whelan, Joseph F.; Stuckless, John S.

    2012-01-01

    caused by climate shifts between the Miocene and Pleistocene and between Pleistocene glacial-interglacial cycles. Secondary mineral distribution and δ18O profiles indicate that evaporation in the shallower welded tuffs reduces infiltration fluxes. Several near-surface and subsurface processes likely are responsible for diverting or dampening infiltration and percolation, resulting in buffering of percolation fluxes to the deeper unsaturated zone. Cooler and wetter Pleistocene climates resulted in increased recharge in upland areas and higher water tables at Yucca Mountain and throughout the region. Discharge deposits in the Amargosa Desert were active during glacial periods, but only in areas where the modern water table is within 7–30 m of the surface. Published groundwater models simulate water-table rises beneath Yucca Mountain of as much as 150 m during glacial climates. However, most evidence from Fortymile Canyon up gradient from Yucca Mountain limits water-table rises to 30 m or less, which is consistent with evidence from discharge sites in the Amargosa Desert. The isotopic compositions of uranium in tuffs spanning the water table in two Yucca Mountain boreholes indicate that Pleistocene water-table rises likely were restricted to 25–50 m above modern positions and are in approximate agreement with water-table rises estimated from zeolitic-to-vitric transitions in the Yucca Mountain tuffs (less than 60 m in the last 11.6 m.y.).

  11. Hydrogeology of the unsaturated zone, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Montazer, P.; Wilson, W.E.

    1985-01-01

    The unsaturated volcanic tuff beneath Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is being evaluated by the US Department of Energy as a host rock for a potential mined geologic repository for high-level radioactive waste. Assessment of site suitability needs an efficient and focused investigative program. A conceptual hydrogeologic model that simulates the flow of fluids through the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain was developed to guide the program and to provide a basis for preliminary assessment of site suitability. The study was made as part of the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations Project of the US Department of Energy. Thickness of the unsaturated zone is about 1640 to 2460 feet (500 to 750 meters). Based on physical properties, the rocks in the unsaturated zone are grouped for the purpose of this paper into five informal hydrogeologic units. From top to bottom these units are: Tiva Canyon welded unit, Paintbrush nonwelded unit. Topopah Spring welded unit, Calico Hills nonwelded unit, and Crater Flat unit. Welded units have a mean fracture density of 8 to 40 fractures per unit cubic meter, mean matrix porosities of 12 to 23%, matrix hydraulic conductivities with geometric means ranging from 6.5 x 10 -6 to 9.8 x 10 -6 foot per day (2 x 10 -6 to 3 x 10 -6 meter per day), and bulk hydraulic conductivities of 0.33 to 33 feet per day (0.1 to 10 meters per day). The nonwelded units have a mean fracture density of 1 to 3 fractures per unit cubic meter, mean matrix porosities of 31 to 46%, and saturated hydraulic conductivities with geometric means ranging from 2.6 x 10 -5 to 2.9 x 10 -2 foot per day (8 x 10 -6 to 9 x 10 -3 meter per day). 15 refs., 4 figs., 1 tab

  12. The influence of long term climate change on net infiltration at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Flint, A.L.; Hevesi, J.A.; Flint, L.E.

    1993-01-01

    Net infiltration and recharge at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, a potential site for a high level nuclear waste repository, are determined both by the rock properties and past and future changes in climate. A 1-dimensional model was constructed to represent a borehole being drilled through the unsaturated zone. The rock properties were matched to the lithologies expected to be encountered in the borehole. As current paleoclimate theory assumes that 18 O increases with wetter and cooler global climates, a past climate scenario, built on depletion of 18 O from ocean sediments was used as a basis for climate change over the past 700,000 years. The climate change was simulated by assigning net infiltration values as a linear function of 18 O. Assuming the rock properties, lithologies, and climate scenarios are correct, simulations indicated that Yucca Mountain is not in steady state equilibrium at the surface ( 250 meters. Based on the cyclic climate inputs, the near surface is currently in a long term drying trend (for the last 3,000 years) yet recharge into the water table is continuing to occur at an average rate equivalent to the average input rate of the climate model, indicating that conditions at depth are damped out over very long time periods. The Paintbrush Tuff nonwelded units, positioned between the Tiva Canyon and Topopah Spring welded tuff Members, do not appear to act as a capillary barrier and therefore would not perch water. The low porosity vitric caprock and basal vitrophyre of the Topopah Spring Member, however, act as restrictive layers. The higher porosity rock directly above the caprock reduces the potential for the caprock to perch water leaving the basal vitrophyre as the most likely location for perched water to develop

  13. Slingram survey at Yucca Mountain on the Nevada Test Site

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Flanigan, V.J.

    1981-01-01

    Electromagnetic (EM) data presented in this report is part of study by the US Geological Survey aimed at evaluating the Miocene and Pliocene Yucca Mountain Member of various units of the Paintbrush Tuff in the vicinity of Yucca Mountain as a possible repository for nuclear wastes. The survey area is located about 97 km northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada on the Nevada Test Site. Data contained in this report were taken along the eastern edge of Yucca Mountain. The specific purpose of this survey was to determine with EM methods, whether or not northwest-trending valleys in the Yucca Mountain area were fault controlled. Fault and fracture zones in the tuff units were expected to have a somewhat higher conductivity than the unfractured tuff. This is due to the greater porosity, clay and moisture content expected in the fault zones than in unfaulted rock. Depending upon a number of factors, such as the conductivity contrast between fault zones and unfaulted rock, and the depth and conductivity of the overburden, it may be possible to recognize fault zones from surface EM measurements. Several EM methods were tested to determine which one gave the best results in this environment. The methods tried included slingram, Turam and VLF (very low frequency). Slingram data proved to be most diagnostic in delineating a mapped fault on the east edge of Yucca Mountain, and hence was used in the survey traverses crossing the northwest valleys cutting into Yucca Mountain

  14. Fracture coatings in Topopah Spring Tuff along drill hole wash

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Carlos, B.A.; Chipera, S.J.; Bish, D.L.

    1994-01-01

    Fracture-lining minerals are being studied as part of site characterization to determine the suitability of Yucca Mountain, Nevada as a potential high level nuclear waste repository. Fracture coatings in the Paintbrush Group provide information on potential flow paths above the water table both toward and away from the potential repository and provide information on the distribution of fracture-lining minerals needed to model thermal effects of waste emplacement. Fracture coatings within the predominantly non-zeolitic Paintbrush Group vary both with depth and laterally across Yucca Mountain, whereas fracture coatings in tuffs below the Paintbrush Group are related to the mineralogy of the tuffs and follow a consistent pattern of distribution with predominantly quartz, calcite, and manganese oxides in the devitrified intervals and mordenite and clinoptilolite in the zeolitic intervals. The zeolites stellerite and heulandite are more abundant in fractures in the Topopah Spring Tuff in drill holes USW G-1 and UE-25 a number-sign l, located along Drill Hole Wash (at the northern end of Yucca Mountain) than in core from other parts of Yucca Mountain. Buesch et al. (2) present evidence for a complex fault system along Drill Hole Wash. To investigate the possibility that the abundant fracture-lining zeolites in USW G-1 and UE-25 a number-sign 1 are related to the Drill Hole Wash fault, the Topopah Spring Tuff was examined in drill cores from USW UZ-14, USW G-1, USW NRG-7/7a, and UE-25 a number-sign l

  15. Mineralogic studies of tuff for high-level waste disposal

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Vaniman, D.; Bish, D.; Broxton, D.; Byers, F.; Carlos, B.; Levy, S.

    1986-01-01

    The volcanic rocks at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, consist predominantly of tuff that originated 12 to 14 million years ago as flows and airfalls of hot volcanic particulates. On cooling these units formed two major rock types: crystallized zones formed mostly of feldspar and silica minerals, and zones of glass. Alteration of glass to zeolite minerals occurred largely during structural tilting of Yucca Mountain in the ∼1-3 million years following the major eruptions. The compositions of zeolites formed from glasses strongly indicate open-system chemical exchange. Superimposed on this general alteration of glasses are areas of local high-temperature alteration. High-temperature alteration ended by 11 million years ago. Zeolites such as clinoptilolite persisted during high-temperature alteration at temperatures up to 100 degree C, suggesting that clinoptilolite at Yucca Mountain close to the thermally disturbed zone around a repository may also survive heating to temperatures at least this high. The mineralogic data from tuff at Yucca Mountain will ultimately be used by the Department of Energy Nevada Nuclear Waste storage Investigations for (1) defining the mineralogic component in estimating waste element travel times away from the repository and (2) determining the past history of alteration and the anticipated stability of minerals near the repository

  16. Natural gels in the Yucca Mountain Area, Nevada, USA

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Levy, S.S.

    1991-01-01

    Relict gels at Yucca Mountain include pore- and fracture-fillings of silica and zeolite related to diagenetic and hydrothermal alternation of vitric tuffs. Water-rich free gels in fractures at Rainier Mesa consist of smectite with or without silica-rich gel fragments. Gels are being studied for their potential role in transport of radionuclides from a nuclear-waste repository

  17. U-Pb Ages of Secondary Silica at Yucca Mountain, Nevada: Implications for the Paleohydrology of the Unsaturated Zone

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    L.A. Neymark; Y. Amelin; J.B. Paces; Z.E. Peterman

    2001-01-01

    U, Th, and Pb isotopes were analyzed in layers of opal and chalcedony from individual millimeter- to centimeter-thick calcite and silica coatings at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, USA, a site that is being evaluated for a potential high-level nuclear waste repository. These calcite and silica coatings on fractures and in lithophysal cavities in Miocene-age tuffs in the unsaturated zone (UZ) precipitated from descending water and record a long history of percolation through the UZ. Opal and chalcedony have high concentrations of U (10 to 780 ppm) and low concentrations of common Pb as indicated by large values of 206 Pb/ 204 Pb (up to 53,806), thus making them suitable for U-Pb age determinations. Interpretations of U-Pb isotopes in opal samples at Yucca Mountain are complicated by the incorporation of excess 234 U at the time of mineral formation, resulting in reverse discordance of U-Pb ages. However, the 207 Pb/ 235 U ages are much less affected by deviation from initial secular equilibrium and provide reliable ages of most silica deposits between 0.6 and 9.8 Ma. For chalcedony subsamples showing normal age discordance, these ages may represent minimum times of deposition. Typically, 207 Pb/ 235 U ages are consistent with the microstratigraphy in the mineral coating samples, such that the youngest ages are for subsamples from outer layers, intermediate ages are from inner layers, and oldest ages are from innermost layers. 234 U and 230 Th in most silica layers deeper in the coatings are in secular equilibrium with 238 U, which is consistent with their old age and closed system behavior during the past 0.5 m.y. U-Pb ages for subsamples of silica layers from different microstratigraphic positions in individual calcite and silica coating samples collected from lithophysal cavities in the welded part of the Topopah Spring Tuff yield slow long-term average depositional rates of 1 to 5 mm/m.y. These data imply that the deeper parts of the UZ at Yucca Mountain maintained long

  18. Observation of time dependent dispersion in laboratory scale experiments with intact tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rundberg, R.S.; Triay, I.R.; Ott, M.A.; Mitchell, A.J.

    1989-01-01

    The migration of radionuclides through intact tuff was studied using tuff from Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The tuff samples were both highly zeolitized ash-fall tuff from the Calico Hills and densely welded devitrified tuff from the Topopah Springs member of the Paintbrush tuff. Tritiated water and pertechnetate were used as conservative tracers. The sorbing tracers 85 Sr, 137 Cs, and 133 Ba were used with the devitrified tuff only. Greater tailing in the elution curves of the densely welded tuff samples was observed that could be fit by adjusting the dispersion coefficient in the conventional Advection Dispersion Equation, ADE. The curves could be fit using time dependent dispersion as was previously observed for sediments and alluvium by Dieulin, Matheron, and de Marsily. The peak of strontium concentration was expected to arrive after 1.5 years based on the conventional ADE and assuming a linear K d of 26 ml/g. The observed elution had significant strontium in the first sample taken at 2 weeks after injection. The peak in the strontium elution occurred at 5 weeks. The correct arrival time for the strontium peak was achieved using a one dimensional analytic solution with time dependent dispersion. The dispersion coefficient as a function of time used to fit the conservative tracers was found to predict the peak arrival of the sorbing tracers. The K d used was the K d determined by the batch method on crushed tuff. 23 refs., 9 figs., 2 tabs

  19. Stonewall Mountain Volcanic Center, southern Nevada: Stratigraphic, structural, and facies relations of outflow sheets, near-vent tuffs, and intracaldera units

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weiss, Steven I.; Noble, Donald C.

    1989-05-01

    Directly south and southeast of Stonewall Mountain, Nevada, a depression and north facing caldera scarp were formed during and(or) after eruption of the Spearhead Member of the late Miocene Stonewall Flat Tuff. Abundant large lithic and juvenile blocks are present in the Spearhead Member within 0.5 km of this topographic margin but absent elsewhere in the ash-flow sheet, consistent with eruption from vents in the Stonewall Mountain area. Within about 100,000 years, comendite tuff of the overlying Civet Cat Canyon Member of the Stonewall Flat Tuff buried the depression and associated scarp. The Civet Cat Canyon Member is traceable continuously to the north from an outflow sheet capping northwestern Pahute Mesa, into near-vent tuff on the southeastern flank of Stonewall Mountain. Proximal outflow-sheet tuff locally exhibits strong rheomorphic disruption and is overlain without a cooling break by surge, flow, and fall deposits of trachytic composition. Much of Stonewall Mountain is composed of welded tuff and megabreccia interpreted as intracaldera tuff of the Civet Cat Canyon Member, strongly suggesting that the vent area of the member was largely within Stonewall Mountain. Welded tuff of trachytic composition comprises an important part of the intracaldera Civet Cat Canyon Member, which was intruded by dikes and plugs of trachyte and rhyolite. Juvenile inclusions of basalt dispersed in near-vent facies trachyte tuff provide direct evidence for the high-level involvement of basaltic magma in the evolution of the highly potassic Stonewall Mountain center. Complex discordant compaction foliations and the widespread presence of megabreccia within the intracaldera tuff suggest, following Foley (1978), cauldron subsidence by piecemeal collapse during eruption of the Civet Cat Canyon Member. The elevation of intracaldera tuff and intrusions in Stonewall Mountain above the surrounding ashflow sheet suggests a significant amount of magmatic uplift, perhaps involving the

  20. Geology of drill hole UE25p No. 1: A test hole into pre-Tertiary rocks near Yucca Mountain, southern Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Carr, M.D.; Waddell, S.J.; Vick, G.S.; Stock, J.M.; Monsen, S.A.; Harris, A.G.; Cork, B.W.; Byers, F.M. Jr.

    1986-01-01

    Yucca Mountain in southern Nye County, Nevada, has been proposed as a potential site for the underground disposal of high-level nuclear waste. An exploratory drill hole designated UE25p No. 1 was drilled 3 km east of the proposed repository site to investigate the geology and hydrology of the rocks that underlie the Tertiary volcanic and sedimentary rock sequence forming Yucca Mountain. Silurian dolomite assigned to the Roberts Mountain and Lone Mountain Formations was intersected below the Tertiary section between a depth of approximately 1244 m (4080 ft) and the bottom of the drill hole at 1807 m (5923 ft). These formations are part of an important regional carbonate aquifer in the deep ground-water system. Tertiary units deeper than 1139 m (3733 ft) in drill hole UE25p No. 1 are stratigraphically older than any units previously penetrated by drill holes at Yucca Mountain. These units are, in ascending order, the tuff of Yucca Flat, an unnamed calcified ash-flow tuff, and a sequence of clastic deposits. The upper part of the Tertiary sequence in drill hole UE25p No. 1 is similar to that found in other drill holes at Yucca Mountain. The Tertiary sequence is in fault contact with the Silurian rocks. This fault between Tertiary and Paleozoic rocks may correlate with the Fran Ridge fault, a steeply westward-dipping fault exposed approximately 0.5 km east of the drill hole. Another fault intersects UE25p No. 1 at 873 m (2863 ft), but its surface trace is concealed beneath the valley west of the Fran Ridge fault. The Paintbrush Canyon fault, the trace of which passes less than 100 m (330 ft) east of the drilling site, intersects drill hole UE25p No. 1 at a depth of approximately 78 m (255 ft). The drill hole apparently intersected the west flank of a structural high of pre-Tertiary rocks, near the eastern edge of the Crater Flat structural depression

  1. Evaluation of tuff as a medium for a nucolear waste repository: interim status report on the properties of tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Johnstone, J.K.; Wolfsberg, K.

    1980-07-01

    This report is the second in a series of summary briefings to the National Academy of Science's (NAS) Committee on Radioactive Waste Management dealing with feasibility of disposal of heat-producing radioactive waste in silicic tuff. The interim status of studies of tuff properties determined on samples obtained from Yucca Mountain and Rainier Mesa (G-tunnel) located on the Nevada Test Site (NTS) are discussed. In particular, progress is described on resolving issues identified during the first briefing to the NAS which include behavior of water in tuff when heated, the effect of the presence or absence of water and joints on the thermal/physical properties of tuff and the detailed/complex sorptive properties of highly altered and unaltered tuff. Initial correlations of thermal/physical and sorptive properties with the highly variable porosity and mineralogy are described. Three in-situ, at-depth field experiments, one nearly completed and two just getting underway are described. In particular, the current status of mineralogy and petrology, geochemistry, thermal and mechanical, radiation effects and water behavior studies are described. The goals and initial results of a Mine Design Working Group are discussed. Regional factors such as seismicity, volcanism and hydrology are not discussed

  2. Mechanical characterization of densely welded Apache Leap tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Fuenkajorn, K.; Daemen, J.J.K.

    1991-06-01

    An empirical criterion is formulated to describe the compressive strength of the densely welded Apache Leap tuff. The criterion incorporates the effects of size, L/D ratio, loading rate and density variations. The criterion improves the correlation between the test results and the failure envelope. Uniaxial and triaxial compressive strengths, Brazilian tensile strength and elastic properties of the densely welded brown unit of the Apache Leap tuff have been determined using the ASTM standard test methods. All tuff samples are tested dry at room temperature (22 ± 2 degrees C), and have the core axis normal to the flow layers. The uniaxial compressive strength is 73.2 ± 16.5 MPa. The Brazilian tensile strength is 5.12 ± 1.2 MPa. The Young's modulus and Poisson's ratio are 22.6 ± 5.7 GPa and 0.20 ± 0.03. Smoothness and perpendicularity do not fully meet the ASTM requirements for all samples, due to the presence of voids and inclusions on the sample surfaces and the sample preparation methods. The investigations of loading rate, L/D radio and cyclic loading effects on the compressive strength and of the size effect on the tensile strength are not conclusive. The Coulomb strength criterion adequately represents the failure envelope of the tuff under confining pressures from 0 to 62 MPa. Cohesion and internal friction angle are 16 MPa and 43 degrees. The brown unit of the Apache Leap tuff is highly heterogeneous as suggested by large variations of the test results. The high intrinsic variability of the tuff is probably caused by the presence of flow layers and by nonuniform distributions of inclusions, voids and degree of welding. Similar variability of the properties has been found in publications on the Topopah Spring tuff at Yucca Mountain. 57 refs., 32 figs., 29 tabs

  3. Measuring geomechanical properties of Topopah Spring Tuff at the 1-meter scale

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Blair, S.C.; Berge, P.A.

    1994-11-01

    The Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project is studying physical and chemical properties of Topopah Spring tuff and coupled thermal, mechanical, hydrological, and geochemical processes expected in the near-field environment of the potential waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Investigating the suitability of Topopah Spring tuff as a host rock for radioactive waste disposal includes measuring mechanical properties. Since heterogeneities vary with scale, from vugs and cracks at the hand-sample scale to fractures and vertical variations in degree of welding at the outcrop scale, mechanical properties of the tuff depend on scale. The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has planned a Large Block Test (LBT) to investigate rock mass properties and coupled processes at elevated temperatures in Topopah Spring tuff at the scale of a few meters. This paper describes planned laboratory experiments in support of the LBT, to measure elastic properties and mechanical behavior of Topopah Spring tuff at the scale of a few cm to 1 m. The laboratory experiments will include measurement of stress-strain behavior, acoustic emissions during heating, and elastic wave velocities in small blocks of tuff

  4. Geology of the ECRB Cross Drift-Exploratory Studies Facility, Yucca Mountain Project, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    DOE

    1999-01-01

    The Enhanced Characterization of the Repository Block Cross Drift (Cross Drift) excavated at Yucca Mountain is being studied to determine its suitability as a permanent high-level nuclear waste repository. This report presents a summary of data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) personnel on behalf of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) for the Department of Energy in the Cross Drift from Sta. 00+00 to 26+64. This report includes descriptions of lithostratigraphic units, an analysis of data from full-periphery geologic maps (FPGM) and detailed line survey (DLS) data, a detailed description of the Solitario Canyon Fault zone (SCFZ), and an analysis of geotechnical and engineering characteristics. The Cross Drift is excavated entirely within the Topopah Spring Tuff formation of the Paintbrush Group. Units exposed in the crystal-poor member of the Topopah Spring Tuff, include the Topopah Spring crystal-poor upper lithophysal zone (Tptpul) (Sta. 0+00 to 10+15), the Topopah Spring crystal-poor middle nonlithophysal zone (Tptpmn) (Sta. 10+15 to 14+44), the Topopah Spring crystal-poor lower lithophysal zone (Tptpll) (Sta. 14+44 to 23+26), and the Topopah Spring crystal-poor lower nonlithophysal zone (Tptpln) (Sta. 23+26 to 25+85). The lower portion of the Topopah Spring crystal-rich lithophysal transition subzone (Tptrl1) is exposed on the west side of the Solitario Canyon fault from Sta. 26+57.5 to 26+64. Lithologically, the units exposed in the Cross Drift are similar in comparable stratigraphic intervals of the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF), particularly in terms of welding, secondary crystallization, fracturing, and type, size, color, and abundance of pumice and lithic clasts. The most notable difference is the lack of the intensely fractured zone (IFZ) in the Cross Drift. The as-built cross section and the pre-construction cross section compare favorably. Lithostratigraphic contacts and structures on the pre-construction cross section were

  5. Geohydrologic data and models of Rainier Mesa and their implications to Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wang, J.S.Y.; Cook, N.G.W.; Wollenberg, H.A.; Carnahan, C.L.; Javandel, I.; Tsang, C.F.

    1993-01-01

    The geohydrologic data collected at Rainier Mesa provide the only extensive observations in tunnels presently available on flow and transport in tuff units similar to those of a potential nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. This information can, therefore, be of great value in planning the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF) testing in underground drifts at Yucca Mountain. In this paper, we compare the geohydrologic characteristics of tuff units of these two sites and summarize the hydrochemical data indicating the presence of nearly meteoric water in Rainier Mesa tunnels. A simple analytic model is used to evaluate the possibility of propagating transient pulses of water along fractures or faults through the Paintbrush nonwelded tuff unit to reach the tunnel beds below. The results suggest that fast flow could occur without significant mixing between meteoric fracture water and matrix pore water. The implications of these findings on planning for the ESF Calico Hills study at Yucca Mountain are discussed

  6. Climatic Forecasting of Net Infiltration at Yucca Mountain Using Analogue Meteorological Data

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Faybishenko, Boris

    2005-01-01

    At Yucca Mountain, NV, future changes in climatic conditions will probably alter net infiltration, drainage below the bottom of the evapotranspiration zone within the soil profile, or flow across the interface between soil and the densely welded part of the Tiva Canyon Tuff. The objectives of this study were to: (1) develop a semiempirical model and forecast average net infiltration rates, using the limited meteorological data from analog meteorological stations, for interglacial(present day), and future monsoon, glacial transition, and glacial climates over the Yucca Mountain region; and (2) corroborate the computed net infiltration rates by comparing them with the empirically and numerically determined groundwater recharge and percolation rates through the unsaturated zone from published data. This study approached calculations of net infiltration, aridity, and precipitation effectiveness indices using a modified Budyko's water-balance model, with reference-surface potential evapotranspiration determined from the radiation-based Penman formula. Results of calculations show that net infiltration rates are expected to generally increase from the present-day climate to monsoon climate, to glacial transition climate, and then to the glacial climate, following a power law relationship between net infiltration and precipitation. The forecasting results indicate the overlap between the ranges of net infiltration for different climates. Forecasting of net infiltration for different climate states is subject to numerous uncertainties associated with selecting climate analog sites, using relatively short analog meteorological records, neglecting the effects of vegetation and surface runoff and run-on on a local scale, as well as possible anthropogenically induced climate changes

  7. Climatic Forecasting of Net Infiltration at Yucca Mountain Using Analogue Meteorological Data

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    B. Faybishenko

    2006-01-01

    At Yucca Mountain, Nevada, future changes in climatic conditions will most likely alter net infiltration, or the drainage below the bottom of the evapotranspiration zone within the soil profile or flow across the interface between soil and the densely welded part of the Tiva Canyon Tuff. The objectives of this paper are to: (a) develop a semi-empirical model and forecast average net infiltration rates, using the limited meteorological data from analogue meteorological stations, for interglacial (present day), and future monsoon, glacial transition, and glacial climates over the Yucca Mountain region, and (b) corroborate the computed net-infiltration rates by comparing them with the empirically and numerically determined groundwater recharge and percolation rates through the unsaturated zone from published data. In this paper, the author presents an approach for calculations of net infiltration, aridity, and precipitation-effectiveness indices, using a modified Budyko's water-balance model, with reference-surface potential evapotranspiration determined from the radiation-based Penman (1948) formula. Results of calculations show that net infiltration rates are expected to generally increase from the present-day climate to monsoon climate, to glacial transition climate, and then to the glacial climate. The forecasting results indicate the overlap between the ranges of net infiltration for different climates. For example, the mean glacial net-infiltration rate corresponds to the upper-bound glacial transition net infiltration, and the lower-bound glacial net infiltration corresponds to the glacial transition mean net infiltration. Forecasting of net infiltration for different climate states is subject to numerous uncertainties-associated with selecting climate analogue sites, using relatively short analogue meteorological records, neglecting the effects of vegetation and surface runoff and runon on a local scale, as well as possible anthropogenic climate changes

  8. Rock mass mechanical property estimation strategy for the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lin, M.; Brechtel, C.E.; Hardy, M.P.; Bauer, S.J.

    1992-01-01

    This paper presents a method of estimating the rock mass properties for the welded and nonwelded tuffs based on currently available information on intact rock and joint characteristics at the Yucca Mountain site. Variability of the expected ground conditions at the potential repository horizon (the TSw2 thermomechanical unit) and in the Calico Hills nonwelded tuffs is accommodated by defining five rock mass quality categories in each unit based upon assumed and observed distributions of the data

  9. Diablo Canyon

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bindon, F.J.L.

    1986-01-01

    The paper traces the history of Diablo Canyon nuclear power station, California, which took 18 years to reach full-power testing from the planning stage. The major delays during the construction are outlined, as well as the costs of Diablo Canyon. (UK)

  10. Thermal analysis of Yucca Mountain commercial high-level waste packages

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Altenhofen, M.K.; Eslinger, P.W.

    1992-10-01

    The thermal performance of commercial high-level waste packages was evaluated on a preliminary basis for the candidate Yucca Mountain repository site. The purpose of this study is to provide an estimate for waste package component temperatures as a function of isolation time in tuff. Several recommendations are made concerning the additional information and modeling needed to evaluate the thermal performance of the Yucca Mountain repository system

  11. Version I of the users manual for the Tuff Data Base Interface

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Langkopf, B.S.; Satter, B.J.; Welch, E.P.

    1985-04-01

    The Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations (NNWSI) project, managed by the Nevada Operations Office of the US Department of Energy, is investigating the feasibility of locating a repository at Yucca Mountain on and adjacent to the Nevada Test Site (NTS) in southern Nevada. A part of this investigation includes obtaining physical properties from laboratory tests on samples from Yucca Mountain and field tests of the in situ tuffs at Yucca Mountain. A computerized data base has been developed to store this data in a centralized location. The data base is stored on the Cyber 170/855 computer at Sandia using the System 2000 Data Base Management software. A user-friendly interface, the Tuff Data Base Interface, is being developed to allow NNWSI participants to retrieve information from the Tuff Data Base directly. The Interface gives NNWSI users a great deal of flexibility in retrieving portions of the Data Base. This report is an interim users manual for the Tuff Data Base Interface, as of August 1984. It gives basic instructions on accessing the Sandia computing system and explains the Interface on a question-by-question basis

  12. Geologyy of the Yucca Mountain Site Area, Southwestern Nevada, Chapter in Stuckless, J.S., ED., Yucca Mountain, Nevada - A Proposed Geologic Repository for High-Level Radioactive Waste (Volume 1)

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    W.R. Keefer; J.W. Whitney; D.C. Buesch

    2006-09-25

    Yucca Mountain in southwestern Nevada is a prominent, irregularly shaped upland formed by a thick apron of Miocene pyroclastic-flow and fallout tephra deposits, with minor lava flows, that was segmented by through-going, large-displacement normal faults into a series of north-trending, eastwardly tilted structural blocks. The principal volcanic-rock units are the Tiva Canyon and Topopah Spring Tuffs of the Paintbrush Group, which consist of volumetrically large eruptive sequences derived from compositionally distinct magma bodies in the nearby southwestern Nevada volcanic field, and are classic examples of a magmatic zonation characterized by an upper crystal-rich (> 10% crystal fragments) member, a more voluminous lower crystal-poor (< 5% crystal fragments) member, and an intervening thin transition zone. Rocks within the crystal-poor member of the Topopah Spring Tuff, lying some 280 m below the crest of Yucca Mountain, constitute the proposed host rock to be excavated for the storage of high-level radioactive wastes. Separation of the tuffaceous rock formations into subunits that allow for detailed mapping and structural interpretations is based on macroscopic features, most importantly the relative abundance of lithophysae and the degree of welding. The latter feature, varying from nonwelded through partly and moderately welded to densely welded, exerts a strong control on matrix porosities and other rock properties that provide essential criteria for distinguishing hydrogeologic and thermal-mechanical units, which are of major interest in evaluating the suitability of Yucca Mountain to host a safe and permanent geologic repository for waste storage. A thick and varied sequence of surficial deposits mantle large parts of the Yucca Mountain site area. Mapping of these deposits and associated soils in exposures and in the walls of trenches excavated across buried faults provides evidence for multiple surface-rupturing events along all of the major faults during

  13. Quasi-linear analysis of water flow in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, USA

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ross, B.

    1990-01-01

    Philip's method of quasi-linear approximation, applied to the fractured welded tuffs at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, USA, yields simple relations describing groundwater movement in the unsaturated zone. These relations suggest that water flux through the Topopah Spring welded tuff unit, in which a proposed high-level radioactive waste repository would be built, may be fixed at a value close to the saturated hydraulic conductivity of the unit's porous matrix by a capillary barrier at the unit's upper contact. Quasi-linear methods may also be useful for predicting whether free water will enter tunnels excavated in the tuff

  14. Update report on fracture flow in saturated tuff: Dynamic transport task for the Nevada Nuclear Waste Investigations

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Janecky, D.R.; Rundberg, R.S.; Ott, M.; Mitchell, A.

    1990-11-01

    This report summarizes the results of continuing experiments on the behavior of tracers during fracture flow in saturated, welded tuff. These experiments were completed during the past year as part of the Dynamic Transport Task of geochemical investigations for the Yucca Mountain Project sponsored by the US Department of Energy. These experiments are designed to investigate the effects of fluid movement in fractures when coupled with matrix diffusion and sorption but isolated from the effects of capillary suction and two-phase flow characteristic of unsaturated conditions. The experiments reported here are continuations of experimental efforts reported previously. The behavior of three tracers [HTO (tritiated water), TcO 4 - (pertechnetate), and sulforhodamine B dye] have been investigated during flow through a saturated column of densely welded tuff from the Topopah Spring Member of the Paintbrush Tuff, Yucca Mountain, Nye County, southern Nevada. 31 refs., 26 figs., 2 tabs

  15. Pore-water extraction from unsaturated tuff by triaxial and one-dimensional compression methods, Nevada Test Site, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Mower, T.E.; Higgins, J.D.; Yang, In C.; Peters, C.A.

    1994-01-01

    The hydrologic system in the unsaturated tuff at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is being evaluated for the US Department of Energy by the Yucca Mountain Project Branch of the US Geological Survey as a potential site for a high-level radioactive-waste repository. Part of this investigation includes a hydrochemical study that is being made to assess characteristics of the hydrologic system such as: traveltime, direction of flow, recharge and source relations, and types and magnitudes of chemical reactions in the unsaturated tuff. In addition, this hydrochemical information will be used in the study of the dispersive and corrosive effects of unsaturated-zone water on the radioactive-waste storage canisters. This report describes the design and validation of laboratory experimental procedures for extracting representative samples of uncontaminated pore water from welded and nonwelded, unsaturated tuffs from the Nevada Test Site

  16. Summary of lithologic logging of new and existing boreholes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, August 1993 to February 1994

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Geslin, J.K.; Moyer, T.C.; Buesch, D.C.

    1995-05-01

    Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is being investigated as a potential site for a high-level radioactive waste repository. This report summarizes the lithologic logging of new and existing boreholes at Yucca Mountain that was done from August 1993 to February 1994 by the Rock Characteristics Section, Yucca Mountain Project Branch, US Geological Survey (USGS). Units encountered during logging include Quaternary-Tertiary alluvium/colluvium, Tertiary Rainier Mesa Tuff, all units in the Tertiary Paintbrush Group, Tertiary Calico Hills Formation and Tertiary Prow Pass Tuff. We present criteria used for recognition of stratigraphic contacts, logging results as tables of contact depths for core from neutron (UZN) boreholes and graphical lithologic logs for core from non-UZN boreholes, and descriptions of several distinctive nonwelded tuffs recognized in the PTn hydrogeologic unit of the Paintbrush Group.

  17. Summary of lithologic logging of new and existing boreholes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, August 1993 to February 1994

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Geslin, J.K.; Moyer, T.C.; Buesch, D.C.

    1995-01-01

    Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is being investigated as a potential site for a high-level radioactive waste repository. This report summarizes the lithologic logging of new and existing boreholes at Yucca Mountain that was done from August 1993 to February 1994 by the Rock Characteristics Section, Yucca Mountain Project Branch, US Geological Survey (USGS). Units encountered during logging include Quaternary-Tertiary alluvium/colluvium, Tertiary Rainier Mesa Tuff, all units in the Tertiary Paintbrush Group, Tertiary Calico Hills Formation and Tertiary Prow Pass Tuff. We present criteria used for recognition of stratigraphic contacts, logging results as tables of contact depths for core from neutron (UZN) boreholes and graphical lithologic logs for core from non-UZN boreholes, and descriptions of several distinctive nonwelded tuffs recognized in the PTn hydrogeologic unit of the Paintbrush Group

  18. Estimates of the width of the wetting zone along a fracture subjected to an episodic infiltration event in variably saturated, densely welded tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Buscheck, T.A.; Nitao, J.J.

    1988-01-01

    A central issue to be addressed within the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations (NNWSI) is the role which fractures will play as the variably saturated, fractured rock mass surrounding the waste package responds to heating, cooling, and episodic infiltration events. Understanding the role of fractures during such events will, in part, depend on our ability to make geophysical measurements of perturbations in the moisture distribution in the vicinity of fractures. In this study we first examine the details of the perturbation in the moisture distribution in and around a fracture subjected to an episodic infiltration event, and then integrate that behavior over the scale at which moisture measurements are likely to be made during the Engineered Barrier Design Test of the NNWSI project. To model this system we use the TOUGH hydrothermal code and fracture and matrix properties considered relevant to the welded ash flow tuff found in the Topopah Spring member at Yucca Mountain as well as in the Grouse Canyon member within G-Tunnel at the Nevada Test Site. Our calculations provide insight into the anticipated spatial and temporal resolution obtainable through the use of the geophysical techniques being considered. These calculations should prove useful both in planning the implementation of these methods as well as in the interpretation of their results. 41 refs., 28 figs

  19. Relative Abundances of Calcite and Silica in Fracture Coatings as a Possible Indicator of Evaporation in a Thick Unsaturated Zone, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marshall, B. D.; Moscati, R. J.

    2005-12-01

    Yucca Mountain, a ridge of shallowly dipping, Miocene-age volcanic rocks in southwest Nevada, is the proposed site for a nuclear waste repository to be constructed in the 500- to 700-m-thick unsaturated zone (UZ). At the proposed repository, the 300-m-thick Topopah Spring Tuff welded unit (TSw) is overlain by approximately 30 m of nonwelded tuffs (PTn); the Tiva Canyon Tuff welded unit (TCw) overlies the PTn with a range in thickness from 0 to approximately 130 m at the site. The amount of water percolation through the UZ is low and difficult to measure directly, but local seepage into mined tunnels has been observed in the TCw. Past water seepage in the welded tuffs is recorded by widespread, thin (0.3 cm) coatings of calcite and silica on fracture surfaces and within cavities. Abundances of calcite and silica in the coatings were determined by X-ray microfluorescence mapping and subsequent multispectral image analysis of over 200 samples. The images were classified into constituent phases including opal-chalcedony-quartz (secondary silica) and calcite. In the TCw samples, the median calcite/silica ratio is 8; in the TSw samples within 35 m below the PTn, median calcite/silica falls to 2, perhaps reflecting an increase in soluble silica from the presence of glass in the nonwelded tuffs. In the deeper parts of the TSw, median calcite/silica reaches 100 and many samples contain no detectable secondary silica phase. Evaporation and changing pCO2 control precipitation of calcite from water percolating downward in the UZ, but precipitation of opal requires only evaporation. Calcite/silica ratios, therefore, can constrain the relative importance of evaporation in the UZ. Although calcite/silica values scatter widely within the TSw, reflecting the spatial variability of gas and water flow, average calcite/silica ratios increase with stratigraphic depth, indicating less evaporation at the deeper levels of the UZ. Coupled with the much smaller calcite/silica ratios

  20. Hydrogeology of the unsaturated zone, North Ramp area of the Exploratory Studies Facility, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rousseau, Joseph P.; Kwicklis, Edward M.; Gillies, Daniel C.; Rousseau, Joseph P.; Kwicklis, Edward M.; Gillies, Daniel C.

    1999-01-01

    Yucca Mountain, in southern Nevada, is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Energy as a potential site for a repository for high-level radioactive waste. This report documents the results of surface-based geologic, pneumatic, hydrologic, and geochemical studies conducted during 1992 to 1996 by the U.S. Geological Survey in the vicinity of the North Ramp of the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF) that are pertinent to understanding multiphase fluid flow within the deep unsaturated zone. Detailed stratigraphic and structural characteristics of the study area provided the hydrogeologic framework for these investigations. Multiple lines of evidence indicate that gas flow and liquid flow within the welded tuffs of the unsaturated zone occur primarily through fractures. Fracture densities are highest in the Tiva Canyon welded (TCw) and Topopah Spring welded (TSw) hydrogeologic units. Although fracture density is much lower in the intervening nonwelded and bedded tuffs of the Paintbrush nonwelded hydrogeologic unit (PTn), pneumatic and aqueous-phase isotopic evidence indicates that substantial secondary permeability is present locally in the PTn, especially in the vicinity of faults. Borehole air-injection tests indicate that bulk air-permeability ranges from 3.5x10-14 to 5.4x10-11 square meters for the welded tuffs and from 1.2x10-13 to 3.0x10-12 square meters for the non welded and bedded tuffs of the PTn. Analyses of in-situ pneumatic-pressure data from monitored boreholes produced estimates of bulk permeability that were comparable to those determined from the air-injection tests. In many cases, both sets of estimates are two to three orders of magnitude larger than estimates based on laboratory analyses of unfractured core samples. The in-situ pneumatic-pressure records also indicate that the unsaturated-zone pneumatic system consists of four subsystems that coincide with the four major hydrogeologic units of the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain. In

  1. Mineralogic alteration history and paleohydrology at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Levy, S.S.

    1990-01-01

    The importance of paleohydrology to the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project derives from the role water will play in radioactive-waste repository performance. Changes in hydrologic conditions during the lifetime of the repository may be estimated by investigating past hydrologic variations, including changes in the static water-level position. Based on the distribution of vitric and zeolitized tuffs and the structural history of the site, the highest water levels were reached and receded downward 11.6 to 12.8 myr ago. Since that time, the water level at central Yucca Mountain has probably not risen more than about 60 m above its present position. The history of the high potentiometric gradient running through northern Yucca Mountain may be partly elucidated by the study of tridymite distribution in rocks that have experienced saturated conditions for varying periods of time

  2. Mineralogic alteration history and paleohydrology at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Levy, S.S.

    1991-01-01

    The importance of paleohydrology to the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project derives from the role water will play in radioactive waste repository performance. Changes in hydrologic conditions during the lifetime of the repository may be estimated by investigating past hydrologic variations, including changes in the static water-level position. Based on the distribution of vitric and zeolitized tuffs and the structural history of the site, the highest water levels were reached and receded downward 11.6 to 12.8 myr ago. Since that time, the water level at central Yucca Mountain has probably not risen more than about 60 m above its present position. The history of the high potentiometric gradient running through northern Yucca Mountain may be partly elucidated by the study of tridymite distribution in rocks that have experienced saturated conditions for varying periods of time

  3. Geology of the Yucca Mountain Site Area, Southwestern Nevada, Chapter in Stuckless, J.S., ED., Yucca Mountain, Nevada - A Proposed Geologic Repository for High-Level Radioactive Waste (Volume 1)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    W.R. Keefer; J.W. Whitney; D.C. Buesch

    2006-01-01

    Yucca Mountain in southwestern Nevada is a prominent, irregularly shaped upland formed by a thick apron of Miocene pyroclastic-flow and fallout tephra deposits, with minor lava flows, that was segmented by through-going, large-displacement normal faults into a series of north-trending, eastwardly tilted structural blocks. The principal volcanic-rock units are the Tiva Canyon and Topopah Spring Tuffs of the Paintbrush Group, which consist of volumetrically large eruptive sequences derived from compositionally distinct magma bodies in the nearby southwestern Nevada volcanic field, and are classic examples of a magmatic zonation characterized by an upper crystal-rich (> 10% crystal fragments) member, a more voluminous lower crystal-poor ( 10 Be and 36 Cl cosmogenic dating methods to determine the length of time bedrock outcrops and hillslope boulder deposits were exposed to cosmic rays, which then served as a basis for calculating long-term erosion rates. The results indicate rates ranging from 0.04 to 0.27 cm/k.y., which represent the maximum downcutting along the summit of Yucca Mountain under all climatic conditions that existed there during most of Quaternary time. Associated studies include the stratigraphy of surficial deposits in Fortymile Wash, the major drainage course in the area, which record a complex history of four to five cut-and-fill cycles within the channel during middle to late Quaternary time. The last 2 to 4 m of incision probably occurred during the last pluvial climatic period, 22 to 18 ka, followed by aggradation to the present time

  4. Modeling fluid-rock interaction at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Viani, B.E.; Bruton, C.J.

    1992-08-01

    Volcanic rocks at Yucca Mountain, Nevada aie being assessed for their suitability as a potential repository for high-level nuclear waste. Recent progress in modeling fluid-rock interactions, in particular the mineralogical and chemical changes that may accompany waste disposal at Yucca Mountain, will be reviewed in this publication. In Part 1 of this publication, ''Geochemical Modeling of Clinoptilolite-Water Interactions,'' solid-solution and cation-exchange models for the zeolite clinoptilolite are developed and compared to experimental and field observations. At Yucca Mountain, clinoptilolite which is found lining fractures and as a major component of zeolitized tuffs, is expected to play an important role in sequestering radionuclides that may escape from a potential nuclear waste repository. The solid-solution and ion-exchange models were evaluated by comparing predicted stabilities and exchangeable cation distributions of clinoptilolites with: (1) published binary exchange data; (2) compositions of coexisting clinoptilolites and formation waters at Yucca Mountain; (3) experimental sorption isotherms of Cs and Sr on zeolitized tuff, and (4) high temperature experimental data. Good agreement was found between predictions and expertmental data, especially for binary exchange and Cs and Sr sorption on clinoptilolite. Part 2 of this publication, ''Geochemical Simulation of Fluid-Rock Interactions at Yucca Mountain,'' describes preliminary numerical simulations of fluid-rock interactions at Yucca Mountain. The solid-solution model developed in the first part of the paper is used to evaluate the stability and composition of clinciptilolite and other minerals in the host rock under ambient conditions and after waste emplacement

  5. Geohydrology of Bandelier Tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Abeele, M.V.; Wheeler, M.L.; Burton, B.W.

    1981-10-01

    The Los Alamos National Laboratory has been disposing of radioactive wastes since 1944. Environmental studies and monitoring for radioactive contamination started concurrently. In this report, only two mechanisms and rates by which the radionuclides can enter the environment are studied in detail: subsurface transport of radionuclides by migrating water, and diffusion of tritiated water (HTO) in the vapor phase. The report also includes a section concerning the influence of moisture on shear strength and possible resulting subsidences occurring in the pit overburdens. Because subsurface transport of radionuclides is influenced by the hydraulic conductivity and this in turn is regulated by the moisture content of any given material, a study was also undertaken involving precipitation, the most important climatic element influencing the geohydrology of any given area. Further work is in progress to correlate HTO emanation to atmospheric and pedological properties, especially including thermal characteristics of the tuff

  6. Low temperature spent fuel oxidation under tuff repository conditions

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Einziger, R.E.; Woodley, R.E.

    1985-01-01

    The Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations Project is studying the suitability of tuffaceous rocks at Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada, for high level waste disposal. The oxidation state of LWR spent fuel in a tuff repository may be a significant factor in determining its ability to inhibit radionuclide migration. Long term exposure at low temperatures to the moist air expected in a tuff repository is expected to increase the oxidation state of the fuel. A program is underway to determine the spent fuel oxidation mechanisms which might be active in a tuff repository. Initial work involves a series of TGA experiments to determine the effectiveness of the technique and to obtain preliminary oxidation data. Tests were run at 200 0 C and 225 0 C for as long as 720 hours. Grain boundary diffusion appears to open up a greater surface area for oxidation prior to onset of bulk diffusion. Temperature strongly influences the oxidation rates. The effect of moisture is small but readily measurable. 25 refs., 7 figs., 4 tabs

  7. Performance testing of waste forms in a tuff environment

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Oversby, V.M.

    1983-11-01

    This paper describes experimental work conducted to establish the chemical composition of water which will have reacted with Topopah Spring Member tuff prior to contact with waste packages. The experimental program to determine the behavior of spent fuel and borosilicate glass in the presence of this water is then described. Preliminary results of experiments using spent fuel segments with defects in the Zircaloy cladding are presented. Some results from parametric testing of a borosilicate glass with tuff and 304L stainless steel are also discussed. Experiments conducted using Topopah Spring tuff and J-13 well water have been conducted to provide an estimate of the post-emplacement environment for waste packages in a repository at Yucca Mountain. The results show that emplacement of waste packages should cause only small changes in the water chemistry and rock mineralogy. The changes in environment should not have any detrimental effects on the performance of metal barriers or waste forms. The NNWSI waste form testing program has provided preliminary results related to the release rate of radionuclides from the waste package. Those results indicate that release rates from both spent fuel and borosilicate glass should be below 1 part in 10 5 per year. Future testing will be directed toward making release rate testing more closely relevant to site specific conditions. 17 references, 7 figures

  8. Measuring and Modeling Flow in Welded Fractured Tuffs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    R. Salve; C. Doughty; J.S. Wang

    2001-01-01

    We have carried out a series of in situ liquid-release experiments in conjunction with a numerical modeling study to examine the effect of the rock matrix on liquid flow and transport occurring primarily through the fracture network. Field experiments were conducted in the highly fractured Topopah Spring welded tuff at a site accessed from the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESFS), an underground laboratory in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. During the experiment, wetting-front movement, flow-field evolution, and drainage of fracture flow paths were evaluated. Modeling was used to aid in experimental design, predict experimental results, and study the physical processes accompanying liquid flow through unsaturated fractured welded tuff. Field experiments and modeling suggest that it may not be sufficient to conceptualize the fractured tuff as consisting of a single network of high-permeability fractures embedded in a low-permeability matrix. The need to include a secondary fracture network is demonstrated by comparison to the liquid flow observed in the field

  9. K/AR dating of clinoptilolite, mordenite, and associated clays from Yucca Mountains, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    WoldeGabriel, G.

    1993-01-01

    Zeolites are abundant in the geologic record in both continental and marine environments. The purpose of the present study is to evaluate the utility of K-bearing zeolites for dating by the K/Ar method to determine the time of zeolite diagenesis at Yucca Mountain, Nevada (Fig. 1). At Yucca Mountain, K-rich clinoptilolite and possibly mordenite are the only potentially K/Ar dateable secondary minerals present in the zeolite-rich tuffs except for some illite/smectites (≥10% illite layers) associated with these minerals. Direct dating of K-rich clinoptilolite, the most abundant zeolite in the altered tuffs, is important to delineate zeolite chronology as part of the site characterization of Yucca Mountain

  10. Evidence for a welded tuff in the Rhyolite of Calico Hills

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dickerson, R.P.; Hunter, W.C.

    1994-01-01

    A welded pyroclastic deposit has been identified in the Rhyolite of Calico Hills near Yucca Mountain, Nevada, where only lava flows and nonwelded pyroclastic deposits were previously described. Field data from Fortymile Wash show that nonwelded, bedded tuff grades upward into partially welded massive ruff, and thence into densely welded vitrophyre. Petrographic data show a progressive decrease in inter- and intragranular porosity and amount of vapor-phase minerals, with increasing welding. Pumice fragments are first deformed, then develop diffuse boundaries which become increasingly obscure with progressive welding. The most densely welded rock is a perlitic vitrophyre. The origin of this welded tuff is not clear, as it could represent an ignimbrite or a tuff fused beneath a thick lava flow

  11. Microstructural Analyses of Topopah Spring Tuff from the Large Block Test at Fran Ridge, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Roberts, J.J.

    2000-01-01

    Microstructural information (e.g., porosity, pore size distribution, and surface area) of porous media is critical to understanding water transport mechanisms and physical properties and their bearing on geophysical measurements. We report microstructural data obtained by mercury injection porosimetry (MIP) on 33 samples of densely welded Topopah Spring tuff from Fran Ridge, Yucca Mountain, Nevada Test Site (NTS), Nevada. The characterization of these samples is also important for the interpretation and analysis of the Large Block Test (LBT) performed in support of the Yucca Mountain Project (YMP). This report includes previously published data on samples from the same location (Roberts and Lin, 1996). We also present information from the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (YMSCP/LLNL) Large Block Test Engineering Plan (Wilder, 1995) to allow correlation of our data directly to various planes within the Large Block

  12. Logs and completion data for water and mass balance wells in Mortandad and Ten Site Canyons

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    McLin, S.G.; Koch, R.J.

    1997-10-01

    Twenty-four monitoring wells were drilled and completed in December 1994 as part of a water and mass balance study for the shallow perched aquifer in the Mortandad Canyon alluvium and in the lower part of Ten-Site Canyon. The wells penetrated the alluvium containing the aquifer and were completed into the top of the weathered tuff. Twelve of these wells encountered the Tshirege Member (Cooing Unit 1 g) of the Bandelier Tuff below the canyon alluvium, while ten wells made contact with the Cerro Toledo interval, which lies between the Tshirege and Otowi Members of the Bandelier Tuff. The remaining two wells were completed into the alluvium above the weathered tuff contact. These wells provide access for continuous water level measurement and water sampling. Data from these new wells will be used to determine changes in alluvial aquifer water storage, water quality sampling, and estimation of seepage into the unsaturated Bandelier Tuff below the alluvium. This report documents drilling activities and well completion logs for the water and mass balance study. These wells also provide critical new data for fourteen north-south vertical cross-sections constructed for the canyon alluvium

  13. HYDROLOGIC CHARACTERISTICS OF FAULTS AT YUCCA MOUNTAIN, NEVADA

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    R.P. Dickerson

    2000-01-01

    Yucca Mountain comprises a series of north-trending ridges composed of tuffs within the southwest Nevada volcanic field, 120 km northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada. These ridges are formed of east-dipping blocks of interbedded welded and nonwelded tuff that are offset along steep, mostly west-dipping faults that have tens to hundreds of meters of vertical separation. Yucca Mountain is currently under study as a potential site for underground storage of high-level radioactive waste, with the principle goal being the safe isolation of the waste from the accessible environment. To this end, an understanding of the behavior of ground-water flow through the mountain in the unsaturated zone and beneath the mountain in the saturated zone is critical. The percolation of water through the mountain and into the ground-water flow system beneath the potential repository site is predicated on: (1) the amount of water available at the surface as a result of the climatic conditions, (2) the hydrogeologic characteristics of the volcanic strata that compose the mountain. and (3) the hydrogeologic characteristics of the structures, particularly fault zones and fracture networks, that disrupt these strata. This paper addresses the hydrogeologic characteristics of the fault zones at Yucca Mountain, focusing primarily on the central part of the mountain where the potential repository block is located

  14. Preparing to Submit a License Application for Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    W.J. Arthur; M.D. Voegele

    2005-01-01

    of the United States, approximately 100 miles (160 kilometers) northwest of Las Vegas (Figure 1). The location is remote from population centers, and there are no permanent residents within approximately 14 miles (23 km) of the site. Overall, Nye County has a population density of about two persons per square mile (two persons per 2.5 square km); in the vicinity of Yucca Mountain, it is significantly less. Yucca Mountain is a series of north-south-trending ridges extending approximately 25 miles (40 km), and consists of successive layers of fine-grained volcanic tuffs, millions of years old, underlain by older carbonate rocks. The alternating layers of welded and nonwelded volcanic tuffs have differing hydrologic properties that significantly impact the manner in which water moves through the mountain. The repository horizon will be in welded tuff located in the unsaturated zone, more than 1,000 feet (300 meters) above the water table in the present-day climate, and is expected to remain well above the water table during wetter future climate conditions. Future meteorology and climatology at Yucca Mountain are important elements in understanding the amount of water available to potentially interact with the waste

  15. Magnetic properties and emplacement of the Bishop tuff, California

    Science.gov (United States)

    Palmer, H.C.; MacDonald, W.D.; Gromme, C.S.; Ellwood, B.B.

    1996-01-01

    Anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility (AMS) and characteristic remanence were measured for 45 sites in the 0.76 Ma Bishop tuff, eastern California. Thirty-three sites were sampled in three stratigraphic sections, two in Owens gorge south of Long Valley caldera, and the third in the Adobe lobe north of Long Valley. The remaining 12 sites are widely distributed, but of limited stratigraphic extent. Weakly indurated, highly porous to dense, welded ash-flow tuffs were sampled. Saturation magnetization vs temperature experiments indicate two principal iron oxide phases: low Ti magnetites with 525-570 ??C Curie temperatures, and maghemite with 610??-640??C Curie temperatures. AF demagnetization spectra of isothermal remanent magnetizations are indicative of magnetite/maghemite predominantly in the multidomain to pseudo-single domain size ranges. Remeasurement of AMS after application of saturating direct fields indicates that randomly oriented single-domain grains are also present. The degree of anisotropy is only a few percent, typical of tuffs. The AMS ellipsoids are oblate with Kmin axes normal to subhorizontal foliation and Kmax axes regionally aligned with published source vents. For 12 of 16 locality means, Kmax axes plunge sourceward, confirming previous observations regarding flow sense. Topographic control on flow emplacement is indicated by the distribution of tuff deposits and by flow directions inferred from Kmax axes. Deposition east of the Benton range occurred by flow around the south end of the range and through two gaps (Benton notch and Chidago gap). Flow down Mammoth pass of the Sierra Nevada is also evident. At least some of the Adobe lobe in the northeast flowed around the west end of Glass mountain. Eastward flow directions in the upper Owens gorge and southeast directions in the lower Owens gorge are parallel to the present canyon, suggesting that the present drainage has been established along the pre-Bishop paleodrainage. Characteristic remanence

  16. Photogeologic study of small-scale linear features near a potential nuclear-waste repository site at Yucca Mountain, southern Nye County, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Throckmorton, C.K.

    1987-01-01

    Linear features were mapped from 1:2400-scale aerial photographs of the northern half of the potential underground nuclear-waste repository site at Yucca Mountain by means of a Kern PG 2 stereoplotter. These features were thought to be the expression of fractures at the ground surface (fracture traces), and were mapped in the caprock, upper lithophysal, undifferentiated lower lithophysal and hackly units of the Tiva Canyon Member of the Miocene Paintbrush Tuff. To determine if the linear features corresponded to fracture traces observed in the field, stations (areas) were selected on the map where the traces were both abundant and located solely within one unit. These areas were visited in the field, where fracture-trace bearings and fracture-trace lengths were recorded. Additional data on fracture-trace length and fracture abundance, obtained from ground-based studies of cleared pavements located within the study area were used to help evaluate data collected for this study. 16 refs., 4 figs., 2 tabs

  17. Detailed petrographic descriptions and microprobe data for drill holes USW-G2 and UE25b-1H, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Broxton, D.; Vaniman, D.; Caporuscio, F.; Arney, B.; Heiken, G.

    1982-10-01

    Drill holes USW-G2 and UE25b-1H at Yucca Mountain, Nevada penetrate a thick sequence of volcanic rocks consisting of voluminous ash-flow tuffs, intercalated with thin bedded tuffs and minor lavas. This report provides detailed petrologic descriptions that were summarized in an earlier report. Microprobe analyses of feldspars and mafic phenocrysts as well as secondary feldspars are tabulated for these drill holes for the first time in this report

  18. Dehydration and rehydration of a tuff vitrophyre

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Vaniman, D.; Bish, D., Chipera, S.

    1993-01-01

    The basal vitrophyre of the Topopah Spring Member of the Paintbrush Tuff at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is a perlitic glass with 2.8 to 4.6% water. The dehydration of this vitrophyre was studied by thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and by isothermal heating at 50 degrees, 100 degrees, 200 degrees, and 400 degrees C for 3.4 years followed by 1.1 years of rehydration at high controlled humidity (∼79% relative humidity). No crystallization of the glass was observed in long-term dehydration or rehydration; the only observed chemical alteration was loss of up to 60% of original fluorine. TGA studies show a characteristic two-stage dehydration of the vitrophyre, with two-thirds to three-fourths weight loss occurring most rapidly at temperatures ranging from 278 degrees to 346 degrees C in 10 degrees C/min heating experiments. The remaining water, about 1% in all of the vitrophyre samples studied regardless of total water content, is lost only on second-stage heating to temperatures above 650 degrees C. Long-term isothermal heating at ≤400 degrees C releases only the first-stage water. Loss of essentially all first-stage water occurred in less than 1 hour at 400 degrees C; proportionately lower losses were obtained at 200 degrees and 100 degrees C. Small (0.2%) water loss occurred in the 50 degrees C experiment. A time-temperature-dehydration diagram generated from the isothermal heating data shows a clustering of dehydration contours that are the equilibrium equivalent of the rapid first-stage water loss in dynamic TGA experiments. These dry-heating experiments provide an end-member characterization of glass transformations for comparison with water-saturated heating experiments in which glass alteration is prominent. 29 figs., 7 figs., 7 tabs

  19. Petrologic studies of drill cores USW-G2 and UE25b-1H, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Caporuscio, F.; Vaniman, D.; Bish, D.; Broxton, D.; Arney, B.; Heiken, G.; Byers, F.; Gooley, R.; Semarge, E.

    1982-07-01

    The tuffs of the Nevada Test Site are currently under investigation as a possible deep geologic site for high-level radioactive waste disposal. This report characterizes tuff retrieved in core from two drill holes, USW-G2 and UE25b-1H, at the Yucca Mountain block. The USW-G2 drill core is from the northernmost extent of the block, whereas UE25b-1H is adjacent to an earlier drill hole, UE25a-1. The drill cores USW-G2 and UE25b-1H bottomed at 6000 and 4200 ft, respectively. Petrographic and x-ray diffraction studies of the two drill cores are presented in this report and indicate that tuffs (composed primarily of variably welded ash flows) are partially recrystallized to secondary minerals. Correlations of stratigraphy are also made with previous drill cores from Yucca Mountain

  20. Yucca Mountain digital database

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Daudt, C.R.; Hinze, W.J.

    1992-01-01

    This paper discusses the Yucca Mountain Digital Database (DDB) which is a digital, PC-based geographical database of geoscience-related characteristics of the proposed high-level waste (HLW) repository site of Yucca Mountain, Nevada. It was created to provide the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) Advisory Committee on Nuclear Waste (ACNW) and its staff with a visual perspective of geological, geophysical, and hydrological features at the Yucca Mountain site as discussed in the Department of Energy's (DOE) pre-licensing reports

  1. Version II of the users manual for the Tuff Data Base Interface

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Welch, E.P.; Satter, B.J.; Langkopf, B.S.; Zeuch, D.H.

    1987-05-01

    The Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations (NNWSI) Project, managed by the Nevada Operations Office of the US Department of Energy, is investigating the feasibility of locating a repository at Yucca Mountain on and adjacent to the Nevada Test Site (NTS) in southern Nevada. A part of this investigation includes obtaining physical properties from laboratory tests on samples from Yucca Mountain and from field tests at Yucca Mountain. A computerized data base has been developed to store this data in a centralized location. The data base is stored on the Cyber 170/855 computer at Sandia using the System 2000 Data Base Management software. A user-friendly interface, the Tuff Data Base Interface (the Interface), allows NNWSI participants to retrieve data from the Tuff Data Base. The Interface gives users flexibility to retrieve portions of the Data Base related to their interests. This report gives basic instructions on accessing the Sandia computing system and explains how to use the Interface. 18 figs., 5 tabs

  2. Evolution of the unsaturated zone testing at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wang, J.S.Y.; Bodvarsson, G.S.

    2002-01-01

    The evaluation of the Yucca Mountain site has evolved from intensive surface based investigations in the early 1980s to current focus on testing in underground drifts. Different periods of site-characterization activities and prominent issues concerning the unsaturated zone are summarized. Data-collection activities have evolved from mapping of faults and fractures, to estimation of percolation through tuff layers, and to quantification of seepage into drifts. Evaluation of discrete flow paths in drifts has led to fracture-matrix interaction and matrix diffusion tests over different scales. The effects of tuff interfaces and local faults are evaluated in fractured-welded and porous-nonwelded units. Mobilization of matrix water and redistribution of moisture are measured in thermal tests. Lessons learned from underground tests are used to focus on processes needed for additional quantification. Migration through the drift shadow zone and liquid flow through faults are two important issues that have evolved from current knowledge

  3. In situ characterization of the microbiota in Yucca Mountain sediments

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ringelberg, D.B.; Stair, J.O.; White, D.C.

    1996-01-01

    A specific goal of the research being performed at the Exploratory Study Facility (ESF), Yucca Mountain, NV, is the characterization of the microbiota surrounding the proposed high level nuclear waste repository site. Research has been initiated whereby not only the magnitude but also the extent of microbial colonization of the volcanic tuffs is being measured. By performing this research it was postulated that assessments of the potential for microbially facilitated transport of radioactive material away from the repository site could be made. In order to quantify the extant microbiota in situ, it was necessary to utilize techniques independent of the need for culture and isolation of the organisms. Through the analysis of cellular lipid components we were able to provide an estimation of microbial cell numbers and community composition in these volcanic tuff sediments

  4. 36Cl measurements of the unsaturated zone flux at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Norris, A.E.; Wolfsberg, K.; Gifford, S.K.

    1985-01-01

    Determining the unsaturated zone percolation rate, or flux, is an extremely important site characterization issue for the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository. A new technique that measures the 36 Cl content of tuff from the Exploratory Shaft will be used to calculate flux through the unsaturated zone over longer times than could be measured by the more conventional 14 C method. Measurements of the 36 Cl ''bomb pulse'' in soil samples from Yucca Mountain have been used to confirm that infiltration is not an important recharge mechanism. 5 refs., 3 figs

  5. Scaling behavior of gas permeability measurements in volcanic tuffs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tidwell, V.C.

    1994-01-01

    One of the critical issues facing the Yucca Mountain site characterization and performance assessment programs is the manner in which property scaling is addressed. Property scaling becomes an issue whenever heterogeneous media properties are measured at one scale but applied at another. A research program has been established to challenge current understanding of property scaling with the aim of developing and testing models that describe scaling behavior in a quantitative manner. Scaling of constitutive rock properties is investigated through physical experimentation involving the collection of suites of gas-permeability data measured over a range of discrete scales. The approach is to systematically isolate those factors believed to influence property scaling and investigate their relative contributions to overall scaling behavior. Two blocks of tuff, each exhibiting differing heterogeneity structure, have recently been examined. Results of the investigation show very different scaling behavior, as exhibited by changes in the distribution functions and variograms, for the two tuff samples. Even for the relatively narrow range of measurement scales employed significant changes in the distribution functions, variograms, and summary statistics occurred. Because such data descriptors will likely play an important role in calculating effective media properties, these results demonstrate both the need to understand and accurately model scaling behavior

  6. Age constraints on fluid inclusions in calcite at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Neymark, Leonid A.; Amelin, Yuri V.; Paces, James B.; Peterman, Zell E.; Whelan, Joseph F.

    2001-01-01

    The(sup 207)Pb/(sup 235)U ages for 14 subsamples of opal or chalcedony layers younger than calcite formed at elevated temperature range between 1.88(+-) 0.05 and 9.7(+-) 1.5 Ma with most values older than 6-8 Ma. These data indicate that fluids with elevated temperatures have not been present in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain since about 1.9 Ma and most likely since 6-8 Ma. Discordant U-Pb isotope data for chalcedony subsamples representing the massive silica stage in the formation of the coatings are interpreted using a model of the diffusive loss of U decay products. The model gives an age estimate for the time of chalcedony formation around 10-11 Ma, which overlaps ages of clay minerals formed in tuffs below the water table at Yucca Mountain during the Timber Mountain thermal event

  7. Revised potentiometric-surface map, Yucca Mountain and vicinity, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ervin, E.M.; Luckey, R.R.; Burkhardt, D.J.

    1994-01-01

    The revised potentiometric-surface map presented in this report updates earlier maps of the Yucca Mountain area using mainly 1988 average water levels. Because of refinements in the corrections to the water-level measurements, these water levels have increased accuracy and precision over older values. The small-gradient area to the southeast of Yucca Mountain is contoured with a 0.25-meter interval and ranges in water-level altitude from 728.5 to 73 1.0 meters. Other areas with different water levels, to the north and west of Yucca Mountain, are illustrated with shaded patterns. The potentiometric surface can be divided into three regions: (1) A small-gradient area to the southeast of Yucca Mountain, which may be explained by flow through high-transmissivity rocks or low ground-water flux through the area; (2) A moderate-gradient area, on the western side of Yucca Mountain, where the water-level altitude ranges from 775 to 780 meters, and appears to be impeded by the Solitario Canyon Fault and a splay of that fault; and (3) A large-gradient area, to the north-northeast of Yucca Mountain, where water level altitude ranges from 738 to 1,035 meters, possibly as a result of a semi-perched groundwater system. Water levels from wells at Yucca Mountain were examined for yearly trends using linear least-squares regression. Data from five wells exhibited trends which were statistically significant, but some of those may be a result of slow equilibration of the water level from drilling in less permeable rocks. Adjustments for temperature and density changes in the deep wells with long fluid columns were attempted, but some of the adjusted data did not fit the surrounding data and, thus, were not used

  8. Investigations of natural groundwater hazards at the proposed Yucca Mountain high level nuclear waste repository. Part A: Geology at Yucca Mountain. Part B: Modeling of hydro-tectonic phenomena relevant to Yucca Mountain. Annual report - Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Szymanski, J.S.; Schluter, C.M.; Livingston, D.E.

    1993-05-01

    This document is an annual report describing investigations of natural groundwater hazards at the proposed Yucca Mountain, Nevada High-Level Nuclear Waste Repository.This document describes research studies of the origin of near surface calcite/silica deposits at Yucca Mountain. The origin of these deposits is controversial and the authors have extended and strengthened the basis of their arguments for epigenetic, metasomatic alteration of the tuffs at Yucca Mountain. This report includes stratigraphic, mineralogical, and geochronological information along with geochemical data to support the conclusions described by Livingston and Szymanski, and others. As part of their first annual report, they take this opportunity to clarify the technical basis of their concerns and summarize the critical geological field evidence and related information. Selected papers are indexed separately for inclusion in the Energy Science and Technology Database

  9. Preliminary drift design analyses for nuclear waste repository in tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hardy, M.P.; Brechtel, C.E.; Goodrich, R.R.; Bauer, S.J.

    1990-01-01

    The Yucca Mountain Project (YMP) is examining the feasibility of siting a repository for high-level nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, on and adjacent to the Nevada Test Site (NTS). The proposed repository will be excavated in the Topopah Spring Member, which is a moderately fractured, unsaturated, welded tuff. Excavation stability will be required during construction, waste emplacement, retrieval (if required), and closure to ensure worker safety. The subsurface excavations will be subject to stress changes resulting from thermal expansion of the rock mass and seismic events associated with regional tectonic activity and underground nuclear explosions (UNEs). Analyses of drift stability are required to assess the acceptable waste emplacement density, to design the drift shapes and ground support systems, and to establish schedules and cost of construction. This paper outlines the proposed methodology to assess drift stability and then focuses on an example of its application to the YMP repository drifts based on preliminary site data. Because site characterization activities have not begun, the database currently lacks the extensive site-specific field and laboratory data needed to form conclusions as to the final ground support requirements. This drift design methodology will be applied and refined as more site-specific data are generated and as analytical techniques and methodologies are verified during the site characterization process

  10. Education and Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lamont, M.A.

    1995-01-01

    This paper outlines a middle school social studies curriculum taught in Nevada. The curriculum was designed to educate students about issues related to the Yucca Mountain project. The paper focuses on the activities used in the curriculum

  11. YUCCA MOUNTAIN SITE DESCRIPTION

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Simmons, A.M.

    2004-01-01

    The ''Yucca Mountain Site Description'' summarizes, in a single document, the current state of knowledge and understanding of the natural system at Yucca Mountain. It describes the geology; geochemistry; past, present, and projected future climate; regional hydrologic system; and flow and transport within the unsaturated and saturated zones at the site. In addition, it discusses factors affecting radionuclide transport, the effect of thermal loading on the natural system, and tectonic hazards. The ''Yucca Mountain Site Description'' is broad in nature. It summarizes investigations carried out as part of the Yucca Mountain Project since 1988, but it also includes work done at the site in earlier years, as well as studies performed by others. The document has been prepared under the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management quality assurance program for the Yucca Mountain Project. Yucca Mountain is located in Nye County in southern Nevada. The site lies in the north-central part of the Basin and Range physiographic province, within the northernmost subprovince commonly referred to as the Great Basin. The basin and range physiography reflects the extensional tectonic regime that has affected the region during the middle and late Cenozoic Era. Yucca Mountain was initially selected for characterization, in part, because of its thick unsaturated zone, its arid to semiarid climate, and the existence of a rock type that would support excavation of stable openings. In 1987, the United States Congress directed that Yucca Mountain be the only site characterized to evaluate its suitability for development of a geologic repository for high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel

  12. YUCCA MOUNTAIN SITE DESCRIPTION

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    A.M. Simmons

    2004-04-16

    The ''Yucca Mountain Site Description'' summarizes, in a single document, the current state of knowledge and understanding of the natural system at Yucca Mountain. It describes the geology; geochemistry; past, present, and projected future climate; regional hydrologic system; and flow and transport within the unsaturated and saturated zones at the site. In addition, it discusses factors affecting radionuclide transport, the effect of thermal loading on the natural system, and tectonic hazards. The ''Yucca Mountain Site Description'' is broad in nature. It summarizes investigations carried out as part of the Yucca Mountain Project since 1988, but it also includes work done at the site in earlier years, as well as studies performed by others. The document has been prepared under the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management quality assurance program for the Yucca Mountain Project. Yucca Mountain is located in Nye County in southern Nevada. The site lies in the north-central part of the Basin and Range physiographic province, within the northernmost subprovince commonly referred to as the Great Basin. The basin and range physiography reflects the extensional tectonic regime that has affected the region during the middle and late Cenozoic Era. Yucca Mountain was initially selected for characterization, in part, because of its thick unsaturated zone, its arid to semiarid climate, and the existence of a rock type that would support excavation of stable openings. In 1987, the United States Congress directed that Yucca Mountain be the only site characterized to evaluate its suitability for development of a geologic repository for high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel.

  13. Determination of Heat Capacity of Yucca Mountain Stratigraphic Layers

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    T. Hadgu; C. Lum; J.E. Bean

    2006-01-01

    The heat generated from the radioactive waste to be placed in the proposed geologic repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, will affect the thermal-hydrology of the Yucca Mountain stratigraphic layers. In order to assess the effect of the movement of repository heat into the fractured rocks accurate determination of thermodynamic and hydraulic properties is important. Heat capacity is one of the properties that are required to evaluate energy storage in the fractured rock. Rock-grain heat capacity, the subject of this study, is the heat capacity of the solid part of the rock. Yucca Mountain consists of alternating lithostratigraphic units of welded and non-welded ash-flow tuff, mainly rhyolitic in composition and displaying varying degrees of vitrification and alteration. A number of methods exist that can be used to evaluate heat capacity of the stratigraphic layers that consist of different compositions. In this study, the mineral summation method has been used to quantify the heat capacity of the stratigraphic layers based on Kopp's rule. The mineral summation method is an addition of the weighted heat capacity of each mineral found in a specific layer. For this study the weighting was done based on the mass percentage of each mineral in the layer. The method utilized a mineralogic map of the rocks at the Yucca Mountain repository site. The Calico Hills formation and adjacent bedded tuff layers display a bimodal mineral distribution of vitric and zeolitic zones with differing mineralogies. Based on this bimodal distribution in zeolite abundance, the boundary between the vitric and zeolitic zones was selected to be 15% zeolitic abundance. Thus, based on the zeolite abundance, subdivisions have been introduced to these layers into ''vitric'' and ''zeolitic'' zones. Heat capacity values have been calculated for these layers both as ''layer average'' and ''zone average''. The heat capacity determination method presented in this report did not account for spatial

  14. Experiences of fitting isotherms to data from batch sorption experiments for radionuclides on tuffs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Polzer, W.L.; Fuentes, H.R.

    1989-11-01

    Laboratory experiments have been performed on the sorption of radionuclides on tuff as site characterization information for the Yucca Mountain Project. This paper presents general observations on the results of curve-fitting of sorption data by isotherm equations and the effects of experimental variables on their regressional analysis. Observations are specific to the effectiveness and problems associated with fitting isotherms, the calculation and value of isotherm parameters, and the significance of experimental variables such as replication, particle size, mode of sorption, and mineralogy. These observations are important in the design of laboratory experiments to ensure that collected data are adequate for effectively characterizing sorption of radionuclides on tuffs or other materials. 13 refs., 2 figs., 4 tabs

  15. Microautoradiography in studies of Pu(V) sorption by trace and fracture minerals in tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Vaniman, D.; Furlano, A.; Chipera, S.; Thompson, J.; Triay, I.

    1996-01-01

    Microautoradiography was used to evaluate the mineralogic basis of Pu(V) retention by tuffs from Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Altered orthopyroxenes and oxide minerals are associated with high Pu retention but are limited to specific stratigraphic horizons. A weaker but more general association of Pu with smectite occurs in most samples. Thin-sections that cross fractures allow comparative studies of Pu retention by fracture-lining versus matrix minerals. Using Ag metal in emulsions as a measure of underlying Pu concentration, electron-microprobe analysis can quantify Pu retention along fracture walls and provide mineral/mineral Pu retention factors. For smectite-lined microfractures in zeolitized tuff, the smectite/clinoptilolite Pu retention factor is >80

  16. In-situ tuff water migration/heater experiment: experimental plan

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Johnstone, J.K.

    1980-08-01

    Tuffs on the Nevada Test Site (NTS) are currently under investigation as a potential isolation medium for heat-producing nuclear wastes. The National Academy of Sciences has concurred in our identification of the potentially large water content (less than or equal to 40 vol %) of tuffs as one of the important issues affecting their suitability for a repository. This Experimental Plan describes an in-situ experiment intended as an initial assessment of water generation/migration in response to a thermal input. The experiment will be conducted in the Grouse Canyon Welded Tuff in Tunnel U12g (G-Tunnel) located in the north-central region of the NTS. While the Grouse Canyon Welded Tuff is not a potential repository medium, it has physical, thermal, and mechanical properties very similar to those tuffs currently under consideration and is accessible at depth (400 m below the surface) in an existing facility. Other goals of the experiment are to support computer-code and instrumentation development, and to measure in-situ thermal properties. The experimental array consists of a central electrical heater, 1.2 m long x 10.2 cm diameter, surrounded by three holes for measuring water-migration behavior, two holes for measuring temperature profiles, one hole for measuring thermally induced stress in the rock, and one hole perpendicular to the heater to measure displacement with a laser. This Experimental Plan describes the experimental objectives, the technical issues, the site, the experimental array, thermal and thermomechanical modeling results, the instrumentation, the data-acquisition system, posttest characterization, and the organizational details

  17. The Yucca Mountain Project prototype air-coring test, U12g tunnel, Nevada test site

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ray, J.M.; Newsom, J.C.

    1994-12-01

    The Prototype Air-Coring Test was conducted at the Nevada Test Site (NTS) G-Tunnel facility to evaluate standard coring techniques, modified slightly for air circulation, for use in testing at a prospective nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Air-coring technology allows sampling of subsurface lithology with minimal perturbation to ambient characteristic such as that required for exploratory holes near aquifers, environmental applications, and site characterization work. Two horizontal holes were cored, one 50 ft long and the other 150 ft long, in densely welded fractured tuff to simulate the difficult drilling conditions anticipated at Yucca Mountain. Drilling data from seven holes on three other prototype tests in nonwelded tuff were also collected for comparison. The test was used to establish preliminary standards of performance for drilling and dust collection equipment and to assess procedural efficiencies. The Longyear-38 drill achieved 97% recovery for HQ-size core (-2.5 in.), and the Atlas Copco dust collector (DCT-90) captured 1500 lb of fugitive dust in a mine environment with only minor modifications. Average hole production rates were 6-8 ft per 6-h shift in welded tuff and almost 20 ft per shift on deeper holes in nonwelded tuff. Lexan liners were successfully used to encapsulate core samples during the coring process and protect core properties effectively. The Prototype Air-Coring Test demonstrated that horizontal air coring in fractured welded tuff (to at least 150 ft) can be safely accomplished by proper selection, integration, and minor modification of standard drilling equipment, using appropriate procedures and engineering controls. The test also indicated that rig logistics, equipment, and methods need improvement before attempting a large-scale dry drilling program at Yucca Mountain

  18. Criticality characteristics of mixtures of plutonium, silicon dioxide, Nevada tuff, and water

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sanchez, R.; Myers, W.; Hayes, D.

    1997-01-01

    The nuclear criticality characteristics of mixtures of plutonium, silicon dioxide, and water (Part A) or plutonium, silicon dioxide, Nevada Yucca Mountain tuff, and water (Part B) have become of interest because of the appearance of recent papers on the subject. These papers postulate that if excess weapons plutonium is vitrified into a silicate log and buried underground, a self-sustaining neutron chain reaction may develop given sufficient time and interaction with the burial medium. Moreover, given specific geologic actions resulting in postulated configurations, the referenced papers state that nuclear explosions could occur with multi-kiloton yields or yields equivalent to hundreds of tons of TNT

  19. Preliminary calculations of release rates from spent fuel in a tuff repository

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Apted, M.J.; O'Connell, W.J.; Lee, K.H.; MacIntyre, A.T.; Ueng, T.S.; Pigford, T.H.; Lee, W.W.L.

    1991-01-01

    Time-dependent release rates of Tc-99, I-129, Cs-135, and Np-237 have been calculated for wet-drip and moist-continuous release modes from the engineered barrier system of a potential nuclear waste repository in unsaturated tuff, representative of a possible repository at Yucca Mountain in southern Nevada. We describe the modes of water contact and of release of dissolved radionuclides to the surrounding intact rock, and the corresponding calculational models. We list the parameter values adopted, and then present numerical results, conclusions, and recommendations. 21 refs., 5 figs., 2 tabs

  20. Mineralogy of drill hole UE-25pnumber1 at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Chipera, S.J.; Bish, D.L.

    1988-05-01

    Drill hole UE-25p/number sign/1 is located east of the candidate repository block at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, and as such provides information on the geology of the accessible environment. The hole was drilled to a depth of 1807 m (5923 ft) and is unique in that it penetrates tuffs that are older than any volcanic units previously encountered in drill holes at Yucca Mountain. In addition, it is the only hole drilled to date that penetrates the base of the tuff sequence and enters the underlying Paleozoic dolomite basement. We have examined the mineralogy of drill cuttings, core, and sidewall samples from drill hole UE-25p/number sign/1 is similar to that in the other drill holes examined at Yucca Mountain. The only significant differences in mineralogy from other drill holes include the presence of dolomite in the Paleozoic carbonate rocks and the occurrence of up to 3% laumontite, a Ca-zeolite, in four samples of the Lithic Ridge Tuff. 15 refs., 5 figs., 4 tabs

  1. Water levels in periodically measured wells in the Yucca Mountain area, Nye County, Nevada, 1981-87

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robison, J.H.; Stephens, D.M.; Luckey, R.R.; Baldwin, D.A.

    1988-01-01

    This report contains data on groundwater levels beneath Yucca Mountain and adjacent areas, Nye County, Nevada. In addition to new data collected since 1983, the report contains data that has been updated from previous reports, including added explanations of the data. The data was collected in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Energy to help that agency evaluate the suitability of the area of storing high-level nuclear waste. The water table in the Yucca Mountain area occurs in ash-flow and air-fall tuff of Tertiary age. West of the crest of Yucca Mountain, water level altitudes are about 775 m above sea level. Along the eastern edge and southern end of Yucca Mountain, the potentiometric surface generally is nearly flat, ranging from about 730 to 728 m above sea level. (USGS)

  2. Natural sorptive barriers in Yucca Mountain, Nevada, for long-term isolation of high-level waste

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bish, D.L.; Vaniman, D.T.; Rundberg, R.S.; Wolfsberg, K.; Daniels, W.R.; Broxton, D.E.

    1984-01-01

    There are several sorptive phases occurring naturally in the silicic tuffs at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, that can aid in the long-term isolation of high-level wastes. These phases include hydrated volcanic glasses, smectites and zeolites. Los Alamos has a continuing programme to investigate the mineralogy and stratigraphy of the tuffs at Yucca Mountain. In addition, extensive data have been obtained on the sorptive behaviour of technetium, strontium, caesium, barium, cerium, europium, uranium, neptunium, plutonium and americium on the minerals in tuffs. Sorption of elements by ion-exchange processes is high in tuffs containing smectite and the zeolites clinoptilolite-heulandite and mordenite. Moreover, sorption correlates with abundances of these minerals. Sorption is not as high for the zeolite analcime and for volcanic glass. Elements that may not sorb by ion exchange, e.g. plutonium, also tend to be sorbed when the zeolite abundance is high, but the correlations are less clearly defined. Because of the correlation between sorptive capacity and mineralogy, an accurate knowledge of mineral distribution and stratigraphy is essential. The distribution of hydrated glasses is stratigraphically controlled, and the glasses occur in narrow unaltered horizons as vitrophyres and as vitric tuff. Although glasses are of minor importance as sorptive phases, they are very reactive and can alter to other minerals if heated in the presence of water. Smectite clays are reversibly expandable and are widespread in tuffs, but their beneficial properties can be modified by prolonged exposure to elevated temperatures. The zeolites clinoptilolite-heulandite and mordenite occur in high concentrations in silicic tuffs, mostly as secondary alterations of non-welded and poorly welded tuffs; their distribution is therefore stratigraphically controlled

  3. Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project exploratory studies facilities construction status

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Allan, J.N.; Leonard, T.M.

    1993-01-01

    This paper discusses the progress to date on the construction planning and development of the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project (YMP) Exploratory Studies Facilities (ESF). The purpose of the ESF is to determine early site suitability and to characterize the subsurface of the Yucca Mountain site to assess its suitability for a potential high level nuclear waste repository. The present ESF configuration concept is for two main ramps to be excavated by tunnel boring machines (TBM) from the surface to the Topopah Spring Member of the Paintbrush Tuff Formation. From the main ramps, slightly above Topopah Spring level, supplemental ramps will be penetrated to the Calico Hills formation below the potential repository. There will be exploratory development drifts driven on both levels with the Main Test Area being located on the Topopah Spring level, which is the level of the proposed repository. The Calico Hills formation lies below the Topopah Spring member and is expected to provide the main geo-hydrologic barrier between the potential repository and the underlying saturated zones in the Crater Flat Tuff

  4. Iron and manganese in oxide minerals and in glasses: preliminary consideration of Eh buffering potential at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Caporuscio, F.A.; Vaniman, D.T.

    1985-04-01

    The tuffs of Yucca Mountain at the Nevada Test Site are currently under investigation as a possible deep burial site for high-level radioactive waste disposal. One of the main concerns is the effect of oxidizing groundwater on the transport of radionuclides. Rock components that may affect the oxygen content of groundwater include Fe-Ti oxides, Mn oxides, and glasses that contain ferrous iron. Some phenocryst Fe-Ti oxides at Yucca Mountain are in reduced states, whereas groundmass Fe-Ti oxides have been oxidized to hematite, rutile, and pseudobrookite (Fe 3+ -bearing phases) exclusively. Estimates of Fe 2+ -bearing oxides indicate that less than 0.33 vol% phenocrysts is available to act as solid buffering agents of Eh. Of this percentage, significant amounts of Fe-Ti oxides are isolated from effective interaction with groundwater because they occur in densely welded, devitrified tuffs that have low interstitial permeability. Manganese oxides occur primarily along fractures in the ash-flow tuffs. Because the Mn oxides are concentrated along the same pathways (fractures) where transport has occurred in the past, these small volume percentages could act as buffers. However, the oxidation states of actual Mn-oxide phases are high (Mn 4+ ), and these minerals have virtually no potential for reducing groundwater Eh. Manganese oxides may even act as oxidizing agents. However, regardless of their poor capabilities as reducing agents, the Mn oxides could be important as sorbents of heavy metals at Yucca Mountain. The lack of accessible, pristine Fe-Ti oxides and the generally high oxidation states of Mn oxides seem to rule out these oxides as Eh buffers of the Yucca Mountain groundwater system. Reduction of ferrous iron within glassy tuffs may have some effect on Eh, but further study is needed. At present it is prudent to assume that minerals and glasses have little or no capacity for reducing oxygen-rich groundwater at Yucca Mountain. 25 refs., 3 figs., 12 tabs

  5. Numerical studies of rock-gas flow in Yucca Mountain; Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ross, B.; Amter, S.; Lu, Ning [Disposal Safety, Inc., Washington, DC (United States)

    1992-02-01

    A computer model (TGIF -- Thermal Gradient Induced Flow) of two-dimensional, steady-state rock-gas flow driven by temperature and humidity differences is described. The model solves for the ``fresh-water head,`` a concept that has been used in models of variable-density water flow but has not previously been applied to gas flow. With this approach, the model can accurately simulate the flows driven by small differences in temperature. The unsaturated tuffs of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, are being studied as a potential site for a repository for high-level nuclear waste. Using the TGIF model, preliminary calculations of rock-gas flow in Yucca Mountain are made for four east-west cross-sections through the mountain. Calculations are made for three repository temperatures and for several assumptions about a possible semi-confining layer above the repository. The gas-flow simulations are then used to calculate travel-time distributions for air and for radioactive carbon-14 dioxide from the repository to the ground surface.

  6. Consideration of Nuclear Criticality When Directly Disposing Highly Enriched Spent Nuclear Fuel in Unsaturated Tuff - I: Nuclear Criticality Constraints

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rechard, Rob P.; Sanchez, Lawrence C.; Trellue, Holly R.

    2003-01-01

    This paper presents the mass, concentration, and volume required for a critical event to occur in homogeneous mixtures of fissile material and various other geologic materials. The fissile material considered is primarily highly enriched uranium spent fuel; however, 239 Pu is considered in some cases. The non-fissile materials examined are those found in the proposed repository area at Yucca Mountain, Nevada: volcanic tuff, iron rust, concrete, and naturally occurring water. For 235 U, the minimum critical solid concentration for tuff was 5 kg/m 3 (similar to sandstone), and in goethite, 45 kg/m 3 . The critical mass of uranium was sensitive to a number of factors, such as moisture content and fissile enrichment, but had a minimum, assuming almost 100% saturation and >20% enrichment, of 18 kg in tuff as Soddyite (or 9.5 kg as UO 2 ) and 7 kg in goethite. For 239 Pu, the minimum critical solid concentration for tuff was 3 kg/m 3 (similar to sandstone); in goethite, 20 kg/m 3 . The critical mass of plutonium was also sensitive to a number of factors, but had a minimum, assuming 100% saturation and 80-90% enrichment, of 5 kg in tuff and 6 kg in goethite

  7. Final report on feasibility of real-time geochemical analysis at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, using LIBS technology

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Blacic, J.D.; Pettit, D.R.; Cremers, D.A.

    1996-12-01

    Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) is an analytic method whereby an intense laser pulse is used to vaporize and excite a small volume of material into atomic emission. Calibrated spectral analysis of the laser spark light provides detection and quantification of the elemental composition of the target material. We performed laboratory and field tests to assess the feasibility of developing field-portable LIBS-based instruments for real-time analyses of Yucca Mountain rocks in conjunction with Yucca Mountain Project drilling, coring, sampling, and characterization tasks. We developed one prototype instrument designed to analyze air core drilling dust and another prototype instrument designed to analyze rock and fracture surfaces. In realistic field tests at the Exploratory Studies Facility at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, we demonstrated that the LIBS prototypes are capable of measuring major, minor, and some trace elements in real time. Laboratory LIBS analyses show that we can identify characteristic element ratios in a range of manganese oxide minerals present at Yucca Mountain as fracture surface coatings and matrix grains. Preliminary LIBS analyses also indicate that the U/Na ratio may distinguish tuffs containing the hazardous zeolite mineral erionite from non-erionite bearing tuffs, and that a LIBS-based instrument may be useful to detect in real time the probable presence of erionite encountered in core drilling and other operations at Yucca Mountain

  8. Effect of moisture on tuff stone degradation

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Lubelli, B.A.; Nijland, T.G.

    2016-01-01

    Tuff stone elements with a large length/width ratio often suffer damage in the form of cracks parallel to the surface and spalling of the outer layer. The response of tuff to moisture might be a reason for this behaviour. This research aimed at verifying if differential dilation between parts with

  9. Investigations of hydro-tectonic hazards at the proposed Yucca Mountain high-level nuclear waste repository. Annual report - Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Livingston, D.E.

    1994-01-01

    This document includes several reports describing scientific studies of the origin of near surface calcite/silica deposits at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The origin of these deposits is controversial and the authors have extended and strengthened the basis of their arguments for epigenetic, metasomatic alteration of the tuffs at Yucca Mountain. This report includes stratigraphic, mineralogical, and geochronological information along with geochemical data to support the conclusions described by Livingston and Szymanski. Selected papers are indexed separately for inclusion in the Energy Science and Technology Database

  10. A thermomechanical far-field model of Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Brandshaug, T.

    1991-04-01

    Thermal and mechanical finite element far-field models have been constructed for a potential repository site in the Topopah Spring Thermal/mechanical Unit at Yucca Mountain on the Nevada Test Site. The models reflect site-specific information that was available at the time of the study on the material properties and structural character of Yucca Mountain. The thermal model simulates transient heat transfer resulting from the emplacement of heat-generating nuclear waste in the repository. Simulation of boiling of the pore water is included in the model. The mechanical model simulates the tuff at Yucca Mountain as being an elastic/plastic, isotropic, heterogeneous continuum with one ubiquitous vertical joint set. The initial conditions of the mechanical model are based on a gravitational stress field. The model uses the temperatures predicted by the thermal finite element model as input to predict thermal stresses and displacements induced by the presence of the repository. Plasticity is incorporated in shear (fracture slip) and tension (fracture opening) by using a Mohr-Coulomb failure criterion. 6 refs., 15 figs., 2 tabs

  11. Modeling heterogeneous unsaturated porous media flow at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Robey, T.H.

    1994-01-01

    Geologic systems are inherently heterogeneous and this heterogeneity can have a significant impact on unsaturated flow through porous media. Most previous efforts to model groundwater flow through Yucca Mountain have used stratigraphic units with homogeneous properties. However, modeling heterogeneous porous and fractured tuff in a more realistic manner requires numerical methods for generating heterogeneous simulations of the media, scaling of material properties from core scale to computational scale, and flow modeling that allows channeling. The Yucca Mountain test case of the INTRAVAL project is used to test the numerical approaches. Geostatistics is used to generate more realistic representations of the stratigraphic units and heterogeneity within units is generated using sampling from property distributions. Scaling problems are reduced using an adaptive grid that minimizes heterogeneity within each flow element. A flow code based on the dual mixed-finite-element method that allows for heterogeneity and channeling is employed. In the Yucca Mountain test case, the simulated volumetric water contents matched the measured values at drill hole USW UZ-16 except in the nonwelded portion of Prow Pass

  12. Conceptualization of a hypothetical high-level nuclear waste repository site in unsaturated, fractured tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Parsons, A.M.; Olague, N.E.; Gallegos, D.P.

    1991-01-01

    Under the sponsorship of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) is developing a performance assessment methodology for the analysis of long-term disposal and isolation of high-level nuclear wastes (HLW) in alternative geologic media. As part of this exercise, SNL created a conceptualization of ground-water flow and radionuclide transport in the far field of a hypothetical HLW repository site located in unsaturated, fractured tuff formations. This study provides a foundation for the development of conceptual mathematical, and numerical models to be used in this performance assessment methodology. This conceptualization is site specific in terms of geometry, the regional ground-water flow system, stratigraphy, and structure in that these are based on information from Yucca Mountain located on the Nevada Test Site. However, in terms of processes in unsaturated, fractured, porous media, the model is generic. This report also provides a review and evaluation of previously proposed conceptual models of unsaturated and saturated flow and solute transport. This report provides a qualitative description of a hypothetical HLW repository site in fractured tuff. However, evaluation of the current knowledge of flow and transport at Yucca Mountain does not yield a single conceptual model. Instead, multiple conceptual models are possible given the existing information

  13. Conceptualization of a hypothetical high-level nuclear waste repository site in unsaturated, fractured tuff

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Parsons, A.M.; Olague, N.E.; Gallegos, D.P. [Sandia National Labs., Albuquerque, NM (USA)

    1991-01-01

    Under the sponsorship of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) is developing a performance assessment methodology for the analysis of long-term disposal and isolation of high-level nuclear wastes (HLW) in alternative geologic media. As part of this exercise, SNL created a conceptualization of ground-water flow and radionuclide transport in the far field of a hypothetical HLW repository site located in unsaturated, fractured tuff formations. This study provides a foundation for the development of conceptual mathematical, and numerical models to be used in this performance assessment methodology. This conceptualization is site specific in terms of geometry, the regional ground-water flow system, stratigraphy, and structure in that these are based on information from Yucca Mountain located on the Nevada Test Site. However, in terms of processes in unsaturated, fractured, porous media, the model is generic. This report also provides a review and evaluation of previously proposed conceptual models of unsaturated and saturated flow and solute transport. This report provides a qualitative description of a hypothetical HLW repository site in fractured tuff. However, evaluation of the current knowledge of flow and transport at Yucca Mountain does not yield a single conceptual model. Instead, multiple conceptual models are possible given the existing information.

  14. Chemical variability of zeolites at a potential nuclear waste repository, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Broxton, D.E.

    1985-01-01

    The compositions of clinoptilolites and their host tuffs have been examined by electron microprobe and x-ray fluorescence, respectively, to determine their variability at a potential nuclear waste repository, Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Because of their sorptive properties, these zeolites could provide important geologic barriers to radionuclide migration. Variations in clinoptilolite composition can strongly affect the mineral's thermal and ion-exchange properties, thus influencing its behavior in the repository environment. Clinoptilolites and heulandites closest to the proposed repository have calcium-rich compositions (60 to 90 mol. % Ca) and silica-to-aluminum ratios that concentrate between 4.0 and 4.6. In contrast, clinoptilolites and their host tuffs deeper in the volcanic sequence have highly variable compositions that vary vertically and laterally. Deeper-occurring clinoptilolites in the eastern part of Yucca Mountain are characterized by calcic-potassic compositions and tend to become more calcium-rich with depth. Clinoptilolites at equivalent stratigraphic levels on the western side of Yucca Mountain have sodic-potassic compositions and tend to become more sodium-rich with depth. Despite their differences in exchangeable cation compositions these two deeper-occurring compositional suites have similar silica-to-aluminum ratios, concentrating between 4.4 and 5.0. The chemical variability of clinoptilolites and their host tuffs at Yucca Mountain suggest that their physical and chemical properties will also vary. Compositionally-dependent clinoptilolite properties important for repository performance assessment include expansion/contraction behavior, hydration/dehydration behavior, and ion-exchange properties

  15. Mechanical and bulk properties of intact rock collected in the laboratory in support of the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Price, R.H.; Martin, R.J. III; Boyd, P.J.; Boinott, G.N.

    1994-01-01

    A comprehensive laboratory investigation is determining the mechanical properties of tuffs for the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project (YMP). Most recently, experiments have been performed on tuff samples from a series of drill holes along the planned alignment of the Exploratory Study Facilities (ESF) north ramp. Unconfined compression and indirect tension experiments were performed and the results are being analyzed with the help of bulk property information. The results on samples from eight of the drill holes are presented. In general, the properties vary widely, but are highly dependent on the sample porosity. The developed relationships between mechanical properties and porosity are powerful tools in the effort to model the rock mass response of Yucca Mountain to the emplacement of the potential high-level radioactive waste repository

  16. Technical correspondence in support of an evaluation of the hydrologic effects of exploratory shaft facility construction at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Peterson, A.C.; Eaton, R.R.; Russo, A.J.; Lewin, J.A.

    1988-12-01

    This document comprises four letter reports containing information that has been used in preparing the plan to characterize the site of the prospective repository at Yucca Mountain. The Yucca Mountain Project is studying the feasibility of constructing a high-level nuclear waste repository in the Topopah Spring Unit of the Paintbrush Tuff. One activity of site characterization is the construction of two exploratory shafts. The information in this report pertains to (1) engineering calculations of the potential distribution of residual water from constructing the exploratory shafts and drifts, (2) numerical calculations predicting the movement of the residual construction water from the shaft walls into the rock, (3) numerical calculations of the movement of the residual water and how the movement is affected by ventilation, and (4) measurement of the movement of water into a welded tuff core when a pulse of water pressure is applied to a laboratory test sample for a short time (100 min)

  17. The one-dimensional compression method for extraction of pore water from unsaturated tuff and effects on pore-water chemistry

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Higgins, J.D.; Burger, P.A. [Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO (United States); Yang, L.C. [Geological Survey, Denver, CO (United States)

    1997-12-31

    Study of the hydrologic system at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, requires extraction of pore-water samples from unsaturated tuff bedrock. Two generations of compression cells have been designed and tested for extracting representative, unaltered pore-water samples from unsaturated tuff cores. The one-dimensional compression cell has a maximum compressive stress rating of 552 MPa. Results from 86 tests show that the minimum degree of saturation for successful extraction of pore water was about 14% for non welded tuff and about 61% for densely welded tuff. The high-pressure, one-dimensional compression cell has a maximum compressive stress rating of 827 MPa. Results from 109 tests show that the minimum degree of saturation for successful extraction of pore water was about 7.5% for non welded tuff and about 34% for densely welded tuff. Geochemical analyses show that, in general, there is a decrease in ion concentration of pore waters as extraction pressures increase. Only small changes in pore-water composition occur during the one-dimensional extraction test.

  18. Preliminary thermal expansion screening data for tuffs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lappin, A.R.

    1980-03-01

    A major variable in evaluating the potential of silicic tuffs for use in geologic disposal of heat-producing nuclear wastes is thermal expansion. Results of ambient-pressure linear expansion measurements on a group of tuffs that vary treatly in porosity and mineralogy are presente here. Thermal expansion of devitrified welded tuffs is generally linear with increasing temperature and independent of both porosity and heating rate. Mineralogic factors affecting behavior of these tuffs are limited to the presence or absence of cristobalite and altered biotite. The presence of cristobalite results in markedly nonlinear expansion above 200 0 C. If biotite in biotite-hearing rocks alters even slightly to expandable clays, the behavior of these tuffs near the boiling point of water can be dominated by contraction of the expandable phase. Expansion of both high- and low-porosity tuffs containing hydrated silicic glass and/or expandable clays is complex. The behavior of these rocks appears to be completely dominated by dehydration of hydrous phases and, hence, should be critically dependent on fluid pressure. Valid extrapolation of the ambient-pressure results presented here to depths of interest for construction of a nuclear-waste repository will depend on a good understanding of the interaction of dehydration rates and fluid pressures, and of the effects of both micro- and macrofractures on the response of tuff masss

  19. A natural analogue for high-level waste in tuff: Chemical analysis and modeling of the Valles site

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Stockman, H.W.; Krumhansl, J.L.; Ho, C.K.; Kovach, L.; McConnell, V.S.

    1995-01-01

    The contact between an obsidian flow and a steep-walled tuff canyon was examined as an analogue for a high-level waste repository. The analogue site is located in the Valles Caldera in New Mexico, where a massive obsidian flow filled a paleocanyon in the Battleship Rock Tuff. The obsidian flow provided a heat source, analogous to waste panels or an igneous intrusion in a repository, and caused evaporation and migration of water. The tuff and obsidian samples were analyzed for major and trace elements and mineralogy by INAA, XRF, x-ray diffraction, and scanning electron microscopy and electron microprobe. Samples were also analyzed for D/H and 39 Ar/ 40 Ar isotopic composition. Overall, the effects of the heating event seem to have been slight and limited to the tuff nearest the contact. There is some evidence of devitrification and migration of volatiles in the tuff within 10 m of the contact, but variations in major and trace element chemistry are small and difficult to distinguish from the natural (pre-heating) variability of the rocks

  20. DOE's Yucca Mountain studies

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1992-12-01

    This booklet is about the disposal of high-level nuclear waste in the United States. It is for readers who have a general rather than a technical background. It discusses why scientists and engineers thinkhigh-level nuclear waste may be disposed of safely underground. It also describes why Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is being studied as a potential repository site and provides basic information about those studies

  1. Ground-water recharge in Fortymile Wash near Yucca Mountain, Nevada, 1992--1993

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Savard, C.S.

    1994-01-01

    Quantification of the ground-water recharge from streamflow in the Fortymile Wash watershed will contribute to regional ground-water studies. Regional ground-water studies are an important component in the studies evaluating the ground-water flow system as a barrier to the potential migration of radionuclides from the potential underground high-level nuclear waste repository. Knowledge gained in understanding the ground-water recharge mechanisms and pathways in the Pah Canyon area, which is 10 km to the northeast of Yucca Mountain, may transfer to Yucca site specific studies. The current data collection network in Fortymile Canyon does not permit quantification of ground-water recharge, however a qualitative understanding of ground-water recharge was developed from these data

  2. Laboratory studies of radionuclide migration in tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rundberg, R.S.; Mitchell, A.J.; Ott, M.A.; Thompson, J.L.; Triay, I.R.

    1989-01-01

    The movement of selected radionuclides has been observed in crushed tuff, intact tuff, and fractured tuff columns. Retardation factors and dispersivities were determined from the elution profiles. Retardation factors have been compared with those predicted on the basis of batch sorption studies. This comparison forms a basis for either validating distribution coefficients or providing evidence of speciation, including colloid formation. Dispersivities measured as a function of velocity provide a means of determining the effect of sorption kinetics or mass transfer on radionuclide migration. Dispersion is also being studied in the context of scaling symmetry to develop a basis for extrapolating from the laboratory scale to the field. 21 refs., 6 figs., 2 tabs

  3. Detailed petrographic descriptions and microprobe data for tertiary silicic volcanic rocks in drill hole USW G-1, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Caporuscio, F.A.; Warren, R.G.; Broxton, D.E.

    1985-12-01

    This report contains detailed petrographic descriptions of 74 thin sections from drill hole USW G-1 at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. These descriptions are keyed to the distinctions between devitrified, vitrophyre, vitric, and zeolitized intervals below the Topopah Spring Member repository horizon. The petrographic features of the zeolitized intervals down through the Crater Flat tuff, as well as the sorption properties determined from these intervals, suggest that these zeolite occurrences may each have comparable sorptive capability.

  4. Summary of lithologic logging of new and existing boreholes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, March 1994 to June 1994

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Geslin, J.K.; Moyer, T.C.

    1995-01-01

    This report summarizes lithologic logging of core from boreholes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, conducted from March 1994 to June 1994. Units encountered during logging include Quaternary-Tertiary alluvium and colluvium, Tertiary Rainier Mesa Tuff, all units in the Tertiary Paintbrush Group, and Tertiary Calico Hills Formation. Logging results are presented in a table of contact depths for core from unsaturated zone neutron (UZN) boreholes and graphic lithologic logs for core from north ramp geology (NRG) boreholes

  5. Predicting spent fuel oxidation states in a tuff repository

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Einziger, R.E.; Woodley, R.E.

    1987-01-01

    Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations Project (NNWSI) is studying the suitability of the tuffaceous rocks at Yucca Mountain as a waste repository for spent fuel disposal. The oxidation state of the LWR spent fuel in the moist air environment of a tuff repository could be a significant factor in determining its leaching and dissolution characteristics. Predictions as to which oxidation states would be present are important in analyzing such a repository and thus the present study was undertaken. A set of TGA (thermogravimetric analysis) tests were conducted on well-controlled samples of irradiated PWR fuel with time and temperature as the only variables. The tests were conducted between 140 and 225 0 C for a duration up to 2200 hours. The weight gain curves were analyzed in terms of diffusion through a layer of U 3 O 7 , diffusion into the grains to form a solid solution, a simplified empirical representation of a combination of grain boundary diffusion and bulk grain oxidation. Reaction rate constants were determined in each case, but analysis of these data could not establish a definitive mechanism. 21 refs., 10 figs., 3 tabs

  6. Constraining local 3-D models of the saturated-zone, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Barr, G.E.; Shannon, S.A.

    1994-01-01

    A qualitative three-dimensional analysis of the saturated zone flow system was performed for a 8 km x 8 km region including the potential Yucca Mountain repository site. Certain recognized geologic features of unknown hydraulic properties were introduced to assess the general response of the flow field to these features. Two of these features, the Solitario Canyon fault and the proposed fault in Drill Hole Wash, appear to constrain flow and allow calibration

  7. Experimental and numerical simulation of dissolution and precipitation: implications for fracture sealing at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dobson, Patrick F.; Kneafsey, Timothy J.; Sonnenthal, Eric L.; Spycher, Nicolas; Apps, John A.

    2003-05-01

    Plugging of flow paths caused by mineral precipitation in fractures above the potential repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada could reduce the probability of water seeping into the repository. As part of an ongoing effort to evaluate thermal-hydrological-chemical (THC) effects on flow in fractured media, we performed a laboratory experiment and numerical simulations to investigate mineral dissolution and precipitation under anticipated temperature and pressure conditions in the repository. To replicate mineral dissolution by vapor condensate in fractured tuff, water was flowed through crushed Yucca Mountain tuff at 94 °C. The resulting steady-state fluid composition had a total dissolved solids content of about 140 mg/l; silica was the dominant dissolved constituent. A portion of the steady-state mineralized water was flowed into a vertically oriented planar fracture in a block of welded Topopah Spring Tuff that was maintained at 80 °C at the top and 130 °C at the bottom. The fracture began to seal with amorphous silica within 5 days. A 1-D plug-flow numerical model was used to simulate mineral dissolution, and a similar model was developed to simulate the flow of mineralized water through a planar fracture, where boiling conditions led to mineral precipitation. Predicted concentrations of the major dissolved constituents for the tuff dissolution were within a factor of 2 of the measured average steady-state compositions. The mineral precipitation simulations predicted the precipitation of amorphous silica at the base of the boiling front, leading to a greater than 50-fold decrease in fracture permeability in 5 days, consistent with the laboratory experiment. These results help validate the use of a numerical model to simulate THC processes at Yucca Mountain. The experiment and simulations indicated that boiling and concomitant precipitation of amorphous silica could cause significant reductions in fracture porosity and permeability on a local scale. However

  8. Status of understanding of the saturated-zone ground-water flow system at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, as of 1995

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Luckey, R.R.; Tucci, P.; Faunt, C.C.; Ervin, E.M. [and others

    1996-12-31

    Yucca Mountain, which is being studied extensively because it is a potential site for a high-level radioactive-waste repository, consists of a thick sequence of volcanic rocks of Tertiary age that are underlain, at least to the southeast, by carbonate rocks of Paleozoic age. Stratigraphic units important to the hydrology of the area include the alluvium, pyroclastic rocks of Miocene age (the Timber Mountain Group; the Paintbrush Group; the Calico Hills Formation; the Crater Flat Group; the Lithic Ridge Tuff; and older tuffs, flows, and lavas beneath the Lithic Ridge Tuff), and sedimentary rocks of Paleozoic age. The saturated zone generally occurs in the Calico Hills Formation and stratigraphically lower units. The saturated zone is divided into three aquifers and two confining units. The flow system at Yucca Mountain is part of the Alkali Flat-Furnace Creek subbasin of the Death Valley groundwater basin. Variations in the gradients of the potentiometric surface provided the basis for subdividing the Yucca Mountain area into zones of: (1) large hydraulic gradient where potentiometric levels change at least 300 meters in a few kilometers; (2) moderate hydraulic gradient where potentiometric levels change about 45 meters in a few kilometers; and (3) small hydraulic gradient where potentiometric levels change only about 2 meters in several kilometers. Vertical hydraulic gradients were measured in only a few boreholes around Yucca Mountain; most boreholes had little change in potentiometric levels with depth. Limited hydraulic testing of boreholes in the Yucca Mountain area indicated that the range in transmissivity was more than 2 to 3 orders of magnitude in a particular hydrogeologic unit, and that the average values for the individual hydrogeologic units generally differed by about 1 order of magnitude. The upper volcanic aquifer seems to be the most permeable hydrogeologic unit, but this conclusion was based on exceedingly limited data.

  9. Status of understanding of the saturated-zone ground-water flow system at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, as of 1995

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Luckey, R.R.; Tucci, P.; Faunt, C.C.; Ervin, E.M.

    1996-01-01

    Yucca Mountain, which is being studied extensively because it is a potential site for a high-level radioactive-waste repository, consists of a thick sequence of volcanic rocks of Tertiary age that are underlain, at least to the southeast, by carbonate rocks of Paleozoic age. Stratigraphic units important to the hydrology of the area include the alluvium, pyroclastic rocks of Miocene age (the Timber Mountain Group; the Paintbrush Group; the Calico Hills Formation; the Crater Flat Group; the Lithic Ridge Tuff; and older tuffs, flows, and lavas beneath the Lithic Ridge Tuff), and sedimentary rocks of Paleozoic age. The saturated zone generally occurs in the Calico Hills Formation and stratigraphically lower units. The saturated zone is divided into three aquifers and two confining units. The flow system at Yucca Mountain is part of the Alkali Flat-Furnace Creek subbasin of the Death Valley groundwater basin. Variations in the gradients of the potentiometric surface provided the basis for subdividing the Yucca Mountain area into zones of: (1) large hydraulic gradient where potentiometric levels change at least 300 meters in a few kilometers; (2) moderate hydraulic gradient where potentiometric levels change about 45 meters in a few kilometers; and (3) small hydraulic gradient where potentiometric levels change only about 2 meters in several kilometers. Vertical hydraulic gradients were measured in only a few boreholes around Yucca Mountain; most boreholes had little change in potentiometric levels with depth. Limited hydraulic testing of boreholes in the Yucca Mountain area indicated that the range in transmissivity was more than 2 to 3 orders of magnitude in a particular hydrogeologic unit, and that the average values for the individual hydrogeologic units generally differed by about 1 order of magnitude. The upper volcanic aquifer seems to be the most permeable hydrogeologic unit, but this conclusion was based on exceedingly limited data

  10. Assessment of the importance of mixing in the Yucca Mountain hydrogeological system

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gomez, Javier B.; Auque, Luis F.; Gimeno, Maria; Acero, Patricia; Peterman, Zell; Oliver, Thomas A.; Gascoyne, Mel; Laaksoharju, Marcus

    2011-02-01

    The main objective of this work is to assess the importance of mixing on the hydrochemistry of waters in and around Yucca Mountain, most importantly in those waters south of Yucca Mountain. Due to the general north-south gradient of groundwater flow in the Yucca Mountain area, leakage from the proposed high-level radioactive waste repository would have the greatest consequences in the saturated zone waters south of Yucca Mountain. In this area (Amargosa River, Amargosa Flat and Ash Meadows), three main aquifers interact: the Regional Palaeozoic Carbonate Aquifer (RCA), the Tertiary Tuffs Aquifer (TTA) and the Quaternary Basin-fill Aquifer (QBfA). One consequence of upward leakage from the Palaeozoic Carbonate Aquifer would be to dilute the contaminant plume should one develop from the radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain. The reverse, downward leakage from the Tertiary Tuffs Aquifer or the Quaternary Basin-fill Aquifer into the Palaeozoic Carbonate Aquifer would contaminate a major aquifer system. It is clearly of the utmost importance to explore the links between theses aquifer systems and to assess the degree of mixing between the groundwaters. To attain this general objective, the following specific objectives have been either defined in advance or decided as being important during the development of the project: 1. Compile a dataset of water samples from the Yucca Mountain area. This dataset should contain samples from all the potential water types that contribute to the chemistry of the groundwaters in the aquifer systems in the area. 2. Perform a careful total-system exploratory analysis on the initial (raw) dataset in order to identify trends and outliers. 3. Perform a detailed exploratory analysis of each individual hydrofacies with the aim of identifying and eliminating from the raw dataset all the samples heavily affected by processes other than mixing (e.g. water-rock interaction, evaporation, cation exchange). PHREEQC simulations were

  11. Assessment of the importance of mixing in the Yucca Mountain hydrogeological system

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Gomez, Javier B.; Auque, Luis F.; Gimeno, Maria; Acero, Patricia (Geochemical Modelling Group, Dept. of Earth Sciences, Univ. of Zaragoza (Spain)); Peterman, Zell; Oliver, Thomas A. (U.S. Geological Survey (United States)); Gascoyne, Mel (Gascoyne Geoprojects Inc (Canada)); Laaksoharju, Marcus (Geopoint AB (Sweden))

    2011-02-15

    The main objective of this work is to assess the importance of mixing on the hydrochemistry of waters in and around Yucca Mountain, most importantly in those waters south of Yucca Mountain. Due to the general north-south gradient of groundwater flow in the Yucca Mountain area, leakage from the proposed high-level radioactive waste repository would have the greatest consequences in the saturated zone waters south of Yucca Mountain. In this area (Amargosa River, Amargosa Flat and Ash Meadows), three main aquifers interact: the Regional Palaeozoic Carbonate Aquifer (RCA), the Tertiary Tuffs Aquifer (TTA) and the Quaternary Basin-fill Aquifer (QBfA). One consequence of upward leakage from the Palaeozoic Carbonate Aquifer would be to dilute the contaminant plume should one develop from the radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain. The reverse, downward leakage from the Tertiary Tuffs Aquifer or the Quaternary Basin-fill Aquifer into the Palaeozoic Carbonate Aquifer would contaminate a major aquifer system. It is clearly of the utmost importance to explore the links between theses aquifer systems and to assess the degree of mixing between the groundwaters. To attain this general objective, the following specific objectives have been either defined in advance or decided as being important during the development of the project: 1. Compile a dataset of water samples from the Yucca Mountain area. This dataset should contain samples from all the potential water types that contribute to the chemistry of the groundwaters in the aquifer systems in the area. 2. Perform a careful total-system exploratory analysis on the initial (raw) dataset in order to identify trends and outliers. 3. Perform a detailed exploratory analysis of each individual hydrofacies with the aim of identifying and eliminating from the raw dataset all the samples heavily affected by processes other than mixing (e.g. water-rock interaction, evaporation, cation exchange). PHREEQC simulations were

  12. Development of waste packages for tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rothman, A.J.

    1982-01-01

    The objective of this program is to develop nuclear waste packages that meet the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's requirements for a licensed repository in tuff at the Nevada Test Site. Selected accomplishments for FY82 are: (1) Selection, collection of rock, and characterization of suitable outcrops (for lab experiments); (2) Rock-water interactions (Bullfrog Tuff); (3) Corrosion tests of ferrous metals; (4) Thermal modeling of waste package in host rock; (5) Preliminary fabrication tests of alternate backfills (crushed tuff); (6) Reviewed Westinghouse conceptual waste package designs for tuff and began modification for unsaturated zone; and (7) Waste Package Codes (BARIER and WAPPA) now running on our computer. Brief discussions are presented for rock-water interactions, corrosion tests of ferrous metals, and thermal and radionuclide migration modelling

  13. Chemical analyses of rocks, minerals, and detritus, Yucca Mountain--Preliminary report, special report No. 11

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hill, C.A.; Livingston, D.E.

    1993-09-01

    This chemical analysis study is part of the research program of the Yucca Mountain Project intended to provide the State of Nevada with a detailed assessment of the geology and geochemistry of Yucca Mountain and adjacent regions. This report is preliminary in the sense that more chemical analyses may be needed in the future and also in the sense that these chemical analyses should be considered as a small part of a much larger geological data base. The interpretations discussed herein may be modified as that larger data base is examined and established. All of the chemical analyses performed to date are shown in Table 1. There are three parts to this table: (1) trace element analyses on rocks (limestone and tuff) and minerals (calcite/opal), (2) rare earth analyses on rocks (tuff) and minerals (calcite/opal), and (3) major element analyses + CO 2 on rocks (tuff) and detritus sand. In this report, for each of the three parts of the table, the data and its possible significance will be discussed first, then some overall conclusions will be made, and finally some recommendations for future work will be offered

  14. Geoengineering properties of potential repository units at Yucca Mountain, southern Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tillerson, J.R.; Nimick, F.B.

    1984-12-01

    The Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations (NNWSI) Project is currently evaluating volcanic tuffs at the Yucca Mountain site, located on and adjacent to the Nevada Test Site, for possible use as a host rock for a radioactive waste repository. The behavior of tuff as an engineering material must be understood to design, license, construct, and operate a repository. Geoengineering evaluations and measurements are being made to develop confidence in both the analysis techniques for thermal, mechanical, and hydrothermal effects and the supporting data base of rock properties. The analysis techniques and the data base are currently used for repository design, waste package design, and performance assessment analyses. This report documents the data base of geoengineering properties used in the analyses that aided the selection of the waste emplacement horizon and in analyses synopsized in the Environmental Assessment Report prepared for the Yucca Mountain site. The strategy used for the development of the data base relies primarily on data obtained in laboratory tests that are then confirmed in field tests. Average thermal and mechanical properties (and their anticipated variations) are presented. Based upon these data, analyses completed to date, and previous excavation experience in tuff, it is anticipated that existing mining technology can be used to develop stable underground openings and that repository operations can be carried out safely

  15. YUCCA MOUNTAIN PROJECT - A BRIEFING -

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    2003-01-01

    This report has the following articles: Nuclear waste--a long-term national problem; Spent nuclear fuel; High-level radioactive waste; Radioactivity and the environment; Current storage methods; Disposal options; U.S. policy on nuclear waste; The focus on Yucca Mountain; The purpose and scope of the Yucca Mountain Project; The approach for permanently disposing of waste; The scientific studies at Yucca Mountain; The proposed design for a repository at Yucca Mountain; Natural and engineered barriers would work together to isolate waste; Meticulous science and technology to protect people and the environment; Licensing a repository; Transporting waste to a permanent repository; The Environmental Impact Statement for a repository; Current status of the Yucca Mountain Project; and Further information available on the Internet

  16. Distribution of potentially hazardous phases in the subsurface at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Guthrie, G.D. Jr.; Bish, D.L.; Chipera, S.J.; Raymond, R. Jr.

    1995-05-01

    Drilling, trenching, excavation of the Exploratory Studies Facility, and other surface and underground-distributing activities have the potential to release minerals into the environment from tuffs at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Some of these minerals may be potential respiratory health hazards. Therefore, an understanding of the distribution of the minerals that may potentially be liberated during site-characterization and operation of the potential repository is crucial to ensuring worker and public safety. Analysis of previously reported mineralogy of Yucca Mountain tuffs using data and criteria from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) suggests that the following minerals are of potential concern: quartz, cristobalite, tridymite, opal-CT, erionite, mordenite, and palygorskite. The authors have re-evaluated the three-dimensional mineral distribution at Yucca Mountain above the static water level both in bulk-rock samples and in fractures, using quantitative X-ray powder diffraction analysis. Erionite, mordenite, and palygorskite occur primarily in fractures; the crystalline-silica minerals, quartz, cristobalite, and tridymite are major bulk-rock phases. Erionite occurs in the altered zone just above the lower Topopah Spring Member vitrophyre, and an occurrence below the vitrophyre but above the Calico Hills has recently been identified. In this latter occurrence, erionite is present in the matrix at levels up to 35 wt%. Mordenite and palygorskite occur throughout the vadose zone nearly to the surface. Opal-CT is limited to zeolitic horizons

  17. The role of fault zones in affecting multiphase flow at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tsang, Y.W.; Pruess, K.; Wang, J.S.Y.

    1993-01-01

    Within Yucca Mountain, the potential High Level Nuclear-Waste Repository site, there are large scale fault zones, most notably the Ghost Dance Fault. The effect of such high-permeability, large scale discontinuities on the flow and transport is a question of concern in assessing the ability of the site to isolate radio-nuclides from the biosphere. In this paper, we present a numerical study to investigate the role of the fault in affecting both the liquid and gas phase flows in the natural state at Yucca Mountain prior to waste emplacement, as well as after the waste emplacement when the fluid flow is strongly heat-driven. Our study shows that if the characteristic curves of the Ghost Dance Fault obey the same relationship between saturated permeability and capillary scaling parameter, as is observed from the measured data of Yucca Mountain welded and nonwelded tuffs. Apache Leap tuffs, and Las Cruces soil, then a large saturated permeability of the Ghost Dance Fault will play little role in channeling water into the fault, or inenhancing the flow of water down the fault. However, the Fault may greatly enhance the upward gas flow after emplacement of waste. This may have implications on the transport of gaseous radio-nuclides such as C 14 . The results of this study also focus attention on the need for field measurements of fluid flow in the fault zones

  18. Estimates of ambient groundwater velocity in the alluvium south of Yucca Mountain from single-well tracer tests

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Reimus, P.W.; Umari, M.J.; Roback, R.; Earle, John; Darnell, Jon; Farnham, Irene

    2002-01-01

    The saturated alluvium located south of Yucca Mountain, Nevada is expected to serve as the final barrier to radionuclide transport from the proposed high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. The alluvium will act as a barrier if radionuclides breach the engineered barriers in the repository, move through the unsaturated zone beneath the repository to the water table, and then migrate through saturated volcanic tuffs to the alluvium. Three single-well injection-withdrawal tracer tests were conducted between December 2000 and April 2001 in the saturated alluviuni at NC-EWDP-19D1, a Nye County-Early Warning Drilling Program well located about 18 km south of Yucca Mountain. The tests had the objectives of (1) distinguishing between a single- and a dual-porosity conceptual radionuclide transport model for the alluvium, and (2) obtaining estimates of ambient groundwater velocity in the alluvium.

  19. Hydrologic modeling and field testing at Yucca mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hoxie, D.T.

    1991-01-01

    Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is being evaluated as a possible site for a mined geologic repository for the disposal of high-level nuclear waste. The repository is proposed to be constructed in fractured, densely welded tuff within the thick (500 to 750 meters) unsaturated zone at the site. Characterization of the site unsaturated-zone hydrogeologic system requires quantitative specification of the existing state of the system and the development of numerical hydrologic models to predict probable evolution of the hydrogeologic system over the lifetime of the repository. To support development of hydrologic models for the system, a testing program has been designed to characterize the existing state of the system, to measure hydrologic properties for the system and to identify and quantify those processes that control system dynamics. 12 refs

  20. Preliminary U-series disequilibrium and thermoluminescence ages of surficial deposits and paleosols associated with Quaternary fault, Eastern Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Paces, J.B.; Menges, C.M.; Bush, C.A.; Futa, K.; Millard, H.T.; Maat, P.B.; Whitney, J.W.; Widmann, B.; Wesling, J.R.

    1994-01-01

    Geochronological control is an essential component of paleoseismic evaluation of faults in the Yucca Mountain region. New U-series disequilibrium and thermoluminescence age estimates for pedogenic deposits that bracket surface-rupture events are presented from four sites exposing the Paintbrush Canyon, Bow Ridge and Stagecoach Road faults. Ages show an internal consistency with stratigraphic relationships as well as an overall concordancy between the two independent geochronometers. Age estimates are therefore interpreted to date depositional events or episodes of pedogenic carbonate mobility that can be used to establish a paleoseismic fault chronology. Ultimately, this type of chronological information will be used to evaluate seismic hazards at Yucca Mountain

  1. Assessment of geophysical logs from borehole USW G-2, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nelson, P.H.; Schimschal, U.

    1993-01-01

    Commercial logging contractors, Western Atlas, Schlumberger, and Edcon obtained borehole geophysical logs at the site of a potential high level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Drill hole USW-G2 was picked for this test of suitable logging tools and logging technology, both representing state-of-the-art technology by these commercial companies. Experience gained by analysis of existing core data and a variety of logs obtained earlier by Birdwell and Dresser Atlas served as a guide to a choice of logs to be obtained. Logs were obtained in water-filled borehole in zeolitized tuff (saturated zone) and in air-filled borehole largely in unaltered welded tuff (unsaturated zone)

  2. Disruption scenarios for a high-level waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ross, B.

    1986-01-01

    A high-level waste repository located in unsaturated welded tuff at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, would rely on six different, although not entirely independent, barriers to prevent escape of radioactivity. These barriers are the waste canister, fuel cladding, slow dissolution of the spent fuel itself, and slow movement of released contaminants in three different hydrogeologic units: the unsaturated Topopah Spring welded tuff unit, the unsaturated Calico Hills nonwelded tuff unit, and the saturated tuff aquifer. Fifty-eight processes and events that might affect such a repository were reviewed. Eighty-three different sequences were identified by which these processes and events could lead to failure of one or more barriers. Sequences which had similar consequences were grouped, yielding 17 categories. The repository system has considerable redundancy; most of the more likely disruptions affect only one or a few barriers. Occurrence of more than one disruption is needed before such disruptions would cause release of radioactivity. Future studies of repository performance must assess the likelihood and consequences of multiple-disruption scenarios to evaluate how well the repository meets performance standards

  3. Sources of Fe in eolian and soil detritus at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, USA

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Vaniman, D.; Chipera, S.; Bish, D.

    1997-01-01

    Eolian deposits and adjacent soil horizons at Exile Hill near Yucca Mountain, Nevada, provide a desert environment where the origins of exotic eolian materials can be discerned. Petrographic, chemical, X-ray diffraction, and electron microprobe data allow an assessment of Fe mineral sources. Fe-rich minerals in local rhyolitic tuff bedrock consist of distinctive biotite and amphibole phenocrysts and groundmass Mn-hematites. Although the local tuffs contain only 1% FeO, detrital components of eolian and soil deposits have ∼3% FeO. Exotic minerals from distant sources provide most of the excess Fe in the surficial deposits. The exotic Fe sources are principally smectite, low-Mn hematite, low-F biotite, and high-Fe amphibole not found in local tuffs. Iron contents and the exotic Fe fraction increase with decreasing grain size, such that the clay fractions have ∼5--6% FeO, almost all of which is in exotic smectites. The distant origin of these smectites is evident in their high Fe content and distinct Sc/FeO enrichment trends, which differ from the strong local Sc/FeO control defined by coarser soil detritus. Approximate crustal average lanthanide composition in soil and eolian smectites rule out any significant contribution of local smectite derived from tuff alteration. The eolian and soil smectites instead inherit their high Fe content from eolian biotite

  4. Borehole and geohydrologic data for test hole USW UZ-6, Yucca Mountain area, Nye County, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Whitfield, M.S. Jr.; Loskot, C.L.; Cope, C.M.

    1993-01-01

    Test hole USW UZ-6, located 1.8 kilometers west of the Nevada Test Site on a major north-trending ridge at Yucca Mountain, was dry drilled in Tertiary tuff to a depth of 575 meters. The area near this site is being considered by the US Department of Energy for potential construction of a high-level, radioactive-waste repository. Test hole USW UZ-6 is one of seven test holes completed in the unsaturated zone as part of the US Geological Survey's Yucca Mountain Project to characterize the potential repository site. Data pertaining to borehole drilling and construction, lithology of geologic units penetrated, and laboratory analyses for hydrologic characteristics of samples of drill-bit cuttings are included in this report

  5. Alternative configurations for the waste-handling building at the Yucca Mountain Repository

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1990-08-01

    Two alternative configurations of the waste-handling building have been developed for the proposed nuclear waste repository in tuff at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. One configuration is based on criteria and assumptions used in Case 2 (no monitored retrievable storage facility, no consolidation), and the other configuration is based on criteria and assumptions used in Case 5 (consolidation at the monitored retrievable storage facility) of the Monitored Retrievable Storage System Study for the Repository. Desirable waste-handling design concepts have been selected and are included in these configurations. For each configuration, general arrangement drawings, plot plans, block flow diagrams, and timeline diagrams are prepared

  6. Numerical studies of rock-gas flow in Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ross, B.; Amter, S.; Lu, Ning

    1992-02-01

    A computer model (TGIF -- Thermal Gradient Induced Flow) of two-dimensional, steady-state rock-gas flow driven by temperature and humidity differences is described. The model solves for the ''fresh-water head,'' a concept that has been used in models of variable-density water flow but has not previously been applied to gas flow. With this approach, the model can accurately simulate the flows driven by small differences in temperature. The unsaturated tuffs of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, are being studied as a potential site for a repository for high-level nuclear waste. Using the TGIF model, preliminary calculations of rock-gas flow in Yucca Mountain are made for four east-west cross-sections through the mountain. Calculations are made for three repository temperatures and for several assumptions about a possible semi-confining layer above the repository. The gas-flow simulations are then used to calculate travel-time distributions for air and for radioactive carbon-14 dioxide from the repository to the ground surface

  7. Flow in bedrock canyons.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Venditti, Jeremy G; Rennie, Colin D; Bomhof, James; Bradley, Ryan W; Little, Malcolm; Church, Michael

    2014-09-25

    Bedrock erosion in rivers sets the pace of landscape evolution, influences the evolution of orogens and determines the size, shape and relief of mountains. A variety of models link fluid flow and sediment transport processes to bedrock incision in canyons. The model components that represent sediment transport processes are increasingly well developed. In contrast, the model components being used to represent fluid flow are largely untested because there are no observations of the flow structure in bedrock canyons. Here we present a 524-kilometre, continuous centreline, acoustic Doppler current profiler survey of the Fraser Canyon in western Canada, which includes 42 individual bedrock canyons. Our observations of three-dimensional flow structure reveal that, as water enters the canyons, a high-velocity core follows the bed surface, causing a velocity inversion (high velocities near the bed and low velocities at the surface). The plunging water then upwells along the canyon walls, resulting in counter-rotating, along-stream coherent flow structures that diverge near the bed. The resulting flow structure promotes deep scour in the bedrock channel floor and undercutting of the canyon walls. This provides a mechanism for channel widening and ensures that the base of the walls is swept clear of the debris that is often deposited there, keeping the walls nearly vertical. These observations reveal that the flow structure in bedrock canyons is more complex than assumed in the models presently used. Fluid flow models that capture the essence of the three-dimensional flow field, using simple phenomenological rules that are computationally tractable, are required to capture the dynamic coupling between flow, bedrock erosion and solid-Earth dynamics.

  8. Ash-flow tuff distribution and fault patterns as indicators of rotation of late-tertiary regional extension, Nevada test site

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ander, H.D.

    1983-01-01

    Isopach and structure contour maps generated for Yucca Flat as well as fault pattern analyses of the Nevada Test Site (NTS) can aid in more efficient site selection and site characterization necessary for containment. Furthermore, these geologic studies indicate that most of the alluvial deposition in Yucca Flat was controlled by north-trending faults responding to a regional extension direction oriented approximately 20 0 to 30 0 west of the N50 0 W direction observed today. The Yucca Flat basin-forming Carpetbag and Yucca fault systems seem to be deflected at their southern ends into the northeast-trending Cane Spring and Mine Mountain fault systems. Left-lateral strike-slip displacement of approx. 1.4 km found on these northeasterly faults requires that most of the displacement on the combined fault systems occurred in an extension field oriented approximately N80 0 W. Fault movement in this extensional field postdates the Ammonia Tanks tuff (approx. 11 My) and was strongly active during deposition of some 1100 meters of alluvium in Yucca Flat. Time of rotation of regional extension to the presently active N50 0 W direction is unknown; however, it occurred so recently that it has not greatly modified fault displacement patterns extant at the NTS

  9. Yucca Mountain Project public interactions

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Reilly, B.E.

    1990-01-01

    The US Department of Energy (DOE) is committed to keeping the citizens of Nevada informed about activities that relate to the high-level nuclear waste repository program. This paper presents an overview of the Yucca Mountain Project's public interaction philosophy, objectives, activities and experiences during the two years since Congress directed the DOE to conduct site characterization activities only for the Yucca Mountain site

  10. Potentially disruptive hydrologic features, events and processes at the Yucca Mountain Site, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hoxie, D.T.

    1995-01-01

    Yucca Mountain, Nevada, has been selected by the United States to be evaluated as a potential site for the development of a geologic repository for the disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. If the site is determined to be suitable for repository development and construction is authorized, the repository at the Yucca Mountain site is planned to be constructed in unsaturated tuff at a depth of about 250 meters below land surface and at a distance of about 250 meters above the water table. The intent of locating a repository in a thick unsaturated-zone geohydrologic setting, such as occurs at Yucca Mountain under the arid to semi-arid climatic conditions that currently prevail in the region, is to provide a natural setting for the repository system in which little ground water will be available to contact emplaced waste or to transport radioactive material from the repository to the biosphere. In principle, an unsaturated-zone repository will be vulnerable to water entry from both above and below. Consequently, a major effort within the site-characterization program at the Yucca Mountain site is concerned with identifying and evaluating those features, events, and processes, such as increased net infiltration or water-table rise, whose presence or future occurrence could introduce water into a potential repository at the site in quantities sufficient to compromise the waste-isolation capability of the repository system

  11. Bulk and mechanical properties of the Paintbrush tuff recovered from borehole USW NRG-6: Data report

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Martin, R.J.; Boyd, P.J.; Noel, J.S.; Price, R.H.

    1994-11-01

    Experimental results are presented for bulk and mechanical properties measurements on specimens of the Paintbrush tuff recovered from borehole USW NRG-6 at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Measurements have been performed on four thermal/mechanical units, TCw, PTn, TSw1 and TSw2. On each specimen the following bulk properties have been reported: dry bulk density, saturated bulk density, average grain density, and porosity. Unconfined compression to failure, confined compression to failure, and indirect tensile strength tests were performed on selected specimens recovered from the borehole. In addition, compressional and shear wave velocities were measured on specimens designated for unconfined compression and confined compression experiments. Measurements were conducted at room temperature on nominally water saturated specimens; however, some specimens of PTn were tested in a room dry condition. The nominal strain rate for the fracture experiments was 10 -5 s -1

  12. Geology at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Anon.

    1993-01-01

    Both advocates and critics disagree on the significance and interpretation of critical geological features which bear on the safety and suitability of Yucca Mountain as a site for the construction of a high-level radioactive waste repository. Critics believe that there is sufficient geological evidence to rule the site unsuitable for further investigation. Some advocates claim that there is insufficient data and that investigations are incomplete, while others claim that the site is free of major obstacles. We have expanded our efforts to include both the critical evaluations of existing geological and geochemical data and the collection of field data and samples for the purpose of preparing scientific papers for submittal to journals. Summaries of the critical reviews are presented in this paper

  13. The Yucca Mountain tours

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Shepard, N.F.; Champagne, D.L.

    1992-01-01

    In 1978, Mderthaner et al. observed that opposition to nuclear facilities was lowest near the facility. This suggested that opposition decreased as familiarity with the facility increased, with distance from the facility as an inverse measure of familiarity. In this paper, the authors analyze data from the literature supporting this hypothesis and examine a poll of 1200 public visitors to the candidate repository site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, in March through June 1991. The tour poll and independent pools show that most Nevadans support the present scientific investigation of the site while opposing the repository. Among the visitors, support for the investigation increased from 66 to 90 percent, which we attribute to increased familiarity

  14. Products of an Artificially Induced Hydrothermal System at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Levy, S.

    2000-01-01

    Studies of mineral deposition in the recent geologic past at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, address competing hypotheses of hydrothermal alteration and deposition from percolating groundwater. The secondary minerals being studied are calcite-opal deposits in fractures and lithophysal cavities of ash-flow tuffs exposed in the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF), a 7.7-km tunnel excavated by the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project within Yucca Mountain. An underground field test in the ESF provided information about the minerals deposited by a short-lived artificial hydrothermal system and an opportunity for comparison of test products with the natural secondary minerals. The heating phase lasted nine months, followed by a nine-month cooling period. Natural pore fluids were the only source of water during the thermal test. Condensation and reflux of water driven away from the heater produced fluid flow in certain fractures and intersecting boreholes. The mineralogic products of the thermal test are calcite-gypsum aggregates of less than 4-micrometer crystals and amorphous silica as glassy scale less than 0.2 mm thick and as mounds of tubules with diameters less than 0.7 micrometers. The minute crystal sizes of calcite and gypsum from the field test are very different from the predominantly coarser calcite crystals (up to cm scale) in natural secondary-mineral deposits at the site. The complex micrometer-scale textures of the amorphous silica differ from the simple forms of opal spherules and coatings in the natural deposits, even though some natural spherules are as small as 1 micrometer. These differences suggest that the natural minerals, especially if they were of hydrothermal origin, may have developed coarser or simpler forms during subsequent episodes of dissolution and redeposition. The presence of gypsum among the test products and its absence from the natural secondary-mineral assemblage may indicate a higher degree of evaporation during the test than

  15. Issues related to field testing in tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Zimmerman, R.M.

    1982-01-01

    This paper has brought out the unique properties of tuffs and related them to needs associated with their use as a host rock for a high level nuclear waste repository. Major issues of temperature, pore water, joints, and depositional patterns have been identified and related responses and impacts outlined in Table 1. Planned experiments have been outlined and their relationships to the rock mechanics issues summarized in Table 2. The conclusions from this paper are: (1) tuff is a complex rock and basic phenomenological understanding is incomplete; and (2) available field test facilities will be used for a series of experiments designed to improve phenomenological understanding and support repository design efforts

  16. Yucca Mountain Milestone

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hunt, Rod

    1997-01-01

    The Department of Energy project to determine if the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada is suitable for geologic disposal of high-level nuclear waste reached a major milestone in late April when a 25-foot-diameter tunnel boring machine ''holed through'' completing a five-mile-long, horseshoe-shaped excavation through the mountain. When the cutting-head of the giant machine broke through to daylight at the tunnel's south portal, it ended a 2 1/2-year excavation through the mountain that was completed ahead of schedule and with an outstanding safety record. Video of the event was transmitted live by satellite to Washington, DC, where it was watched by Secretary of Energy Frederico Pena and other high-level DOE officials, signifying the importance of the project's mission to find a repository for high-level nuclear waste and spent nuclear fuel produced by nuclear power plants. This critical undertaking is being performed by DOE's Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM). The tunnel is the major feature of the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF), which serves as an underground laboratory for engineers and scientists to help determine if Yucca Mountain is suitable to serve as a repository for the safe disposal of high-level nuclear waste. Morrison Knudsen's Environmental/Government Group is providing design and construction-management services on the project. The MK team is performing final design for the ESF and viability assessment design for the underground waste repository that will be built only if the site is found suitable for such a mission. In fact, if at anytime during the ESF phase, the site is found unsuitable, the studies will be stopped and the site restored to its natural state

  17. A strategy to seal exploratory boreholes in unsaturated tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Fernandez, J.A.; Case, J.B.; Givens, C.A.; Carney, B.C.

    1994-04-01

    This report presents a strategy for sealing exploratory boreholes associated with the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project. Over 500 existing and proposed boreholes have been considered in the development of this strategy, ranging from shallow (penetrating into alluvium only) to deep (penetrating into the groundwater table). Among the comprehensive list of recommendations are the following: Those boreholes within the potential repository boundary and penetrating through the potential repository horizon are the most significant boreholes from a performance standpoint and should be sealed. Shallow boreholes are comparatively insignificant and require only nominal sealing. The primary areas in which to place seals are away from high-temperature zones at a distance from the potential repository horizon in the Paintbrush nonwelded tuff and the upper portion of the Topopah Spring Member and in the tuffaceous beds of the Calico Hills Unit. Seals should be placed prior to waste emplacement. Performance goals for borehole seals both above and below the potential repository are proposed. Detailed construction information on the boreholes that could be used for future design specifications is provided along with a description of the environmental setting, i.e., the geology, hydrology, and the in situ and thermal stress states. A borehole classification scheme based on the condition of the borehole wall in different tuffaceous units is also proposed. In addition, calculations are presented to assess the significance of the boreholes acting as preferential pathways for the release of radionuclides. Design calculations are presented to answer the concerns of when, where, and how to seal. As part of the strategy development, available technologies to seal exploratory boreholes (including casing removal, borehole wall reconditioning, and seal emplacement) are reviewed

  18. Yucca Mountain Project Subsurface Facilities Design

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Linden, A.; Saunders, R.S.; Boutin, R.J.; Harrington, P.G.; Lachman, K.D.; Trautner, L.J.

    2002-01-01

    Four units of the Topopah Springs formation (volcanic tuff) are considered for the proposed repository: the upper lithophysal, the middle non-lithophysal, the lower lithophysal, and the lower non-lithophysal. Yucca Mountain was recently designated the site for a proposed repository to dispose of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. Work is proceeding to advance the design of subsurface facilities to accommodate emplacing waste packages in the proposed repository. This paper summarized recent progress in the design of subsurface layout of the proposed repository. The original Site Recommendation (SR) concept for the subsurface design located the repository largely within the lower lithophysal zone (approximately 73%) of the Topopah The Site Recommendation characterized area suitable for emplacement consisted of the primary upper block, the lower block and the southern upper block extension. The primary upper block accommodated the mandated 70,000 metric tons of heavy metal (MTHM) at a 1.45 kW/m hear heat load. Based on further study of the Site Recommendation concept, the proposed repository siting area footprint was modified to make maximum use of available site characterization data, and thus, reduce uncertainties associated with performance assessment. As a result of this study, a modified repository footprint has been proposed and is presently being review for acceptance by the DOE. A panel design concept was developed to reduce overall costs and reduce the overall emplacement schedule. This concept provides flexibility to adjust the proposed repository subsurface layout with time, as it makes it unnecessary to ''commit'' to development of a large single panel at the earliest stages of construction. A description of the underground layout configuration and influencing factors that affect the layout configuration are discussed in the report

  19. Selection of candidate canister materials for high-level nuclear waste containment in a tuff repository

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    McCright, R.D.; Weiss, H.; Juhas, M.C.; Logan, R.W.

    1983-11-01

    A repository located at Yucca Mountain at the Nevada Test Site is a potential site for permanent geological disposal of high-level nuclear waste. The repository can be located in a horizon in welded tuff, a volcanic rock, which is above the static water level at this site. The environmental conditions in this unsaturated zone are expected to be air and water vapor dominated for much of the containment period. Type 304L stainless steel is the reference material for fabricating canisters to contain the solid high-level wastes. Alternative stainless alloys are considered because of possible susceptibility of 304L to localized and stress forms of corrosion. For the reprocessed glass wastes, the canisters serve as the recipient for pouring the glass with the result that a sensitized microstructure may develop because of the times at elevated temperatures. Corrosion testing of the reference and alternative materials has begun in tuff-conditioned water and steam environments. 21 references, 8 figures, 8 tables

  20. Containment barrier metals for high-level waste packages in a Tuff repository

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Russell, E.W.; McCright, R.D.; O`Neal, W.C.

    1983-10-12

    The Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations (NNWSI) Waste Package project is part of the US Department of Energy`s Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (CRWM) Program. The NNWSI project is working towards the development of multibarriered packages for the disposal of spent fuel and high-level waste in tuff in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain at the Nevada Test Site (NTS). The final engineered barrier system design may be composed of a waste form, canister, overpack, borehole liner, packing, and the near field host rock, or some combination thereof. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory`s (LLNL) role is to design, model, and test the waste package subsystem for the tuff repository. At the present stage of development of the nuclear waste management program at LLNL, the detailed requirements for the waste package design are not yet firmly established. In spite of these uncertainties as to the detailed package requirements, we have begun the conceptual design stage. By conceptual design, we mean design based on our best assessment of present and future regulatory requirements. We anticipate that changes will occur as the detailed requirements for waste package design are finalized. 17 references, 4 figures, 10 tables.

  1. Containment barrier metals for high-level waste packages in a Tuff repository

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Russell, E.W.; McCright, R.D.; O'Neal, W.C.

    1983-01-01

    The Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations (NNWSI) Waste Package project is part of the US Department of Energy's Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (CRWM) Program. The NNWSI project is working towards the development of multibarriered packages for the disposal of spent fuel and high-level waste in tuff in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain at the Nevada Test Site (NTS). The final engineered barrier system design may be composed of a waste form, canister, overpack, borehole liner, packing, and the near field host rock, or some combination thereof. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's (LLNL) role is to design, model, and test the waste package subsystem for the tuff repository. At the present stage of development of the nuclear waste management program at LLNL, the detailed requirements for the waste package design are not yet firmly established. In spite of these uncertainties as to the detailed package requirements, we have begun the conceptual design stage. By conceptual design, we mean design based on our best assessment of present and future regulatory requirements. We anticipate that changes will occur as the detailed requirements for waste package design are finalized. 17 references, 4 figures, 10 tables

  2. Behavior of stressed and unstressed 304L specimens in tuff repository environmental conditions

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Juhas, M.C.; McCright, R.D.; Garrison, R.E.

    1984-11-01

    This paper presents preliminary results of an investigation of the behavior of candidate barrier material for high-level nuclear waste storage, Type 304L stainless steel, in tuff repository environmental conditions. Tuff is a densely welded, devitrified, igneous rock common to the proposed repository site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The results discussed include: irradiation corrosion tests, U-bend irradiation corrosion tests, slow strain rate tests, and bent beam stress corrosion tests. Results indicate that Type 304L stainless steel shows excellent resistance to general, localized, and stress corrosion under the environmental and microstructural conditions tested so far. The environmental test conditions are 50 to 100 0 C J-13 well water (non-saline, near neutral pH, and oxic in nature) and saturated steam at 100 0 C. Microstructural conditions include solution annealed and long furnace heat treatments to provoke a sensitized structure. However, this particular type of stainless steel may be susceptible to long-term, low-temperature sensitization because of the combination of expected time at elevated temperature and residual stress in the container after emplacement in the repository. Other grades of austenitic stainless steels are reported to be more resistant to low-temperature sensitization. Future work will therefore include more extensive testing of these grades. 15 references, 5 figures, 7 tables

  3. Consideration of Nuclear Criticality When Directly Disposing Highly Enriched Spent Nuclear Fuel in Unsaturated Tuff - II: Geochemical Constraints

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rechard, Rob P.; Sanchez, Lawrence C.; Trellue, Holly R.

    2003-01-01

    This article presents several reasonable cases in which four mechanisms - dissolution, physical mixing, adsorption, and precipitation (either chemical change or evaporation) - might concentrate fissile material in and around a disposal container for radioactive waste at the proposed repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The possible masses, concentrations, and volume are then compared to criticality limits. The cases examined evaluate the geologic barrier role in preventing criticality since engineered options for preventing criticality (e.g., boron or gadolinium neutron absorber in the disposal container) are not considered. The solid concentrations able to form in the natural environment are insufficient for criticality to occur because (a) solutions of 235 U and 239 Pu are clearly not critical; (b) physical mixing of fissile material with the entire potential iron oxide (as goethite - FeOOH) in a waste package is not critical; (c) the adsorption of 239 Pu on consolidated iron oxide in a waste package is not critical; (d) the adsorption of 235 U on consolidated iron oxide in a waste package is not critical when accounting for reduced adsorption because of carbonates at high pH; (e) the filtration of iron oxide colloids, containing fissile material, by the thin invert material is not critical; (f) insufficient retention through precipitation of 235 U or 239 Pu occurs in the invert; (g) adsorption of 235 U and 239 Pu on devitrified or clinoptolite-rich tuff below the repository is not critical; (h) the average precipitation/adsorption of 235 U as uranyl silicates in the tuff is not critical by analogy with calcite deposition in lithophysae at Yucca Mountain; and (i) precipitation/adsorption (caused by cyclic drying) as uranyl silicates on fracture surfaces of the tuff is not critical by analogy with the oxidation of UO 2 , migration of U VI , and precipitation in fractures at the Nopal I ore deposit in Mexico

  4. Separations canyon decontamination facilities

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hershey, J.H.

    1975-01-01

    Highly radioactive process equipment is decontaminated at the Savannah River Plant in specially equipped areas of the separations canyon building so that direct mechanical repairs or alterations can be made. Using these facilities it is possible to decontaminate and repair equipment such as 10- x 11-ft storage tanks, 8- x 8-ft batch evaporator pots and columns, 40-in. Bird centrifuges, canyon pumps and agitators, and various canyon piping systems or ''jumpers.'' For example, centrifuge or evaporator pots can be decontaminated and rebuilt for about 60 percent of the 1974 replacement cost. The combined facilities can decontaminate and repair 6 to 10 pieces of major equipment per year. Decontamination time varies with type of equipment and radioactivity levels encountered

  5. Separations canyon decontamination facilities

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hershey, J.H.

    1975-05-01

    Highly radioactive process equipment is decontaminated at the Savannah River Plant in specially equipped areas of the separations canyon buildings so that direct mechanical repairs or alterations can be made. Using these facilities it is possible to decontaminate and repair equipment such as 10- x 11-ft storage tanks, 8- x 8-ft batch evaporator pots and columns, 40-in. Bird centrifuges, canyon pumps and agitators, and various canyon piping systems or ''jumpers.'' For example, centrifuge or evaporator pots can be decontaminated and rebuilt for about 60 percent of the 1974 replacement cost. The combined facilities can decontaminate and repair 6 to 10 pieces of major equipment per year. Decontamination time varies with type of equipment and radioactivity levels encountered. (U.S.)

  6. Predicting flow through low-permeability, partially saturated, fractured rock: A review of modeling and experimental efforts at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Eaton, R.R.; Bixler, N.E.; Glass, R.J.

    1989-01-01

    Current interest in storing high-level nuclear waste in underground repositories has resulted in an increased effort to understand the physics of water flow through low-permeability rock. The US Department of Energy is investigating a prospective repository site located in volcanic ash (tuff) hundreds of meters above the water table at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Consequently, mathematical models and experimental procedures are being developed to provide a better understanding of the hydrology of this low-permeability, partially saturated, fractured rock. Modeling water flow in the vadose zone in soils and in relatively permeable rocks such as sandstone has received considerable attention for many years. The treatment of flow (including nonisothermal conditions) through materials such as the Yucca Mountain tuffs, however, has not received the same level of attention, primarily because it is outside the domain of agricultural and petroleum technology. This paper reviews the status of modeling and experimentation currently being used to understand and predict water flow at the proposed repository site. Several areas of research needs emphasized by the review are outlined. The extremely nonlinear hydraulic properties of these tuffs in combination with their heterogeneous nature makes it a challenging and unique problem from a computational and experimental view point. 101 refs., 14 figs., 1 tab

  7. Modeling geochemical stability of cement formulations for use as shaft liner and sealing components at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gardiner, M.A.; Myers, J.; Hinkebein, T.E.

    1990-01-01

    The geochemical modeling codes EQ3NR/EQ6 were used to model the interaction of cementitious materials with ground water from the Yucca Mountain proposed nuclear waste repository site in Nevada. This paper presents a preliminary estimate of the compositional changes caused by these interactions in the ground water and in the cement-based compounds proposed for use as sealing and shaft liner materials at the Yucca Mountain site. The geochemical speciation/solubility/reaction path codes EQ3NR/EQ6 were used to model the interaction of cementitious materials and water. Interaction of water with a cementitious material will result in dissolution of certain cement phases and changes in the water chemistry. These changes in the water chemistry may further lead to the precipitation of minerals either in the concrete or in the surrounding tuff at the Yucca Mountain Site (YMS). As part of a larger scoping study, a range of water, cement, and tuff compositions, temperatures, and reaction path modes were used. This paper presents a subset of that study by considering the interaction of three different cement formulations at 25 degree C with J-13 water using the ''closed'' reaction path mode. This subset was chosen as a base case to answer important questions in selecting the compositions of cementitious materials for use in the proposed repository. 8 refs., 1 fig., 3 tabs

  8. Analysis of gaseous-phase stable and radioactive isotopes in the unsaturated zone, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Yang, I.C.; Haas, H.H.; Weeks, E.P.; Thorstenson, D.C.

    1985-01-01

    The Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations Project of the US Department of Energy provides that agency with data for evaluating volcanic tuff beneath Yucca Mountain, Nevada, to determine its suitability for a potential repository of high-level radioactive waste. Thickness of the unsaturated zone, which consists of fractured, welded and nonwelded tuff, is about 1640 to 2460 feet (500 to 750 meters). One question to be resolved is an estimate of minimum ground-water traveltime from the disturbed zone of the potentail repository to the accessible environment. Another issue is the potential for diffusive or convective gaseous transport of radionuclides from an underground facility in the unsaturated zone to the accessible environment. Gas samples were collected at intervals to a depth of 1200 feet from the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Samples were analyzed for major atmospheric gases; carbon dioxide in the samples was analyzed for carbon-14 activity and for delta 13 C; water vapor in the samples was analyzed for deuterium and oxygen-18. These data could provide insight into the nature of unsaturated zone transport processes. 15 refs., 4 figs., 4 tabs

  9. Yucca Mountain project prototype testing

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hughes, W.T.; Girdley, W.A.

    1990-01-01

    The U.S. DOE is responsible for characterizing the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada to determine its suitability for development as a geologic repository to isolate high-level nuclear waste for at least 10,000 years. This unprecedented task relies in part on measurements made with relatively new methods or applications, such as dry coring and overcoring for studies to be conducted from the land surface and in an underground facility. The Yucca Mountain Project has, since 1988, implemented a program of equipment development and methods development for a broad spectrum of hydrologic, geologic, rock mechanics, and thermomechanical tests planned for use in an Exploratory Shaft during site characterization at the Yucca Mountain site. A second major program was fielded beginning in April 1989 to develop and test methods and equipment for surface drilling to obtain core samples from depth using only air as a circulating medium. The third major area of prototype testing has been during the ongoing development of the Instrumentation/ Data Acquisition System (IDAS), designed to collect and monitor data from down-hole instrumentation in the unsaturated zone, and store and transmit the data to a central archiving computer. Future prototype work is planned for several programs including the application of vertical seismic profiling methods and flume design to characterizing the geology at Yucca Mountain. The major objectives of this prototype testing are to assure that planned Site Characterization testing can be carried out effectively at Yucca Mountain, both in the Exploratory Shaft Facility (ESF), and from the surface, and to avoid potential major failures or delays that could result from the need to re-design testing concepts or equipment. This paper will describe the scope of the Yucca Mountain Project prototype testing programs and summarize results to date. 3 figs

  10. Mineralogy and clinoptilolite K/Ar results from Yucca Mountain, Nevada, USA: A potential high-level radioactive waste repository site

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    WoldeGabriel, G.; Broxton, D.E.; Bish, D.L.; Chipera, S.J.

    1993-11-01

    The Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project is investigating Yucca Mountain, Nevada, as a potential site for a high-level nuclear waste repository. An important aspect of this evaluation is to understand the geologic history of the site including the diagenetic processes that are largely responsible for the present-day chemical and physical properties of the altered tuffs. This study evaluates the use of K/Ar geochronology in determining the alteration history of the zeolitized portions of Miocene tuffs at Yucca Mountain. Clinoptilolite is not generally regarded as suitable for dating because of its open structure and large ion-exchange capacity. However, it is the most abundant zeolite at Yucca Mountain and was selected for this study to assess the feasibility of dating the zeolitization process and/or subsequent processes that may have affected the zeolites. In this study we examine the ability of this mineral to retain all or part of its K and radiogenic Ar during diagenesis and evaluate the usefulness of the clinoptilolite K/Ar dates for determining the history of alteration

  11. Effects of Faulted Stratigraphy on Saturated Zone Flow Beneath Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Cohen, Andrew J.B.; Oldenburg, Curtis M.

    1999-01-01

    The S 4 Z Model (''sub-site-scale saturated zone'') is a 3-D TOUGH2 model that was developed to study the saturated zone (SZ) at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, and to aid in the design and analysis of hydrologic tests. Yucca Mountain is the proposed site for a nuclear waste repository for the United States. The model covers an area of approximately 100 km 2 around Yucca Mountain, as shown in Figure 1. The proposed repository is located in the unsaturated zone, immediately above the area of equidimensional gridblocks east of Solitario Canyon fault, which defines the crest of Yucca Mountain. The finely discretized region near the center of the domain corresponds to the area near a cluster of boreholes used for hydraulic and tracer testing. This discretization facilitates simulation of tests conducted there. The hydrogeologic structure beneath the mountain is comprised of dipping geologic units of variable thickness which are offset by faults. One of the primary objectives of the S 4 Z modeling effort is to study the potential effects of the faulted structure on flow. Therefore, replication of the geologic structure in the model mesh is necessary. This paper summarizes (1) the mesh discretization used to capture the faulted geologic structure, and (2) a model simulation that illustrates the significance of the geologic structure on SZ flow and the resulting macrodispersion

  12. Fourmile Canyon Fire Findings

    Science.gov (United States)

    Russell Graham; Mark Finney; Chuck McHugh; Jack Cohen; Dave Calkin; Rick Stratton; Larry Bradshaw; Ned Nikolov

    2012-01-01

    The Fourmile Canyon Fire burned in the fall of 2010 in the Rocky Mountain Front Range adjacent to Boulder, Colorado. The fire occurred in steep, rugged terrain, primarily on privately owned mixed ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir forests. The fire started on September 6 when the humidity of the air was very dry (¡Ö

  13. Influence of geologic structure on alluvial sedimentation in northwestern Yucca Flat, Nye County, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wagoner, J.L.

    1983-01-01

    Using downhole photography, alluvial sediments are described in 5 emplacement holes in northwestern Yucca Flat. The holes are located on or near the Grouse Canyon fan. The 3 most proximally located holes contain the coarsest sediments and display a general decrease in grain size in the downfan direction. The 2 most distally located holes contain fine-grained distal facies sediment in the upper parts of the holes and coarse-grained proximal facies gravels lower in the holes. The proximal gravels in the lower half of the sections were derived from the gravity high, a north-south-trending horst which was exposed early during the history of Yucca Flat basin. Alluvial sedimentation eventually exceeded uplift of the horst, which was buried by distal facies sediments, derived from the western basin margin

  14. Parametric analysis of a TOUGH2 model for the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Xiang, Y.; Mishra, S.; Dunlap, B. [CRWMS M& O/INTERA, Inc., Las Vegas, NV (United States)

    1995-03-01

    Yucca Mountain in Nevada is currently being investigated for suitability as a potential site for the disposal of high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel. As the most important natural barrier against radionuclide migration to the accessible environment, the unsaturated zone at Yucca mountain is a key constituent in assessing the ambient geohydrology. A three-dimensional site-scale TOUGH2 model of the unsaturated zone is currently under development by Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (LBL) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) consists of six hydrogeologic units - TCw (Tiva Canyon welded), PTn (Paintbrush nonwelded), TSw (Topopah Spring welded), TSv (Topopah Spring welded-vitrophyre), CHnz (Calico Hills nonwelded-vitric), and CHnz (Calico Hills nonwelded-zeolitic), which are further subdivided into seventeen layers to represent additional lithologic detail. Based on the work of Klavetter and Peters, the fractured units TCw and TSw are treated as equivalent continua with specified threshold saturation for triggering fracture flow.

  15. Geologic map and upper Paleozoic stratigraphy of the Marble Canyon area, Cottonwood Canyon quadrangle, Death Valley National Park, Inyo County, California

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stone, Paul; Stevens, Calvin H.; Belasky, Paul; Montañez, Isabel P.; Martin, Lauren G.; Wardlaw, Bruce R.; Sandberg, Charles A.; Wan, Elmira; Olson, Holly A.; Priest, Susan S.

    2014-01-01

    This geologic map and pamphlet focus on the stratigraphy, depositional history, and paleogeographic significance of upper Paleozoic rocks exposed in the Marble Canyon area in Death Valley National Park, California. Bedrock exposed in this area is composed of Mississippian to lower Permian (Cisuralian) marine sedimentary rocks and the Jurassic Hunter Mountain Quartz Monzonite. These units are overlain by Tertiary and Quaternary nonmarine sedimentary deposits that include a previously unrecognized tuff to which we tentatively assign an age of late middle Miocene (~12 Ma) based on tephrochronologic analysis, in addition to the previously recognized Pliocene tuff of Mesquite Spring. Mississippian and Pennsylvanian rocks in the Marble Canyon area represent deposition on the western continental shelf of North America. Mississippian limestone units in the area (Tin Mountain, Stone Canyon, and Santa Rosa Hills Limestones) accumulated on the outer part of a broad carbonate platform that extended southwest across Nevada into east-central California. Carbonate sedimentation was interrupted by a major eustatic sea-level fall that has been interpreted to record the onset of late Paleozoic glaciation in southern Gondwana. Following a brief period of Late Mississippian clastic sedimentation (Indian Springs Formation), a rise in eustatic sea level led to establishment of a new carbonate platform that covered most of the area previously occupied by the Mississippian platform. The Pennsylvanian Bird Spring Formation at Marble Canyon makes up the outer platform component of ten third-order (1 to 5 m.y. duration) stratigraphic sequences recently defined for the regional platform succession. The regional paleogeography was fundamentally changed by major tectonic activity along the continental margin beginning in middle early Permian time. As a result, the Pennsylvanian carbonate shelf at Marble Canyon subsided and was disconformably overlain by lower Permian units (Osborne Canyon and

  16. Borehole stability in densely welded tuffs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Fuenkajorn, K.; Daemen, J.J.K.

    1992-07-01

    The stability of boreholes, or more generally of underground openings (i.e. including shafts, ramps, drifts, tunnels, etc.) at locations where seals or plugs are to be placed is an important consideration in seal design for a repository (Juhlin and Sandstedt, 1989). Borehole instability or borehole breakouts induced by stress redistribution could negate the effectiveness of seals or plugs. Breakout fractures along the wall of repository excavations or exploratory holes could provide a preferential flowpath for groundwater or gaseous radionuclides to bypass the plugs. After plug installation, swelling pressures exerted by a plug could induce radial cracks or could open or widen preexisting cracks in the rock at the bottom of the breakouts where the tangential compressive stresses have been released by the breakout process. The purpose of the work reported here is to determine experimentally the stability of a circular hole in a welded tuff sample subjected to various external boundary loads. Triaxial and biaxial borehole stability tests have been performed on densely welded Apache Leap tuff samples and Topopah Spring tuff samples. The nominal diameter of the test hole is 13.3 or 14.4 mm for triaxial testing, and 25.4 mm for biaxial testing. The borehole axis is parallel to one of the principal stress axes. The boreholes are drilled through the samples prior to applying external boundary loads. The boundary loads are progressively increased until breakouts occur or until the maximum load capacity of the loading system has been reached. 74 refs

  17. Background studies in support of a feasibility assessment on the use of copper-base materials for nuclear waste packages in a repository in tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Van Konynenburg, R.A.; Kundig, K.J.A.; Lyman, W.S.; Prager, M.; Meyers, J.R.; Servi, I.S.

    1990-06-01

    This report combines six work units performed in FY'85--86 by the Copper Development Association and the International Copper Research Association under contract with the University of California. The work includes literature surveys and state-of-the-art summaries on several considerations influencing the feasibility of the use of copper-base materials for fabricating high-level nuclear waste packages for the proposed repository in tuff rock at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The general conclusion from this work was that copper-base materials are viable candidates for inclusion in the materials selection process for this application. 55 refs., 48 figs., 22 tabs

  18. Background studies in support of a feasibility assessment on the use of copper-base materials for nuclear waste packages in a repository in tuff

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Van Konynenburg, R.A. [Lawrence Livermore National Lab., CA (USA); Kundig, K.J.A.; Lyman, W.S.; Prager, M.; Meyers, J.R.; Servi, I.S. [CDA/INCRA Joint Advisory Group, Greenwich, CT (USA)

    1990-06-01

    This report combines six work units performed in FY`85--86 by the Copper Development Association and the International Copper Research Association under contract with the University of California. The work includes literature surveys and state-of-the-art summaries on several considerations influencing the feasibility of the use of copper-base materials for fabricating high-level nuclear waste packages for the proposed repository in tuff rock at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The general conclusion from this work was that copper-base materials are viable candidates for inclusion in the materials selection process for this application. 55 refs., 48 figs., 22 tabs.

  19. Temporal Damping Effect of the Yucca Mountain Fractured Saturated Rock on Transient Infiltration Pulses

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    K. Zhang; Y.S. Wu; L. Pan

    2006-01-01

    Performance assessment of the Yucca Mountain unsaturated zone (UZ) as the site for an underground repository of high-level radioactive waste relies on the crucial assumption that water percolation processes in the unsaturated zone can be approximated as a steady-state condition. Justification of such an assumption is based on temporal damping effects of several geological units within the unsaturated tuff formation. In particular, the nonwelded tuff of the Paintbrush Group (PTn unit) at Yucca Mountain, because of its highly porous nature, has been conceptualized to have a significant capacity for temporally damping transient percolation fluxes. The objective of this study is to investigate these damping effects, using a three-dimensional (3-D) mountain-scale model as well as several one-dimensional (1-D) models. The 3-D model incorporates a wide variety of the updated field data for the highly heterogeneous unsaturated formation at Yucca Mountain. The model is first run to steady state and calibrated using field-measured data and then transient pulse infiltrations are applied to the model top boundary. Subsequent changes in percolation fluxes at the bottom of and within the PTn unit are examined under episodic infiltration boundary conditions. The 1-D model is used to examine the long-term response of the flow system to higher infiltration pulses, while the damping effect is also investigated through modeling tracer transport in the UZ under episodic infiltration condition. Simulation results show the existence of damping effects within the PTn unit and also indicate that the assumption of steady-state flow conditions below the PTn unit is reasonable. However, the study also finds that some fast flow paths along faults exist, causing vertical-flux quick responses at the PTn bottom to the episodic infiltration at the top boundary

  20. A revised Lithostratigraphic Framework for the Southern Yucca Mountain Area, Nye County, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    R.W. Spengler; F.M. Byers; R.P. Dickerson

    2006-01-01

    An informal, revised lithostratigraphic framework for the southern Yucca Mountain area, Nevada has been developed to accommodate new information derived from subsurface investigations of the Nye County Early Warning Drilling Program. Lithologies penetrated by recently drilled boreholes at locations between Stagecoach Road and Highway 95 in southern Nye County include Quaternary and Pliocene alluvium and alluvial breccia, Miocene pyroclastic flow deposits and intercalated lacustrine siltstone and claystone sequences, early Miocene to Oligocene pre-volcanic sedimentary rocks, and Paleozoic strata. Of the 37 boreholes currently drilled, 21 boreholes have sufficient depth, spatial distribution, or traceable pyroclastic flow, pyroclastic fall, and reworked tuff deposits to aid in the lateral correlation of lithostrata. Medial and distal parts of regional pyroclastic flow deposits of Miocene age can be correlated with the Timber Mountain, Paintbrush, Crater Flat, and Tram Ridge Groups. Rocks intercalated between these regional pyroclastic flow deposits are substantially thicker than in the central part of Yucca Mountain, particularly near the downthrown side of major faults and along the southern extent of exposures at Yucca Mountain

  1. Evaporation of J13 and UZ pore waters at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rosenberg, N D; Gdowski, G E; Knauss, K G

    2000-01-01

    This work is motivated by a need to characterize the chemistry of aqueous films that might form at elevated temperatures on engineered components at the potential high-level, nuclear-waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Such aqueous films might form through evaporation of water that seeps into the drifts, or by water vapor absorption by hydroscopic salts directly deposited on these components (possibly from previous evaporation events or possibly from air-blown particles drawn into the drifts through a drift ventilation system). There is no consensus at this time on the chemical composition of water that might come in contact with engineered components at Yucca Mountain. Two possibilities have received the most attention: well J13 water and pore waters from the unsaturated zone (UZ) above the repository horizon. These waters represent the two major types of natural waters at Yucca Mountain. Well J13 water is a dilute Na-HCO 3 -CO 3 water, representative of regional perched water and groundwater. The UZ pore waters are Ca-Cl-SO 4 -rich waters with a higher dissolved ion content. These waters are less well-characterized. We have studied the evaporative evolution of these two major types of waters through a series of open system laboratory experiments, with and without crushed repository-horizon tuff present, conducted at sub-boiling temperatures (75 C-85 C)

  2. Two-phase unsaturated flow at Yucca Mountain, Nevada - A Report on Current Understanding

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Pruess, K.

    1998-01-01

    The U.S. civilian nuclear waste program is unique in its focus on disposal of high-level wastes in the unsaturated zone (UZ), above the water table. The potential repository site currently under investigation is located in a semi-arid region of the southwestern U.S. at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The geology of the site consists of layered sequences of faulted, fractured, and bedded tuffs. The groundwater table is approximately 600 m beneath the land surface, while the proposed repository horizon is at a nominal depth of approximately 375 m. In this kind of environment, two-phase flow is not just a localized perturbation to natural conditions, as in the saturated zone, but is the predominant mode of water and gas flow. The purpose of this report is to review the current understanding of gas and water flow, and mass transport, in the unique hydrogeologic environment of Yucca Mountain. Characteristics of the Yucca Mountain site are examined, and concepts and mathematical modeling approaches are described for variably saturated flow in thick unsaturated zones of fractured rock. The paper includes a brief summary of the disposal concept and repository design, as developed by a team of engineering contractors to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), with strong participation from the DOE National Laboratories

  3. Effect of a low-permeability layer on calculated gas flow at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lu, Ning; Amter, S.; Ross, B.

    1990-01-01

    Yucca Mountain is being studied to determine its suitability as a location for a high-level nuclear waste repository. Amter and Ross developed a model called TGIF (Topographic Induced Flow) to simulate gas flow under Yucca Mountain. The TGIF model differs significantly from previous gas flow models. It uses a governing equation that is based on the concept of freshwater head, thus avoiding the numerical problems associated with the near-cancellation of the forces due to gravity and the pressure gradient. Unlike most other models, dipping, layered media can be simulated. This paper describes a systematic sensitivity study that was designed to test several aspects of the TGIF model when used to simulate gas flow under Yucca Mountain. Values of three important inputs to the model were systematically varied to form a matrix of 80 runs. The matrix consisted of five values of permeability contrast between a bedded tuff layer and surrounding welded units (in all cases, bulk permeabilities were used to represent the combined effect of both fractures and matrix permeability), four temperature profiles representing different stages of repository cooldown, and four finite-difference grids

  4. Effect of a low-permeability layer on calculated gas flow at Yucca Mountain

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Lu, Ning; Amter, S.; Ross, B. [Disposal Safety, Inc., Washington, DC (USA)

    1990-12-31

    Yucca Mountain is being studied to determine its suitability as a location for a high-level nuclear waste repository. Amter and Ross developed a model called TGIF (Topographic Induced Flow) to simulate gas flow under Yucca Mountain. The TGIF model differs significantly from previous gas flow models. It uses a governing equation that is based on the concept of freshwater head, thus avoiding the numerical problems associated with the near-cancellation of the forces due to gravity and the pressure gradient. Unlike most other models, dipping, layered media can be simulated. This paper describes a systematic sensitivity study that was designed to test several aspects of the TGIF model when used to simulate gas flow under Yucca Mountain. Values of three important inputs to the model were systematically varied to form a matrix of 80 runs. The matrix consisted of five values of permeability contrast between a bedded tuff layer and surrounding welded units (in all cases, bulk permeabilities were used to represent the combined effect of both fractures and matrix permeability), four temperature profiles representing different stages of repository cooldown, and four finite-difference grids.

  5. SEEPAGE INTO DRIFTS IN UNSATRUATED FRACTURED ROCK AT YUCCA MOUNTAIN

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    JENS BIRHOLZER; GUOMIN LI; CHIN-FU TSANG; YVONNE TSANG

    1998-01-01

    An important issue for the long-term performance of underground nuclear waste repositories is the rate of seepage into the waste emplacement drifts. A prediction of the future seepage rate is particularly complicated for the potential repository site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, as it is located in thick, partially saturated, fractured tuff formations. The long-term situation in the drifts several thousand years after waste emplacement will be characterized by a relative humidity level close to or equal to 100%. as the drifts will be sealed and unventilated, and the waste packages will have cooled. The underground tunnels will then act as capillary barriers for the unsaturated flow, ideally diverting water around them, if the capillary forces are stronger than gravity and viscous forces. Seepage into the drifts will only be possible if the hydraulic pressure in the rock close to the drift walls increases to positive values; i.e., the flow field becomes locally saturated. In the present work, we have developed and applied a methodology to study the potential rate of seepage into underground cavities embedded in a variably saturated, heterogeneous fractured rock formation. The fractured rock mass is represented as a stochastic continuum where the fracture permeabilities vary by several orders of magnitude. Three different realizations of random fracture permeability fields are generated, with the random permeability structure based on extensive fracture mapping, borehole video analysis, and in-situ air permeability testing. A 3-D numerical model is used to simulate the heterogeneous steady-state flow field around the drift, with the drift geometry explicitly represented within the numerical discretization grid. A variety of flow scenarios are considered assuming present-day and future climate conditions at Yucca Mountain. The numerical study is complemented by theoretical evaluations of the drift seepage problem, using stochastic perturbation theory to develop a better

  6. Numerical Simulation of Tuff Dissolution and Precipitation Experiments: Validation of Thermal-Hydrologic-Chemical (THC) Coupled-Process Modeling

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dobson, P. F.; Kneafsey, T. J.

    2001-12-01

    As part of an ongoing effort to evaluate THC effects on flow in fractured media, we performed a laboratory experiment and numerical simulations to investigate mineral dissolution and precipitation. To replicate mineral dissolution by condensate in fractured tuff, deionized water equilibrated with carbon dioxide was flowed for 1,500 hours through crushed Yucca Mountain tuff at 94° C. The reacted water was collected and sampled for major dissolved species, total alkalinity, electrical conductivity, and pH. The resulting steady-state fluid composition had a total dissolved solids content of about 140 mg/L; silica was the dominant dissolved constituent. A portion of the steady-state reacted water was flowed at 10.8 mL/hr into a 31.7-cm tall, 16.2-cm wide vertically oriented planar fracture with a hydraulic aperture of 31 microns in a block of welded Topopah Spring tuff that was maintained at 80° C at the top and 130° C at the bottom. The fracture began to seal within five days. A 1-D plug-flow model using the TOUGHREACT code developed at Berkeley Lab was used to simulate mineral dissolution, and a 2-D model was developed to simulate the flow of mineralized water through a planar fracture, where boiling conditions led to mineral precipitation. Predicted concentrations of the major dissolved constituents for the tuff dissolution were within a factor of 2 of the measured average steady-state compositions. The fracture-plugging simulations result in the precipitation of amorphous silica at the base of the boiling front, leading to a hundred-fold decrease in fracture permeability in less than 6 days, consistent with the laboratory experiment. These results help validate the use of the TOUGHREACT code for THC modeling of the Yucca Mountain system. The experiment and simulations indicate that boiling and concomitant precipitation of amorphous silica could cause significant reductions in fracture porosity and permeability on a local scale. The TOUGHREACT code will be used

  7. Canyons off northwest Puerto Rico

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gardner, W.D.; Glover, L.K.; Hollister, C.D.

    1980-01-01

    The Nuclear-Research Submarine NR-1 was used to study morphoplogy, sediment, and sediment-water interactions off the northwest coast of Puerto Rico. New detailed bathymetry from the surface-support ship, USS Portland, shows several submarine canyons in the area, some of them unreported previously. The north coast canyons, Arecibo, Tiberones and Quebradillas, are primarily erosional features although no recent turbidity-current evidence is seen. The canyons are presently filling with river-transported sediments. (orig./ME)

  8. Dust control at Yucca Mountain project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kissell, F.; Jurani, R.; Dresel, R.; Reaux, C.

    1999-01-01

    This report describes actions taken to control silica dust at the Yucca Mountain Exploratory Studies Facility, a tunnel located in Southern Nevada that is part of a scientific program to determine site suitability for a potential nuclear waste repository. The rock is a volcanic tuff containing significant percentages of both quartz and cristobalite. Water use for dust control was limited because of scientific test requirements, and this limitation made dust control a difficult task. Results are reported for two drifts, called the Main Loop Drift and the Cross Drift. In the Main Loop Drift, dust surveys and tracer gas tests indicated that air leakage from the TBM head, the primary ventilation duct, and movement of the conveyor belt were all significant sources of dust. Conventional dust control approaches yielded no significant reductions in dust levels. A novel alternative was to install an air cleaning station on a rear deck of the TBM trailing gear. It filtered dust from the contaminated intake air and discharged clean air towards the front of the TBM. The practical effect was to produce dust levels below the exposure limit for all TBM locations except close to the head. In the Cross Drift, better ventilation and an extra set of dust seals on the TBM served to cut down the leakage of dust from the TBM cutter head. However, the conveyor belt was much dustier than the belt in the main loop drift. The problem originated with dirt on the bottom of the belt return side and much spillage from the belt top side. Achieving lower dust levels in hard rock tunneling operations will require new approaches as well as a more meticulous application of existing technology. Planning for dust control will require specific means to deal with dust that leaks from the TBM head, dust that originates with leaky ventilation systems, and dust that comes from conveyor belts. Also, the application of water could be more efficient if automatic controls were used to adjust the water flow

  9. Evaporative water loss from welded tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hadley, G.R.; Turner, J.R. Jr.

    1980-04-01

    Welded tuff is one of the many candidate rocks presently being considered as a host medium for the disposal of radioactive waste. In the case where the disposal site lies above the water table, the host rock will in general be only partially saturated. This condition leads to a number of mass transfer processes of interest, including evaporative drying, two-phase water flow due to pressure gradients, capillary movement, plus others. Although these processes have all been known about for decades, it is not clear at this time what the relative importance of each is with regard to geologic media in a waste disposal environment. In particular, there seems to be no data available for tuff that would allow an investigator to sort out mechanisms. This work is intended to be a start in that direction. This paper reports the measurement of water loss rate for welded tuff at various temperatures due to the action of evaporative drying. The initial saturation was unknown, but the average initial water content was found to be 7% by weight. The resulting data show that the water loss rate declines monotonically with time at a given temperature and increases with increasing temperature as expected. Somewhat surprising, however, is the fact that over 90% of the water from a sample was lost by evaporation at room temperature within 72 hours. All the water loss data, including that taken at temperatures as high as 150 0 C, are explained to within a factor of two by a simple evaporation front model. The latter assumes the water is lost by the molecular diffusion of water vapor from a receding evaporation front. The motion of the evaporation front seems to depend on mass balance rather than energy balance. Capillary forces and the resulting liquid diffusion are evidently not strong enough to wash out the evaporation front, since the front model seems to fit the data well

  10. Major results of gravity and magnetic studies at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Oliver, H.W.; Ponce, D.A.; Sikora, R.F.

    1991-01-01

    About 4,000 gravity stations have been obtained at Yucca Mountain and vicinity since the beginning of radioactive-waste studies there in 1978. These data have been integrated with data from about 29,000 stations previously obtained in the surrounding region to produce a series of Bouguer and isostatic-residual-gravity maps of the Nevada Test Site and southeastern Nevada. Yucca Mountain is characterized by a WNW-dipping gravity gradient whereby residual values of -10 mGal along the east edge of Yucca Mountain decrease to about -38 mGal over Crater Flat. Using these gravity data, two-dimensional modeling predicted the depth to pre-Cenozoic rocks near the proposed repository to be about 1,220±150 m, an estimate that was subsequently confirmed by drilling to be 1,244 m. Three-dimensional modeling of the gravity low over Crater Flat indicates the thickness of Cenozoic volcanic rocks and alluvial cover to be about 3,000 m. Gravity interpretations also identified the Silent Canyon caldera before geologic mapping of Pahute Mesa and provided an estimate of the thickness of the volcanic section there of nearly 5 km. Considerable aeromagnetic coverage of southwestern Nevada was obtained in 1978-79 to help characterize Yucca Mountain and vicinity. One significant result is the discovery of a series of circular magnetic anomalies in Crater Flat and the northern Amargosa Desert that suggest the presence of buried volcanic centers there. If this interpretation is confirmed by drilling, the magnetic data can be used to help estimate the total volume of buried volcanic rocks, which, along with radiometric dating, could help provide a better prediction of future volcanism. Elongate magnetic highs and associated lows over Yucca Mountain correlate with mapped faults, some of which are only partially exposed. Thus, the data provide information on the extent and continuity of these faults

  11. High-temperature, large-volume, lavalike ash-flow tuffs without calderas in southwestern Idaho

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ekren, E.B.; McIntyre, David H.; Bennett, Earl H.

    1984-01-01

    that were traced over areas having diameters of about 100 km. These two sheets are the herein-named Swisher Mountain Tuff, which is about 13.8 m.y. old, and the Little Jacks Tuff, which is about 10 m.y. old. The Swisher Mountain Tuff was erupted from the Juniper Mountain volcanic center, a gentle dome that is not bounded by arcuate faults indicative of cauldron subsidence. The tuff is 200 m thick over a considerable area in and adjacent to its source. It apparently thins gradually toward its distal edges, and it is inferred to be uniformly distributed around its source at Juniper Mountain. The unit contains vitrophyres at various intervals from base to top, and, although the vitrophyres are, in general, flow layered and commonly flow brecciated, they occasionally contain well-defined pumice clasts. The vitrophyres indicate compound cooling, and, near the distal edges of the sheet, some of them probably represent complete cooling breaks. The Little Jacks Tuff onlaps the Swisher Mountain Tuff in expo sures east of Juniper Mountain, and it is inferred to have been erupted from a source on the part of the Owyhee Plateau that lies just east of the area studied. This inferred source area, like that at Juniper Mountain, is also expressed today as a gentle dome without structural features indicative of cauldron subsidence. The Little Jacks Tuff, in most exposures in the deep canyons of the Plateau, consists of at least four cooling units, and, in places in the eastern part of the studied area near the source area, it possibly comprises as many as six. Although there is no obvious evidence of erosion between the various cooling units, magnetic polarity measurements indicate that there were at least two magnetic reversals during the eruption interval of the Little Jacks Tuff. Like the Swisher Mountain Tuff, the Little Jacks has flattened pumice clasts in a few outcrops-principally at the bases of the various cooling units. The two tuff sequences are calc-a

  12. Is there excess argon in the Fish Canyon magmatic system?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilkinson, C. M.; Sherlock, S.; Kelley, S. P.; Charlier, B. L.

    2010-12-01

    Some phenocrysts from the Fish Canyon Tuff (San Juan volcanic field, south-western Colorado, USA) have yielded anomalously old 40Ar/39Ar apparent ages and yet the sanidine ages are sufficiently reproducible to allow its use as an international standard. The eruption age of the Fish Canyon tuff has recently been determined by high precision analysis and recalibration of the decay constants based on the sanidine standard at 28.305 ± 0.036 Ma [1], slightly younger than the generally accepted U-Pb age. Previously, minerals from the tuff have been used in various geochronological studies e.g., fission-track; U-Pb; Rb-Sr; K-Ar and 40Ar/39Ar, but U-Pb zircon ages which range 28.37 - 28.61 Ma appear to be older than the sanidine and other minerals, including biotite, yield older ages (27.41 - 28.25 Ma for biotite) [2]. In the Fish Canyon volcanic system, the erupted products are thought to exist in the magma chamber for significant periods prior to eruption [3] and then pass rapidly from a high temperature magmatic environment (where Ar is free to re-equilibrate among the minerals), to effectively being quenched upon eruption (where Ar becomes immobile). Artificially elevated ages, older than eruption age, have been identified in some 40Ar/39Ar geochronological studies (e.g. [4]). These older ages may either reflect; 1) argon accumulation in pheno- or xenocrysts (by radioactive decay of parent 40K), 2) excess argon (40ArE) incorporated into a mineral during crystallisation (via diffusion into the mineral lattice or hosted within fluid or melt inclusions) or 3) inherited radiogenic argon (the dated material contains a component older than the age of eruption) [5]. To better understand the effects of 40ArE on 40Ar/39Ar apparent ages we have conducted a detailed study of intra-grain grain age variations by UV-LAMP Ar-analysis. Analysis of polished thick sections has been performed in-situ using a 213nm laser and Nu Instruments Noblesse which is able to discriminate against

  13. Microbial activity at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Horn, J.M.; Meike, A.

    1995-01-01

    The U.S. Department of Energy is engaged in a suitability study for a potential geological repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, for the containment and storage of commercially generated spent fuel and defense high-level nuclear waste. There is growing recognition of the role that biotic factors could play in this repository, either directly through microbially induced corrosion (MIC), or indirectly by altering the chemical environment or contributing to the transport of radionuclides. As a first step toward describing and predicting these processes, a workshop was held on April 10-12, 1995, in Lafayette, California. The immediate aims of the workshop were: (1) To identify microbially related processes relevant to the design of a radioactive waste repository under conditions similar to those at Yucca Mountain. (2) To determine parameters that are critical to the evaluation of a disturbed subterranean environment. (3) To define the most effective means of investigating the factors thus identified

  14. Microbial activity at Yucca Mountain

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Horn, J.M.; Meike, A.

    1995-09-25

    The U.S. Department of Energy is engaged in a suitability study for a potential geological repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, for the containment and storage of commercially generated spent fuel and defense high-level nuclear waste. There is growing recognition of the role that biotic factors could play in this repository, either directly through microbially induced corrosion (MIC), or indirectly by altering the chemical environment or contributing to the transport of radionuclides. As a first step toward describing and predicting these processes, a workshop was held on April 10-12, 1995, in Lafayette, California. The immediate aims of the workshop were: (1) To identify microbially related processes relevant to the design of a radioactive waste repository under conditions similar to those at Yucca Mountain. (2) To determine parameters that are critical to the evaluation of a disturbed subterranean environment. (3) To define the most effective means of investigating the factors thus identified.

  15. Geohydrology of rocks penetrated by test well USW H-6, Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Craig, R.W.; Reed, R.L.

    1991-01-01

    Test well USW H-6 is one of several wells drilled in the Yucca Mountain area near the southwestern part of the Nevada Test Site for investigations related to isolation of high-level nuclear waste. This well was drilled to a depth of 1,220 meters. Rocks penetrated are predominantly ash-flow tuffs of Tertiary age, with the principal exception of dacitic(?) lave penetrated at a depth from 877 to 1,126 meters. The composite static water level was about 526 meters below the land surface; the hydraulic head increased slightly with depth. Most permeability in the saturated zone is in two fractured intervals in Crater Flat Tuff. Based on well-test data using the transitional part of a dual-porosity solution, an interval of about 15 meters in the middle part of the Bullfrog Member of the Crater Flat Tuff has a calculated transmissivity of about 140 meters squared per day, and an interval of about 11 meters in the middle part of the Tram Member of the Crater Flat Tuff has a calculated transmissivity of about 75 meters squared per day. The upper part of the Bullfrog Member has a transmissivity of about 20 meters squared per day. The maximum likely transmissivity of any rocks penetrated by the test well is about 480 meters squared per day, based on a recharge-boundary model. The remainder of the open hole had no detectable production. Matrix hydraulic conductivity ranges from less than 5 x 10 -5 to 1 x 10 -3 meter per day. Ground water is a sodium bicarbonate type that is typical of water from tuffaceous rock of southern Nevada. The apparent age of the water is about 14,6000 years. 29 refs., 26 figs., 5 tabs

  16. Preliminary stratigraphic and petrologic characterization of core samples from USW-G1, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Waters, A.C.; Carroll, P.R.

    1981-11-01

    Tuffs of the Nevada Test Site are currently under investigation to determine their potential for long-term storage of radioactive waste. As part of this program, hole USW-G1 was drilled to a depth of 6000 ft below the surface, in the central part of the Yucca Mountain area, Nevada Test Site, Nevada. Petrographic study of the USW-G1 core is presented in this report and shows the tuffs (which generally were variably welded ash flows) are partly recrystallized to a variety of secondary minerals. The important alteration products are zeolites (heulandite, clinoptilolite, mordenite and analcime), smectite clays with minor interstratified illite, albite, micas, potassium feldspar, and various forms of silica. Iijima's zeolite zones I through IV of burial metamorphism can be recognized in the core. Zeolites are first observed at about the 1300-ft depth, and the high-temperature boundary of zeolite stability in this core occurs at about 4350 ft. Analcime persists, either metastably or as a retrograde mineral, deeper in the core. The oxidation state of Fe-Ti oxide minerals, through most of the core, increases as the degree of welding decreases, but towards the bottom of the hole, reducing conditions generally prevail. Four stratigraphic units transected by the core may be potentially favorable sites for a waste repository. These four units, in order of increasing depth in the core, are (1) the lower cooling unit of the Topopah Spring Member, (2) cooling unit II of the Bullfrog Member, (3) the upper part of the Tram tuff, and (4) the Lithic-rich tuff

  17. Preliminary stratigraphic and petrologic characterization of core samples from USW-G1, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Waters, A.C.; Carroll, P.R. (eds.)

    1981-11-01

    Tuffs of the Nevada Test Site are currently under investigation to determine their potential for long-term storage of radioactive waste. As part of this program, hole USW-G1 was drilled to a depth of 6000 ft below the surface, in the central part of the Yucca Mountain area, Nevada Test Site, Nevada. Petrographic study of the USW-G1 core is presented in this report and shows the tuffs (which generally were variably welded ash flows) are partly recrystallized to a variety of secondary minerals. The important alteration products are zeolites (heulandite, clinoptilolite, mordenite and analcime), smectite clays with minor interstratified illite, albite, micas, potassium feldspar, and various forms of silica. Iijima`s zeolite zones I through IV of burial metamorphism can be recognized in the core. Zeolites are first observed at about the 1300-ft depth, and the high-temperature boundary of zeolite stability in this core occurs at about 4350 ft. Analcime persists, either metastably or as a retrograde mineral, deeper in the core. The oxidation state of Fe-Ti oxide minerals, through most of the core, increases as the degree of welding decreases, but towards the bottom of the hole, reducing conditions generally prevail. Four stratigraphic units transected by the core may be potentially favorable sites for a waste repository. These four units, in order of increasing depth in the core, are (1) the lower cooling unit of the Topopah Spring Member, (2) cooling unit II of the Bullfrog Member, (3) the upper part of the Tram tuff, and (4) the Lithic-rich tuff.

  18. The Whittard Canyon - A case study of submarine canyon processes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Amaro, T.; Huvenne, V. A. I.; Allcock, A. L.; Aslam, T.; Davies, J. S.; Danovaro, R.; De Stigter, H. C.; Duineveld, G. C. A.; Gambi, C.; Gooday, A. J.; Gunton, L. M.; Hall, R.; Howell, K. L.; Ingels, J.; Kiriakoulakis, K.; Kershaw, C. E.; Lavaleye, M. S. S.; Robert, K.; Stewart, H.; Van Rooij, D.; White, M.; Wilson, A. M.

    2016-08-01

    Submarine canyons are large geomorphological features that incise continental shelves and slopes around the world. They are often suggested to be biodiversity and biomass hotspots, although there is no consensus about this in the literature. Nevertheless, many canyons do host diverse faunal communities but owing to our lack of understanding of the processes shaping and driving this diversity, appropriate management strategies have yet to be developed. Here, we integrate all the current knowledge of one single system, the Whittard Canyon (Celtic Margin, NE Atlantic), including the latest research on its geology, sedimentology, geomorphology, oceanography, ecology, and biodiversity in order to address this issue. The Whittard Canyon is an active system in terms of sediment transport. The net suspended sediment transport is mainly up-canyon causing sedimentary overflow in some upper canyon areas. Occasionally sediment gravity flow events do occur, some possibly the result of anthropogenic activity. However, the role of these intermittent gravity flows in transferring labile organic matter to the deeper regions of the canyon appears to be limited. More likely, any labile organic matter flushed downslope in this way becomes strongly diluted with bulk material and is therefore of little food value for benthic fauna. Instead, the fresh organic matter found in the Whittard Channel mainly arrives through vertical deposition and lateral transport of phytoplankton blooms that occur in the area during spring and summer. The response of the Whittard Canyon fauna to these processes is different in different groups. Foraminiferal abundances are higher in the upper parts of the canyon and on the slope than in the lower canyon. Meiofaunal abundances in the upper and middle part of the canyon are higher than on adjacent slopes, but lower in the deepest part. Mega- and macrofauna abundances are higher in the canyon compared with the adjacent slope and are higher in the eastern than

  19. In defense of Magnetite-Ilmenite Thermometry in the Bishop Tuff and its implication for gradients in silicic magma reservoirs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Evans, Bernard W; Hildreth, Edward; Bachmann, Olivier; Scaillet, Bruno

    2016-01-01

    Despite claims to the contrary, the compositions of magnetite and ilmenite in the Bishop Tuff correctly record the changing conditions of T and fO2 in the magma reservoir. In relatively reduced (∆NNO magmas (e.g., Bishop Tuff, Taupo units), Ti behaves compatibly (DTi ≈ 2-3.5), leading to a decrease in TiO2 activity in the melt with cooling and fractionation. In contrast, FeTi-oxides are poorer in TiO2 in more oxidized magmas (∆NNO > 1, e.g., Fish Canyon Tuff, Pinatubo), and the d(aTiO2)/dT slope can be negative. Biotite, FeTi-oxides, liquid, and possibly plagioclase largely maintained equilibrium in the Bishop Tuff magma (unlike the pyroxenes, and cores of quartz, sanidine, and zircon) prior ro and during a mixing event triggered by a deeper recharge, which, based on elemental diffusion profiles in minerals, took place at least several decades before eruption. Equilibrating phases and pumice compositions show evolving chemical variations that correlate well with mutually consistent temperatures based on the FeTi-oxides, sanidine-plagioclase, and ∆18O quartz-magnetite pairs. Early Bishop Tuff (EBT) temperatures are lower (700 to ~780‎°C) than temperatures (780 to >820°C) registered in Late Bishop Tuff (LBT), the latter defined here not strictly stratigraphically, but by the presence of orthopyroxene and reverse-zoned rims on quartz and sanidine. The claimed similarity in compositions, Zr-saturation temperatures and thermodynamically calculated temperatures (730-740°C) between EBT and less evolved LBT reflect the use of glass inclusions in quartz cores in LBT that were inherited from the low temperature rhyolitic part of the reservoir characteristic of the EBT. LBT temperatures as high as 820°C, the preservation of orthopyroxene, and the presence of reverse-zoned minerals (quartz, sanidine, zircons) are consistent with magma recharge at the base of the zoned reservoir, heating the cooler rhyolitic melt, partly remelting cumulate mush, and introducing

  20. A Natural Analogue for Thermal-Hydrological-Chemical Coupled Processes at the Proposed Nuclear Waste Repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bill Carey; Gordon Keating; Peter C. Lichtner

    1999-01-01

    Dike and sill complexes that intruded tuffaceous host rocks above the water table are suggested as natural analogues for thermal-hydrologic-chemical (THC) processes at the proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Scoping thermal-hydrologic calculations of temperature and saturation profiles surrounding a 30-50 m wide intrusion suggest that boiling conditions could be sustained at distances of tens of meters from the intrusion for several thousand years. This time scale for persistence of boiling is similar to that expected for the Yucca Mountain repository with moderate heat loading. By studying the hydrothermal alteration of the tuff host rocks surrounding the intrusions, insight and relevant data can be obtained that apply directly to the Yucca Mountain repository and can shed light on the extent and type of alteration that should be expected. Such data are needed to bound and constrain model parameters used in THC simulations of the effect of heat produced by the waste on the host rock and to provide a firm foundation for assessing overall repository performance. One example of a possible natural analogue for the repository is the Paiute Ridge intrusive complex located on the northeastern boundary of the Nevada Test Site, Nye County, Nevada. The complex consists of dikes and sills intruded into a partially saturated tuffaceous host rock that has stratigraphic sequences that correlate with those found at Yucca Mountain. The intrusions were emplaced at a depth of several hundred meters below the surface, similar to the depth of the proposed repository. The tuffaceous host rock surrounding the intrusions is hydrothermally altered to varying extents depending on the distance from the intrusions. The Paiute Ridge intrusive complex thus appears to be an ideal natural analogue of THC coupled processes associated with the Yucca Mountain repository. It could provide much needed physical and chemical data for understanding the influence of heat

  1. ELECTRICAL IMAGING AT THE LARGE BLOCK TEST YUCCA MOUNTAIN, NEVADA

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ramirez, A.

    2000-01-01

    A monolithic block of densely welded tuff was excavated from a site on Fran Ridge near Yucca Mountain, Nevada so that coupled thermohydrological processes could be studied in a controlled, in situ experiment. A series of heaters were placed in a horizontal plane about 3 m from the top of the 3 m by 3 m by 4.5 m high block. Temperatures were measured at many points within and on the block surface and a suite of other measurements were taken to define the thermal and hydrologic response. Electrical resistance tomography (ERT) was used to map 2 dimensional images of moisture content changes along four planes in the block. The ERT images clearly delineate the drying and wetting of the rockmass during the 13 months of heating and subsequent six months of cool down. The main feature is a prominent dry zone that forms around the heaters then gradually disappears as the rock cools down. Other features include linear anomalies of decreasing moisture content which are fractures dehydrating as the block heats up. There are also examples of compact anomalies of wetting. Some of these appear to be water accumulation in fractures which are draining condensate from the block. Others may be rain water entering a fracture at the top of the block. During cooldown a general rewetting is observed although this is less certain because of poor data quality during this stage of the experiment

  2. Testing the Concept of Drift Shadow at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    J.B. Paces; L.A. Neymark; T. Ghezzehei; P.F. Dobson

    2006-01-01

    If proven, the concept of drift shadow, a zone of reduced water content and slower ground-water travel time beneath openings in fractured rock of the unsaturated zone, may increase performance of a proposed geologic repository for high-level radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain. To test this concept under natural-flow conditions present in the proposed repository horizon, isotopes within the uranium-series decay chain (uranium-238, uranium-234, and thorium-230, or 238 U- 234 U- 230 Th) have been analyzed in samples of rock from beneath four naturally occurring lithophysal cavities. All samples show 234 U depletion relative to parent 238 U, indicating varying degrees of water-rock interaction over the past million years. Variations in 234 U/ 238 U activity ratios indicate that depletion of 234 U relative to 238 U can be either smaller or greater in rock beneath cavity floors relative to rock near cavity margins. These results are consistent with the concept of drift shadow and with numerical simulations of meter-scale spherical cavities in fractured tuff. Differences in distribution patterns of 234 U/ 238 U activity ratios in rock beneath the cavity floors are interpreted to reflect differences in the amount of past seepage into lithophysal cavities, as indicated by the abundance of secondary mineral deposits present on the cavity floors

  3. Radionuclide release from PWR fuels in a reference tuff repository groundwater

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wilson, C.N.; Oversby, V.M.

    1985-03-01

    The Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations Project (NNWSI) is studying the suitability of the welded devitrified Topopah Spring tuff at Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada, for potential use as a high-level nuclear waste repository. In support of the Waste Package task of NNWSI, tests have been conducted under ambient air environment to measure radionuclide release from two pressurized water reactor (PWR) spent fuels in water obtained from the J-13 well near the Yucca Mountain site. Four specimen types, representing a range of fuel physical conditions that may exist in a failed waste canister containing a limited amount of water were tested. The specimen types were: fuel rod sections split open to expose bare fuel particles; rod sections with water-tight end fittings with a 2.5-cm long by 150-μm wide slit through the cladding; rod sections with water-tight end fittings and two 200-μm-diameter holes through the cladding; and undefected rod segments with water-tight end fittings. Radionuclide release results from the first 223-day test runs on H.B. Robinson spent fuel specimens in J-13 water are reported and compared to results from a previous test series in which similar Turkey Point reactor spent fuel specimens were tested on deionized water. Selected initial results are also given for Turkey Point fuel specimens tested on J-13 water. Results suggest that the actinides Pu, Am, Cm and Np are released congruently with U as the UO 2 spent fuel matrix dissolves. Fractional release of 137 Cs and 99 Tc was greater than that measured for the actinides. Generally, lower radionuclide releases were measured for the H.B. Robinson fuel in J-13 water than for Turkey Point Fuel in deionized water. 8 references, 7 figures, 9 tables

  4. New York Canyon Stimulation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Raemy, Bernard

    2012-06-21

    The New York Canyon Stimulation Project was to demonstrate the commercial application of Enhanced Geothermal System techniques in Buena Vista Valley area of Pershing County, Nevada. From October 2009 to early 2012, TGP Development Company aggressively implemented Phase I of Pre-Stimulation and Site/Wellbore readiness. This included: geological studies; water studies and analyses and procurement of initial permits for drilling. Oversubscription of water rights and lack of water needed for implementation of EGS were identified and remained primary obstacles. Despite extended efforts to find alternative solutions, the water supply circumstances could not be overcome and led TGP to determine a "No Go" decision and initiate project termination in April 2012.

  5. Results and interpretation of preliminary aquifer tests in boreholes UE-25c number-sign 1, UE-25c number-sign 2, and UE-25c number-sign 3, Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Geldon, A.L.

    1996-01-01

    Pumping and injection tests conducted in 1983 and 1984 in boreholes UE-25c number-sign 1, UE-25c number-sign 2, and UE-25c number-sign 3 (the c-holes) at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, were analyzed with respect to information obtained from lithologic and borehole geophysical logs, core permeameter tests, and borehole flow surveys. The three closely spaced c-holes, each of which is about 3,000 feet deep, are completed mainly in nonwelded to densely welded, ash-flow tuff of the tuffs and lavas of Calico Hills and the Crater Flat Tuff of Miocene age. Below the water table, tectonic and cooling fractures pervade the tuffaceous rocks but are distributed mainly in 11 transmissive intervals, many of which also have matrix permeability. Information contained in this report is presented as part of ongoing investigations by the US Geological Survey (USGS) regarding the hydrologic and geologic suitability of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, as a potential site for the storage of high-level nuclear waste in an underground mined geologic repository. This investigation was conducted in cooperation with the US Department of Energy under Interagency Agreement DE-AI08-78ET44802, as part of the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

  6. Implications of seismic reflection and potential field geophysical data on the structural framework of the Yucca Mountain--Crater Flat region, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Brocher, T.M.; Langenheim, V.E.; Hunter, W.C.

    1998-01-01

    Seismic reflection and gravity profiles collected across Yucca Mountain, Nevada, together with geologic data, provide evidence against proposed active detachment faults at shallow depth along the pre-Tertiary-Tertiary contact beneath this potential repository for high-level nuclear waste. The new geophysical data show that the inferred pre-Tertiary-Tertiary contact is offset by moderate-to-high-angle faults beneath Crater Flat and Yucca Mountain, and thus this shallow surface cannot represent an active detachment surface. The reflection lines reveal that the Amargosa Desert rift zone is an asymmetric half-graben having a maximum depth of about 4 km and a width of about 25 km. The east-dipping Bare Mountain fault that bounds this graben to the west can be traced by seismic reflection data to a depth of at least 3.5 km and possibly as deep as 6 km, with a constant dip of 64 degree ± 5 degree. Along the profile the transition from east- to west-dipping faults occurs at or just west of the Solitario Canyon fault, which bounds the western side of Yucca Mountain. The interaction at depth of these east- and west-dipping faults, having up to hundreds of meters offset, is not imaged by the seismic reflection profile. Understanding potential seismic hazards at Yucca Mountain requires knowledge of the subsurface geometry of the faults near Yucca Mountain, since earthquakes generally nucleate and release the greatest amount of their seismic energy at depth. The geophysical data indicate that many fault planes near the potential nuclear waste facility dip toward Yucca Mountain, including the Bare Mountain range-front fault and several west-dipping faults east of Yucca Mountain. Thus, earthquake ruptures along these faults would lie closer to Yucca Mountain than is often estimated from their surface locations and could therefore be more damaging

  7. Major-element geochemistry of the Silent Canyon--Black Mountain peralkaline volcanic centers, northwestern Nevada Test Site: applications to an assessment of renewed volcanism

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Crowe, B.M.; Sargent, K.A.

    1979-01-01

    The Silent Canyon and Black Mountain volcanic centers are located in the northern part of the Nevada Test Site. The Silent Canyon volcanic center is a buried cauldron complex of Miocene age (13 to 15 m.y.). Black Mountain volcanic center is an elliptical-shaped cauldron complex of late Miocene age. The lavas and tuffs of the two centers comprise a subalkaline-peralkaline association. Rock types range from quartz normative subalkaline trachyte and rhyolite to peralkaline commendite. The Gold Flat Member of the Thirsty Canyon Tuff (Black Mountain) is a pantellerite. The major-element geochemistry of the Black Mountain--Silent Canyon volcanic centers differ in the total range and distribution of SiO 2 , contents, the degree of peralkalinity (molecular Na 2 O + K 2 O > Al 2 O 3 ) and in the values of total iron and alumina through the range of rock types. These differences indicate that the suites were unrelated and evolved from differing magma bodies. The Black Mountain volcanic cycle represents a renewed phase of volcanism following cessation of the Timber Mountain--Silent Canyon volcanic cycles. Consequently, there is a small but numerically incalculable probability of recurrence of Black Mountain-type volcanism within the Nevada Test Site region. This represents a potential risk with respect to deep geologic storage of high-level radioactive waste at the Nevada Test Site

  8. The Integration and Abstraction of EBS Models in Yucca Mountain Performance Assessment

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    S.D. Sevougian; V. Jain; A.V. Luik

    2006-01-01

    The safety strategy for geological disposal of radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain relies on a multi-barrier system to contain the waste and isolate it from the biosphere. The multi-barrier system consists of the natural barrier provided by the geological setting and the engineered barrier system (EBS). In the case of Yucca Mountain (YM) the geologic setting is the unsaturated-zone host rock, consisting of about 600 meters of layered ash-flow volcanic tuffs above the water table, and the saturated zone beneath the water table. Both the unsaturated and saturated rocks are part of a closed hydrologic basin in a desert surface environment. The waste is to be buried about halfway between the desert surface and the water table. The primary engineered barriers at YM consist of metal components that are highly durable in an oxidizing environment. The two primary components of the engineered barrier system are highly corrosion-resistant metal waste packages, made from a nickel-chromium-molybdenum alloy, Alloy 22, and titanium drip shields that protect the waste packages from corrosive dripping water and falling rocks. Design and performance assessment of the EBS requires models that describe how the EBS and near field behave under anticipated repository-relevant conditions. These models must describe coupled hydrologic, thermal, chemical, and mechanical (THCM) processes that drive radionuclide transport in a highly fractured host rock, consisting of a relatively permeable network of conductive fractures in a setting of highly impermeable tuff rock matrix. An integrated performance assessment of the EBS must include a quantification of the uncertainties that arise from (1) incomplete understanding of processes and (2) from lack of data representative of the large spatial scales and long time scales relevant to radioactive waste disposal (e.g., long-term metal corrosion rates and heterogeneities in rock properties over the large 5 km 2 emplacement area of the repository). A

  9. The Integration and Abstracyion of EBS Models in Yucca Mountain Performance Assessment

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    S.D. Sevougian; V. Jain; A.V. Luik

    2006-01-11

    The safety strategy for geological disposal of radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain relies on a multi-barrier system to contain the waste and isolate it from the biosphere. The multi-barrier system consists of the natural barrier provided by the geological setting and the engineered barrier system (EBS). In the case of Yucca Mountain (YM) the geologic setting is the unsaturated-zone host rock, consisting of about 600 meters of layered ash-flow volcanic tuffs above the water table, and the saturated zone beneath the water table. Both the unsaturated and saturated rocks are part of a closed hydrologic basin in a desert surface environment. The waste is to be buried about halfway between the desert surface and the water table. The primary engineered barriers at YM consist of metal components that are highly durable in an oxidizing environment. The two primary components of the engineered barrier system are highly corrosion-resistant metal waste packages, made from a nickel-chromium-molybdenum alloy, Alloy 22, and titanium drip shields that protect the waste packages from corrosive dripping water and falling rocks. Design and performance assessment of the EBS requires models that describe how the EBS and near field behave under anticipated repository-relevant conditions. These models must describe coupled hydrologic, thermal, chemical, and mechanical (THCM) processes that drive radionuclide transport in a highly fractured host rock, consisting of a relatively permeable network of conductive fractures in a setting of highly impermeable tuff rock matrix. An integrated performance assessment of the EBS must include a quantification of the uncertainties that arise from (1) incomplete understanding of processes and (2) from lack of data representative of the large spatial scales and long time scales relevant to radioactive waste disposal (e.g., long-term metal corrosion rates and heterogeneities in rock properties over the large 5 km{sup 2} emplacement area of the repository

  10. Investigation of bacterial transport in the large-block test, a thermally perturbed block of Topopah Spring tuff

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Chen, C.I.; Meike, A.; Chuu, Y.J.; Sawvel, A.; Lin, W.

    1999-07-01

    Transport of bacteria is investigated as part of the Large-Block Test (LBT), a thermally perturbed block of Topopah Spring tuff. Two bacterial species, Bacillus subtilis and Arthrobacter oxydans, were isolated from the Yucca Mountain Tuff. Natural mutants that can grow under the simultaneous presence of the two antibiotics, streptomycin and rifampicin, were selected from these species by laboratory procedures, cultured, and injected into the five heater boreholes of the large block hours before heating was initiated. The temperature, as measured 5 cm above one of the heater boreholes, rose slowly over a matter of months to a maximum of 142 C and to 60 C at the top and bottom of the block. Samples were collected from boreholes located approximately 5 ft below the injection points. Double-drug-resistant microbes also appeared in the heater boreholes where the temperature had been sustainably high throughout the test. The number of double-drug-resistant bacteria that were identified in the collection boreholes increased with time until the heater was deactivated. Negative indications in the collection holes after the heater was deactivated support the supposition that these bacteria were the species that were injected. An apparent homogeneous distribution among the collection boreholes suggests no pattern to the migration of bacteria through the block. The relationship between bacterial migration and the movement of water is not yet understood. These observations indicate the possibility of rapid bacterial transport in a thermally perturbed geologic setting. The implications for colloid transport need to be reviewed.

  11. Investigation of bacterial transport in the large-block test, a thermally perturbed block of Topopah Spring tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Chen, C.I.; Meike, A.; Chuu, Y.J.; Sawvel, A.; Lin, W.

    1999-01-01

    Transport of bacteria is investigated as part of the Large-Block Test (LBT), a thermally perturbed block of Topopah Spring tuff. Two bacterial species, Bacillus subtilis and Arthrobacter oxydans, were isolated from the Yucca Mountain Tuff. Natural mutants that can grow under the simultaneous presence of the two antibiotics, streptomycin and rifampicin, were selected from these species by laboratory procedures, cultured, and injected into the five heater boreholes of the large block hours before heating was initiated. The temperature, as measured 5 cm above one of the heater boreholes, rose slowly over a matter of months to a maximum of 142 C and to 60 C at the top and bottom of the block. Samples were collected from boreholes located approximately 5 ft below the injection points. Double-drug-resistant microbes also appeared in the heater boreholes where the temperature had been sustainably high throughout the test. The number of double-drug-resistant bacteria that were identified in the collection boreholes increased with time until the heater was deactivated. Negative indications in the collection holes after the heater was deactivated support the supposition that these bacteria were the species that were injected. An apparent homogeneous distribution among the collection boreholes suggests no pattern to the migration of bacteria through the block. The relationship between bacterial migration and the movement of water is not yet understood. These observations indicate the possibility of rapid bacterial transport in a thermally perturbed geologic setting. The implications for colloid transport need to be reviewed

  12. Three-dimensional model of reference thermal/mechanical and hydrological stratigraphy at Yucca Mountain, southern Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ortiz, T.S.; Williams, R.L.; Nimick, F.B.; Whittet, B.C.; South, D.L.

    1985-10-01

    The Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations (NNWSI) project is currently examining the feasibility of constructing a nuclear waste repository in the tuffs beneath Yucca Mountain. A three-dimensional model of the thermal/mechanical and hydrological reference stratigraphy at Yucca Mountain has been developed for use in performance assessment and repository design studies involving material properties data. The reference stratigraphy defines units with distinct thermal, physical, mechanical, and hydrological properties. The model is a collection of surface representations, each surface representing the base of a particular unit. The reliability of the model was evaluated by comparing the generated surfaces, existing geologic maps and cross sections, drill hole data, and geologic interpolation. Interpolation of surfaces between drill holes by the model closely matches the existing information. The top of a zone containing prevalent zeolite is defined and superimposed on the reference stratigraphy. Interpretation of the geometric relations between the zeolitic and thermal/mechanical and hydrological surfaces indicates that the zeolitic zone was established before the major portion of local fault displacement took place; however, faulting and zeolitization may have been partly concurrent. The thickness of the proposed repository host rock, the devitrified, relatively lithophysal-poor, moderately to densely welded portion of the Topopah Spring Member of the Paintbrush Tuff, was evaluated and varies from 400 to 800 ft in the repository area. The distance from the repository to groundwater level was estimated to vary from 700 to 1400 ft. 13 figs., 1 tab

  13. Investigation of bacterial transport in the large-block test, a thermally perturbed block of Topopah Spring Tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Chen, C. I.; Chuu, Y. J.; Lin, W.; Meike, A.; Sawvel, A.

    1998-01-01

    This study investigates the transport of bacteria in a large, thermally perturbed block of Topopah Spring tuff. The study was part of the Large-Block Test (LBT), thermochemical and physical studies conducted on a 10 ft x 10 ft x 14 ft block of volcanic tuff excavated on 5 of 6 sides out of Fran Ridge, Nevada. Two bacterial species, Bacillus subtilis and Arthrobacter oxydans, were isolated from the Yucca Mountain tuff. Natural mutants that can grow under the simultaneous presence of the two antibiotics, streptomycin and rifampicin, were selected from these species by laboratory procedures. The double-drug-resistant mutants, which could be thus distinguished from the indigenous species, were injected into the five heater boreholes of the large block hours before heating was initiated. The temperature, as measured 5 cm above one of the heater boreholes, rose slowly and steadily over a matter of months to a maximum of 142 C. Samples (cotton cloths inserted the length of the hole, glass fiber swabs, and filter papers) were collected from the boreholes that were approximately 5 ft below the injection points. Double-drug-resistant bacteria were found in the collection boreholes nine months after injection. Surprisingly, they also appeared in the heater boreholes where the temperature had been sustainably high throughout the test. These bacteria appear to be the species that were injected. The number of double-drug-resistant bacteria that were identified in the collection boreholes increased with time. An apparent homogeneous distribution among the observation boreholes and heater boreholes suggests that a random motion could be the pattern that the bacteria migrated in the block. These observations indicated the possibility of rapid bacterial transport in a thermally perturbed geologic setting

  14. Probing the volcanic-plutonic connection and the genesis of crystal-rich rhyolite in a deeply dissected supervolcano in the Nevada Great Basin: Source of the late Eocene Caetano Tuff

    Science.gov (United States)

    Watts, Kathryn E.; John, David A.; Colgan, Joseph P.; Henry, Christopher D.; Bindeman, Ilya N.; Schmitt, Axel K.

    2016-01-01

    Late Cenozoic faulting and large-magnitude extension in the Great Basin of the western USA has created locally deep windows into the upper crust, permitting direct study of volcanic and plutonic rocks within individual calderas. The Caetano caldera in north–central Nevada, formed during the mid-Tertiary ignimbrite flare-up, offers one of the best exposed and most complete records of caldera magmatism. Integrating whole-rock geochemistry, mineral chemistry, isotope geochemistry and geochronology with field studies and geologic mapping, we define the petrologic evolution of the magmatic system that sourced the >1100 km3Caetano Tuff. The intra-caldera Caetano Tuff is up to ∼5 km thick, composed of crystal-rich (30–45 vol. %), high-silica rhyolite, overlain by a smaller volume of comparably crystal-rich, low-silica rhyolite. It defies classification as either a monotonous intermediate or crystal-poor zoned rhyolite, as commonly ascribed to ignimbrite eruptions. Crystallization modeling based on the observed mineralogy and major and trace element geochemistry demonstrates that the compositional zonation can be explained by liquid–cumulate evolution in the Caetano Tuff magma chamber, with the more evolved lower Caetano Tuff consisting of extracted liquids that continued to crystallize and mix in the upper part of the chamber following segregation from a cumulate-rich, and more heterogeneous, source mush. The latter is represented in the caldera stratigraphy by the less evolved upper Caetano Tuff. Whole-rock major, trace and rare earth element geochemistry, modal mineralogy and mineral chemistry, O, Sr, Nd and Pb isotope geochemistry, sanidine Ar–Ar geochronology, and zircon U–Pb geochronology and trace element geochemistry provide robust evidence that the voluminous caldera intrusions (Carico Lake pluton and Redrock Canyon porphyry) are genetically equivalent to the least evolved Caetano Tuff and formed from magma that remained in the lower chamber after

  15. Probing the volcanic-plutonic connection and the genesis of crystal-rich rhyolite in a deeply dissected supervolcano in the Nevada Great Basin: Source of the late Eocene Caetano Tuff

    Science.gov (United States)

    Watts, Kathryn E.; John, David A.; Colgan, Joseph P.; Henry, Christopher D.; Bindeman, Ilya N.; Schmitt, Axel K.

    2016-01-01

    Late Cenozoic faulting and large-magnitude extension in the Great Basin of the western USA has created locally deep windows into the upper crust, permitting direct study of volcanic and plutonic rocks within individual calderas. The Caetano caldera in north–central Nevada, formed during the mid-Tertiary ignimbrite flare-up, offers one of the best exposed and most complete records of caldera magmatism. Integrating whole-rock geochemistry, mineral chemistry, isotope geochemistry and geochronology with field studies and geologic mapping, we define the petrologic evolution of the magmatic system that sourced the >1100 km3Caetano Tuff. The intra-caldera Caetano Tuff is up to ∼5 km thick, composed of crystal-rich (30–45 vol. %), high-silica rhyolite, overlain by a smaller volume of comparably crystal-rich, low-silica rhyolite. It defies classification as either a monotonous intermediate or crystal-poor zoned rhyolite, as commonly ascribed to ignimbrite eruptions. Crystallization modeling based on the observed mineralogy and major and trace element geochemistry demonstrates that the compositional zonation can be explained by liquid–cumulate evolution in the Caetano Tuff magma chamber, with the more evolved lower Caetano Tuff consisting of extracted liquids that continued to crystallize and mix in the upper part of the chamber following segregation from a cumulate-rich, and more heterogeneous, source mush. The latter is represented in the caldera stratigraphy by the less evolved upper Caetano Tuff. Whole-rock major, trace and rare earth element geochemistry, modal mineralogy and mineral chemistry, O, Sr, Nd and Pb isotope geochemistry, sanidine Ar–Ar geochronology, and zircon U–Pb geochronology and trace element geochemistry provide robust evidence that the voluminous caldera intrusions (Carico Lake pluton and Redrock Canyon porphyry) are genetically equivalent to the least evolved Caetano Tuff and formed from magma that remained in the lower chamber after

  16. PRELIMINARY PALEOMAGNETIC RESULTS FROM OUTFLOW EOCENE-OLIGOCENE ASH FLOW TUFFS FROM THE WESTERN MARGIN OF THE SAN LUIS BASIN: IMPLICATION FOR THE KINEMATIC EVOLUTION OF THE RIO GRANDE RIFT

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mason, S. N.; Geissman, J. W.; Sussman, A. J.

    2009-12-01

    In the Rio Grande rift (RGR), a late Cenozoic continental rift from central Colorado to southern New Mexico, hanging wall margins typically contain en echelon normal fault systems with intervening areas of typically complex structure, called relay zones. Relay zones transfer displacement through complex strain patterns and eventual linkage of faults and hold clues as to how fault zones initiate and grow. The western margin of the RGR at the latitude of the San Luis basin (SLB) exposes laterally continuous Eocene-Oligocene volcanic rocks, well-correlated by 40Ar/39Ar data, and well-preserved rift structures. Ash flow tuffs are usually excellent recorders of the instantaneous geomagnetic field and five ash flow tuffs (ca. 32.3 to 27.3 Ma; including the Saguache Creek, La Jara Canyon, Masonic Park, Fish Canyon, and Carpenter Ridge tuffs) have been sampled in spatial detail along west to east transects of the eastern San Juan volcanic field to the westernmost margin of the RGR at the SLB. Data obtained from our sampling approach will yield a comprehensive definition of relative vertical-axis rotations across the area and will be used to assess the timing of RGR fault linkages. Preliminary paleomagnetic data from the Masonic Park tuff (ca. 28.2 Ma) suggest up to ~17° clockwise rotation between sample locations on the Colorado Plateau and locations to the east, nearest the western margin of the RGR. Preliminary data from the Fish Canyon tuff (ca. 27.8 Ma) show a ~12° clockwise rotation. The relative clockwise vertical-axis rotation of sampling sites in both ash flow tuffs nearest the RGR margin suggests that relay zone development with attending vertical-axis rotation played an important role in the opening of the northern RGR. Our data set is not sufficiently robust at present to test the hypothesis that rotation was taking place concurrently with eruption of these large-volume ash flow tuffs in the early Oligocene, but it is a possibility and if so, the RGR at the

  17. Yucca Mountain and The Environment

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    NA

    2005-01-01

    The Yucca Mountain Project places a high priority on protecting the environment. To ensure compliance with all state and federal environmental laws and regulations, the Project established an Environmental Management System. Important elements of the Environmental Management System include the following: (1) monitoring air, water, and other natural resources; (2) protecting plant and animal species by minimizing land disturbance; (3) restoring vegetation and wildlife habitat in disturbed areas; (4) protecting cultural resources; (5) minimizing waste, preventing pollution, and promoting environmental awareness; and (6) managing of hazardous and non-hazardous waste. Reducing the impacts of Project activities on the environment will continue for the duration of the Project

  18. 236-Z canyon utilization study

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dixon, D.R.

    1977-01-01

    The 236-Z canyon contains equipment for repurification of plutonium and recovery of plutonium from scrap material. To meet production requirements of Fast Flux Test Facility/Clinch River Breeder Reactor oxide with the existing plant, several new pieces of equipment will be needed in the future. More storage space and a better accountability system are needed to support this increased production. The available canyon space needs to be utilized to its fullest in order to accommodate the new equipment. The purpose of this document is to identify the new pieces of equipment, show how they fit into the flowsheet, and locate them in the canyon

  19. Current status of waste package designs for the Yucca Mountain Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ballou, L.B.

    1989-07-01

    Conceptual designs for waste packages containing spent fuel or high-level waste glass have been developed for use in a repository at Yucca Mountain. The basis for these designs reflects the unique nature of the expected service environment associated with disposal in welded tuff in the unsaturated zone. In addition to a set of reference designs, alternative design concepts are being considered that would contain and isolate the waste radionuclides in a more aggressive service environment. Consideration is also being given to the feasibility of a concept known as ''heat tailoring'' that employs the thermal energy released by the wasteforms to enhance and extend the performance of the containers. 5 refs., 3 figs

  20. Water-rock interactions and the pH stability of groundwater from Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ebinger, M.H.

    1992-01-01

    Titrations of acidic solutions in waters from the tuff and carbonate aquifers at Yucca Mountain were simulated using the geochemical codes PHREEQE and EQ3/6. The simulations tested pH stability of the waters in the presence of different minerals and in their absence. Two acidic solutions, 10 -4 HCl and 10 -4 M UO 2 (NO 3 ) 2 , were titrated in to the water. Little pH and/or compositional change resulted in the groundwater when the HCl solution was titrated, but significant pH and CO 2 fugacity changes were observed when UO 2 (NO 3 ) 2 was titrated. Water interactions with alkali feldspar, quartz or cristobalite, and Ca-smectite buffered the pH and compositional changes in the carbonate water and decreased the magnitude of pH and compositional changes when small volumes of UO 2 (NO 3 ) 2 added to the tuffaceous waters

  1. A first look at roadheader construction and estimating techniques for site characterization at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Neil, D.M.; Taylor, D.L.

    1991-01-01

    The Yucca Mountain site characterization program will be based on mechanical excavation techniques for the mined repository construction and development. Tunnel Boring Machines (TBM's), Mobile Miners (MM), Raiseborers (RB), Blind Hole Shaft Boring Machines (BHSB), and Roadheaders (RH) have been selected as the mechanical excavation machines most suited to mine the densely welded and non-welded tuffs of the Topopah Springs and Calico Hills members. Heavy duty RH in the 70 to 100 ton class with 300 Kw cutter motors have been evaluated and formulas developed to predict machine performance based on the rock physical properties and the results of Linear Cutting Machine (LCM) tests done at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) for Sandia National Labs. (SNL)

  2. Geologic framework and Cenozoic evolution of the Yucca Mountain area, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Fox, K.F. Jr.; Spengler, R.W.; Myers, W.B.

    1990-01-01

    Yucca Mountain, Nevada, has been proposed as the site of a high-level nuclear waste repository. The purpose of this paper is to outline aspects of the geology and tectonics of the area which bear on its suitability as a waste repository. The repository is to be excavated from a non-lithophysal zone within the lower part of the Paintbrush Tuff. Revised estimates of the thickness of this zone indicate that the lower, down-dip extremity of the planned repository could be raised by as much as 130 m, thus reducing the grade within the repository and increasing the distance to the water table below. We note that because of the closely spaced fracturing and low in-situ stresses within the repository block, lateral support of fractured rock is likely to be poor. 30 refs., 5 figs

  3. Rock mass mechanical property estimations for the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lin, M.; Hardy, M.P.; Bauer, S.J.

    1993-06-01

    Rock mass mechanical properties are important in the design of drifts and ramps. These properties are used in evaluations of the impacts of thermomechanical loading of potential host rock within the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project. Representative intact rock and joint mechanical properties were selected for welded and nonwelded tuffs from the currently available data sources. Rock mass qualities were then estimated using both the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (Q) and Geomechanics Rating (RMR) systems. Rock mass mechanical properties were developed based on estimates of rock mass quality, the current knowledge of intact properties, and fracture/joint characteristics. Empirical relationships developed to correlate the rock mass quality indices and the rock mass mechanical properties were then used to estimate the range of rock mass mechanical properties

  4. Modeling studies of mountain-scale radionuclide transport in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Moridis, George J.; Seol, Yongkoo; Wu, Yu-Shu

    2003-01-01

    We investigate radionuclide transport from a high-level nuclear waste repository to be situated in the unsaturated zone (UZ) at Yucca Mountain (YM), Nevada. Several radioactive solutes (that cover the range of sorption behavior) and colloids of various sizes are studied. The results of the study indicate the importance of the subsurface geology and site hydrology, i.e., the presence of faults (they dominate and control transport), fractures (the main migration pathways), and the relative distribution of zeolitic and vitric tuffs. The effects of the climatic conditions, diffusion, and sorption (for solutes) or infiltration (for colloids) onto the matrix are discussed. The influence of the colloid size on transport is also investigated

  5. 2010 Pacific Gas and Electric Diablo Canyon Power Plant (DCPP): Diablo Canyon, CA Central Coast

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The Diablo Canyon Power Plant (DCPP) LiDAR and Imagery datasets are comprised of three separate LiDAR surveys: Diablo Canyon (2010), Diablo Canyon (2010), and San...

  6. The use of TOUGH2 for the LBL/USGS 3-dimensional site-scale model of Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bodvarsson, G.; Chen, G.; Haukwa, C. [Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, CA (United States)] [and others

    1995-03-01

    The three-dimensional site-scale numerical model of the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain is under continuous development and calibration through a collaborative effort between Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (LBL) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The site-scale model covers an area of about 30 km{sup 2} and is bounded by major fault zones to the west (Solitario Canyon Fault), east (Bow Ridge Fault) and perhaps to the north by an unconfirmed fault (Yucca Wash Fault). The model consists of about 5,000 grid blocks (elements) with nearly 20,000 connections between them the grid was designed to represent the most prevalent geological and hydro-geological features of the site including major faults, and layering and bedding of the hydro-geological units. Further information about the three-dimensional site-scale model is given by Wittwer et al. and Bodvarsson et al.

  7. Feasibility assessment of copper-base waste package container materials in a tuff repository

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Acton, C.F.; McCright, R.D.

    1986-01-01

    This report discussed progress made during the second year of a two-year study on the feasibility of using copper or a copper-base alloy as a container material for a waste package in a potential repository in tuff rock at the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada. Corrosion testing in potentially corrosive irradiated environments received emphasis during the feasibility study. Results of experiments to evaluate the effect of a radiation field on the uniform corrosion rate of the copper-base materials in repository-relevant aqueous environments are given as well as results of an electrochemical study of the copper-base materials in normal and concentrated J-13 water. Results of tests on the irradiation of J-13 water and on the subsequent formation of hydrogen peroxide are given. A theoretical study was initiated to predict the long-term corrosion behavior of copper in the repository. Tests were conducted to determine whether copper would adversely affect release rates of radionuclides to the environment because of degradation of the Zircaloy cladding. A manufacturing survey to determine the feasibility of producing copper containers utilizing existing equipment and processes was completed. The cost and availability of copper was also evaluated and predicted to the year 2000. Results of this feasibility assessment are summarized

  8. Survey of geophysical techniques for site characterization in basalt, salt and tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Jones, G.M.; Blackey, M.E.; Rice, J.E.; Murphy, V.J.; Levine, E.N.; Fisk, P.S.; Bromery, R.W.

    1987-07-01

    Geophysical techniques may help determine the nature and extent of faulting in the target areas, along with structural information that would be relevant to questions concerning the future integrity of a high-level-waste repository. Chapters focus on particular geophysical applications to four rock types - basalt, bedded salt, domal salt and tuff - characteristic of the sites originally proposed for site characterization. No one geophysical method can adequately characterize the geological structure beneath any site. The seismic reflection method, which is generally considered to be the most incisive of the geophysical techniques, has to date provided only marginal information on structure at the depth of the proposed repository at the Hanford, Washington, site, and no useful results at all at the Yucca Mountain, Nevada, site. This result is partially due to geological complexity beneath these sites, but may also be partially attributed to the use of inappropriate acquisition and processing parameters. To adequately characterize a site using geophysics, modifications will have to be made to standard techniques to emphasize structural details at the depths of interest. 137 refs., 43 figs., 4 tabs

  9. Proposed sealing field tests for a potential high-level radioactive waste repository in unsaturated tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Fernandez, J.A.; Case, J.B.; Tyburski, J.

    1992-01-01

    This paper contains a general description of the field tests proposed for the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project repository sealing program. The tests are intended to resolve various performance and emplacement concerns associated with sealing components. Ten discrete tests are proposed to address these concerns. These tests are divided into two categories -- simple and complex tests. The simple tests are: the small-scale in situ tests: the intermediate-scale borehole seal tests; the fracture grouting tests; the surface backfill tests; and the grouted rock mass tests. The complex tests are the seepage control tests; in situ backfill tests; in situ bulkhead tests; large-scale shaft seal tests; and remote borehole seal tests. These tests are proposed to be performed in welded and nonwelded tuff environments. The final selection of sealing tests will depend on the nature of the geologic and hydrologic conditions encountered during the development of the exploratory studies facility. Some tests may be performed before license application and some after license application

  10. Closure development for high-level nuclear waste containers for the tuff repository

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Robitz, E.S. Jr.; McAninch, M.D. Jr.; Edmonds, D.P.; Babcock and Wilcox Co., Alliance, OH

    1990-09-01

    This report summarizes Phase 1 activities for closure development of the high-level nuclear waste package task for the tuff repository. Work was conducted under U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Contract 9172105, administered through the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), as part of the Yucca Mountain Project (YMP), funded through the DOE Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM). The goal of this phase was to select five closure processes for further evaluation in later phases of the program. A decision tree methodology was utilized to perform an objective evaluation of 15 potential closure processes. Information was gathered via a literature survey, industrial contacts, and discussions with project team members, other experts in the field, and the LLNL waste package task staff. The five processes selected were friction welding, electron beam welding, laser beam welding, gas tungsten arc welding, and plasma arc welding. These are felt to represent the best combination of weldment material properties and process performance in a remote, radioactive environment. Conceptual designs have been generated for these processes to illustrate how they would be implemented in practice. Homopolar resistance welding was included in the Phase 1 analysis, and developments in this process will be monitored via literature in Phases 2 and 3. Work was conducted in accordance with the YMP Quality Assurance Program. 223 refs., 20 figs., 9 tabs

  11. Recent developments in stochastic modeling and upscaling of hydrologic properties in tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rautman, C.A.; Robey, T.H.

    1992-01-01

    A set of detailed geostatistical simulations of porosity has been produced for a layered stratigraphic sequence of welded and nonwelded volcanic tuffs at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The simulations are produced using a composite. model of spatial continuity and they are highly conditioned to abundant drill hole (core) information. A set of derivative simulations of saturated hydraulic conductivity has been produced, in the absence of conditioning data, using a cross-variable relationship developed from similar data elsewhere. The detailed simulations reproduce both the major stratigraphic units and finer scale layering indicated by the drill hole data. These simulations have been scaled up several order of magnitude to represent block-scale effective hydrologic properties suitable for use in numerical modeling of groundwater flow and transport. The upscaling process involves the reformulation of a previously reported method that iteratively adapts an initial arbitrary grid to ''homogenize'' the detailed hydraulic properties contained within the adjusted cell limits and to minimize the size of cell in highly heterogeneous regions. Although the computation of the block-effective property involves simple numerical averaging, the blocks over which these averages are computed are relatively homogeneous, which reduces the numerical difficulties involved in averaging non-additive properties, such as permeability. The entire process of simulation and upscaling is rapid and computationally efficient compared with alterative techniques. It is thus suitable for the Monte Carlo evaluation of the uncertainty in site characterization as it affects the results of groundwater flow and transport calculations

  12. Factors limiting microbial growth and activity at a proposed high-level nuclear repository, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kieft, T.L.; Kovacik, W.P. Jr.; Ringelberg, D.B.; White, D.C.; Haldeman, D.L.; Amy, P.S.; Hersman, L.E.

    1997-01-01

    As part of the characterization of Yucca Mountain, Nev., as a potential repository for high-level nuclear waste, volcanic tuff was analyzed for microbial abundance and activity. Tuff was collected aseptically from nine sites along a tunnel in Yucca Mountain. Microbial abundance was generally low: direct microscopic cell counts were near detection limits at all sites (3.2 X 10(1) to 2.0 X 10(5) cells g-1 [dry weight]); plate counts of aerobic heterotrophs ranged from 1.0 X 10(1) to 3.2 X 10(3) CFU g-1 (dry weight). Phospholipid fatty acid concentrations (0.1 to 3.7 pmol g-1) also indicated low microbial biomasses: diglyceride fatty acid concentrations, indicative of dead cells, were in a similar range (0.2 to 2.3 pmol g-1). Potential microbial activity was quantified as 14CO2 production in microcosms containing radiolabeled substrates (glucose, acetate, and glutamic acid); amendments with water and nutrient solutions (N and P) were used to test factors potentially limiting this activity. Similarly, the potential for microbial growth and the factors limiting growth were determined by performing plate counts before and after incubating volcanic tuff samples for 24 h under various conditions: ambient moisture, water-amended, and amended with various nutrient solutions (N, P, and organic C). A high potential for microbial activity was demonstrated by high rates of substrate mineralization (as much as 70% of added organic C in 3 weeks). Water was the major limiting factor to growth and microbial activity, while amendments with N and P resulted in little further stimulation. Organic C amendments stimulated growth more than water alone

  13. Design of a three-dimensional site-scale model for the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wittwer, C.S.; Bodvarsson, G.S.; Chornack, M.P.; Flint, A.L.; Lewis, B.D.; Spengler, R.W.; Flint, L.E.; Rautman, C.A.

    1992-01-01

    A three-dimensional model of moisture flow within the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain is being developed. This site-scale model covers an area of about 30 km 2 and is bounded by major faults to the east and west. A detailed numerical grid has been developed based on location of boreholes, different infiltration zones, hydrogeological units and their outcrops, major faults, and water level data. Different maps, such as contour maps and isopachs maps, are presented for the different infiltration zones, and for the base of the Tiva Canyon, the Paintbrush, and the Topopah Spring hydrogeological units

  14. First phase of small diameter heater experiments in tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Zimmerman, R.M.

    1983-01-01

    As part of the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations (NNWSI) project, we have undertaken small diameter heater experiments in the G-Tunnel Underground Facility on the Nevada Test Site (NTS). These experiments are to evaluate the thermal and hydrothermal behavior which might be encountered if heat producing nuclear waste were disposed of in welded and nonwelded tuffs. The two Phase I experiments discussed have focused on vertical borehole emplacements. In each experiment, temperatures were measured along the surface of the 10.2-cm-dia heater and the 12.7-cm-dia boreholes. For each experiment, measurements were compared with computer model representations. Maximum temperatures reached were: 196 0 C for the welded tuff after 21 days of operations at 800W and 173 0 C for the nonwelded tuff after 35 days of operations at 500W. Computed results indicate that the same heat transfer model (includes conduction and radiation only) can describe the behavior of both tuffs using empirical techniques to describe pore water vaporization. Hydrothermal measurements revealed heat-indiced water migration. Results indicated that small amounts of liquid water migrated into the welded tuff borehole early in the heating period. Once the rock-wall temperatures exceeded 94 0 C, in both tuffs, there was mass transport of water vapor as evidence indicated condensation cooler regions. Borehole pressures remained essentially ambient during the thermal periods

  15. Ground-water sampling of the NNWSI (Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigation) water table test wells surrounding Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Matuska, N.A.

    1988-12-01

    The US Geological Survey (USGS), as part of the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigation (NNWSI) study of the water table in the vicinity of Yucca Mountain, completed 16 test holes on the Nevada Test Site and Bureau of Land Management-administered lands surrounding Yucca Mountain. These 16 wells are monitored by the USGS for water-level data; however, they had not been sampled for ground-water chemistry or isotropic composition. As part of the review of the proposed Yucca Mountain high-level nuclear waste repository, the Desert Research Institute (DRI) sampled six of these wells. The goal of this sampling program was to measure field-dependent parameters of the water such as electrical conductivity, pH, temperature and dissolved oxygen, and to collect samples for major and minor element chemistry and isotopic analysis. This information will be used as part of a program to geochemically model the flow direction between the volcanic tuff aquifers and the underlying regional carbonate aquifer

  16. Proceedings of the DOE/Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project Radionuclde Adsorption Workshop at Los Alamos National Laboratory, September 11--12, 1990

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Canepa, J.A.

    1992-08-01

    Los Alamos National Laboratory hosted a workshop on radionuclide adsorption for the Department of Energy (DOE)/Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project on September 11 and 12, 1990. The purpose of the workshop was to respond to a recommendation by the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board that the DOE organize a radionuclide adsorption workshop to be attended by the DOE and its contractors involved in the measurement and modeling of such adsorption. The workshop would have two general purposes: (a) to determine the applicability of available radionuclide adsorption data on tuff and models for predicting such adsorption under existing and postclosure conditions at Yucca Mountain and (b) to establish what additional radionuclide adsorption research and model development are needed. Individual projects are processed separately for the databases

  17. Evidence for an unsaturated-zone origin of secondary minerals in Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Whelan, Joseph F.; Roedder, Edwin; Paces, James B.

    2001-01-01

    The unsaturated zone (UZ) in Miocene-age welded tuffs at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is under consideration as a potential site for the construction of a high-level radioactive waste repository. Secondary calcite and silica minerals deposited on fractures and in cavities in the UZ tuffs are texturally, isotopically, and geochemically consistent with UZ deposition from meteoric water infiltrating at the surface and percolating through the UZ along fractures. Nonetheless, two-phase fluid inclusions with small and consistent vapor to liquid (V:L) ratios that yield consistent temperatures within samples and which range from about 35 to about 80 C between samples have led some to attribute these deposits to formation from upwelling hydrothermal waters. Geochronologic studies have shown that calcite and silica minerals began forming at least 10 Ma and continued to form into the Holocene. If their deposition were really from upwelling water flooding the UZ, it would draw into question the suitability of the site as a waste repository

  18. Uranium-Series Constraints on Subrepository Water Flow at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    L.A. Neymark; J.B. Paces; S.J. Chipera; D.T. Vaniman

    2006-01-01

    Mineral abundances and whole-rock chemical and uranium-series isotopic compositions were measured in unfractured and rubble core samples from borehole USWSD-9 in the same layers of variably zeolitized tuffs that underlie the proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Uranium concentrations and isotopic compositions also were measured in pore water from core samples from the same rock units and rock leachates representing loosely bound U adsorbed on mineral surfaces or contained in readily soluble secondary minerals. The chemical and isotopic data were used to evaluate differences in water-rock interaction between fractured and unfractured rock and between fracture surfaces and rock matrix. Samples of unfractured and rubble fragments (about 1 centimeter) core and material from fracture surfaces show similar amounts of uranium-series disequilibrium, recording a complex history of sorption and loss of uranium over the past 1 million years. The data indicate that fractures in zeolitized tuffs may not have had greater amounts of water-rock interaction than the rock matrix. The data also show that rock matrix from subrepository units is capable of scavenging uranium with elevated uranium-234/uranium-238 from percolating water and that retardation of radionuclides and dose reduction may be greater than currently credited to this aspect of the natural barrier. Uranium concentrations of pore water and the rock leachates are used to estimate long-term in situ uranium partition coefficient values greater than 7 milliliters per gram

  19. Structure in continuously cored, deep drill holes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, with notes on calcite occurrence

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Carr, W.J.

    1992-12-01

    A study of more than 22,000 feet of core from five deep drill holes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, provided data on the attitude and vertical distribution of faults and fractures, the sense of fault displacement, and the occurrence of calcite. The study was done mainly to look for evidence of fault flattening at depth, but no consistent downward decrease in dip of faults was found, and no increase in strata rotation was evident with increasing depth. In the two drill holes located near prominent faults that dip toward the holes (USW G-3 and G-2), an apparent increase in the frequency of faults occurs below the tuffs and lavas of Calico Hills. Some of this increase occurs in brittle lavas and flow breccias in the lower part of the volcanic section. In the two holes presumed to be relatively removed from the influence of important faults at depth, the vertical distribution of faults is relatively uniform. Calcite occurs mainly in two general zones, voids in welded portions of the Paintbrush Tuff, and in a deeper zone, mostly below 3,500 feet. Calcite is least abundant in USW G-4, which may reflect the fewer faults and fractures encountered in that drill hole

  20. Mineral resources of the Desolation Canyon, Turtle Canyon, and Floy Canyon Wilderness Study Areas, Carbon Emery, and Grand counties, Utah

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Cashion, W.B.; Kilburn, J.E.; Barton, H.N.; Kelley, K.D.; Kulik, D.M.; McDonnell, J.R.

    1990-09-01

    This paper reports on the Desolation Canyon, Turtle Canyon, and Floy Canyon Wilderness Study Areas which include 242,000 acres, 33,690 acres, and 23,140 acres. Coal deposits underlie all three study areas. Coal zones in the Blackhawk and Nelsen formations have identified bituminous coal resources of 22 million short tons in the Desolation Canyon Study Area, 6.3 million short tons in the Turtle Canyon Study Area, and 45 million short tons in the Floy Canyon Study Area. In-place inferred oil shale resources are estimated to contain 60 million barrels in the northern part of the Desolation Canyon area. Minor occurrences of uranium have been found in the southeastern part of the Desolation Canyon area and in the western part of the Floy Canyon area. Mineral resource potential for the study areas is estimated to be for coal, high for all areas, for oil and gas, high for the northern tract of the Desolation Canyon area and moderate for all other tracts, for bituminous sandstone, high for the northern part of the Desolation Canyon area, and low for all other tracts, for oil shale, low in all areas, for uranium, moderate for the Floy Canyon area and the southeastern part of the Desolation Canyon area and low for the remainder of the areas, for metals other than uranium, bentonite, zeolites, and geothermal energy, low in all areas, and for coal-bed methane unknown in all three areas

  1. Nuclear Waste Disposal: Alternatives to Yucca Mountain

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Holt, Mark

    2009-01-01

    Congress designated Yucca Mountain, NV, as the nation's sole candidate site for a permanent high-level nuclear waste repository in 1987, following years of controversy over the site-selection process...

  2. Hydrologic inferences from strontium isotopes in pore water from the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Marshall, B.D.; Futa, K.; Peterman, Z.E.

    1997-01-01

    Calcite is ubiquitous at Yucca Mountain, occurring in the soils and as fracture and cavity coatings within the volcanic tuff section. Strontium is a trace element in calcite, generally at the tens to hundreds of ppm level. Because calcite contains very little rubidium and the half-life of the 87 Rb parent is billions of years, the 87 Sr/ 86 Sr ratios of the calcite record the ratio in the water from which the calcite precipitated. Dissolution and reprecipitation does not alter these compositions so that, in the absence of other sources of strontium, one would expect the strontium ratios along a flow path to preserve variations inherited from strontium in the soil zone. Strontium isotope compositions of calcites from various settings in the Yucca Mountain region have contributed to the understanding of the unsaturated zone (UZ), especially in distinguishing unsaturated zone calcite from saturated zone calcite. Different populations of calcite have been compared, either to group them together or distinguish them from each other in terms of their strontium isotope compositions. Ground water and perched water have also been analyzed; this paper presents strontium isotope data obtained on pore water

  3. Yucca Mountain Project far-field sorption studies and data needs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Meijer, A.

    1990-09-01

    Batch sorption experiments in which radionuclides dissolved in groundwaters from Yucca Mountain were sorbed onto samples of crushed tuff have resulted in a substantial database of sorption coefficients for radionuclides of interest to the repository program. Although this database has been useful in preliminary evaluations of Yucca Mountain as a potential site for a nuclear waste repository, the database has limitations that must be addressed before it can be used for performance assessment calculations in support of a license application for a waste repository. The purpose of this paper is to: review the applicability of simple (constant) sorption coefficients in transport calculations; review and evaluate alternative methods for the derivation of sorption coefficients; summarize and evaluate the present YMP sorption database to identify areas of data sufficiency and significant data gaps; summarize our current understanding of pertinent sorption mechanisms and associated kinetic parameters; evaluate the significance to the YMP of potential problems in the experimental determination and field application of sorption coefficients as enumerated by the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 1987) in its technical position paper on sorption; formulate and evaluate strategies for the resolution of NRC concerns regarding experimental problems; and formulate a position on the sorption coefficient database and the level of understanding of sorption mechanisms likely to be required in the licensing application. 75 refs., 1 fig., 2 tabs

  4. Mechanical degradation of Emplacement Drifts at Yucca Mountain - A Modeling Case Study. Part I: Nonlithophysal Rock

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    M. Lin; D. Kicker; B. Damjanac; M. Board; M. Karakouzian

    2006-01-01

    This paper outlines rock mechanics investigations associated with mechanical degradation of planned emplacement drifts at Yucca Mountain, which is the designated site for the proposed U.S. high-level nuclear waste repository. The factors leading to drift degradation include stresses from the overburden, stresses induced by the heat released from the emplaced waste, stresses due to seismically related ground motions, and time-dependent strength degradation. The welded tuff emplacement horizon consists of two groups of rock with distinct engineering properties: nonlithophysal units and lithophysal units, based on the relative proportion of lithophysal cavities. The term 'lithophysal' refers to hollow, bubble like cavities in volcanic rock that are surrounded by a porous rim formed by fine-grained alkali feldspar, quartz, and other minerals. Lithophysae are typically a few centimeters to a few decimeters in diameter. Part I of the paper concentrates on the generally hard, strong, and fractured nonlithophysal rock. The degradation behavior of the tunnels in the nonlithophysal rock is controlled by the occurrence of keyblocks. A statistically equivalent fracture model was generated based on extensive underground fracture mapping data from the Exploratory Studies Facility at Yucca Mountain. Three-dimensional distinct block analyses, generated with the fracture patterns randomly selected from the fracture model, were developed with the consideration of in situ, thermal, and seismic loads. In this study, field data, laboratory data, and numerical analyses are well integrated to provide a solution for the unique problem of modeling drift degradation

  5. Formative flow in bedrock canyons

    Science.gov (United States)

    Venditti, J. G.; Kwoll, E.; Rennie, C. D.; Church, M. A.

    2017-12-01

    In alluvial channels, it is widely accepted that river channel configuration is set by a formative flow that represents a balance between the magnitude and frequency of flood flows. The formative flow is often considered to be one that is just capable of filling a river channel to the top of its banks. Flows much above this formative flow are thought to cause substantial sediment transport and rearrange the channel morphology to accommodate the larger flow. This idea has recently been extended to semi-alluvial channels where it has been shown that even with bedrock exposed, the flows rarely exceed that required to entrain the local sediment cover. What constitutes a formative flow in a bedrock canyon is not clear. By definition, canyons have rock walls and are typically incised vertically, removing the possibility of the walls being overtopped, as can occur in an alluvial channel at high flows. Canyons are laterally constrained, have deep scour pools and often have width to maximum depth ratios approaching 1, an order of magnitude lower than alluvial channels. In many canyons, there are a sequence of irregularly spaced scour pools. The bed may have intermittent or seasonal sediment cover, but during flood flows the sediment bed is entrained leaving a bare bedrock channel. It has been suggested that canyons cut into weak, well-jointed rock may adjust their morphology to the threshold for block plucking because the rock bed is labile during exceptionally large magnitude flows. However, this hypothesis does not apply to canyons cut into massive crystalline rock where abrasion is the dominant erosion process. Here, we argue that bedrock canyon morphology is adjusted to a characteristic flow structure developed in bedrock canyons. We show that the deeply scoured canyon floor is adjusted to a velocity inversion that is present at low flows, but gets stronger at high flows. The effect is to increase boundary shear stresses along the scour pool that forms in constricted

  6. Chlorine-36 validation Study at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    J. Paces

    2006-01-01

    The amount, spatial distribution, and velocity of water percolating through the unsaturated zone (UZ) at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, are important issues for assessing the performance of the proposed deep geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. To help characterize the nature and history of UZ flow, isotopic studies were initiated in 1995, using rock samples collected from the Miocene ash-flow tuffs in the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF), an 8-km-long tunnel constructed along the north-south extent of the repository block, and the Enhanced Characterization of the Repository Block (ECRB) Cross Drift, a 2.5-km-long tunnel constructed across the repository block (Figure 1-1, Sources: Modified from DOE 2002 [Figure 1-14] and USBR 1996). Scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) analyzed for chlorine-36 ( 36 Cl) in salts leached from whole-rock samples collected from tunnel walls and subsurface boreholes, and scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) analyzed for isotopes of oxygen, carbon, uranium, lead, thorium, and strontium in secondary minerals collected from subsurface fractures and lithophysal cavities. Elevated values for ratios of 36 Cl to total chloride ( 36 Cl/CL) at the level of the proposed repository indicated that small amounts of water carrying bomb-pulse 36 Cl (i.e., 36 Cl/Cl ratios greater than 1250 x 10 -15 resulting from 36 Cl produced by atmospheric testing of nuclear devices during the 1950s and early 1960s) had percolated through welded and nonwelded tuffs to depths of 200 to 300 meters (m) beneath the land surface over the past 50 years. Because of the implications of short travel times to the performance of the proposed repository, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)/Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM), Office of Repository Development (ORD), decided to verify the 36 Cl/Cl data with an independent validation study. DOE asked the USGS to design and implement a validation

  7. Chlorine-36 alidation Study at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    J. Paces

    2006-08-28

    The amount, spatial distribution, and velocity of water percolating through the unsaturated zone (UZ) at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, are important issues for assessing the performance of the proposed deep geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. To help characterize the nature and history of UZ flow, isotopic studies were initiated in 1995, using rock samples collected from the Miocene ash-flow tuffs in the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF), an 8-km-long tunnel constructed along the north-south extent of the repository block, and the Enhanced Characterization of the Repository Block (ECRB) Cross Drift, a 2.5-km-long tunnel constructed across the repository block (Figure 1-1, Sources: Modified from DOE 2002 [Figure 1-14] and USBR 1996). Scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) analyzed for chlorine-36 ({sup 36}Cl) in salts leached from whole-rock samples collected from tunnel walls and subsurface boreholes, and scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) analyzed for isotopes of oxygen, carbon, uranium, lead, thorium, and strontium in secondary minerals collected from subsurface fractures and lithophysal cavities. Elevated values for ratios of {sup 36}Cl to total chloride ({sup 36}Cl/CL) at the level of the proposed repository indicated that small amounts of water carrying bomb-pulse {sup 36}Cl (i.e., {sup 36}Cl/Cl ratios greater than 1250 x 10{sup -15} resulting from {sup 36}Cl produced by atmospheric testing of nuclear devices during the 1950s and early 1960s) had percolated through welded and nonwelded tuffs to depths of 200 to 300 meters (m) beneath the land surface over the past 50 years. Because of the implications of short travel times to the performance of the proposed repository, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)/Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM), Office of Repository Development (ORD), decided to verify the {sup 36}Cl/Cl data with an independent validation study. DOE asked the USGS

  8. Photon Shielding Features of Quarry Tuff

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vega-Carrillo Hector Rene

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Cantera is a quarry tuff widely used in the building industry; in this work the shielding features of cantera were determined. The shielding characteristics were calculated using XCOM and MCNP5 codes for 0.03, 0.07, 0.1, 0.3, 0.662, 1, 2, and 3 MeV photons. With XCOM the mass interaction coefficients, and the total mass attenuation coefficients, were calculated. With the MCNP5 code a transmission experiment was modelled using a point-like source located 42 cm apart from a point-like detector. Between the source and the detector, cantera pieces with different thickness, ranging from 0 to 40 cm were included. The collided and uncollided photon fluence, the Kerma in air and the Ambient dose equivalent were estimated. With the uncollided fluence the linear attenuation coefficients were determined and compared with those calculated with XCOM. The linear attenuation coefficient for 0.662 MeV photons was compared with the coefficient measured with a NaI(Tl-based γ-ray spectrometer and a 137Cs source.

  9. Transport properties of Topopah Spring tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lin, W.; Daily, W.

    1984-10-01

    Electrical resistivity, ultrasonic P-waves velocity, and water permeability were measured simultaneously on both intact and fractured Topopah Spring tuff samples at a confining pressure of 5.0 MPa, pore pressures to 2.5 MPa, and temperatures to 140 0 C. The tested samples were subjected to three dehydration and rehydration cycles. The dehydrations were accomplished at a temperature of 140 0 C, and the rehydrations were accomplished at various combinations of temperature and pore pressures so that the wetting fluid was either liquid water, steam or both. The electrical resistivity measurements indicate that for the intact sample, the drying and resaturation took place fairly uniformly throughout the sample. On the other hand, for the fractured sample, the drying and resaturation was spatially quite nonuniform. When samples had been subjected to 5 MPa of confining pressure and 140 0 C for several weeks, a gradual monotonic drift in resistivity was measured (decreasing resistivity when dry; increasing resistivity when wet). This may be the result of either minerological changes or grain boundary movement. In any case, the phenomenon may have important consequences on long term repository performance, and should be studied further. The permeability of the intact sample was independent of temperature, dehydration and rehydration cycles, and time. The permeability of the fractured sample, initially dominated by the fracture, decreased by about one order of magnitude after each dehydration and rehydration cycle. 11 references, 12 figures, 3 tables

  10. Radionuclide transport and retardation in tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Vine, E.N.; Bayhurst, B.P.; Daniels, W.R.; DeVilliers, S.J.; Erdal, B.R.; Lawrence, F.O.; Wolfsberg, K.

    1980-01-01

    Batch measurements provide an understanding of which experimental variables are important. For example, sorption ratios vary little with particle size (and surface area); however, groundwater composition and rock composition are quite important. A general correlation has been identified between mineralogy (major phases) and degree of sorption for strontium, cesium, and barium. Although these are approximate, a more detailed analysis may be possible as more samples are studied and the data base increased. Data from crushed tuff columns indicate that, except in simple cases where sorption coefficients are relatively low, and ion-exchange equilibria not only exist but are the dominant mechanism for removal of radioisotopes from solution, the simple relation between the sorption ratio R/sub d/ (or K/sub d/) and the relative velocity of radionuclides with respect to groundwater velocity may be insufficient to permit accurate modeling of the retardation of radionuclides. Additional work on whole core columns and larger blocks of intact material is required to better understand radionuclide sorption and transport through rock

  11. GEOCHEMISTRY OF ROCK UNITS AT THE POTENTIAL REPOSITORY LEVEL, YUCCA MOUNTAIN, NEVADA

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Peterman, Z.E.; Cloke, P.L.

    2000-01-01

    The compositional variability of the phenocryst-poor member of the 12.8-million-year Topopah Spring Tuff at the potential repository level was assessed by duplicate analysis of 20 core samples from the cross drift at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Previous analyses of outcrop and core samples of the Topopah Spring Tuff showed that the phenocryst-poor rhyolite, which includes both lithophysal and nonlithophysal zones, is relatively uniform in composition. Analyses of rock samples from the cross drift, the first from the actual potential repository block, also indicate the chemical homogeneity of this unit excluding localized deposits of vapor-phase minerals and low-temperature calcite and opal in fractures, cavities, and faults, The possible influence of vapor-phase minerals and calcite and opal coatings on rock composition at a scale sufficiently large to incorporate these heterogeneously distributed deposits was evaluated and is considered to be relatively minor. Therefore, the composition of the phenocryst-poor member of the Topopah Spring Tuff is considered to be adequately represented by the analyses of samples from the cross drift. The mean composition as represented by the 10 most abundant oxides in weight percent or grams per hundred grams is: SiO 2 , 76.29; Al 2 O 3 , 12.55; FeO, 0.14; Fe 2 O 3 , 0.97; MgO, 0.13; CaO, 0.50; Na 2 O, 3.52; K 2 O, 4.83; TiO 2 , 0.11; and MnO, 0.07

  12. Unsaturated flow modeling in performance assessments for the Yucca Mountain disposal system for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rechard, Rob P.; Birkholzer, Jens T.; Wu, Yu-Shu; Stein, Joshua S.; Houseworth, James E.

    2014-01-01

    This paper summarizes the progression of modeling efforts of infiltration, percolation, and seepage conducted between 1984 and 2008 to evaluate feasibility, viability, and assess compliance of a repository in the unsaturated zone for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Scientific understanding of infiltration in a desert environment, unsaturated percolation flux in fractures and matrix of the volcanic tuff, and seepage into an open drift in a thermally perturbed environment was initially lacking in 1984. As understanding of the Yucca Mountain disposal system increased through site characterization and in situ testing, modeling of infiltration, percolation, and seepage evolved from simple assumptions in a single model in 1984 to three modeling modules each based on several detailed process models in 2008. Uncertainty in percolation flux through Yucca Mountain was usually important in explaining the observed uncertainty in performance measures:cumulative release in assessments prior to 1995 and individual dose, thereafter. - Highlights: • Progression of modeling of infiltration, percolation, and seepage conducted is described for a geological repository at Yucca Mountain. • Progression from 1-D in single equivalent to 3-D model of percolation in dual permeability continuum is described. • Introduction of an infiltration boundary condition in 1998 and the refinement for evaluating uncertainty for the license application is described. • Introduction of a seepage module that included calibration to in-site measurements and separating uncertainty and variability is described

  13. Magnetic properties in an ash flow tuff with continuous grain size variation: a natural reference for magnetic particle granulometry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Till, J.L.; Jackson, M.J.; Rosenbaum, J.G.; Solheid, P.

    2011-01-01

    The Tiva Canyon Tuff contains dispersed nanoscale Fe-Ti-oxide grains with a narrow magnetic grain size distribution, making it an ideal material in which to identify and study grain-size-sensitive magnetic behavior in rocks. A detailed magnetic characterization was performed on samples from the basal 5 m of the tuff. The magnetic materials in this basal section consist primarily of (low-impurity) magnetite in the form of elongated submicron grains exsolved from volcanic glass. Magnetic properties studied include bulk magnetic susceptibility, frequency-dependent and temperature-dependent magnetic susceptibility, anhysteretic remanence acquisition, and hysteresis properties. The combined data constitute a distinct magnetic signature at each stratigraphic level in the section corresponding to different grain size distributions. The inferred magnetic domain state changes progressively upward from superparamagnetic grains near the base to particles with pseudo-single-domain or metastable single-domain characteristics near the top of the sampled section. Direct observations of magnetic grain size confirm that distinct transitions in room temperature magnetic susceptibility and remanence probably denote the limits of stable single-domain behavior in the section. These results provide a unique example of grain-size-dependent magnetic properties in noninteracting particle assemblages over three decades of grain size, including close approximations of ideal Stoner-Wohlfarth assemblages, and may be considered a useful reference for future rock magnetic studies involving grain-size-sensitive properties.

  14. Natural analogs for Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Murphy, W.M.

    1995-01-01

    High-level radioactive waste in the US, spent fuels from commercial reactors and nuclear materials generated by defense activities, will remain potentially hazardous for thousands of years. Demonstrable long-term stability of certain geologic and geochemical systems motivates and sustains the concept that high-level waste can be safely isolated in geologic repositories for requisite periods of time. Each geologic repository is unique in its properties and performance with reguard to isolation of nuclear wastes. Studies of processes analogous to waste-form alteration and radioelement transport in environments analogous to Yucca Mountain are being conducted at two sites, described in this article to illustrate uses of natural analog data: the Nopal I uranium deposit in the Sierra Pena Blanca, Mexico, and the Akrotiri archaeological site on the island of Santorini, Greece

  15. Release modes and processes relevant to source-term calculations at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Apted, M.J.

    1994-01-01

    The feasibility of permanent disposal of radioactive high-level waste (HLW) in repositories located in deep geologic formations is being studied world-wide. The most credible release pathway is interaction between groundwater and nuclear waste forms, followed by migration of radionuclide-bearing groundwater to the accessible environment. Under hydrologically unsaturated conditions, vapor transport of volatile radionuclides is also possible. The near-field encompasses the waste packages composed of engineered barriers (e.g. man-made materials, such as vitrified waste forms, corrosion-resistant containers), while the far-field includes the natural barriers (e.g. host rock, hydrologic setting). Taken together, these two subsystems define a series of multiple, redundant barriers that act to assure the safe isolation of nuclear waste. In the U.S., the Department of energy (DOE) is investigating the feasibility of safe, long-term disposal of high-level nuclear waste at the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada. The proposed repository horizon is located in non-welded tuffs within the unsaturated zone (i.e. above the water table) at Yucca Mountain. The purpose of this paper is to describe the source-term models for radionuclide release from waste packages at Yucca Mountain site. The first section describes the conceptual release modes that are relevant for this site and waste package design, based on a consideration of the performance of currently proposed engineered barriers under expected and unexpected conditions. No attempt is made to asses the reasonableness nor probability of occurrence for any specific release mode. The following section reviews the waste-form characteristics that are required to model and constrain the release of radionuclides from the waste package. The next section present mathematical models for the conceptual release modes, selected from those that have been implemented into a probabilistic total system assessment code developed for the Electric Power

  16. Diablo Canyon ECCS enhancements

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lin, A.; Lee, T.P.; Walter, L.E.

    2004-01-01

    Diablo Canyon Power Plant (DCPP) operated by Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG and E) is a Westinghouse designed four loop plant. In recent years, several issues were identified regarding the compliance of the Emergency Core Cooling System (ECCS) surveillance tests to the ECCS analyses assumptions. These concerns are related mostly to the High Head Safety Injection (HHSI) and the Intermediate Head Safety Injection (IHSI) systems where the injection line throttle valves are adjusted during outage surveillance testing to ensure compliance with the Technical Specifications (TS). To resolve all of the identified issues PG and E performed an ECCS reanalysis and upgraded the ECCS surveillance test program and also had Westinghouse perform a containment reanalysis using their latest model. As a result of these plant specific enhancement efforts, DCPP widened the operating window for TS surveillance testing, lowered the ECCS pumps' acceptance performance curves, and re-gained Peak Clad Temperature (PCT) and containment peak pressure margins. These enhancements are generically applicable to other plants and are addressed in this paper. (author)

  17. Site descriptions: Cypress Creek, Davis Canyon, Deaf Smith, Hanford Reference, Lavender Canyon, Richton Dome, Swisher, Vacherie Dome, Yucca Mountain. Revision

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1986-04-01

    The following information is given about the various sites: location (state and county), terrain, climate, weather, endangered plants and animals; nearest town, population, nearest railway, nearest interstate highway, economy, density within 50 miles, owners, and historical sites. (LM)

  18. Two-dimensional velocity models for paths from Pahute Mesa and Yucca Flat to Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Walck, M.C.; Phillips, J.S.

    1990-11-01

    Vertical acceleration recordings of 21 underground nuclear explosions recorded at stations at Yucca Mountain provide the data for development of three two-dimensional crystal velocity profiles for portions of the Nevada Test Site. Paths from Area 19, Area 20 (both Pahute Mesa), and Yucca Flat to Yucca Mountain have been modeled using asymptotic ray theory travel time and synthetic seismogram techniques. Significant travel time differences exist between the Yucca Flat and Pahute Mesa source areas; relative amplitude patterns at Yucca Mountain also shift with changing source azimuth. The three models, UNEPM1, UNEPM2, and UNEYF1, successfully predict the travel time and amplitude data for all three paths. 24 refs., 34 figs., 8 tabs

  19. Deepwater Canyons 2013: Pathways to the Abyss

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Leg I focused on biological objectives in Norfolk Canyon, with some sampling in Baltimore Canyon. Leg II focused on archaeological targets in and around the Norfolk...

  20. Calcite Fluid Inclusion, Paragenetic, and Oxygen Isotopic Records of Thermal Event(s) at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Peterman, B.; Moscati, R.

    2000-01-01

    Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is under consideration as a potential high-level radioactive waste repository situated above the water table in 12.7 Ma tuffs. A wealth of textural and geochemical evidence from low-temperature deposits of calcite and silica, indicates that their genesis is related to unsaturated zone (UZ) percolation and that the level of the potential repository has never been saturated. Nonetheless, some scientists contend that thermal waters have periodically risen to the surface depositing calcite and opal in the tuffs and at the surface. This hypothesis received some support in 1996 when two-phase fluid inclusions (FIs) with homogenization temperatures (Th) between 35 and 75 C were reported from UZ calcite. Calcite deposition likely followed closely on the cooling of the tuffs and continues into the present. The paragenetic sequence of calcite and silica in the UZ is early stage calcite followed by chalcedony and quartz, then calcite with local opal during middle and late stages. Four types of FIs are found in calcite assemblages: (1) all-liquid (L); (2) all-vapor (V); (3) 2-phase with large and variable V:L ratios; and (4) a few 2-phase with small and consistent V:L ratios. Late calcite contains no FI assemblages indicating elevated depositional temperatures. In early calcite, the Th of type 4 FIs ranges from ∼ 40 to ∼ 85 C. Such temperatures (sub-boiling) and the assemblage of FIs are consistent with deposition in the UZ. Some delta 18O values < 10 permil in early calcite support such temperatures. Type 4 FIs, however, seem to be restricted to the early calcite stage, during which either cooling of the tuffs or regional volcanism were possible heat sources. Nonetheless, at present there is no compelling evidence of upwelling water as a source for the calcite/opal deposits

  1. Repository relevant testing applied to the Yucca Mountain Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bates, J.K.; Woodland, A.B.; Wronkiewicz, D.J.; Cunnane, J.C.

    1990-10-01

    The tuff beds of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, are currently being investigated as a site for the disposal of high-level nuclear waste in an underground repository. If this site is found suitable, the repository would be located in the unsaturated zone above the water table, and a description of the site and the methodology of assessing the performance of the repository are described in the Site Characterization Plan (SCP). While many factors are accounted for during performance assessment, an important input parameter is the degradation behavior of the waste forms, which may be either spent fuel or reprocessed waste contained in a borosilicate glass matrix. To develop the necessary waste form degradation input, the waste package environment needs to be identified. This environment will change as the waste decays and also is a function of the repository design which has not yet been finalized. At the present time, an exact description of the waste package environment is not available. The SCP does provide an initial description of conditions that can be used to guide waste form evaluation. However, considerable uncertainty exists concerning the conditions under which waste form degradation and radionuclide release may occur after the waste package containment barriers are finally breached. The release conditions that are considered to be plausible include (1) a open-quotes bathtubclose quotes condition in which the waste becomes fully or partially submerged in water that enters the breached container and accumulates to fill the container up to the level of the breach opening, (2) a open-quotes wet dripclose quotes or open-quotes trickle throughclose quotes condition in which the waste form is exposed to dripping water that enters through the top and exits the bottom of a container with multiple holes, and (3) a open-quotes dryclose quotes condition in which the waste form is exposed to a humid air environment

  2. 78 FR 48670 - Boulder Canyon Project

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-08-09

    ... DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Western Area Power Administration Boulder Canyon Project AGENCY: Western Area... Canyon Project (BCP) electric service provided by the Western Area Power Administration (Western). The... INFORMATION: Hoover Dam, authorized by the Boulder Canyon Project Act (45 Stat. 1057, December 21, 1928), sits...

  3. 77 FR 48151 - Boulder Canyon Project

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-08-13

    ... DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Western Area Power Administration Boulder Canyon Project AGENCY: Western Area... Canyon Project (BCP) electric service provided by the Western Area Power Administration (Western). The... INFORMATION: Hoover Dam, authorized by the Boulder Canyon Project Act (45 Stat. 1057, December 21, 1928), sits...

  4. Application of TOUGH to hydrologic problems related to the unsaturated zone site investigation at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Kwicklis, E.M.; Healy, R.W. [Geological Survey, Lakewood, CO (United States); Bodvarsson, G.S. [Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, CA (United States)] [and others

    1995-03-01

    To date, TOUGH and TOUGH2 have been the principal codes used by the U.S. Geological Survey in their investigation of the hydrology of the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain. Examples of some applications of the TOUGH and TOUGH2 codes to flow and transport problems related to the Yucca Mountain site investigation are presented, and the slight modifications made to the codes to implement them are discussed. These examples include: (1) The use of TOUGH in a simple fracture network model, with a discussion of an approach to calculate directional relative permeabilities at computational cells located at fracture intersections. These simulations illustrated that, under unsaturated conditions, the locations of dominant pathways for flow through fracture networks are sensitive to imposed boundary conditions; (2) The application of TOUGH to investigate the possible hydrothermal effects of waste-generated heat at Yucca Mountain using a dual-porosity, dual-permeability treatment to better characterize fracture-matrix interactions. Associated modifications to TOUGH for this application included implementation of a lookup table that can express relative permeabilities parallel and transverse to the fracture plane independently. These simulations support the continued use of an effective media approach in analyses of the hydrologic effects of waste-generated heat; and (3) An investigation of flow and tracer movement beneath a wash at Yucca Mountain in which a particle tracker was used as a post-processor. As part of this study, TOUGH2 was modified to calculate and output the x-,y- and z- sequence of tuffs overlying the potential repository site will result in the formation of capillary barriers that locally promote considerable lateral flow, thereby significantly decreasing the magnitude of fluxes form peak values at the ground surface and delaying the arrival of surface-derived moisture at the potential repository horizon.

  5. Scalar properties of transversely isotropic tuff from images of orthogonal cross sections

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Berge, P.A.; Berryman, J.G.; Blair, S.C.; Pena, C.

    1997-01-01

    Image processing methods have been used very effectively to estimate physical properties of isotropic porous earth materials such as sandstones. Anisotropic materials can also be analyzed in order to estimate their physical properties, but additional care and a larger number of well-chosen images of cross sections are required to obtain correct results. Although low-symmetry anisotropic media present difficulties for two-dimensional image processing methods, geologic materials are often transversely isotropic. Scalar properties of porous materials such as porosity and specific surface area can be determined with only minor changes in the analysis when the medium is transversely isotropic rather than isotropic. For example, in a rock that is transitively isotropic due to thin layers or beds, the overall porosity may be obtained by analyzing images of cross sections taken orthogonal to the bedding planes, whereas cross sections lying within the bedding planes will determine only the local porosity of the bed itself. It is known for translationally invariant anisotropic media that the overall specific surface area can be obtained from radial averages of the two-point correlation function in the full three-dimensional volume. Layered materials are not translationally invariant in the direction of the layering, but we show nevertheless how averages of cross sections may be used to obtain the specific surface area for a transversely isotropic rock. We report values of specific surface area obtained for thin sections of Topopah Spring Tuff from Yucca Mountain, Nevada. This formation is being evaluated as a potential host rock for geologic disposal of nuclear waste. Although the present work has made use of thin sections of tuff for the images, the same methods of analysis could also be used to simplify quantitative analysis of three-dimensional volumes of pore structure data obtained by means of x-ray microtomography or other methods, using only a few representative cross

  6. Seepage into drifts in unsaturated fractured rock at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Birkholzer, Jens; Li, Guomin; Tsang, Chin-Fu; Tsang, Yvonne

    1998-01-01

    An important issue for the long-term performance of underground nuclear waste repository is the rate of seepage into the waste emplacement drifts. A prediction of the future seepage rate is particularly complicated for the potential repository site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, as it is located in thick, partially saturated, fractured tuff formations. The long-term situation in the drifts several thousand years after waste emplacement will be characterized by a relative humidity level close to or equal to 100%, as the drifts will be sealed and unventilated, and the waste packages will have cooled. The underground tunnels will then act as capillary barriers for the unsaturated flow, ideally diverting water around them, if the capillary forces are stronger than gravity and viscous forces. Seepage into the drifts will only be possible if the hydraulic pressure in the rock close to the drift walls increases to positive values; i.e., the flow field becomes locally saturated. In the present work, they have developed and applied a methodology to study the potential rate of seepage into underground cavities embedded in a variably saturated, heterogeneous fractured rock formation. The fractured rock mass is represented as a stochastic continuum where the fracture permeabilities vary by several orders of magnitude. Three different realizations of random fracture permeability fields are generated, with the random permeability structure based on extensive fracture mapping, borehole video analysis, and in-situ air permeability testing. A 3-D numerical model is used to simulate the heterogeneous steady-state flow field around the drift, with the drift geometry explicitly represented within the numerical discretization grid. A variety of flow scenarios are considered assuming present-day and future climate conditions at Yucca Mountain. The numerical study is complemented by theoretical evaluations of the drift seepage problem, using stochastic perturbation theory to develop a better

  7. Influence of Lithophysal Geometry on the Uniaxial Compression of Tuff-Like Rock

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rigby, Douglas B.

    2007-01-01

    A large portion of the rock of the high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain contains lithophysae or voids. These voids have a significant detrimental effect on the engineering properties of the rock mass and its performance. The lithophysae were formed at the time of volcanic deposition by pockets of gas trapped within the compressing and cooling pyroclastic flow material. Lithophysae vary by size, shape, and spatial frequency of occurrence. Due to the difficulties of testing actual lithophysal rock, the current mechanical property data set is limited and the numerical models of lithophysal rock are not well validated. The purpose of this task was to experimentally quantify the effect of void geometry in the mechanical compression of cubes of analog lithophysal-like rock. In this research the mechanical properties of the analog rock were systematically studied by examining various patterns of voids based on variables consisting of hole shape, size, and geometrical distribution. Each specified hole pattern was cast into 6 by 6 by 6-in. Hydro-StoneTB(reg s ign) specimens (produced in triplicate) and then tested under uniaxial compression. Solid Hydro-StoneTB(reg s ign) specimens exhibited similar mechanical properties to those estimated for rock mass solid specimens of Topopah Spring tuff. The results indicated that the compressive strength and Young's Modulus values decrease with increasing specimen void porosity. The modulus and strength with void porosity relationships are essentially linear over the 5 to 20 percent void porosity range. When zero void porosity (solid specimen) results are added, exponential functions do not provide a good fit to the data due to a significant sensitivity of strength and modulus to the presence of macro-sized voids. From solid specimens there is roughly a 60 percent drop in strength with about 7 percent void porosity, increasing to an 80 percent drop at about 20 percent void porosity. The percent change in modulus from

  8. Interpretation of hole-to-surface resistivity measurements at Yucca Mountain, Nevada Test Site

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Daniels, J.J.; Scott, J.H.

    1981-01-01

    Hole-to-surface resistivity measurements at Yucca Mountain indicate the presence of many near-surface geologic inhomogeneities, with no definite indication of deep structural features. A resistive anomaly near drill hole UE25a-6 is interpreted as a thin, vertical, resistive body that nearly intersects the surface, and may be caused by a silicified, or calcified, fracture zone. A resistive anomaly near hole UE25a-7 is probably caused by a near surface, horizontal, lens-shaped body that may represent a devitrified zone in the Tiva Canyon Member. Many conductive anomalies were detected to the southwest of hole UE25a-4. However, these anomalies are interpreted to be caused by variations in the thickness of the surface alluvium

  9. Petrology of tuff units from the J-13 drill site, Jackass Flats, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Heiken, G.H.; Bevier, M.L.

    1979-01-01

    The J-13 drill hole, located in Jackass Flats, Nevada Test Site, has penetrated 125 m of alluvium and 932 m of tuff. Most of the tuff deposits consist of welded tuffs; glass phases in the tuffs have been replaced by authigenic minerals, mainly K-feldspar, silica, and zeolites. The zonation of authigenic minerals, with depth, indictes that alteration of glass phases and filling of vugs occurred during welding and compaction of tuff units soon after deposition and by interaction with groundwater. Zonation of authigenic minerals in tuff deposits at Jackass Flats is similar to mineral zonation in tuffs elsewhere at the Nevada Test Site and in tuff deposits of west Texas. All appear to have been developed by leaching of glass phases and deposition of authigenic minerals in open hydrologic systems. 10 figures, 38 tables

  10. Effect of boundary conditions on the strength and deformability of replicas of natural fractures in welded tuff: Comparison between predicted and observed shear behavior using a graphical method

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wibowo, J.; Amadei, B.; Sture, S.; Robertson, A.B.

    1993-09-01

    Four series of cyclic direct-shear experiments were conducted on several replicas of three natural fractures and a laboratory-developed tensile fracture of welded tuff from Yucca Mountain to test the graphical load-displacement analysis method proposed by Saeb (1989) and Amadei and Saeb (1990). Based on the results of shear tests conducted on several joint replicas under different levels of constant normal load ranging between 0.6 and 25.6 kips (2.7 and 113.9 kN), the shear behavior of joint replicas under constant normal stiffness ranging between 14.8 and 187.5 kips/in. (25.9 and 328.1 kN/cm) was predicted by using the graphical method. The predictions were compared to the results of actual shear tests conducted for the same range of constant normal stiffness. In general, a good agreement was found between the predicted and the observed shear behavior

  11. Repository environmental parameters and models/methodologies relevant to assessing the performance of high-level waste packages in basalt, tuff, and salt

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Claiborne, H.C.; Croff, A.G.; Griess, J.C.; Smith, F.J.

    1987-09-01

    This document provides specifications for models/methodologies that could be employed in determining postclosure repository environmental parameters relevant to the performance of high-level waste packages for the Basalt Waste Isolation Project (BWIP) at Richland, Washington, the tuff at Yucca Mountain by the Nevada Test Site, and the bedded salt in Deaf Smith County, Texas. Guidance is provided on the identify of the relevant repository environmental parameters; the models/methodologies employed to determine the parameters, and the input data base for the models/methodologies. Supporting studies included are an analysis of potential waste package failure modes leading to identification of the relevant repository environmental parameters, an evaluation of the credible range of the repository environmental parameters, and a summary of the review of existing models/methodologies currently employed in determining repository environmental parameters relevant to waste package performance. 327 refs., 26 figs., 19 tabs.

  12. Repository environmental parameters and models/methodologies relevant to assessing the performance of high-level waste packages in basalt, tuff, and salt

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Claiborne, H.C.; Croff, A.G.; Griess, J.C.; Smith, F.J.

    1987-09-01

    This document provides specifications for models/methodologies that could be employed in determining postclosure repository environmental parameters relevant to the performance of high-level waste packages for the Basalt Waste Isolation Project (BWIP) at Richland, Washington, the tuff at Yucca Mountain by the Nevada Test Site, and the bedded salt in Deaf Smith County, Texas. Guidance is provided on the identify of the relevant repository environmental parameters; the models/methodologies employed to determine the parameters, and the input data base for the models/methodologies. Supporting studies included are an analysis of potential waste package failure modes leading to identification of the relevant repository environmental parameters, an evaluation of the credible range of the repository environmental parameters, and a summary of the review of existing models/methodologies currently employed in determining repository environmental parameters relevant to waste package performance. 327 refs., 26 figs., 19 tabs

  13. G-Tunnel welded tuff mining experiment data summary

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Zimmerman, R.M.; Bellman, R.A. Jr.; Mann, K.L.; Zerga, D.P.; Fowler, M.

    1990-03-01

    Designers and analysts of radioactive waste repositories must be ably to predict the mechanical behavior of the host rock. Sandia National Laboratories elected to conduct a mine-by in welded tuff so that predictive-type information could be obtained regarding the response of the rock to a drill and blast excavation process, where smooth blasting techniques were used. Included in the study were evaluations of and recommendations for various measurement systems that might be used in future mine by efforts. This report summarizes all of the data obtained in the welded tuff mining experiment. 6 refs., 29 figs., 12 tabs

  14. Scientific progress at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gertz, C.P.

    1990-01-01

    The US Department of Energy (DOE) is moving forward with studies to determine whether Yucca Mountain, Nevada, would be a suitable site for the nation's first high-level radioactive waste repository; however, the DOE's Congressionally mandated task of characterizing the site has been severely delayed by a lack of cooperation from the state of Nevada. The state has refused to issue the appropriate permits that must be obtained before surface disturbing studies can proceed; therefore, an extensive surface-based drilling and trenching program and construction of underground exploration facilities are on hold until pending litigation between the DOE and Nevada has been resolved. Despite this major impasse, significant scientific progress has been made, and the DOE is aggressively pursuing investigations that can be conducted without the state-issued permits. Additionally, the DOE is developing a high-quality technical and management structure as well as equipment, plans, and quality assurance procedures, so that the scientific investigation program can proceed without delay once the appropriate permits are obtained

  15. ADVANCES IN YUCCA MOUNTAIN DESIGN

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Harrington, P.G.; Gardiner, J.T.; Russell, P.R.Z.; Lachman, K.D.; McDaniel, P.W.; Boutin, R.J.; Brown, N.R.; Trautner, L.J.

    2003-01-01

    Since site designation of the Yucca Mountain Project by the President, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has begun the transition from the site characterization phase of the project to preparation of the license application. As part of this transition, an increased focus has been applied to the repository design. Several evolution studies were performed to evaluate the repository design and to determine if improvements in the design were possible considering advances in the technology for handling and packaging nuclear materials. The studies' main focus was to reduce and/or eliminate uncertainties in both the pre-closure and post-closure performance of the repository and to optimize operations. The scope and recommendations from these studies are the subjects of this paper and include the following topics: (1) a more phased approach for the surface facility that utilize handling and packaging of the commercial spent nuclear fuel in a dry environment rather than in pools as was presented in the site recommendation; (2) slight adjustment of the repository footprint and a phased approach for construction and emplacement of the repository subsurface; and (3) simplification of the construction, fabrication and installation of the waste package and drip shield

  16. Durable terrestrial bedrock predicts submarine canyon formation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Elliot; Finnegan, Noah J.; Mueller, Erich R.; Best, Rebecca J.

    2017-01-01

    Though submarine canyons are first-order topographic features of Earth, the processes responsible for their occurrence remain poorly understood. Potentially analogous studies of terrestrial rivers show that the flux and caliber of transported bedload are significant controls on bedrock incision. Here we hypothesize that coarse sediment load could exert a similar role in the formation of submarine canyons. We conducted a comprehensive empirical analysis of canyon occurrence along the West Coast of the contiguous United States which indicates that submarine canyon occurrence is best predicted by the occurrence of durable crystalline bedrock in adjacent terrestrial catchments. Canyon occurrence is also predicted by the flux of bed sediment to shore from terrestrial streams. Surprisingly, no significant correlation was observed between canyon occurrence and the slope or width of the continental shelf. These findings suggest that canyon incision is promoted by greater yields of durable terrestrial clasts to the shore.

  17. Submarine canyons off Madras Coast

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Setty, M.G.A.P.

    Submarine canyons off the coast of Madras, Tamil Nadu, India were studied during cruise of @iINS Kistna@@ as part of the IIOE programme They consist of hill-like projections and V-shaped valleys Their other features are also reported...

  18. Yucca Mountain biological resources monitoring program

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1993-02-01

    The US Department of Energy (DOE) is required by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (as amended in 1987) to study and characterize Yucca Mountain as a potential site for a geologic repository for high-level nuclear waste. During site characterization, the DOE will conduct a variety of geotechnical, geochemical, geological, and hydrological studies to determine the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a potential repository. To ensure that site characterization activities (SCA) do not adversely affect the environment at Yucca Mountain, an environmental program has been implemented to monitor and mitigate potential impacts and ensure activities comply with applicable environmental regulations. This report describes the activities and accomplishments of EG ampersand G Energy Measurements, Inc. (EG ampersand G/EM) during fiscal year 1992 (FY92) for six program areas within the Terrestrial Ecosystem component of the YMP environmental program. The six program areas are Site Characterization Effects, Desert Tortoises, Habitat Reclamation, Monitoring and Mitigation, Radiological Monitoring, and Biological Support

  19. Yucca Mountain Biological Resources Monitoring Program

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1992-01-01

    The US Department of Energy (DOE) is required by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (as amended in 1987) to study and characterize Yucca Mountain as a possible site for a geologic repository for high-level nuclear waste. During site characterization, the DOE will conduct a variety of geotechnical, geochemical, geological, and hydrological studies to determine the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a repository. To ensure that site characterization activities (SCA) do not adversely affect the Yucca Mountain area, an environmental program has been implemented to monitor and mitigate potential impacts and to ensure that activities comply with applicable environmental regulations. This report describes the activities and accomplishments during fiscal year 1991 (FY91) for six program areas within the Terrestrial Ecosystem component of the YMP environmental program. The six program areas are Site Characterization Activities Effects, Desert Tortoises, Habitat Reclamation, Monitoring and Mitigation, Radiological Monitoring, and Biological Support

  20. Yucca Mountain Biological resources monitoring program

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1991-01-01

    The US Department of Energy (US DOE) is required by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (as amended in 1987) to study and characterize Yucca Mountain as a possible site for a geological repository for high-level radioactive waste. To ensure site characterization activities do not adversely affect the Yucca Mountain area, an environmental program, the Yucca Mountain Biological Resources Monitoring Program, has been implemented monitor and mitigate environmental impacts and to ensure activities comply with applicable environmental laws. Potential impacts to vegetation, small mammals, and the desert tortoise (an indigenous threatened species) are addressed, as are habitat reclamation, radiological monitoring, and compilation of baseline data. This report describes the program in Fiscal Years 1989 and 1990. 12 refs., 4 figs., 17 tabs

  1. Air-injection field tests to determine the effect of a heat cycle on the permeability of welded tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lee, K.H.; Ueng, Tzou-Shin.

    1991-01-01

    As part of a series of prototype tests conducted in preparation for site characterization of the potential nuclear-waste repository site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, air-injection tests were conducted in the welded tuffs in G-Tunnel at the Nevada Test Site. The objectives were to characterize the permeability of the highly fractured tuff around a horizontal heater emplacement borehole, and to determine the effect of a heating and cooling cycle on the rock-mass permeability. Air was injected into packed-off intervals along the heater borehole. The bulk permeability of the rock adjacent to the test interval and the aperture of fractures intersecting the interval were computed from the air-flow rate, temperature, and pressure at steady state. The bulk permeability of intervals along with borehole varied from a minimum of 0.08 D to a maximum of over 144 D and the equivalent parallel-plate apertures of fractures intersecting the borehole varied from 70 to 589 μm. Higher permeabilities seemed to correlate spatially with the mapped fractures. The rock was then heated for a period of 6.5 months with an electrical-resistive heater installed in the borehole. After heating, the rock was allowed to cool down to the ambient temperature. The highest borehole wall temperature measured was 242 degree C. Air injection tests were repeated following the heating and cooling cycle, and the results showed significant increases in bulk permeability ranging from 10 to 1830% along the borehole. 8 ref., 6 figs., 3 tabs

  2. Theoretical and experimental determination of matrix diffusion and related solute transport properties of fractured tuffs from the Nevada Test Site

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Walter, G.R.

    1982-10-01

    Theoretical and experimental studies of the chemical and physical factors which affect molecular diffusion of dissolved substances from fractures into a tuffaceous rock matrix have been made on rocks from G-Tunnel and Yucca Mountain at the Nevada Test Site (NTS). A variety of groundwater tracers, which may be useful in field tests at the NTS, have also been developed and tested. Although a number of physical/chemical processes may cause nonconvective transport of dissolved species from fractures into the tuff matrix, molecular diffusion seems to be the most important process. Molecular diffusion in these rocks is controlled by the composition of the groundwater through multicomponent effects and several rock properties. The porosities of the samples studied ranged from about 0.1 to 0.4. The constrictivity-tortuosity parameter ranged from 0.1 and 0.3 and effective matrix-diffusion coefficients were measured to be between 2 to 17. x 10 -7 c, 2 /s for sodium halides and sodium pentafluorobenzoate. Total porosity was found to be the principle factor accounting for the variation in effective diffusion coefficients. The constrictivity-tortuosity factor was found to have a fair correlation (r = 0.75) with the median pore diameters measured by mercury intrusion. Measurements of bulk-rock electrical impedance changes with frequency indicate that the constrictivity factor has a maximum value of 0.8 to 1, but may be smaller. If the larger values are correct, then the diffusion paths in tuff are more tortuous than in granular media. Computation of the full diffusion-coefficient matrix for various tracers in J-13 well water from the NTS indicates coupling of the diffusion fluxes of all ionic species. These effects are being incorporated into a numerical model of multicomponent-matrix diffusion

  3. Deformation and velocity measurements at elevated temperature in a fractured 0.5 M block of tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Blair, S.C.; Berge, P.A.

    1996-01-01

    This paper presents preliminary results of laboratory tests conducted on small block samples of Topopah Spring tuff, in support of the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project. The overall objective of these tests is to investigate the thermal-mechanical, thermal-hydrological, and thermal-chemical response of the rock to conditions similar to the near-field environment (NFE) of a potential nuclear waste repository. We present preliminary results of deformation and elastic wave velocity measurements on a 0.5-m-scale block of Topopah Spring tuff tested in uniaxial compression to 8.5 MPa and at temperatures to 85 degree C. The Young's modulus was found to be about 7 to 31 GPa for vertical measurements parallel to the stress direction across parts of the block containing no fractures or a few fractures, and 0.5 to 0.9 GPA for measurements across individual fractures, at ambient temperature and 8.5 MPa maximum stress. During stress cycles between 5 and 8.5 MPa, the deformation modulus values for the matrix with fractures were near 15-20 GPa at ambient temperature but dropped to about 10 GPa at 85 degree C. Compressional wave velocities were found to be about 3.6 to 4.7 km/s at ambient temperature and stress. After the stress was cycled, velocities dropped to values as low as 2.6 km/s in the south end of the block where vertical cracks developed. Heating the block to about 85 degree C raised velocities to as much as 5.6 km/s in the upper third of the block

  4. Numerical simulation of gas flow through unsaturated fractured rock at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Cooper, C.A.

    1990-01-01

    Numerical analysis is used to identify the physical phenomena associated with barometrically driven gas (air and water vapor) flow through unsaturated fractured rock at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Results from simple finite difference simulations indicate that for a fractured rock scenario, the maximum velocity of air out of an uncased 10 cm borehole is 0.002 m s -1 . An equivalent porous medium (EPM) model was incorporated into a multiphase, multicomponent simulator to test more complex conceptual models. Results indicate that for a typical June day, a diurnal pressure wave propagates about 160 m into the surrounding Tiva Canyon hydrogeologic unit. Dry air that enters the formation evaporates water around the borehole which reduces capillary pressure. Multiphase countercurrent flow develops in the vicinity of the hole; the gas phase flows into the formation while the liquid phase flows toward the borehole. The effect occurs within 0.5 m of the borehole. The amount of water vapor leaving the formation during 1 day is 900 cm 3 . This is less than 0.1% of the total recharge into the formation, suggesting that the barometric effect may be insignificant in drying the unsaturated zone. However, gas phase velocities out of the borehole (3 m s -1 ), indicating that observed flow rates from wells along the east flank of Yucca Mountain were able to be simulated with a barometric model

  5. Nuclear waste disposal: Gambling on Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ginsburg, S.

    1995-01-01

    This document describes the historical aspects of nuclear energy ,nuclear weapons usage, and development of the nuclear bureaucracy in the United States, and discusses the selection and siting of Yucca Mountain, Nevada for a federal nuclear waste repository. Litigation regarding the site selection and resulting battles in the political arena and in the Nevada State Legislature are also presented. Alternative radioactive waste disposal options, risk assessments of the Yucca Mountain site, and logistics regarding the transportation and storage of nuclear waste are also presented. This document also contains an extensive bibliography

  6. The use of TOUGH2/iTOUGH2 in support of the Yucca Mountain Project: Successes and limitations

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bodvarsson, G.S.; Birkholzer, J.T.; Finsterle, S.; Liu, H.H.; Rutqvist, J.; Wu, Y.S.

    2003-01-01

    The TOUGH2/iTOUGH2 family of codes is being used to analyze various processes and phenomena in the unsaturated zone at the proposed high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Various models have been developed that help quantify properties of the volcanic tuffs, water flow, seepage into drifts, and thermally driven coupled processes arising from the heat emitted by radioactive waste. These models are based on various assumptions and approximations that are generally accepted in the literature, but can give rise to different degrees of uncertainty. Some of the key approaches utilized include the continuum approximation, the van Genuchten formulation, the active fracture model, and homogeneous sublayers. These and other approximations are presented separately for the five different models considered, and the resulting levels of uncertainty are discussed

  7. Mineralogy, geochemistry and petrogenesis of volcanic tuffs from Ataraws, Jordan

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Al-Fugha, H.

    1997-01-01

    Magistracy are common in tuff and paralytic's materials of Pleistocene age in western Jordan. The dominant phases are olivine, augite, plagioclase, magnetite and ilmenite. Chemical analysis of the whole rocks samples indicate alkali olivine magma origin. Low concentration of Li and Rb in Tuff samples are used as an argument against the contamination of the basaltic magma during its journey to the surface. The Mg O and mg- values (Mg/Mg+Fe 2+ ) in samples from volcano exhibit different degrees of fractionation, which are indicated by the varying concentrations of incompatible trace elements (Ba, Rb, Sr). The thermometric evacuation of tuff formation by using pyroxenes thermometers revealed a temperature range between 1022-1083 deg. and pressure of 5-10 K bars. The low Mg-ratio (Mg/Mg+Fe 2+ ) is due to fractional crystallization of olivine and pyroxene in tuff samples. The variation of incompatible elements imply derivation from a peridotite source in the upper mantle with low degree of melting (<20%).The volcanic activity took place in phases corresponding to rifting sinistral displacement along the Jordan Rift. (author). 11 refs., 6 tabs, 6 figs

  8. Geomorphic process fingerprints in submarine canyons

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brothers, Daniel S.; ten Brink, Uri S.; Andrews, Brian D.; Chaytor, Jason D.; Twichell, David C.

    2013-01-01

    Submarine canyons are common features of continental margins worldwide. They are conduits that funnel vast quantities of sediment from the continents to the deep sea. Though it is known that submarine canyons form primarily from erosion induced by submarine sediment flows, we currently lack quantitative, empirically based expressions that describe the morphology of submarine canyon networks. Multibeam bathymetry data along the entire passive US Atlantic margin (USAM) and along the active central California margin near Monterey Bay provide an opportunity to examine the fine-scale morphology of 171 slope-sourced canyons. Log–log regression analyses of canyon thalweg gradient (S) versus up-canyon catchment area (A) are used to examine linkages between morphological domains and the generation and evolution of submarine sediment flows. For example, canyon reaches of the upper continental slope are characterized by steep, linear and/or convex longitudinal profiles, whereas reaches farther down canyon have distinctly concave longitudinal profiles. The transition between these geomorphic domains is inferred to represent the downslope transformation of debris flows into erosive, canyon-flushing turbidity flows. Over geologic timescales this process appears to leave behind a predictable geomorphic fingerprint that is dependent on the catchment area of the canyon head. Catchment area, in turn, may be a proxy for the volume of sediment released during geomorphically significant failures along the upper continental slope. Focused studies of slope-sourced submarine canyons may provide new insights into the relationships between fine-scale canyon morphology and down-canyon changes in sediment flow dynamics.

  9. Pre-test simulations of laboratory-scale heater experiments in tuff. Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ho, Clifford K.

    1995-09-01

    Laboratory-scale heater experiments are Proposed to observe thermohydrologic Processes in tuffaceous rock using existing equipment and x-ray imaging techniques. The purpose of the experiments is to gain understanding of the near-field behavior and thermodynamic environment surrounding a heat source. As a prelude to these experiments, numerical simulations are performed to determine design-related parameters such as optimal heating power and heating duration. In addition, the simulations aid in identifying and understanding thermal processes and mechanisms that may occur under a variety of experimental conditions. Results of the simulations show that convection may play an important role in the heat transfer and thermodynamic environment of the heater if the Rayleigh-Darcy number exceeds a critical value (= 10 for the laboratory experiments) depending on the type of backfill material within the annulus (or drift)

  10. Characterize Eruptive Processes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    D. Krier

    2004-01-01

    The purpose of this scientific analysis report, ''Characterize Eruptive Processes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada'', is to present information about natural volcanic systems and the parameters that can be used to model their behavior. This information is used to develop parameter-value distributions appropriate for analysis of the consequences of volcanic eruptions through a repository at Yucca Mountain. This scientific analysis report provides information to four other reports: ''Number of Waste Packages Hit by Igneous Intrusion'', (BSC 2004 [DIRS 170001]); ''Atmospheric Dispersal and Deposition of Tephra from Potential Volcanic Eruption at Yucca Mountain, Nevada'' (BSC 2004 [DIRS 170026]); ''Dike/Drift Interactions'' (BSC 2004 [DIRS 170028]); ''Development of Earthquake Ground Motion Input for Preclosure Seismic Design and Postclosure Performance Assessment of a Geologic Repository at Yucca Mountain, NV'' (BSC 2004 [DIRS 170027], Section 6.5). This report is organized into seven major sections. This section addresses the purpose of this document. Section 2 addresses quality assurance, Section 3 the use of software, Section 4 identifies the requirements that constrain this work, and Section 5 lists assumptions and their rationale. Section 6 presents the details of the scientific analysis and Section 7 summarizes the conclusions reached

  11. Characterize Eruptive Processes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    D. Krier

    2004-10-04

    The purpose of this scientific analysis report, ''Characterize Eruptive Processes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada'', is to present information about natural volcanic systems and the parameters that can be used to model their behavior. This information is used to develop parameter-value distributions appropriate for analysis of the consequences of volcanic eruptions through a repository at Yucca Mountain. This scientific analysis report provides information to four other reports: ''Number of Waste Packages Hit by Igneous Intrusion'', (BSC 2004 [DIRS 170001]); ''Atmospheric Dispersal and Deposition of Tephra from Potential Volcanic Eruption at Yucca Mountain, Nevada'' (BSC 2004 [DIRS 170026]); ''Dike/Drift Interactions'' (BSC 2004 [DIRS 170028]); ''Development of Earthquake Ground Motion Input for Preclosure Seismic Design and Postclosure Performance Assessment of a Geologic Repository at Yucca Mountain, NV'' (BSC 2004 [DIRS 170027], Section 6.5). This report is organized into seven major sections. This section addresses the purpose of this document. Section 2 addresses quality assurance, Section 3 the use of software, Section 4 identifies the requirements that constrain this work, and Section 5 lists assumptions and their rationale. Section 6 presents the details of the scientific analysis and Section 7 summarizes the conclusions reached.

  12. Phospholipid fatty acid analysis as part of the Yucca Mountain Project. Final report

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ringelberg, D.B.; White, D.C.

    1996-01-01

    In support of the Yucca Mountain subsurface microbial characterization project phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) analyses for viable microbial biomass, community composition and nutritional status were performed. Results showed a positive correlation between a decrease in viable biomass and increase in depth with the lowest biomass values being obtained from the Topopah Spring geologic horizon. A plot of the ratio of non-viable (diglyceride fatty acids) to viable (PLFA) cells also showed the lowest values to derive from the Topopah Spring horizon. Estimations of microbial community composition, made from the patterns of PLFA recovered from the sediment samples, revealed similarities between samples collected within the same geologic horizons: Tiva Canyon, Pre-Pah Canyon and Topopah Spring. Results indicated the presence of mixed communities composed of gram positive, gram negative, actinomycete and obligate anaerobic bacteria. Culturable organisms, recovered from similar sediments, were representative of the same bacterial classifications although gram positive bacterial isolates typically outnumbered gram negative isolates. Within the gram negative bacterial community, corroborative indicators of physiological stress were apparent in the Topopah Spring horizon

  13. The use of TOUGH2 for the LBL/USGS 3-dimensional site-scale model of Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bodvarsson, G.; Chen, G.; Haukwa, C.; Kwicklis, E.

    1995-01-01

    The three-dimensional site-scale numerical model o the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain is under continuous development and calibration through a collaborative effort between Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (LBL) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The site-scale model covers an area of about 30 km 2 and is bounded by major fault zones to the west (Solitario Canyon Fault), east (Bow Ridge Fault) and perhaps to the north by an unconfirmed fault (Yucca Wash Fault). The model consists of about 5,000 grid blocks (elements) with nearly 20,000 connections between them; the grid was designed to represent the most prevalent geological and hydro-geological features of the site including major faults, and layering and bedding of the hydro-geological units. Submodels are used to investigate specific hypotheses and their importance before incorporation into the three-dimensional site-scale model. The primary objectives of the three-dimensional site-scale model are to: (1) quantify moisture, gas and heat flows in the ambient conditions at Yucca Mountain, (2) help in guiding the site-characterization effort (primarily by USGS) in terms of additional data needs and to identify regions of the mountain where sufficient data have been collected, and (3) provide a reliable model of Yucca Mountain that is validated by repeated predictions of conditions in new boreboles and the ESF and has therefore the confidence of the public and scientific community. The computer code TOUGH2 developed by K. Pruess at LBL was used along with the three-dimensional site-scale model to generate these results. In this paper, we also describe the three-dimensional site-scale model emphasizing the numerical grid development, and then show some results in terms of moisture, gas and heat flow

  14. Interstratified arkosic and volcanic rocks of the Miocene Spanish Canyon Formation, Alvord Mountain area, California: descriptions and interpretations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buesch, David C.

    2014-01-01

    The Spanish Canyon Foundation in the Alvord Mountain area, California, varies from about 50 to 120 m thick and records the interstratification of arkosic sandstone and conglomerate with tuffaceous deposits and lava flows. In the lower third of the formation, arkosic sandstone and conglomerate are interstratified with tuffaceous deposits. Some tuffs might have been deposited as primary, nonwelded to partially welded ignimbrites or fallout tephra. Many of the tuffaceous deposits represent redeposited material that formed tuffaceous sandstone, and many of these deposits contain arkosic grains that represent mixing of different source matieral. Arkosic sandstone, and especially conglomerate (some with maximum clast lengths up to 1 m), represent intermittent incursions of coarser plutoniclastic fan deposits into other finer grained and mostly volcaniclastic basin deposits. After deposition of the 18.78 Ma Peach Spring Tuff, the amount of tuffaceous material decreased. The upper two-thirds of the formation has arkosic sandstone and conglomerate interstratified with two olivine basalt lave flows. locally, conglomerate clasts in this part of the section have maximum lengths up to 1 m. Many tuffaceous and arkosic sandstone beds of the Spanish Canyon Formation have tabular to broad (low-relief) lenticular geometry, and locally, some arkosic conglomerate fills channels as much as 1.5 m deep. These bedforms are consistent with deposition in medial to distal alluvial-fan or fluvial environments; some finer-grained deposits might have formed in lacustrine environments.

  15. Marble Canyon spring sampling investigation

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    McCulley, B.

    1985-10-01

    The Mississippian Leadville Limestone is the most permeable formation in the lower hydrostratigraphic unit underlying the salt beds of the Paradox Formation in Gibson Dome, Paradox Basin, Utah, which is being considered as a potential nuclear waste repository site. The closest downgradient outcrop of the Mississippian limestone is along the Colorado River in Marble Canyon, Arizona. This report describes the sampling and interpretation of springs in that area to assess the relative contribution of Gibson Dome-type Leadville Limestone ground water to that spring discharge. The high-volume (hundreds of liters per second or thousands of gallons per minute) springs discharging from fault zones in Marble Canyon are mixtures of water recharged west of the Colorado River on the Kaibab Plateau and east of the river in the Kaiparowits basin. No component of Gibson Dome-type Leadville Limestone ground water is evident in major and trace element chemistry or isotopic composition of the Marble Canyon Springs. A low-volume (0.3 liters per second or 5 gallons per minute) spring with some chemical and isotopic characteristics of Gibson Dome-type Leadville Limestone water diluted by Kaiparowits basin-type water issues from a travertine mound in the Bright Angel Shale on the Little Colorado River. However, the stable isotopic composition and bromide levels of that spring discharge, in addition to probable ground-water flow paths, contradict the dilution hypothesis

  16. Predictions of tracer transport in interwell tracer tests at the C-Hole complex. Yucca Mountain site characterization project report milestone 4077

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Reimus, P.W.

    1996-09-01

    This report presents predictions of tracer transport in interwell tracer tests that are to be conducted at the C-Hole complex at the Nevada Test Site on behalf of the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project. The predictions are used to make specific recommendations about the manner in which the tracer test should be conducted to best satisfy the needs of the Project. The objective of he tracer tests is to study flow and species transport under saturated conditions in the fractured tuffs near Yucca Mountain, Nevada, the site of a potential high-level nuclear waste repository. The potential repository will be located in the unsaturated zone within Yucca Mountain. The saturated zone beneath and around the mountain represents the final barrier to transport to the accessible environment that radionuclides will encounter if they breach the engineered barriers within the repository and the barriers to flow and transport provided by the unsaturated zone. Background information on the C-Holes is provided in Section 1.1, and the planned tracer testing program is discussed in Section 1.2

  17. Hydrogeologic studies at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, USA. An interpretation of results for radioactive waste disposal site characterization

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dudley, W.W.

    1984-02-01

    Of nine potential nuclear-waste repository sites being investigated in the United States, Yucca Mountain is the only one for which disposal above the water table is proposed. The host rock is a fractured, permeable welded tuff more than 300 m beneath the surface. The principal factors contributing to the isolation of waste include: a small recharge flux, estimated to be about 5 mm/yr; free drainage in the host rock and little opportunity for contact of water with the waste; near-neutral water of low ionic and organic content; unsaturated-zone and saturated-zone flowpaths through altered tuffs that are rich in sorptive zeolites and clays; and very deep regional ground-water flow that terminates in a closed basin. Hydraulic testing of the saturated zone has demonstrated that fractures cause the observed high transmissivity, and seepage velocities in major fracture zones may be as high as 0.01 to 0.1 km/yr. Diffusion of radionuclides from water in fractures to that in the porous rock matrix, however, would attenuate their migration and allow sorptive processes to operate if a release from the repository were to occur. Psychrometers, heat-dissipation probes, pressure transducers, and sampling tubes that were recently installed in a 380-m drill hole are still undergoing stabilization. Data from this hole and other planned experiments will allow definition of recharge flux, frequency, and flowpaths for statistical treatment in models

  18. Applications of isotope geochemistry to the reconstruction of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, paleohydrology -- Status of investigations: June 1996

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Whelan, J.F.; Moscati, R.J.; Allerton, S.B.M.; Marshall, B.D.

    1998-01-01

    Tunneling of the Exploratory Studies Facility has offered the opportunity to sample and examine occurrences of secondary mineralization found in the unsaturated-zone tuffs of Yucca Mountain, nevada. Petrographic and paragenetic analyses, calcite and silica-phase stable isotopic analyses, and preliminary strontium tracer isotope and radiocarbon age analyses of these samples indicate that (1) an early stage of secondary mineralization consisting largely of chalcedony and quartz, but possibly with or slightly preceded by calcite, probably formed at warmer than ambient temperatures; (2) later secondary mineralization consisting of calcite and opal appears completely consistent with formation from percolation of surface infiltration whose solute load and carbon isotopic compositions reflect passage through the overlying soils; (3) based on textural studies, all unsaturated-zone secondary mineral occurrences exposed within the Exploratory Studies Facility tunnel, with the exception of the vapor-phase assemblages that formed at high temperatures during cooling of the tuffs, probably formed in unsaturated settings; and (4) calcite radiocarbon ages, based on preliminary results, have not been compromised by post-depositional exchange with carbon-bearing water and gases in the unsaturated zone

  19. Applications of isotope geochemistry to the reconstruction of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, paleohydrology -- Status of investigations: June 1996

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Whelan, J.F.; Moscati, R.J.; Allerton, S.B.M.; Marshall, B.D.

    1998-11-01

    Tunneling of the Exploratory Studies Facility has offered the opportunity to sample and examine occurrences of secondary mineralization found in the unsaturated-zone tuffs of Yucca Mountain, nevada. Petrographic and paragenetic analyses, calcite and silica-phase stable isotopic analyses, and preliminary strontium tracer isotope and radiocarbon age analyses of these samples indicate that (1) an early stage of secondary mineralization consisting largely of chalcedony and quartz, but possibly with or slightly preceded by calcite, probably formed at warmer than ambient temperatures; (2) later secondary mineralization consisting of calcite and opal appears completely consistent with formation from percolation of surface infiltration whose solute load and carbon isotopic compositions reflect passage through the overlying soils; (3) based on textural studies, all unsaturated-zone secondary mineral occurrences exposed within the Exploratory Studies Facility tunnel, with the exception of the vapor-phase assemblages that formed at high temperatures during cooling of the tuffs, probably formed in unsaturated settings; and (4) calcite radiocarbon ages, based on preliminary results, have not been compromised by post-depositional exchange with carbon-bearing water and gases in the unsaturated zone.

  20. Numerical studies of fluid and heat flow near high-level nuclear waste packages emplaced in partially saturated fractured tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Pruess, K.; Tsang, Y.W.; Wang, J.S.Y.

    1984-11-01

    We have performed modeling studies on the simultaneous transport of heat, liquid water, vapor, and air in partially saturated fractured porous rock. Formation parameters were chosen as representative of the potential repository horizon in the Topopah Spring Unit of the Yucca Mountain tuffs. The presence of fractures makes the transport problem very complex, both in terms of flow geometry and physics. The numerical simulator ''TOUGH'' used for our flow calculations takes into account most of the physical effects which are important in multi-phase fluid and heat flow. It has provisions for handling the extreme non-linearities which arise in phase transitions, component disappearances, and capillary discontinuities at fracture faces. We model a region around an infinite linear string of nuclear waste canisters, taking into account both the discrete fractures and the porous matrix. From an analysis of the results obtained with explicit fractures, we develop equivalent continuum models which can reproduce the temperature, saturation, and pressure variation, and gas and liquid flow rates of the discrete fracture-porous matrix calculations. The equivalent continuum approach makes use of a generalized relative permeability concept to take into account the fracture effects. This results in a substantial simplification of the flow problem which makes larger scale modeling of complicated unsaturated fractured porous systems feasible. Potential applications for regional scale simulations and limitations of the continuum approach are discussed. 35 refs., 14 figs., 4 tabs

  1. Effect of boundary conditions on the strength and deformability of replicas of natural fractures in welded tuff: Data analysis

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wibowo, J.; Amadei, B.; Sture, S.

    1994-04-01

    Assessing the shear behavior of intact rock ampersand rock fractures is an important issue in the design of a potential nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain Nevada. Cyclic direct shear experiments were conducted on replicas of three natural fractures and a laboratory-developed tensile fracture of welded tuff. The tests were carried out under constant normal loads or constant normal stiffnesses with different initial normal load levels. Each test consisted of five cycles of forward and reverse shear motion. Based on the results of the shear tests conducted under constant normal load, the shear behavior of the joint replicas tested under constant normal stiffness was predicted by using the graphical analysis method of Saeb (1989), and Amadei and Saeb (1990). Comparison between the predictions and the actual constant stiffness direct shear experiment results can be found in a report by Wibowo et al. (1993b). Results of the constant normal load shear experiments are analyzed using several constitutive models proposed in the rock mechanics literature for joint shear strength, dilatancy, and joint surface damage. It is shown that some of the existing models have limitations. New constitutive models are proposed and are included in a mathematical analysis tool that can be used to predict joint behavior under various boundary conditions

  2. Effect of boundary conditions on the strength and deformability of replicas of natural fractures in welded tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wibowo, J.; Amadei, B.; Sture, S.; Robertson, A.B.

    1993-09-01

    Four series of cyclic direct-shear experiments were conducted on several replicas of three natural fractures and a tensile fracture of welded tuff from Yucca Mountain. The objective of these tests was to examine the effect of cyclic loading on joint shear behavior under different boundary conditions. The shear tests were performed under either different levels of constant normal load ranging between 0.6 and 25.6 kips (2.7 and 113.9 kN) or constant normal stiffness ranging between 14.8 and 187.5 kips/in (25.9 and 328.1 kn/cm) . Bach test in the two categories consisted of five cycles of forward and reverse shear. Normal compression tests were also performed both before and after each shear experiment to measure changes in joint normal deformability. In order to quantify fracture surface damage during shear, fracture-surface fractal dimensions were obtained from measurements before and after shear

  3. Closure development for high-level nuclear waste containers for the tuff repository; Phase 1, Final report

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Robitz, E.S. Jr.; McAninch, M.D. Jr.; Edmonds, D.P. [Babcock and Wilcox Co., Lynchburg, VA (USA). Nuclear Power Div.]|[Babcock and Wilcox Co., Alliance, OH (USA). Research and Development Div.

    1990-09-01

    This report summarizes Phase 1 activities for closure development of the high-level nuclear waste package task for the tuff repository. Work was conducted under U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Contract 9172105, administered through the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), as part of the Yucca Mountain Project (YMP), funded through the DOE Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM). The goal of this phase was to select five closure processes for further evaluation in later phases of the program. A decision tree methodology was utilized to perform an objective evaluation of 15 potential closure processes. Information was gathered via a literature survey, industrial contacts, and discussions with project team members, other experts in the field, and the LLNL waste package task staff. The five processes selected were friction welding, electron beam welding, laser beam welding, gas tungsten arc welding, and plasma arc welding. These are felt to represent the best combination of weldment material properties and process performance in a remote, radioactive environment. Conceptual designs have been generated for these processes to illustrate how they would be implemented in practice. Homopolar resistance welding was included in the Phase 1 analysis, and developments in this process will be monitored via literature in Phases 2 and 3. Work was conducted in accordance with the YMP Quality Assurance Program. 223 refs., 20 figs., 9 tabs.

  4. Unit evaluation at Yucca Mountain, Nevada Test Site: summary report and recommendation

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Johnstone, J.K.; Peters, R.R.; Gnirk, P.F.

    1984-06-01

    Of the four potential repository units, identified at Yucca Mountain, two potential units the welded, devitrified portions of the Bullfrog and Tram Members of the Crater Flat Tuff are below the water table. The welded, devitrified Topopah Spring Member of the Paintbrush Tuff and the nonwelded, zeolitized Tuffaceous Beds of Calico Hills are above the water table. The results of a study of the four potential repository units are to provide a technical basis for selecting a single target repository unit for future test and evaluation. The unit evaluation studies compared the units rather than provided and absolute assessment. The four ranking evaluation criteria used were: radionuclide isolation time; allowable repository gross thermal loading; excavation stability; and relative economics. Considered the most important of the criteria as well as the most difficult, radionuclide isolation times were estimated using the limited existing data. The allowable repository gross thermal loadings determined from near-field calculations, were nearly the same for all four units. The gross thermal loading supported other criteria by providing the heat source for succeeding thermally related evaluation studies. A large number of studies evaluated excavation stability, including near-field mechanical and thermomechanical finite element code calculations studies. A large number of studies evaluated excavation stability, including near-field mechanical and thermomechanical finite element code calculations, rock matrix property evaluation, and rock mass classification. Relative economics, a minor criterion, did not play an explicit role in the final ranking. Based on all of the analyses, the final recommendation was that the Topopah Springs be selected as the target unit, followed, in order, by the Calico Hills, Bullfrog, and Tram

  5. Preliminary analysis of geophysical logs from drill hole UE-25p No. 1, Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Muller, D.C.; Kibler, J.E.

    1984-01-01

    Geophysical logs from drill hole UE-25p No. 1 correlate well with logs through the same geologic units from other drill holes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The in-situ physical properties of the rocks as determined from well logs are consistent with laboratory-measured physical properties of core from other drill holes. The density, neutron and caliper logs are very spiky through most of the Topopah Spring Member. This spikiness occurs on the same logs in cored holes where the Topopah Spring Member is highly fractured and lithophysal. The uranium channel of the spectral gamma-ray log through the Topopah Spring Member correlates with uranium logs from cored holes where most of the fractures have not been healed or filled with materials that concentrate uranium. Therefore, fracture porosity and permeability of the Topopah Spring Member are expected to be high and consistent with fracture analysis from other drill holes on Yucca Mountain, and hydrologic tests from well J-13. The Paleozoic dolomites which underlie the Tertiary tuffs are intensely brecciated, and the uranium count rate is much higher than normal for dolomites because uranium has been concentrated in the recementing material. 19 references, 1 figure, 2 tables

  6. The spatial distribution and chemical heterogeneity of clinoptilolite at Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada: Evidence for polygenetic hypogene alteration

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Livingston, D.E.; Szymanski, J.S.

    1994-01-01

    This part of TRAC's Annual Report for 1993 summarizes the finding of previous reports on the major element geochemistry of zeolitic alteration of the tuffs at Yucca Mountain and updates the status of work. In this report we examine the spatial distribution of zeolites by stratigraphic units and boreholes and the various types of chemical alteration of clinoptilolite indicated by the data reported in Broxton et al. and Bish and Chipera. The purpose is to evaluate the extent of the metasomatic alteration and to test the hypogene hypothesis of Szymanski. In this regard, it is of prime importance to evaluate whether the metasomatic alteration at Yucca Mountain is due to supergene or hypogene processes. In this report, the term open-quotes supergeneclose quotes denotes alteration and mineralization produced by fluids derived directly from atmospheric precipitation and infiltration through the vadose zone, and the term open-quotes hypogeneclose quotes denotes alteration and mineralization produced by fluids from the phreatic zone regardless of their former location or residence time in the Earth's crust. This report begins with a review of previous work on the genesis of zeolites of the Nevada Test Site

  7. State of Nevada comments on the US Department of Energy Site Characterization Plan, Yucca Mountain site, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1989-09-01

    One of the most important systems to understand is the hydrologic system at Yucca Mountain. This system probably contains the most likely pathways for radionuclide escape from the repository to the accessible environment. The hydrology of the unsaturated highly-fractured tuffs, in which the proposed repository would be constructed, is poorly understood because very little scientific study of this type of hydrogeologic system had been made prior to the selection of Yucca Mountain as a potential repository. The major concerns are of: (1) the time limitations for conducting the necessary investigations; (2) the great uncertainty regarding the hydrologic processes, especially fracture flow, in the unsaturated zone; (3) the inadequate consideration of various hydrogeologic and hydrologic factors, including coupled flow processes, recharge and discharge, and perched water zones; (4) the inadequate conceptual and numerical models of the saturated and unsaturated zones, and development of scenarios; (5) the flaws in the design and monitoring of observation wells; (6) the uncertainties in estimating infiltration, ground water travel time, the extent of the disturbed zone, and waste package integrity; and (7) the overall biased approach of the SCP. This report consists of a summary of these concerns, followed by specific comments on portions of Chapters 3 and 8 of the SCP

  8. Hydrologic investigations to evaluate a potential site for a nuclear-waste repository, Yucca Mountain, Nevada Test Site

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wilson, W.E.

    1985-01-01

    Yucca Mountain, Nevada Test Site, is being evaluated by the U.S. Department of Energy for its suitability as a site for a mined geologic respository for high-level nuclear wastes. The repository facility would be constructed in densely welded tuffs in the unsaturated zone. In support of the evaluation, the U.S. Geological Survey is conducting hydrologic investigations of both the saturated and unsaturated zones, as well as paleohydrologic studies. Investigation in saturated-zone hydrology will help define one component of ground-water flow paths and travel times to the accessible environment. A two-dimensional, steady-state, finite-element model was developed to describe the regional hydrogeologic framework. The unsaturated zone is 450 to 700 meters thick at Yucca Mountain; precipitation averages about 150 millimeters per year. A conceptual hydrologic model of the unsaturated zone incorporates the following features: minimal net infiltration, variable distribution of flux, lateral flow, potential for perched-water zones, fracture and matrix flow, and flow along faults. The conceptual model is being tested primarily by specialized test drilling; plans also are being developed for in-situ testing in a proposed exploratory shaft. Quaternary climatic and hydrologic conditions are being evaluated to develop estimates of the hydrologic effects of potential climatic changes during the next 10,000 years. Evaluation approaches include analysis of plant macrofossils in packrat middens, evaluation of lake and playa sediments, infiltration tests, and modeling effects of potential increased recharge on the potentiometric surface

  9. The relationship of the Yucca Mountain repository block to the regional ground-water system: A geochemical model

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Matuska, N.A.; Hess, J.W.

    1989-08-01

    Yucca Mountain, in southern Nevada, is being studied by the Department of Energy and the State of Nevada as the site of a high-level nuclear waste repository. Geochemical and isotopic modeling were used in this study to define the relationship of the volcanic tuff aquifers and aquitards to the underlying regional carbonate ground-water system. The chemical evolution of a ground water as it passes through a hypothetical tuffaceous aquifer was developed using computer models PHREEQE, WATEQDR and BALANCE. The tuffaceous system was divided into five parts, with specific mineralogies, reaction steps and temperatures. The initial solution was an analysis of a soil water from Rainier Mesa. The ending solution in each part became the initial solution in the next part. Minerals consisted of zeolites, smectites, authigenic feldspars and quartz polymorphs from described diagentic mineral zones. Reaction steps were ion exchange with zeolites. The solution from the final zone, Part V, was chosen as most representative, in terms of pH, element molalities and mineral solubilities, of tuffaceous water. This hypothetical volcanic water from Part V was mixed with water from the regional carbonate aquifer, and the results compared to analyses of Yucca Mountain wells. Mixing and modeling attempts were conducted on wells in which studies indicated upward flow

  10. Examination of the use of continuum versus discontinuum models for design and performance assessment for the Yucca Mountain site

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Board, M.

    1989-08-01

    This report examines the use of continuum and discontinuum numerical methods for analysis of the thermomechanical response of the rock mass at Yucca Mountain. Continuum numerical methods consider the rock to be a solid, unfractured body, whereas the discontinuum method is formulated specifically to account for the effects of discrete fractures. The fractures within the rock introduce overall non-linear material response due to slip and separation of rock blocks. Continuum models attempt to simulate this response through the use of non-linear constitutive laws. Discontinuum methods attempt to simulate the true response of the rock mass by correctly modeling the behavior of the joints as well as the deformability of the intact rock blocks. It is shown that, as the joint spacing, s, becomes small with respect to the size of the excavations, the behavior of the jointed rock approaches that of a solid with a form of elasto-plastic constitutive behavior. It is concluded that a continuum model with a form of ''ubiquitous'' or ''compliant joint'' plasticity law is probably sufficient for analysis of the thermomechanical response of excavations in welded tuff. However, one of the questions concerning Yucca Mountain which remains is the effect of fault structures on the stability performance of the repository, particularly under thermal and dynamic loads. Here, a true discontinuum approach seems necessary. 45 refs., 42 figs., 4 tabs

  11. Mineralogy of drill holes J-13, UE-25A No. 1, and USW G-1 at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bish, D.L.; Chipera, S.J.

    1986-09-01

    The mineralogy of drill holes J-13, UE-25A No. 1, and USW G-1 was previously determined using qualitative and semiquantitative techniques, and most of the available data were neither complete nor accurate. New quantitative x-ray diffraction data were obtained for rocks from all three of these drill holes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. These quantitative analyses employed both external and internal standard x-ray powder diffraction methods and permitted the precise determination of all phases commonly found in the tuffs at Yucca Mountain, including glass and opal-CT. These new data supplant previous analyses and include numerous additional phases. New findings of particular importance include better constraints on the distribution of the more soluble silica polymorphs, cristobalite and opal-CT. Opal-CT was associated solely with clinoptilolite-bearing horizons, and cristobalite disappearance coincided with the appearance of analcime in USW G-1. Unlike previous analyses, we identified significant amounts of smectite in drill hole J-13. We found no evidence to support previous reports of the occurrence of erionite or phillipsite in these drill holes

  12. Stratigraphy and structure of volcanic rocks in drill hole USW-G1, Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Spengler, R.W.; Byers, F.M. Jr.; Warner, J.B.

    1981-01-01

    Detailed subsurface studies in connection with the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations program are being conducted to investigate the stratigraphic and structural features of volcanic rocks underlying Yucca Mountain, a volcanic highland situated along the western boundary of the Nevada Test Site in southern Nevada. As part of this continuing effort, drill hole USW-G1 was cored from 292 ft to a depth of 6000 ft from March to August 1980. The stratigraphic section is composed of thick sequences of ash-flow tuff and volcanic breccia interbedded with subordinate amounts of fine- to coarse-grained volcaniclastic rocks. All rocks are of Tertiary age and vary in composition from rhyolite to dacite. The 3005-ft level in the drill hole represents a significant demarcation between unaltered and altered volcanic rocks. For the most part, tuff units above 3005 ft appear devitrified and show little secondary alteration except within tuffaceous beds of Calico Hills, where the rock contains 60 to 80% zeolites. Below 3005 ft, most rocks show intermittent to pervasive alteration to clay minerals and zeolites. Examination of core for structural features revealed the presence of 61 shear fractures, 528 joints, and 4 conspicuous fault zones. Shear fractures mainly occurred in the Topopah Spring Member of the Paintbrush Tuff, flow breccia, and near fault zones. Nearly 88% of shear and joint surfaces show evidence of coatings. Approximately 40% of the fractures were categorized as completely healed. Rock quality characteristics as defined by the core index indicate that greater amounts of broken and lost core are commonly associated with (1) the densely welded zone of the Topopah Spring, (2) highly silicified zones, and (3) fault zones

  13. Fran Ridge horizontal coring summary report hole UE-25h No. 1, Yucca Mountain Area, Nye County, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Norris, A.E.; Byers, F.M. Jr.; Merson, T.J.

    1986-10-01

    Hole UE-25h No. 1 was core drilled during December 1982 and January 1983 within several degrees of due west, 400 ft horizontally into the southeast slope of Fran Ridge at an altitude of 3409 ft. The purpose of the hole was to obtain data pertinent for radionuclide transport studies in the Topopah Spring Member of the Paintbrush Tuff. This unit had been selected previously as the host rock for the potential underground nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, adjacent to the southwestern part of the Nevada Test Site. The hole was core drilled first with air, then with air mist, and finally with air, soap, and water. Many problems were encountered, including sloughing of tuff into the uncased hole, vibration of the drill rods, high rates of bit wear, and lost circulation of drilling fluids. On the basis of experience gained in drilling this hole, ways to improve horizontal coring with air are suggested in this report. All of the recovered core, except those pieces that were wrapped and waxed, were examined for lithophysal content, for fractures, and for fracture-fill mineralization. The results of this examination are given in this report. Core recovery greater than 80% at between 209 and 388 ft permitted a fracture frequency analysis. The results are similar to the fracture frequencies observed in densely welded nonlithophysal tuff from holes USW GU-3 and USW G-4. The fractures in core from UE-25h No. 1 were found to be smooth and nonmineralized or coated with calcite, silica, or manganese oxide. Open fractures with caliche (porous, nonsparry calcite) were not observed beyond 83.5 ft, which corresponds to an overburden depth of 30 ft

  14. Preliminary report on the geology and hydrology of Mortandad Canyon near Los Alamos, New Mexico, with reference to disposal of liquid low-level radioactive waste

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baltz, E.H.; Abrahams, J.H.; Purtyman, W.D.

    1963-01-01

    The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, selected the upper part of Mortandad Canyon near Los Alamos, New Mexico for a site for disposal of treated liquid low-level radioactive waste. This report summarizes the part of a study of the geology and hydrology that was done from October 1960 through June 1961. Additional work is being continued. Mortandad Canyon is a narrow east-southeast-trending canyon about 9? miles long that heads on the central part of the Pajarito Plateau at an altitude of about 7,340 feet. The canyon is tributary to the Rio Grande. The drainage area of the part of Mortandad Canyon that was investigated is about 2 square miles, and the total drainage area is about 4.9 square miles. The Pajarito Plateau is capped by the Bandelier Tuff of Pleistocene age. Mortandad Canyon is cut in the Bandelier, and alluvium covers the floor of the canyon to depths ranging from less than 1 foot to as much as 100 feet. The Bandelier is underlain by silt, sand, conglomerate, and interbedded basalt of the Santa Fe Group of Miocene, Pliocene, and Pleistocene(?) age. Some ground water is perched in the alluvium in the canyon; however, the top of the main aquifer is in the Santa Fe Group at a depth of about 990 feet below the canyon floor. Joints in the Bandelier Tuff probably were caused by shrinkage of the tuff during cooling. The joints range in width from hairline cracks to fissures several inches wide. Water can infiltrate along the open joints where the Bandelier is at the surface; however, soil, alluvial fill, and autochthonous clay inhibit infiltration on the tops of mesas and probably in the alluvium-floored canyons also. Thirty-three test holes, each less than 100 feet deep, were drilled in 10 lies across Mortandad Canyon from the western margin of the study area to just west of the Los Alamos-Santa Fe County line. Ten of the holes were cased for observation wells to measure

  15. Extreme ground motions and Yucca Mountain

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hanks, Thomas C.; Abrahamson, Norman A.; Baker, Jack W.; Boore, David M.; Board, Mark; Brune, James N.; Cornell, C. Allin; Whitney, John W.

    2013-01-01

    Yucca Mountain is the designated site of the underground repository for the United States' high-level radioactive waste (HLW), consisting of commercial and military spent nuclear fuel, HLW derived from reprocessing of uranium and plutonium, surplus plutonium, and other nuclear-weapons materials. Yucca Mountain straddles the western boundary of the Nevada Test Site, where the United States has tested nuclear devices since the 1950s, and is situated in an arid, remote, and thinly populated region of Nevada, ~100 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Yucca Mountain was originally considered as a potential underground repository of HLW because of its thick units of unsaturated rocks, with the repository horizon being not only ~300 m above the water table but also ~300 m below the Yucca Mountain crest. The fundamental rationale for a geologic (underground) repository for HLW is to securely isolate these materials from the environment and its inhabitants to the greatest extent possible and for very long periods of time. Given the present climate conditions and what is known about the current hydrologic system and conditions around and in the mountain itself, one would anticipate that the rates of infiltration, corrosion, and transport would be very low—except for the possibility that repository integrity might be compromised by low-probability disruptive events, which include earthquakes, strong ground motion, and (or) a repository-piercing volcanic intrusion/eruption. Extreme ground motions (ExGM), as we use the phrase in this report, refer to the extremely large amplitudes of earthquake ground motion that arise at extremely low probabilities of exceedance (hazard). They first came to our attention when the 1998 probabilistic seismic hazard analysis for Yucca Mountain was extended to a hazard level of 10-8/yr (a 10-4/yr probability for a 104-year repository “lifetime”). The primary purpose of this report is to summarize the principal results of the ExGM research program

  16. Yucca Mountain Site characterization project bibliography, January--June 1991

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1992-06-01

    Following a reorganization of the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management in 1990, the Yucca Mountain Project was renamed Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project. The title of this bibliography was also changed to Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project Bibliography. Prior to August 5, 1988, this project was called the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations. This bibliography contains information on this ongoing project that was added to the Department of Energy's Science and Technology Database from January 1, 1990, through December 31, 1991

  17. Pena Blanca uranium deposits and ash-flow tuffs relationship

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Magonthier, M.

    1987-01-01

    The Pena Blanca uranium deposits (Chihuahua, Mexico) are associated with a Tertiary sequence of ash-flow tuffs. Stratigraphic control is dominant and uranium mineralization occurs in stratiform and fracture-controlled deposits within 44 My-old units: Nopal Rhyolite and Escuadra Rhyolite. These units consist of highly vapor-phase crystallized ash-flow tuffs. They contain sanidine, quartz and granophyric phenocrysts, and minor ferromagnesian silicates. Nopal and Escuadra units are high-silica alkali-rich rhyolites that have a primary potassic character. The trace-element chemistry shows high concentrations in U-Th-Rb-Cs and low contents in Ba-Sr-Eu. These chemical properties imply a genetic relationship between deposits and host-units. The petrochemical study show that the Nopal Rhyolite and Escuadra Rhyolite are the source of U and of hydrothermal solutions [fr

  18. Modeling of flow through fractured tuff at Fran Ridge

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Eaton, R.R.; Ho, C.K.; Glass, R.J.; Nicholl, M.J.; Arnold, B.W.

    1996-01-01

    Numerical studies have modeled an infiltration experiment at Fran Ridge, using the TOUGH2 code, to aid in the selection of computational models for waste repository performance assessment. This study investigates the capabilities of TOUGH2 to simulate transient flows through highly fractured tuff, and provides a possible means of calibrating hydrologic parameters such as effective fracture aperture and fracture-matrix connectivity. Two distinctly different conceptual models were used in the TOUGH2 code, the dual permeability model and the equivalent continuum model. The field experiments involved the infiltration of dyed ponded water in highly fractured tuff. The infiltration observed in the experiment was subsequently modeled using Fran Ridge fracture frequencies, obtained during post-experiment site excavation. Comparison of the TOUGH2 results obtained using the two conceptual models gives insight into their relative strengths and weaknesses

  19. Biogas cleaning and upgrading with natural zeolites from tuffs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paolini, Valerio; Petracchini, Francesco; Guerriero, Ettore; Bencini, Alessandro; Drigo, Serena

    2016-01-01

    CO2 adsorption on synthetic zeolites has become a consolidated approach for biogas upgrading to biomethane. As an alternative to synthetic zeolites, tuff waste from building industry was investigated in this study: indeed, this material is available at a low price and contains a high fraction of natural zeolites. A selective adsorption of CO2 and H2S towards CH4 was confirmed, allowing to obtain a high-purity biomethane (CO2 biogas samples were used, and no significant effects due to biogas impurities (e.g. humidity, dust, moisture, etc.) were observed. Thermal and vacuum regenerations were also optimized and confirmed to be possible, without significant variations in efficiency. Hence, natural zeolites from tuffs may successfully be used in a pressure/vacuum swing adsorption process.

  20. 78 FR 7775 - Boulder Canyon Project

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-02-04

    ... DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Western Area Power Administration Boulder Canyon Project AGENCY: Western Area...), is proposing an adjustment to the Boulder Canyon Project (BCP) electric service base charge and rates... subsequent laws, particularly section 9(c) of the Reclamation Project Act of 1939 (43 U.S.C. 485h(c)); and...

  1. 77 FR 2533 - Boulder Canyon Project

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-01-18

    ... DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Western Area Power Administration Boulder Canyon Project AGENCY: Western Area...), is proposing an adjustment to the Boulder Canyon Project (BCP) electric service base charge and rates...) of the Reclamation Project Act of 1939 (43 U.S.C. 485h(c)); and other acts that specifically apply to...

  2. 76 FR 56430 - Boulder Canyon Project

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-09-13

    ... DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Western Area Power Administration Boulder Canyon Project AGENCY: Western Area... Project (BCP) electric service provided by the Western Area Power Administration (Western). The Rates will... by the Boulder Canyon Project Act (45 Stat. 1057, December 21, 1928), sits on the Colorado River...

  3. 76 FR 8359 - Boulder Canyon Project

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-02-14

    ... DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Western Area Power Administration Boulder Canyon Project AGENCY: Western Area... Western Area Power Administration (Western) is proposing an adjustment to the Boulder Canyon Project (BCP... Reclamation Project Act of 1939 (43 U.S.C. 485h(c)), and other acts that specifically apply to the project...

  4. Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hamill, John F.

    2009-01-01

    The Grand Canyon of the Colorado River, one of the world's most spectacular gorges, is a premier U.S. National Park and a World Heritage Site. The canyon supports a diverse array of distinctive plants and animals and contains cultural resources significant to the region's Native Americans. About 15 miles upstream of Grand Canyon National Park sits Glen Canyon Dam, completed in 1963, which created Lake Powell. The dam provides hydroelectric power for 200 wholesale customers in six western States, but it has also altered the Colorado River's flow, temperature, and sediment-carrying capacity. Over time this has resulted in beach erosion, invasion and expansion of nonnative species, and losses of native fish. Public concern about the effects of Glen Canyon Dam operations prompted the passage of the Grand Canyon Protection Act of 1992, which directs the Secretary of the Interior to operate the dam 'to protect, mitigate adverse impacts to, and improve values for which Grand Canyon National Park and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area were established...' This legislation also required the creation of a long-term monitoring and research program to provide information that could inform decisions related to dam operations and protection of downstream resources.

  5. Environmental assessment: Davis Canyon site, Utah

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    none,

    1986-05-01

    In February 1983, the US Department of Energy (DOE) identified the Davis Canyon site in Utah as one of the nine potentially acceptable sites for a mined geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel and high- level radioactive waste. To determine their suitability, the Davis Canyon site and the eight other potentially acceptable sites have been evaluated in accordance with the DOE's General Guidelines for the Recommendation of Sites for the Nuclear Waste Repositories. These evaluations were reported in draft environmental assessments (EAs), which were issued for public review and comment. After considering the comments received on the draft EAs, the DOE prepared the final EA. The Davis Canyon site is in the Paradox Basin, which is one of five distinct geohydrologic settings considered for the first repository. This setting contains one other potentially acceptable site -- the Lavender Canyon site. Although the Lavender Canyon site is suitable for site characterization, the DOE has concluded that the Davis Canyon site is the preferred site in the Paradox Basin. On the basis of the evaluations reported in this EA, the DOE has found that the Davis Canyon site is not disqualified under the guidelines. Furthermore, the DOE has found that the site is suitable for site characterization because the evidence does not support a conclusion that the site will not be able to meet each of the qualifying conditions specified in the guidelines. On the basis of these findings, the DOE is nominating the Davis Canyon site as one of the five sites suitable for characterization.

  6. Environmental assessment: Davis Canyon site, Utah

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    none,

    1986-05-01

    In February 1983, the US Department of Energy (DOE) identified the Davis Canyon site in Utah as one of the nine potentially acceptable sites for a mined geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. To determine their suitability, the Davis Canyon site and the eight other potentially acceptable sites have been evaluated in accordance with the DOE's General Guidelines for the Recommendation of Sites for the Nuclear Waste Repositories. These evaluations were reported in draft environmental assessments (EAs), which were issued for public review and comment. After considering the comments received on the draft EAs, the DOE prepared the final EA. The Davis Canyon site is in the Paradox Basin, which is one of five distinct geohydrologic settings considering for the first repository. This setting contains one other potentially acceptable site -- the Lavender Canyon site. Although the Lavender Canyon site is suitable for site characterization, the DOE has concluded that the Davis Canyon site is the preferred site in the Paradox Basin. On the basis of the evaluations reported in this EA, the DOE has found that the Davis Canyon site is not disqualified under the guidelines. Furthermore, the DOE has found that the site is suitable for site characterization because the evidence does not support a conclusion that the site will not be able to meet each of the qualifying conditions specified in the guidelines. On the basis of these findings, the DOE is nominating the Davis Canyon site as one of five sites suitable for characterization.

  7. Environmental assessment: Davis Canyon site, Utah

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1986-05-01

    In February 1983, the US Department of Energy (DOE) identified the Davis Canyon site in Utah as one of the nine potentially acceptable sites for a mined geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. To determine their suitability, the Davis Canyon site and the eight other potentially acceptable sites have been evaluated in accordance with the DOE's General Guidelines for the Recommendation of Sites for the Nuclear Waste Repositories. These evaluations were reported in draft environmental assessments (EAs), which were issued for public review and comment. After considering the comments received on the draft EAs, the DOE prepared the final EA. The Davis Canyon site is in the Paradox Basin, which is one of five distinct geohydrologic settings considering for the first repository. This setting contains one other potentially acceptable site -- the Lavender Canyon site. Although the Lavender Canyon site is suitable for site characterization, the DOE has concluded that the Davis Canyon site is the preferred site in the Paradox Basin. On the basis of the evaluations reported in this EA, the DOE has found that the Davis Canyon site is not disqualified under the guidelines. Furthermore, the DOE has found that the site is suitable for site characterization because the evidence does not support a conclusion that the site will not be able to meet each of the qualifying conditions specified in the guidelines. On the basis of these findings, the DOE is nominating the Davis Canyon site as one of five sites suitable for characterization

  8. Environmental assessment: Davis Canyon site, Utah

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1986-05-01

    In February 1983, the US Department of Energy (DOE) identified the Davis Canyon site in Utah as one of the nine potentially acceptable sites for a mined geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel and high- level radioactive waste. To determine their suitability, the Davis Canyon site and the eight other potentially acceptable sites have been evaluated in accordance with the DOE's General Guidelines for the Recommendation of Sites for the Nuclear Waste Repositories. These evaluations were reported in draft environmental assessments (EAs), which were issued for public review and comment. After considering the comments received on the draft EAs, the DOE prepared the final EA. The Davis Canyon site is in the Paradox Basin, which is one of five distinct geohydrologic settings considered for the first repository. This setting contains one other potentially acceptable site -- the Lavender Canyon site. Although the Lavender Canyon site is suitable for site characterization, the DOE has concluded that the Davis Canyon site is the preferred site in the Paradox Basin. On the basis of the evaluations reported in this EA, the DOE has found that the Davis Canyon site is not disqualified under the guidelines. Furthermore, the DOE has found that the site is suitable for site characterization because the evidence does not support a conclusion that the site will not be able to meet each of the qualifying conditions specified in the guidelines. On the basis of these findings, the DOE is nominating the Davis Canyon site as one of the five sites suitable for characterization

  9. Gravity and magnetic data across the Ghost Dance Fault in WT-2 Wash, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Oliver, H.W.; Sikora, R.F.

    1994-01-01

    Detailed gravity and ground magnetic data were obtained in September 1993 along a 4,650 ft-long profile across the Ghost Dance Fault system in WT-2 Wash. Gravity stations were established every 150 feet along the profile. Total-field magnetic measurements made initially every 50 ft along the profile, then remade every 20 ft through the fault zone. These new data are part of a geologic and geophysical study of the Ghost Dance Fault (GDF) which includes detailed geologic mapping, seismic reflection, and some drilling including geologic and geophysical logging. The Ghost Dance Fault is the only through-going fault that has been identified within the potential repository for high-level radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Preliminary gravity results show a distinct decrease of 0.1 to 0.2 mGal over a 600-ft-wide zone to the east of and including the mapped fault. The gravity decrease probably marks a zone of brecciation. Another fault-offset located about 2,000 ft to the east of the GDF was detected by seismic reflection data and is also marked by a distinct gravity low. The ground magnetic data show a 200-ft-wide magnetic low of about 400 nT centered about 100 ft east of the Ghost Dance Fault. The magnetic low probably marks a zone of brecciation within the normally polarized Topopah Spring Tuff, the top of which is about 170 ft below the surface, and which is known from drilling to extend to a depth of about 1,700 ft. Three-component magnetometer logging in drill hole WT-2 located about 2,700 ft east of the Ghost Dance Fault shows that the Topopah Spring Tuff is strongly polarized magnetically in this area, so that fault brecciation of a vertical zone within the Tuff could provide an average negative magnetic contrast of the 4 Am -1 needed to produce the 400 nT low observed at the surface

  10. Bell Canyon test summary report

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Christensen, C.L.; Peterson, E.W.

    1981-04-01

    The Bell Canyon Test was an in situ evaluation of the ability of a cement grout plug to seal boreholes. It consisted of a 2-m-long, 20-cm-diameter grout plug in an anhydrite formation at a depth of 1370 m, directly above an aquifer that provided a 12.4 MPa (1800 psi) differential pressure. The aquifer had a production capability of 38,000 l/day (240 bbl/day, 10 4 gal/day). The observed leakage after plug installation was 0.6 l/day, which is equivalent to a 50 microdarcy flow path assuming all flow occurred through the plug cross-sectional area. Laboratory results and analysis of field data indicate that the bulk of the flow occurred through a microstructure at the interface between the plug and the host rock. The Bell Canyon Test demonstrated that a plug could be formulated, emplaced, and tested under actual conditions and provide acceptable performance. When these results are related to the WIPP performance assessment models, they provide additional confidence that borehole plugging can be accomplished satisfactorily. The Bell Canyon results can also be used as basis for future activities in the generic repository sealing program for similar emplacements and performance assessment evaluations. If the observed leakage rates are not acceptable at other sites, the BCT results would indicate that the first step in improving such emplacements should deal with improved bonding of the plug to the rock at these sites. The results obtained from the BCT, when coupled with results from long-term durability assessments, form a plug performance data basis for repository designers at other proposed waste repository sites

  11. Rail Access to Yucca Mountain: Critical Issues

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Halstead, R. J.; Dilger, F.; Moore, R. C.

    2003-01-01

    The proposed Yucca Mountain repository site currently lacks rail access. The nearest mainline railroad is almost 100 miles away. Absence of rail access could result in many thousands of truck shipments of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. Direct rail access to the repository could significantly reduce the number of truck shipments and total shipments. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) identified five potential rail access corridors, ranging in length from 98 miles to 323 miles, in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for Yucca Mountain. The FEIS also considers an alternative to rail spur construction, heavy-haul truck (HHT) delivery of rail casks from one of three potential intermodal transfer stations. The authors examine the feasibility and cost of the five rail corridors, and DOE's alternative proposal for HHT transport. The authors also address the potential for rail shipments through the Las Vegas metropolitan area

  12. TBM tunneling on the Yucca Mountain Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Morris, J.P.; Hansmire, W.H.

    1995-01-01

    The US Department of Energy's (DOE) Yucca Mountain Project (YMP) is a scientific endeavor to determine the suitability of Yucca Mountain for the first long-term, high-level nuclear waste repository in the United States. The current status of this long-term project from the construction perspective is described. A key element is construction of the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF) Tunnel, which is being excavated with a 7.6 m (25 ft) diameter tunnel boring machine (TBM). Development of the ESF may include the excavation of over 15 km (9.3 mi) of tunnel varying in size from 3.0 to 7.6 m (10 to 25 ft). Prior to construction, extensive constructability reviews were an interactive part of the final design. The intent was to establish a constructable design that met the long-term stability requirements for radiological safety of a future repository, while maintaining flexibility for the scientific investigations and acceptable tunneling productivity

  13. Selection of barrier metals for a waste package in tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Russell, E.W.; McCright, R.D.; O'Neal, W.C.

    1983-10-01

    The Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations (NNWSI) project under the Civilian Radioactive Waste Management Program is planning a repository at Yucca Mountain at the Nevada Test Site for isolation of high-level nuclear waste. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is developing designs for an engineered barrier system containing several barriers such as the waste form, a canister and/or an overpack, packing, and near field host rock. In this paper we address the selection of metal containment barriers. 13 references, 4 tables

  14. Selection of barrier metals for a waste package in tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Russell, E.W.; McCright, R.D.; O'Neal, W.C.

    1983-09-01

    The Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigation (NNWSI) project under the Civilian Radioactive Waste Management Program is planning a repository at Yucca Mountain at the Nevada Test Site for isolation of high-level nuclear waste. LLNL is developing designs for an engineered barrier system containing several barriers such as the waste form, a canister and/or an overpack, packing, and near field host rock. The selection of metal containment barriers is addressed. 13 references

  15. H-Canyon Recovery Crawler

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Kriikku, E. M. [Savannah River Site (SRS), Aiken, SC (United States). Savannah River National Lab. (SRNL); Hera, K. R. [Savannah River Site (SRS), Aiken, SC (United States). Savannah River National Lab. (SRNL); Marzolf, A. D. [Savannah River Site (SRS), Aiken, SC (United States). Savannah River National Lab. (SRNL); Phillips, M. H. [Savannah River Site (SRS), Aiken, SC (United States). Savannah River National Lab. (SRNL)

    2015-08-01

    The Nuclear Material Disposition Project group asked the Savannah River National Lab (SRNL) Research and Development Engineering (R&DE) department to help procure, test, and deploy a remote crawler to recover the 2014 Inspection Crawler (IC) that tipped over in the H-Canyon Air Exhaust Tunnel. R&DE wrote a Procurement Specification for a Recovery Crawler (RC) and SRNS Procurement Department awarded the contract to Power Equipment Manufacturing Inc. (PEM). The PEM RC was based on their standard sewer inspection crawler with custom arms and forks added to the front. The arms and forks would be used to upright the 2014 Inspection Crawler. PEM delivered the RC and associated cable reel, 2014 Inspection Crawler mockup, and manuals in late April 2015. R&DE and the team tested the crawler in May of 2015 and made modifications based on test results and Savannah River Site (SRS) requirements. R&DE delivered the RC to H-Area at the end of May. The team deployed the RC on June 9, 10, and 11, 2015 in the H-Canyon Air Exhaust Tunnel. The RC struggled with some obstacles in the tunnel, but eventually made it to the IC. The team spent approximately five hours working to upright the IC and eventually got it on its wheels. The IC travelled approximately 20 feet and struggled to drive over debris on the air tunnel floor. Unfortunately the IC tripped over trying to pass this obstacle. The team decided to leave the IC in this location and inspect the tunnel with the RC. The RC passed the IC and inspected the tunnel as it travelled toward H-Canyon. The team turned the RC around when it was about 20 feet from the H-Canyon crossover tunnel. From that point, the team drove the RC past the manway towards the new sand filter and stopped approximately 20 feet from the new sand filter. The team removed the RC from the tunnel, decontaminated the RC, and stored it the manway building, 294-2H. The RC deployment confirmed the IC was not in a condition to perform useful tunnel inspections and

  16. Environmental assessment overview, Davis Canyon site, Utah

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1986-05-01

    In February 1983, the US Department of Energy (DOE) identified the Davis Canyon site in Utah as one of the nine potentially acceptable sites for a mined geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. To determine their suitability, the Davis Canyon site and the eight other potentially acceptable sites have been evaluated in accordance with the DOE's General Guidelines for the Recommendation of Sites for the Nuclear Waste Repositories. The Davis Canyon site is in the Paradox Basin, which is one of five distinct geohydrologic settings considered for the first repository. On the basis of the evaluations reported in this EA, the DOE has found that the Davis Canyon site is not disqualified under the guidelines. On the basis of these findings, the DOE is nominating the Davis Canyon site as one of five sites suitable for characterization. 3 figs

  17. The Yucca Mountain Project Prototype Testing Program

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1989-10-01

    The Yucca Mountain Project is conducting a Prototype Testing Program to ensure that the Exploratory Shaft Facility (ESF) tests can be completed in the time available and to develop instruments, equipment, and procedures so the ESF tests can collect reliable and representative site characterization data. This report summarizes the prototype tests and their status and location and emphasizes prototype ESF and surface tests, which are required in the early stages of the ESF site characterization tests. 14 figs

  18. Predicting the Future at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wilson, J. R.

    1999-01-01

    This paper summarizes a climate-prediction model funded by the DOE for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository. Several articles in the open literature attest to the effects of the Global Ocean Conveyor upon paleoclimate, specifically entrance and exit from the ice age. The data shows that these millennial-scale effects are duplicated on the microscale of years to decades. This work also identifies how man may have influenced the Conveyor, affecting global cooling and warming for 2,000 years

  19. Predicting the Future at Yucca Mountain

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    J. R. Wilson

    1999-07-01

    This paper summarizes a climate-prediction model funded by the DOE for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository. Several articles in the open literature attest to the effects of the Global Ocean Conveyor upon paleoclimate, specifically entrance and exit from the ice age. The data shows that these millennial-scale effects are duplicated on the microscale of years to decades. This work also identifies how man may have influenced the Conveyor, affecting global cooling and warming for 2,000 years.

  20. A lineament analysis of Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Perry, J.J.

    1988-01-01

    The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 was signed into law on January 7, 1983. It specifies procedures for the Department of Energy in the selection of a high level nuclear waste repository. Federal Environmental Protection Agency standards require adequate isolation of waste from the biosphere for 10,000 years. The law considers such geologic factors as tectonic stability, igneous activity, hydrologic conditions and natural resources to be of primary concern. Yucca Mountain in southern Nevada is one of three sites selected for further consideration in the site characterization process. The Nuclear Waste Project Office (NWPO) within the Agency for Nuclear Projects of the State of Nevada is conducting an independent scientific assessment of the proposed site. The remote sensing technical assessment is one of seven task groups conducting review and research into the suitability of Yucca Mountain. The study undertaken by the Remote Sensing Group was that of a lineament analysis with regard to the site's structural relationship within a regional tectonic framework. Lineaments mapped from synoptic imagery may prove to represent structural zones of weakness. These zones may provide pathways for the infiltration of groundwater, conduits for the extrusion of magma or be reactivated as stress conditions change. This paper describes the methodology for a lineament analysis of the Yucca Mountain area

  1. Yucca Mountain Project bibliography, 1988--1989

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lorenz, J.J.

    1990-11-01

    This bibliography contains information on the Yucca Mountain Project that was added to the Department of Energy's Energy Data Base from January 1988 through December 1989. This supplement also includes a new section which provides information about publications on the Energy Data Base that were not sponsored by the project but have some relevance to it. The bibliography is categorized by principal project participating organization. Participant-sponsored subcontractor reports, papers, and articles are included in the sponsoring organization's list. Indexes are provided for Corporate Author, Personal Author, Subject, Contract Number, Report Number, Order Number Correlation, and Key Word in Context. All entries in the Yucca Mountain Project bibliographies are searchable online on the NNW database file. This file can be accessed through the Integrated Technical Information System (ITIS) of the US Department of Energy (DOE). Technical reports on the Yucca Mountain Project are on display in special open files at participating Nevada Libraries and in the Public Document Room of the US Department of Energy, Nevada Operations Office, in Las Vegas

  2. Yucca Mountain and the environmental issue

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gertz, C.P.

    1991-01-01

    The scientists and engineers who work on the Yucca Mountain Project keenly feel their responsibility - to solve an important national environmental issue. Addressing the issue of nuclear waste disposal may also help keep the nuclear option viable. Under congressional mandate, they are working to find that solution despite tough opposition from the state of Nevada. Nevada and the US Department of Energy (DOE) have been litigating the issue of environmental permits for almost 2 years now, and the court decisions have all favored DOE. The DOE's site characterization efforts are designed to determine whether Yucca Mountain can safely store spent nuclear fuel for the next 10,000 yr. DOE is studying the rocks, the climate, and the water table to make sure that the site is suitable before anything is built there. The success of the Yucca Mountain Project is vital to settling existing environmental issues as well as maintaining the viability of nuclear energy. Through efforts in Congress and outreach programs in Nevada, DOE hopes to inform the public of the mission and begin the process of site characterization

  3. Pretest thermal analysis of the Tuff Water Migration/In-Situ Heater Experiment

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bulmer, B.M.

    1980-02-01

    This report describes the pretest thermal analysis for the Tuff Water Migration/In-Situ Heater Experiment to be conducted in welded tuff in G-tunnel, Nevada Test Site. The parametric thermal modeling considers variable boiling temperature, tuff thermal conductivity, tuff emissivity, and heater operating power. For nominal tuff properties, some near field boiling is predicted for realistic operating power. However, the extent of boiling will be strongly determined by the ambient (100% water saturated) rock thermal conductivity. In addition, the thermal response of the heater and of the tuff within the dry-out zone (i.e., bounded by boiling isotherm) is dependent on the temperature variation of rock conductivity as well as the extent of induced boiling

  4. Prehistoric deforestation at Chaco Canyon?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wills, W H; Drake, Brandon L; Dorshow, Wetherbee B

    2014-08-12

    Ancient societies are often used to illustrate the potential problems stemming from unsustainable land-use practices because the past seems rife with examples of sociopolitical "collapse" associated with the exhaustion of finite resources. Just as frequently, and typically in response to such presentations, archaeologists and other specialists caution against seeking simple cause-and effect-relationships in the complex data that comprise the archaeological record. In this study we examine the famous case of Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, during the Bonito Phase (ca. AD 860-1140), which has become a prominent popular illustration of ecological and social catastrophe attributed to deforestation. We conclude that there is no substantive evidence for deforestation at Chaco and no obvious indications that the depopulation of the canyon in the 13th century was caused by any specific cultural practices or natural events. Clearly there was a reason why these farming people eventually moved elsewhere, but the archaeological record has not yet produced compelling empirical evidence for what that reason might have been. Until such evidence appears, the legacy of Ancestral Pueblo society in Chaco should not be used as a cautionary story about socioeconomic failures in the modern world.

  5. Carbon transport in Monterey Submarine Canyon

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barry, J.; Paull, C. K.; Xu, J. P.; Clare, M. A.; Gales, J. A.; Buck, K. R.; Lovera, C.; Gwiazda, R.; Maier, K. L.; McGann, M.; Parsons, D. R.; Simmons, S.; Rosenberger, K. J.; Talling, P. J.

    2017-12-01

    Submarine canyons are important conduits for sediment transport from continental margins to the abyss, but the rate, volume, and time scales of material transport have been measured only rarely. Using moorings with current meters, sediment traps (10 m above bottom) and optical backscatter sensors, we measured near-bottom currents, suspended sediment concentrations, and sediment properties at 1300 m depth in Monterey Canyon and at a non-canyon location on the continental slope at the same depth. Flow and water column backscatter were used to characterize "ambient" conditions when tidal currents dominated the flow field, and occasional "sediment transport events" when anomalously high down-canyon flow with sediment-laden waters arrived at the canyon mooring. The ambient sediment flux measured in sediment traps in Monterey Canyon was 350 times greater than measured at the non-canyon location. Although the organic carbon content of the canyon sediment flux during ambient periods was low (1.8 %C) compared to the slope location (4.9 %C), the ambient carbon transport in the canyon was 130 times greater than at the non-canyon site. Material fluxes during sediment transport events were difficult to measure owing to clogging of sediment traps, but minimal estimates indicate that mass transport during events exceeds ambient sediment fluxes through the canyon by nearly 3 orders of magnitude, while carbon transport is 380 times greater. Estimates of the instantaneous and cumulative flux of sediment and carbon from currents, backscatter, and sediment properties indicated that: 1) net flux is down-canyon, 2) flux is dominated by sediment transport events, and 3) organic carbon flux through 1300 m in Monterey Canyon was ca. 1500 MT C per year. The injection of 1500 MTCy-1 into the deep-sea represents ca. 260 km2 of the sediment C flux measured at the continental slope station (5.8 gCm-2y-1) and is sufficient to support a benthic community carbon demand of 5 gCm-2y-1 over 300 km2.

  6. A performance assessment review tool for the proposed radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, USA

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Mohanty, Sitakanta; Codell, Richard

    2000-01-01

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), with the assistance of the Center for Nuclear Waste Regulatory Analyses, has developed a Total-system Performance Assessment (TPA) Code to assist in evaluating the performance of the Yucca Mountain (YM) High-Level Waste Repository in Nevada, proposed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The proposed YM repository would be built in a thick sequence of partially saturated volcanic tuff above the water table. Among the unique challenges of this environment are (1) the transport of radionuclides would take place partially through highly heterogeneous unsaturated rock; (2) the waste packages (WPs) would be generally exposed to oxidizing conditions, and (3) water either infiltrating from the surface or recirculating because of decay heat may drip onto the WPs. Tools such as the TPA code and embedded techniques for evaluating YM performance are aimed at (1) determining the parameters and key parts of the repository system that have the most influence on repository performance; (2) performing alternative conceptual models studies, especially with bounding models; (3) estimating the relative importance of the physical phenomena that lead to human exposure to radionuclides; and (4) improving NRC staff capabilities in performance assessment and associated license application reviews. This paper presents an overview of the NRC conceptual framework, approach to conducting system-level sensitivity analyses for determining influential parameters, and alternative conceptual model studies to investigate the effect of model uncertainties. (author)

  7. Chlorine-36 investigations of groundwater infiltration in the Exploratory Studies Facility at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Levy, S.S.; Fabryka-Martin, J.T.; Dixon, P.R.; Liu, B.; Turin, H.J.; Wolfsberg, A.V.

    1997-01-01

    Chlorine-36, including the natural cosmogenic component and the component produced during atmospheric nuclear testing in the 1950's and 1960's (bomb pulse), is being used as an isotopic tracer for groundwater infiltration studies at Yucca Mountain, a potential nuclear waste repository. Rock samples have been collected systematically in the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF), and samples were also collected from fractures, faults, and breccia zones. Isotopic ratios indicative of bomb-pulse components in the water ( 36 Cl/Cl values > 1,250 x 10 -15 ), signifying less than 40-yr travel times from the surface, have been detected at a few locations within the Topopah Spring Tuff, the candidate host rock for the repository. The specific features associated with the high 36 Cl/Cl values are predominantly cooling joints and syngenetic breccias, but most of the sites are in the general vicinity of faults. The non-bomb pulse samples have 36 Cl/Cl values interpreted to indicate groundwater travel times of at least a few thousand to possibly several hundred thousand years. Preliminary numerical solute-travel experiments using the FEHM (Finite Element Heat and Mass transfer) code demonstrate consistency between these interpreted ages and the observed 36 Cl/Cl values but do not validate the interpretations

  8. Electrical resistivity monitoring of the thermomechanical heater test in Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ramirez, A.; Daily, W.; Buettner, M.

    1997-01-01

    A test is being conducted in the densely welded Topopah Springs tuff within Yucca Mountain, Nevada to study the thermomechanical and hydrological behavior of this horizon when it is headed. A single 4 kW heater, placed in a horizontal borehole, was turned on August, 1996 and will continue to heat the rockmass until April 1997. Of the several thermal, mechanical and hydrological measurements being used to monitor the rockmass response, electrical resistance tomography (ERT) is being used to monitor the movement of liquid water with a special interest in the movement of condensate out of the system. Four boreholes, containing a total of 30 ERT electrodes, were drilled to form the sides of a 30 foot square with the heater at the center and perpendicular to the plane. Images of resistivity change were calculated using data collected before and during the heating episode. The changes recovered show a region of decreasing resistivity approximately centered around the heater. The size this region grows with time and the resistivity decreases become stronger. The changes in resistivity are caused by both temperature and saturation changes. The observed resistivity changes suggest that the rock adjacent to the heater dries as heating progresses. This dry region is surrounded by a region of increased saturation where steam recondenses and imbibes into the rock

  9. Electrical resistivity monitoring of the thermomechanical heater test in Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ramirez, A.; Daily, W.; Buettner, M.; LaBrecque, L

    1996-01-01

    A test is being conducted in the densely welded Topopah Springs tuff within Yucca Mountain, Nevada to study the thermomechanical and hydrological behavior of this horizon when it is heated. A single 4 kW heater, placed in a horizontal borehole, was turned on August, 1996 and will continue to heat the rockmass until April 1997. Of the several thermal, mechanical and hydrological measurements being used to monitor the rockmass response, electrical resistance tomography (ERT) is being used to monitor the movement of liquid water with a special interest in the movement of condensate out of the system. Four boreholes, containing a total of 30 ERT electrodes, were drilled to form the sides of a 30 foot square with the heater at the center and perpendicular to the plane. Images of resistivity change were calculated using data collected before and during the heating episode. The changes recovered show a region of decreasing resistivity approximately centered around the heater. The size this region grows with time and -the resistivity decreases become stronger. The changes in resistivity are caused by both temperature and saturation changes. The observed resistivity changes suggest that the rock adjacent to the heater dries as heating progresses. This dry region is surrounded by a region of increased saturation where steam recondenses and imbibes into the rock

  10. Fractal geometry of two-dimensional fracture networks at Yucca Mountain, southwestern Nevada: proceedings

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Barton, C.C.; Larsen, E.

    1985-01-01

    Fracture traces exposed on three 214- to 260-m 2 pavements in the same Miocene ash-flow tuff at Yucca Mountain, southwestern Nevada, have been mapped at a scale of 1:50. The maps are two-dimensional sections through the three-dimensional network of strata-bound fractures. All fractures with trace lengths greater than 0.20 m were mapped. The distribution of fracture-trace lengths is log-normal. The fractures do not exhibit well-defined sets based on orientation. Since fractal characterization of such complex fracture-trace networks may prove useful for modeling fracture flow and mechanical responses of fractured rock, an analysis of each of the three maps was done to test whether such networks are fractal. These networks proved to be fractal and the fractal dimensions (D) are tightly clustered (1.12, 1.14, 1.16) for three laterally separated pavements, even though visually the fracture networks appear quite different. The fractal analysis also indicates that the network patterns are scale independent over two orders of magnitude for trace lengths ranging from 0.20 to 25 m. 7 refs., 7 figs

  11. Yucca aloifolia (Asparagaceae) opts out of an obligate pollination mutualism.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rentsch, Jeremy D; Leebens-Mack, Jim

    2014-12-01

    • According to Cope's 'law of the unspecialized' highly dependent species interactions are 'evolutionary dead ends,' prone to extinction because reversion to more generalist interactions is thought to be unlikely. Cases of extreme specialization, such as those seen between obligate mutualists, are cast as evolutionarily inescapable, inevitably leading to extinction rather than diversification of participating species. The pollination mutualism between Yucca plants and yucca moths (Tegeticula and Parategeticula) would seem to be locked into such an obligate mutualism. Yucca aloifolia populations, however, can produce large numbers of fruit lacking moth oviposition scars. Here, we investigate the pollination ecology of Y. aloifolia, in search of the non-moth pollination of a Yucca species.• We perform pollinator exclusion studies on Yucca aloifolia and a sympatric yucca species, Y. filamentosa. We then perform postvisit exclusion treatments, an analysis of dissected fruits, and a fluorescent dye transfer experiment.• As expected, Yucca filamentosa plants set fruit only when inflorescences were exposed to crepuscular and nocturnal pollinating yucca moths. In contrast, good fruit set was observed when pollinators were excluded from Y. aloifolia inflorescences from dusk to dawn, and no fruit set was observed when pollinators were excluded during the day. Follow up experiments indicated that European honeybees (Apis mellifera) were passively yet effectively pollinating Y. aloifolia flowers.• These results indicate that even highly specialized mutualisms may not be entirely obligate interactions or evolutionary dead ends. © 2014 Botanical Society of America, Inc.

  12. Potentiometric-surface map, 1993, Yucca Mountain and vicinity, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tucci, P.; Burkhardt, D.J.

    1995-01-01

    The revised potentiometric surface map here, using mainly 1993 average water levels, updates earlier maps of this area. Water levels are contoured with 20-m intervals, with additional 0.5-m contours in the small-gradient area SE of Yucca Mountain. Water levels range from 728 m above sea level SE of Yucca to 1,034 m above sea level north of Yucca. Potentiometric levels in the deeper parts of the volcanic rock aquifer range from 730 to 785 m above sea level. The potentiometric surface can be divided into 3 regions: A small gradient area E and SE of Yucca, a moderate-gradient area on the west side of Yucca, and a large-gradient area to the N-NE of Yucca. Water levels from wells at Yucca were examined for yearly trends (1986-93) using linear least-squares regression. Of the 22 wells, three had significant positive trends. The trend in well UE-25 WT-3 may be influenced by monitoring equipment problems. Tends in USW WT-7 and USW WTS-10 are similar; both are located near a fault west of Yucca; however another well near that fault exhibited no significant trend

  13. Directional floral orientation in Joshua trees (Yucca brevifolia)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steve Warren; L. Scott Baggett; Heather Warren

    2016-01-01

    Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia Engelm.) is a large, arborescent member of the yucca genus. It is an endemic and visually dominant plant in portions of the Mojave Desert, USA. We document the unique and heretofore unreported directional orientation of its flower panicles. The flower panicles grow primarily at the tips of branches that are oriented to the south....

  14. Hydrologeologic characteristics of faults at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dickerson, Robert P.

    2001-01-01

    Yucca Mountain is under study as a potential site for underground storage of high-level radioactive waste, with the principle goal being the safe isolation of the waste from the accessible environment. This paper addresses the hydrogeologic characteristics of the fault zones at Yucca Mountain, focusing primarily on the central part of the mountain where the potential repository block is located

  15. Flow dynamics around downwelling submarine canyons

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. M. Spurgin

    2014-10-01

    Full Text Available Flow dynamics around a downwelling submarine canyon were analysed with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology general circulation model. Blanes Canyon (northwestern Mediterranean was used for topographic and initial forcing conditions. Fourteen scenarios were modelled with varying forcing conditions. Rossby and Burger numbers were used to determine the significance of Coriolis acceleration and stratification (respectively and their impacts on flow dynamics. A new non-dimensional parameter (χ was introduced to determine the significance of vertical variations in stratification. Some simulations do see brief periods of upwards displacement of water during the 10-day model period; however, the presence of the submarine canyon is found to enhance downwards advection of density in all model scenarios. High Burger numbers lead to negative vorticity and a trapped anticyclonic eddy within the canyon, as well as an increased density anomaly. Low Burger numbers lead to positive vorticity, cyclonic circulation, and weaker density anomalies. Vertical variations in stratification affect zonal jet placement. Under the same forcing conditions, the zonal jet is pushed offshore in more uniformly stratified domains. The offshore jet location generates upwards density advection away from the canyon, while onshore jets generate downwards density advection everywhere within the model domain. Increasing Rossby values across the canyon axis, as well as decreasing Burger values, increase negative vertical flux at shelf break depth (150 m. Increasing Rossby numbers lead to stronger downwards advection of a passive tracer (nitrate, as well as stronger vorticity within the canyon. Results from previous studies are explained within this new dynamic framework.

  16. Street canyon aerosol pollutant transport measurements.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Longley, I D; Gallagher, M W; Dorsey, J R; Flynn, M; Bower, K N; Allan, J D

    2004-12-01

    Current understanding of dispersion in street canyons is largely derived from relatively simple dispersion models. Such models are increasingly used in planning and regulation capacities but are based upon a limited understanding of the transport of substances within a real canyon. In recent years, some efforts have been made to numerically model localised flow in idealised canyons (e.g., J. Appl. Meteorol. 38 (1999) 1576-89) and stepped canyons (Assimakopoulos V. Numerical modelling of dispersion of atmospheric pollution in and above urban canopies. PhD thesis, Imperial College, London, 2001) but field studies in real canyons are rare. To further such an understanding, a measurement campaign has been conducted in an asymmetric street canyon with busy one-way traffic in central Manchester in northern England. The eddy correlation method was used to determine fluxes of size-segregated accumulation mode aerosol. Measurements of aerosol at a static location were made concurrently with measurements on a platform lift giving vertical profiles. Size-segregated measurements of ultrafine and coarse particle concentrations were also made simultaneously at various heights. In addition, a small mobile system was used to make measurements of turbulence at various pavement locations within the canyon. From this data, various features of turbulent transport and dispersion in the canyon will be presented. The concentration and the ventilation fluxes of vehicle-related aerosol pollutants from the canyon will be related to controlling factors. The results will also be compared with citywide ventilation data from a separate measurement campaign conducted above the urban canopy.

  17. Bond strength of cementitious borehole plugs in welded tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Akgun, H.; Daemen, J.J.K.

    1991-02-01

    Axial loads on plugs or seals in an underground repository due to gas, water pressures and temperature changes induced subsequent to waste and plug emplacement lead to shear stresses at the plug/rock contact. Therefore, the bond between the plug and rock is a critical element for the design and effectiveness of plugs in boreholes, shafts or tunnels. This study includes a systematic investigation of the bond strength of cementitious borehole plugs in welded tuff. Analytical and numerical analysis of borehole plug-rock stress transfer mechanics is performed. The interface strength and deformation are studied as a function of Young's modulus ratio of plug and rock, plug length and rock cylinder outside-to-inside radius ratio. The tensile stresses in and near an axially loaded plug are analyzed. The frictional interface strength of an axially loaded borehole plug, the effect of axial stress and lateral external stress, and thermal effects are also analyzed. Implications for plug design are discussed. The main conclusion is a strong recommendation to design friction plugs in shafts, drifts, tunnels or boreholes with a minimum length to diameter ratio of four. Such a geometrical design will reduce tensile stresses in the plug and in the host rock to a level which should minimize the risk of long-term deterioration caused by excessive tensile stresses. Push-out tests have been used to determine the bond strength by applying an axial load to cement plugs emplaced in boreholes in welded tuff cylinders. A total of 130 push-out tests have been performed as a function of borehole size, plug length, temperature, and degree of saturation of the host tuff. The use of four different borehole radii enables evaluation of size effects. 119 refs., 42 figs., 20 tabs

  18. Paleohydrologic investigations in the vicinity of Yucca Mountain: Late Quaternary paleobotanical and polynological records

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Spaulding, W.G.

    1994-01-01

    The primary objective of this research in the vicinity of the proposed Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository is the detection of episodes of increased runoff and groundwater discharge in this presently arid area. Ancient, inactive spring deposits in nearby valley bottoms (Haynes, 1967; Quade, 1986; Quade and Pratt, 1989), evidence for perennial water in presently dry canyons (Spaulding, 1992), and recent claims for extraordinary increases in precipitation during the last glacial age (Forester, 1994), provide good reason to further investigate both lowland spring-discharge habitats, and upland drainages. The ultimate purpose is to assess the long-term variability of the hydrologic system in the vicinity of Yucca Mountain in response to naturally occurring climatic changes. The data generated in the course of this study are derived from radiocarbon dated packrat (Neotoma) middens. This report presents the results of an initial assessment of the hydrologic stability of the candidate area based on a limited suite of middens from localities that, on geomorphic and hydrologic grounds, could have been close to ancient stream-side or spring environments. Paleoclimatic reconstructions are another means of studying the long-term climatic hydrologic stability of the Candidate Area include, and are also generated from packrat midden data. A different flora characterized the Candidate Area during the last glacial age in response to a cooler and wetter climate, and the plant species that comprised this flora can be used to reconstruct specific components of past climatic regimes. Thus, a secondary objective of this study is to compare the plant macrofossil data generated in this study to other records from the Candidate Area (Spaulding, 1985; Wigand, 1990) to determine if these new data are consistent with prior reconstructions. 66 refs., 4 figs., 13 tabs

  19. Paleohydrologic investigations in the vicinity of Yucca Mountain: Late Quaternary paleobotanical and polynological records

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Spaulding, W.G.

    1994-10-05

    The primary objective of this research in the vicinity of the proposed Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository is the detection of episodes of increased runoff and groundwater discharge in this presently arid area. Ancient, inactive spring deposits in nearby valley bottoms (Haynes, 1967; Quade, 1986; Quade and Pratt, 1989), evidence for perennial water in presently dry canyons (Spaulding, 1992), and recent claims for extraordinary increases in precipitation during the last glacial age (Forester, 1994), provide good reason to further investigate both lowland spring-discharge habitats, and upland drainages. The ultimate purpose is to assess the long-term variability of the hydrologic system in the vicinity of Yucca Mountain in response to naturally occurring climatic changes. The data generated in the course of this study are derived from radiocarbon dated packrat (Neotoma) middens. This report presents the results of an initial assessment of the hydrologic stability of the candidate area based on a limited suite of middens from localities that, on geomorphic and hydrologic grounds, could have been close to ancient stream-side or spring environments. Paleoclimatic reconstructions are another means of studying the long-term climatic hydrologic stability of the Candidate Area include, and are also generated from packrat midden data. A different flora characterized the Candidate Area during the last glacial age in response to a cooler and wetter climate, and the plant species that comprised this flora can be used to reconstruct specific components of past climatic regimes. Thus, a secondary objective of this study is to compare the plant macrofossil data generated in this study to other records from the Candidate Area (Spaulding, 1985; Wigand, 1990) to determine if these new data are consistent with prior reconstructions. 66 refs., 4 figs., 13 tabs.

  20. G-Tunnel Welded Tuff Mining experiment evaluations

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Zimmerman, R.M.; Bellman, R.A. Jr.; Mann, K.L.; Zerga, D.P.; Fowler, M.; Johnson, J.R.

    1988-12-01

    Designers and analysts of radioactive waste repositories must be able to predict the mechanical behavior of the host rock. Sandia National Laboratories elected to conduct a mine-by in welded tuff so that predictive-type information could be obtained regarding the response of the rock to a drill and blast excavation process, where smooth blasting techniques were used. This report describes the results of the mining processes and presents and discusses the rock mass responses to the mining and ground support activities. 37 refs., 20 figs., 7 tabs

  1. G-tunnel welded tuff mining experiment preparations

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Zimmerman, R.M.; Bellman, R.A. Jr.; Mann, K.L.; Zerga, D.P.

    1991-01-01

    Designers and analysts of radioactive waste repositories must be able to predict the mechanical behavior of the host rock. Sandia National Laboratories elected to conduct a mine-by in welded tuff so that predictive-type information could be obtained regarding the response of the rock to a drill and blast excavation process, where smooth blasting techniques were used. Included in the study were evaluations of and recommendations for various measurement systems that might be used in future mine-by efforts. This report summarizes the preparations leading to the recording of data. 17 refs., 27 figs., 5 tabs

  2. Diablo Canyon refueling outage program

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    McLane, W.B.; Irving, T.L.

    1991-01-01

    Management of outages has become one of the most talked about subjects in the nuclear power industry in the past several years. Many utilities do not perform refueling outages very well or in the past have had some outages that they would not like to repeat and in some cases do not even like to think about. With the growing cost of energy and the demands placed on utilities to improve capacity factors, it is very easy for management to focus on shortening refueling outage durations as a prime objective in improving overall corporate performance. So it is with Pacific Gas and Electric Company and the Diablo Canyon power plant. A review of their refueling outage performance reflects a utility that is responding to the nuclear industry's call for improved outage performance

  3. Overview of the Yucca Mountain Licensing Process

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    M. Wisenburg

    2004-01-01

    This paper presents an overview of the licensing process for a Yucca Mountain repository for high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel. The paper discusses the steps in the licensing proceeding, the roles of the participants, the licensing and hearing requirements contained in the Code of Federal Regulations. A description of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff acceptance and compliance reviews of the Department of Energy (DOE) application for a construction authorization and a license to receive and possess high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel is provided. The paper also includes a detailed description of the hearing process

  4. Archaeological program for the Yucca Mountain Site

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Pippin, L.C.; Rhode, D.

    1991-01-01

    Archaeological surveys, limited surface collections and selected test excavations in the Yucca Mountain Project Area have revealed four distinct aboriginal hunting and gathering adaptive strategies and a separate historic Euroamerican occupation. The four aboriginal adaptations are marked by gradual shifts in settlement locations that reflect changing resource procurement strategies. Whereas the earliest hunters and gatherers focused their activities around the exploitation of toolstone along ephemeral drainages and the hunting of game animals in the uplands, the latest aboriginal settlements reflect intensive procurement of early spring plant resources in specific upland environments. The final Euroamerican occupation in the area is marked by limited prospecting activities and travel through the area by early immigrants

  5. Tunneling progress on the Yucca Mountain Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hansmire, W.H.; Munzer, R.J.

    1996-01-01

    The current status of tunneling progress on the Yucca Mountain Project (YMP) is presented in this paper. The Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF), a key part of the YMP, has been long in development and construction is ongoing. This is a progress report on the tunneling aspects of the ESF as of January 1, 1996. For purposes of discussion in this summary, the tunneling has progressed in four general phases. The paper describes: tunneling in jointed rock under low stress; tunneling through the Bow Ridge Fault and soft rock; tunneling through the Imbricate Fault Zone; and Tunneling into the candidate repository formation

  6. The effects of confining pressure on the strength and elastic properties of the Paintbrush tuff recovered from boreholes USW NRG-6 and USW NRG-7/7A: Data report

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Martin, R.J.; Noel, J.S.; Boyd, P.J.

    1997-09-01

    Experimental results are presented for bulk and mechanical properties measurements on specimens of the Paintbrush tuff recovered from the USW NRG-6 and USW NRG-7/7A borehole at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Measurements have been performed on five thermal/mechanical units: TCw, PTn, TSw2, and TSw3. The following bulk properties are reported for each specimen: dry bulk density, saturated bulk density, average grain density and porosity. Confined compression to failure tests were performed on selected specimens recovered from the boreholes at confining pressures of 5 and 10 MPa. In addition, compressional and shear wave velocities were measured on the specimens prior to testing. Measurements were conducted under drained conditions at room temperature on nominally water saturated specimens. The nominal strain rate for the experiments was 10 -5 s -1

  7. Stratigraphy of the Bandelier Tuff in the Pajarito Plateau. Applications to waste management

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Crowe, B.M.; Linn, G.W.; Heiken, G.; Bevier, M.L.

    1978-04-01

    The Bandelier Tuff within the Pajarito Plateau consists of a lower sequence of air-fall and ash-flow deposits (Otowi Member) disconformably overlain by an upper sequence of air-fall and ash-flow deposits (Tshirege Member). The ash-flow sequence of the Tshirege Member consists of three cooling units throughout much of the Pajarito Plateau. The lower cooling unit is formed by three to as many as six pyroclastic flow units; the middle and upper cooling units each consist of at least three pyroclastic flow units. The contact between the lower and middle cooling unit coincides with a pyroclastic flow unit contact. This horizon is a prominent stratigraphic marker within distal sections of the Tshirege Member. Major and trace element analyses of unaltered and altered samples of the Bandelier Tuff were determined by neutron activation and delayed neutron activation and delayed neutron activation techniques. Petrographic, granulometric and morphologic characteristics of the Bandelier Tuff were determined to provide background information on the suitability of the Tuff as a medium for radioactive waste disposal. The hydrologic characteristics of the Bandelier Tuff are controlled primarily by secondary features of the Tuff (cooling zones). These features vary with emplacement temperature and transport distance of the Tuff. Primary depositional features provide second order control on transport pathways in distal sections of the Tuff

  8. Felsic tuff from Rutland Island – A pyroclastic flow deposit in ...

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    : • white massive tuff with ill-defined bedding contacts (facies-A) and. • dominantly green tuff exhibiting well-developed turbidite sequence with up-section change from a massive unit to plane laminated units to ripple drift lamination (facies-B).

  9. Geotechnical characterization of the North Ramp of the Exploratory Studies Facility: Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project. Volume 2, NRG corehole data appendices

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Brechtel, C.E.; Lin, Ming; Martin, E.; Kessel, D.S.

    1995-05-01

    This report presents the results of the geological and geotechnical characterization of the Miocene volcanic tuff rocks of the Timber Mountain and Paintbrush groups that the tunnel boring machine will encounter during excavations of the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF) North Ramp. The information in this report was developed to support the design of the ESF North Ramp. The ESF is being constructed by the DOE as part of the Yucca Mountain Project site characterization activities. The purpose of these activities is to evaluate the potential to locate the national high-level nuclear waste repository on land within and adjacent to the Nevada Test Site (NTS), Nye County, Nevada. This report was prepared as part of the Soil and Rock Properties Studies in accordance with the 8.3.1.14.2 Study Plan to Provide Soil and Rock Properties. This is volume 2 which contains NRG Corehole Data for each of the NRG Holes

  10. Geotechnical characterization of the North Ramp of the Exploratory Studies Facility: Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project. Volume 2, NRG corehole data appendices

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Brechtel, C.E.; Lin, Ming; Martin, E. [Agapito Associates, Inc., Grand Junction, CO (United States); Kessel, D.S. [Sandia National Labs., Albuquerque, NM (United States)

    1995-05-01

    This report presents the results of the geological and geotechnical characterization of the Miocene volcanic tuff rocks of the Timber Mountain and Paintbrush groups that the tunnel boring machine will encounter during excavations of the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF) North Ramp. The information in this report was developed to support the design of the ESF North Ramp. The ESF is being constructed by the DOE as part of the Yucca Mountain Project site characterization activities. The purpose of these activities is to evaluate the potential to locate the national high-level nuclear waste repository on land within and adjacent to the Nevada Test Site (NTS), Nye County, Nevada. This report was prepared as part of the Soil and Rock Properties Studies in accordance with the 8.3.1.14.2 Study Plan to Provide Soil and Rock Properties. This is volume 2 which contains NRG Corehole Data for each of the NRG Holes.

  11. Identification and characterization of conservative organic tracers for use as hydrologic tracers for the Yucca Mountain site characterization project: Quality Assurance Project Plan, Revision 1

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Stetzenbach, K.J.

    1993-01-01

    The purpose of this work is to identify and characterize candidate conservative organic tracers for use as hydrologic tracers for experiments to be conducted at the Yucca Mountain C-well complex. During this quarter the main effort was directed towards rewriting the quality assurance program in preparation for a review and audit by the USGS. However, due to budget constraints the review and audit were not carried out. The tracer QA plan and standard operating procedures (SOPs) were revised and copies are included in the report. Instrumental problems were encountered and corrected with the addition of new integration and sample control software. In the sampling, there was an unexplained peak in the chromatograms of the tracers being tested in the light tuff. This was not correctable and these experiments will be repeated in the next quarter

  12. Environmental assessment: Davis Canyon site, Utah

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1986-05-01

    In February 1983, the US Department of Energy (DOE) identified the Davis Canyon site in Utah as one of the nine potentially acceptable sites for a mined geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. To determine their suitability, the Davis Canyon site and the eight other potentially acceptable sites have been evaluated in accordance with the DOE's General Guidelines for the Recommendation of Sites for the Nuclear Waste Repositories. These evaluations were reported in draft environmental assessments (EAs), which were issued for public review and comment. After considering the comments received on the draft EAs, the DOE prepared the final EA. The Davis Canyon site is in the Paradox Basin, which is one of five distinct geohydrologic settings considered for the first repository. This setting contains one other potentially acceptable site -- the Lavender Canyon site. Although the Lavender Canyon site is suitable for site characterization, the DOE has concluded that the Davis Canyon site is the preferred site in the Paradox Basin. On the basis of the evaluations reported in this EA, the DOE has found that the Davis Canyon site is not disqualified under the guidelines. Furthermore, the DOE has fond that the site is suitable for site characterization because the evidence does not support a conclusion that the site will not be able to meet each of the qualifying conditions specified in the guidelines. On the basis of these findings, the DOE is nominating the Davis Canyon site as one of five sites suitable for characterization. 181 figs., 175 tabs

  13. Environmental assessment: Davis Canyon site, Utah

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    none,

    1986-05-01

    In February 1983, the US Department of Energy (DOE) identified the Davis Canyon site in Utah as one of the nine potentially acceptable sites for a mined geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. To determine their suitability, the Davis Canyon site and the eight other potentially acceptable sites have been evaluated in accordance with the DOE's General Guidelines for the Recommendation of Sites for the Nuclear Waste Repositories. These evaluations were reported in draft environmental assessments (EAs), which were issued for public review and comment. After considering the comments received on the draft EAs, the DOE prepared the final EA. The Davis Canyon site is in the Paradox Basin, which is one of five distinct geohydrologic settings considered for the first repository. This setting contains one other potentially acceptable site -- the Lavender Canyon site. Although the Lavender Canyon site is suitable for site characterization, the DOE has concluded that the Davis Canyon site is the preferred site in the Paradox Basin. On the basis of the evaluations reported in this EA, the DOE has found that the Davis Canyon site is not disqualified under the guidelines. Furthermore, the DOE has fond that the site is suitable for site characterization because the evidence does not support a conclusion that the site will not be able to meet each of the qualifying conditions specified in the guidelines. On the basis of these findings, the DOE is nominating the Davis Canyon site as one of five sites suitable for characterization. 181 figs., 175 tabs.

  14. Laboratory testing of cement grouting of fractures in welded tuff

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sharpe, C.J.; Daemen, J.J.

    1991-03-01

    Fractures in the rock mass surrounding a repository and its shafts, access drifts, emplacement rooms and holes, and exploratory or in-situ testing holes, may provide preferential flowpaths for the flow of groundwater or air, potentially containing radionuclides. Such cracks may have to be sealed. The likelihood that extensive or at least local grouting will be required as part of repository sealing has been noted in numerous publications addressing high level waste repository closing. The objective of this work is to determine the effectiveness of fracture sealing (grouting) in welded tuff. Experimental work includes measurement of intact and fracture permeability under various normal stresses and injection pressures. Grout is injected into the fractures. The effectiveness of grouting is evaluated in terms of grout penetration and permeability reduction, compared prior to and after grouting. Analysis of the results include the effect of normal stress, injection pressure, fracture roughness, grout rheology, grout bonding, and the radial extent of grout penetration. Laboratory experiments have been performed on seventeen tuff cylinders with three types of fractures: (1) tension induced cracks, (2) natural fractures, and (3) sawcuts. Prior to grouting, the hydraulic conductivity of the intact rock and of the fractures is measured under a range of normal stresses. The surface topography of the fracture is mapped, and the results are used to determine aperture distributions across the fractures. 72 refs., 76 figs., 25 tabs

  15. Environmental effects on corrosion in the Tuff repository

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Beavers, J.A.; Thompson, N.G.

    1990-02-01

    Cortest Columbus is investigating the long-term performance of container materials used for high-level waste packages as part of the information needed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to assess the Department of Energy's application to construct a geologic repository for high-level radioactive waste. The scope of work consists of employing short-term techniques, to examine a wide range of possible failure modes. Long-term tests are being used to verify and further examine specific failure modes identified as important by the short-term studies. The original focus of the program was on the salt repository but the emphasis was shifted to the Tuff repository. This report summarizes the results of a literature survey performed under Task 1 of the program. The survey focuses on the influence of environmental variables on the corrosion behavior of candidate container materials for the Tuff repository. Environmental variables considered include: radiation, thermal and microbial effects. 80 refs., 44 figs., 44 tabs

  16. Wintertime Boundary Layer Structure in the Grand Canyon.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Whiteman, C. David; Zhong, Shiyuan; Bian, Xindi

    1999-08-01

    Wintertime temperature profiles in the Grand Canyon exhibit a neutral to isothermal stratification during both daytime and nighttime, with only rare instances of actual temperature inversions. The canyon warms during daytime and cools during nighttime more or less uniformly through the canyon's entire depth. This weak stability and temperature structure evolution differ from other Rocky Mountain valleys, which develop strong nocturnal inversions and exhibit convective and stable boundary layers that grow upward from the valley floor. Mechanisms that may be responsible for the different behavior of the Grand Canyon are discussed, including the possibility that the canyon atmosphere is frequently mixed to near-neutral stratification when cold air drains into the top of the canyon from the nearby snow-covered Kaibab Plateau. Another feature of canyon temperature profiles is the sharp inversions that often form near the canyon rims. These are generally produced when warm air is advected over the canyon in advance of passing synoptic-scale ridges.Wintertime winds in the main canyon are not classical diurnal along-valley wind systems. Rather, they are driven along the canyon axis by the horizontal synoptic-scale pressure gradient that is superimposed along the canyon's axis by passing synoptic-scale weather disturbances. They may thus bring winds into the canyon from either end at any time of day.The implications of the observed canyon boundary layer structure for air pollution dispersion are discussed.

  17. Preliminary results of paleoseismic investigations of Quaternary faults on eastern Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Menges, C.M.; Oswald, J.A.; Coe, J.A.

    1995-01-01

    Site characterization of the potential nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, requires detailed knowledge of the displacement histories of nearby Quaternary faults. Ongoing paleoseismic studies provide data on the amount and rates of Quaternary activity on the Paintbrush Canyon, Bow Ridge, and Stagecoach Road faults along the eastern margin of the mountain over varying time spans of 0-700 ka to perhaps 0-30 ka, depending on the site. Preliminary stratigraphic interpretations of deposits and deformation at many logged trenches and natural exposures indicate that each of these faults have experienced from 3 to 8 surface-rupturing earthquakes associated with variable dip-slip displacements per event ranging from 5 to 115 cm, and commonly in the range of 20 to 85 cm. Cumulative dip-slip offsets of units with broadly assigned ages of 100-200 ka are typically less than 200 cm, although accounting for the effects of possible left normal-oblique slip could increase these displacements by factors of 1.1 to 1.7. Current age constraints indicate recurrence intervals of 10 4 to 10 5 years (commonly between 30 and 80 k.y.) and slip rates of 0.001 to 0.08 mm/yr (typically 0.01-0.02 mm/yr). Based on available timing data, the ages of the most recent ruptures varies among the faults; they appear younger on the Stagecoach Road Fault (∼5-20 ka) relative to the southern Paintbrush Canyon and Bow Ridge faults (∼30-100 ka)

  18. Restructured site characterization program at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dyer, J.R.; Vawter, R.G.

    1995-01-01

    During 1994 and the early part of 1995, the US Department of Energy's Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Office (YMSCO) and its parent organization, the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM) underwent a significant restructuring. Senior Department officials provided the leadership to reorient the management, technical, programmatic, and public interaction approach to the US High Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Program. The restructuring involved reorganizing the federal staff, conducting meaningful strategic planning, improving the management system, rationalizing contractor responsibilities, focusing upon major products, and increasing stakeholder involvement. The restructured program has prioritized technical and scientific activities toward meeting major regulatory milestones in a timely and cost-effective manner. This approach has raised concern among elements of technical, scientific, and oversight bodies that suitability and licensing decisions could be made without obtaining sufficient technical information for this first-of-its-kind endeavor. Other organizations, such as congressional committees, industrial groups, and rate payers believe characterization goals can be met in a timely manner and within the limitation of available funds. To balance these contrasting views in its decision making process, OCRWM management has made a special effort to communicate its strategy to oversight bodies, the scientific community and other stakeholders and to use external independent peer review as a key means of demonstrating scientific credibility. Site characterization of Yucca Mountain in Nevada is one of the key elements of the restructured program

  19. Magma Dynamics at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    D. Krier

    2005-01-01

    Small-volume basaltic volcanic activity at Yucca Mountain has been identified as one of the potential events that could lead to release of radioactive material from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) designated nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. Release of material could occur indirectly as a result of magmatic dike intrusion into the repository (with no associated surface eruption) by changing groundwater flow paths, or as a result of an eruption (dike intrusion of the repository drifts, followed by surface eruption of contaminated ash) or volcanic ejection of material onto the Earth's surface and the redistribution of contaminated volcanic tephra. Either release method includes interaction between emplacement drifts and a magmatic dike or conduit, and natural (geologic) processes that might interrupt or halt igneous activity. This analysis provides summary information on two approaches to evaluate effects of disruption at the repository by basaltic igneous activity: (1) descriptions of the physical geometry of ascending basaltic dikes and their interaction with silicic host rocks similar in composition to the repository host rocks; and (2) a summary of calculations developed to quantify the response of emplacement drifts that have been flooded with magma and repressurized following blockage of an eruptive conduit. The purpose of these analyses is to explore the potential consequences that could occur during the full duration of an igneous event

  20. Magma Dynamics at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    D. Krier

    2005-08-29

    Small-volume basaltic volcanic activity at Yucca Mountain has been identified as one of the potential events that could lead to release of radioactive material from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) designated nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. Release of material could occur indirectly as a result of magmatic dike intrusion into the repository (with no associated surface eruption) by changing groundwater flow paths, or as a result of an eruption (dike intrusion of the repository drifts, followed by surface eruption of contaminated ash) or volcanic ejection of material onto the Earth's surface and the redistribution of contaminated volcanic tephra. Either release method includes interaction between emplacement drifts and a magmatic dike or conduit, and natural (geologic) processes that might interrupt or halt igneous activity. This analysis provides summary information on two approaches to evaluate effects of disruption at the repository by basaltic igneous activity: (1) descriptions of the physical geometry of ascending basaltic dikes and their interaction with silicic host rocks similar in composition to the repository host rocks; and (2) a summary of calculations developed to quantify the response of emplacement drifts that have been flooded with magma and repressurized following blockage of an eruptive conduit. The purpose of these analyses is to explore the potential consequences that could occur during the full duration of an igneous event.