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Sample records for mountain tuffs yucca

  1. 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

  2. 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

  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 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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)

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  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. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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...

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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)

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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)

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  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. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. Stratigraphic and structural framework of Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Spengler, R.W.; Fox, K.F. Jr.

    1988-01-01

    Yucca Mountain is located within the southwestern Nevada volcanic field, ∼140 km northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada, and 50 km northeast of Death Valley, California. The mountain consist of a series of long, linear, north-trending volcanic ridges that approach an 1800-m maximum elevation near The Prow. The broad intermontane alluviated valleys of Crater Flat, the Amargosa Desert, and Jackass Flats, averaging 800 to 1100 m in elevation, form the western, southern, and eastern margins of Yucca Mountain, respectively. North of The Prow, Yucca Mountain merges with other volcanic highlands that flank the southern rim of the Timber Mountain-Oasis Valley caldera complex. The stratigraphy and structure of the area are discussed. Future geologic studies will attempt to determine if faults extend beneath Yucca Mountain, and, if present, their potential effects on the hydrologic and tectonic regimes

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. Yucca Mountain Climate Technical Support Representative

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sharpe, Saxon E

    2007-01-01

    The primary objective of Project Activity ORD-FY04-012, 'Yucca Mountain Climate Technical Support Representative', was to provide the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM) with expertise on past, present, and future climate scenarios and to support the technical elements of the Yucca Mountain Project (YMP) climate program. The Climate Technical Support Representative was to explain, defend, and interpret the YMP climate program to the various audiences during Site Recommendation and License Application. This technical support representative was to support DOE management in the preparation and review of documents, and to participate in comment response for the Final Environmental Impact Statement, the Site Recommendation Hearings, the NRC Sufficiency Comments, and other forums as designated by DOE management. Because the activity was terminated 12 months early and experience a 27% reduction in budget, it was not possible to complete all components of the tasks as originally envisioned. Activities not completed include the qualification of climate datasets and the production of a qualified technical report. The following final report is an unqualified summary of the activities that were completed given the reduced time and funding

  6. Seismic monitoring of the Yucca Mountain facility

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Garbin, H.D.; Herrington, P.B.; Kromer, R.P.

    1997-01-01

    Questions have arisen regarding the applicability of seismic sensors to detect mining (re-entry) with a tunnel boring machine (TBM). Unlike cut and blast techniques of mining which produce impulsive seismic signals, the TBM produces seismic signals which are of long duration. (There are well established techniques available for detecting and locating the sources of the impulsive signals.) The Yucca Mountain repository offered an opportunity to perform field evaluations of the capabilities of seismic sensors because during much of 1996, mining there was progressing with the use of a TBM. During the mining of the repository's southern branch, an effort was designed to evaluate whether the TBM could be detected, identified and located using seismic sensors. Three data acquisition stations were established in the Yucca Mountain area to monitor the TBM activity. A ratio of short term average to long term average algorithm was developed for use in signal detection based on the characteristics shown in the time series. For location of the source of detected signals, FK analysis was used on the array data to estimate back azimuths. The back azimuth from the 3 component system was estimated from the horizontal components. Unique features in the timing of the seismic signal were used to identify the source as the TBM

  7. Using science soundly: The Yucca Mountain standard

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Fri, R.W.

    1995-01-01

    Using sound science to shape government regulation is one of the most hotly argued topics in the ongoing debate about regulatory reform. Even though no one advaocates using unsound science, the belief that even the best science will sweep away regulatory controversy is equally foolish. As chair of a National Research Council (NRC) committee that studied the scientific basis for regulating high-level nuclear waste disposal, the author learned that science alone could resolve few of the key regulatory questions. Developing a standard that specifies a socially acceptable limit on the human health effects of nuclear waste releases involves many decisions. As the NRC committee learned in evaluating the scientific basis for the Yucca Mountain standard, a scientifically best decision rarely exists. More often, science can only offer a useful framework and starting point for policy debates. And sometimes, science's most helpful contribution is to admit that it has nothing to say. The Yucca mountain study clearly illustrates that excessive faith in the power of science is more likely to produce messy frustration than crisp decisions. A better goal for regulatory reform is the sound use of science to clarify and contain the inevitable policy controversy

  8. Yucca Mountain drift scale test progress report

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Apps, J.; Birkholzer, J.T.; Peterson,J.E.; Sonnenthal, E.; Spycher, N.; Tsang, Y.W.; Williams, K.H.

    1999-01-01

    The Drift Scale Test (DST) is part of the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF) Thermal Test being conducted underground at the potential high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The purpose of the ESF Thermal Test is to acquire a more in-depth understanding of the coupled thermal, mechanical, hydrological, and chemical processes likely to be encountered in the rock mass surrounding the potential geological repository at Yucca Mountain. These processes are monitored by a multitude of sensors to measure the temperature, humidity, gas pressure, and mechanical displacement, of the rock formation in response to the heat generated by the heaters. In addition to collecting passive monitoring data, active hydrological and geophysical testing is also being carried out periodically in the DST. These active tests are intended to monitor changes in the moisture redistribution in the rock mass, to collect water and gas samples for chemical and isotopic analysis, and to detect microfiacturing due to heating. On December 3, 1998, the heaters in the DST were activated. The planned heating phase of the DST is 4 years, and the cooling phase following the power shutoff will be of similar duration. The present report summarizes interpretation and analysis of thermal, hydrological, chemical, and geophysical data for the first 6 months; it is the first of many progress reports to be prepared during the DST.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  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. 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

  20. 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

  1. Preparing the Yucca Mountain Multimedia Presentation

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Larkin, Y.; Hartley, J.; Scott, J.

    2002-01-01

    In July 2002, the U.S. Congress approved Yucca Mountain in Nevada for development as a geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. This major milestone for the country's high-level radioactive waste disposal program comes after more than 20 years of scientific study and intense public interaction and outreach. The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) public involvement activities were driven by two federal regulations-the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA) of 1982, as amended. The NEPA required that DOE hold public hearings at key points in the development of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and the NWPA required the agency to conduct public hearings in the vicinity of the site prior to making a recommendation regarding the site's suitability. The NWPA also provided a roadmap for how DOE would interact with affected units of government, which include the state of Nevada and the counties surrounding the site. As the Project moves into the next phase--applying for a license to construct a repository-the challenge of public interaction and outreach remains. It has become increasingly important to provide tools to communicate to the public the importance of the Yucca Mountain Project. Sharing the science and engineering research with the general public, as well as teachers, students, and industry professionals, is one of the project's most important activities. Discovering ways to translate project information and communicate this information to local governments, agencies, citizens' groups, schools, the news media, and other stakeholders is critical. With these facts in mind, the authors set out to create a presentation that would bring the ''mountain'' to the public

  2. 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

  3. 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)

  4. Environmental impact of Yucca Mountain Repository

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ahn, Joonhong

    2005-01-01

    Environmental impact of the Yucca Mountain Repository (YMR) has been quantitatively evaluated in terms of the radiotoxicity of transuranic (TRU) and fission-product radionuclides existing in the environment after released from failed packages. Inventory abstraction has been made based on the data published in Final Environmental Impact Statement published by US DOE. Mathematical model and computation code have been developed based on analytical solutions. Environmental impact from the commercial spent nuclear fuel (CSNF) packages is about 90% of the total impact including the contribution from defense waste (DW) packages. Impacts due to isotopes of Cm, Am, Pu and Np, and their decay daughters are dominant, compared with those from fission-product nuclides. Numerical results show that reduction of the TRU nuclides by a factor of 100 makes the impact from CSNF smaller than that from DW. (author)

  5. Environmental radiation protection standards for Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Clark, R.L.

    1996-01-01

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been given the responsibility of setting site-specific health and safety standards for the potential repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The same legislation that gave the Agency that responsibility, mandated a study by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to provide input into the bases for the EPA standards. The NAS has completed and presented a report to the Agency; this paper summarizes the report's recommendations and conclusions. Following receipt of the report, the Agency opened a comment period and held public meetings to gather comments; the major issues from the comments are summarized. Based upon the report from NAS and the public comments, EPA has started formulating proposed standards which will be known as 40 CFR Part 197. It is planned for the proposal of 40 CFR Part 197 to occur in the summer of 1996

  6. Interface management for the Yucca Mountain Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1988-12-01

    The subject of this report is selection of that portion of physical and informational interfaces that need to be controlled on the Yucca Mountain Project (YMP). Physical interfaces are interactions between physical elements of the mined geologic disposal system; for example, the repository shafts will interface with the shafts in the Exploratory Shaft Facility (ESF), because the ESF shafts will eventually be absorbed into the repository as additional repository shafts. Informational interfaces are interactions involving an exchange of information between organizations working on the mined geologic disposal system; for example, the in situ testing contractor will interact with the site performance assessment contractor and will supply information regarding host rock behavior. This report describes the physical system interfaces that can be identified from analysis of a physical system structure. A discussion of informational interfaces can be found elsewhere. 30 refs., 8 figs., 3 tabs

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. Characterize Eruptive Processes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Valentine, G.

    2001-01-01

    This Analysis/Model Report (AMR), ''Characterize Eruptive Processes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada'', presents 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 potential repository at Yucca Mountain. Many aspects of this work are aimed at resolution of the Igneous Activity Key Technical Issue (KTI) as identified by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC 1998, p. 3), Subissues 1 and 2, which address the probability and consequence of igneous activity at the proposed repository site, respectively. Within the framework of the Disruptive Events Process Model Report (PMR), this AMR provides information for the calculations in two other AMRs ; parameters described herein are directly used in calculations in these reports and will be used in Total System Performance Assessment (TSPA). Compilation of this AMR was conducted as defined in the Development Plan, except as noted. The report begins with considerations of the geometry of volcanic feeder systems, which are of primary importance in predicting how much of a potential repository would be affected by an eruption. This discussion is followed by one of the physical and chemical properties of the magmas, which influences both eruptive styles and mechanisms for interaction with radioactive waste packages. Eruptive processes including the ascent velocity of magma at depth, the onset of bubble nucleation and growth in the rising magmas, magma fragmentation, and velocity of the resulting gas-particle mixture are then discussed. The duration of eruptions, their power output, and mass discharge rates are also described. The next section summarizes geologic constraints regarding the interaction between magma and waste packages. Finally, they discuss bulk grain size produced by relevant explosive eruptions and grain shapes

  11. Characterize Eruptive Processes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    G. Valentine

    2001-12-20

    This Analysis/Model Report (AMR), ''Characterize Eruptive Processes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada'', presents 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 potential repository at Yucca Mountain. Many aspects of this work are aimed at resolution of the Igneous Activity Key Technical Issue (KTI) as identified by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC 1998, p. 3), Subissues 1 and 2, which address the probability and consequence of igneous activity at the proposed repository site, respectively. Within the framework of the Disruptive Events Process Model Report (PMR), this AMR provides information for the calculations in two other AMRs ; parameters described herein are directly used in calculations in these reports and will be used in Total System Performance Assessment (TSPA). Compilation of this AMR was conducted as defined in the Development Plan, except as noted. The report begins with considerations of the geometry of volcanic feeder systems, which are of primary importance in predicting how much of a potential repository would be affected by an eruption. This discussion is followed by one of the physical and chemical properties of the magmas, which influences both eruptive styles and mechanisms for interaction with radioactive waste packages. Eruptive processes including the ascent velocity of magma at depth, the onset of bubble nucleation and growth in the rising magmas, magma fragmentation, and velocity of the resulting gas-particle mixture are then discussed. The duration of eruptions, their power output, and mass discharge rates are also described. The next section summarizes geologic constraints regarding the interaction between magma and waste packages. Finally, they discuss bulk grain size produced by relevant explosive eruptions and grain

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. A radiological disadvantage for siting a repository at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Spiegler, P.

    1996-01-01

    At Yucca mountain, the disposal of large amounts of U-238, U-234, and Pu-238 will result in a long term build-up of Rn-222. In time, because of erosion, the repository horizon will move closer to the surface and large amounts of Rn-222 gas will be able to leak into the atmosphere. The area surrounding Yucca Mountain will become a site of high radioactive background. Sullivan and Pescatore have brought the issue to the attention of the DOE

  16. 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

  17. 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)

  18. 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

  19. 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)

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.).

  5. 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

  6. Transportation access to Yucca Mountain: Critical issues

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Halstead, R.J.; Souleyrette, R.R.; Bartolo, R. di

    1991-01-01

    Transportation planning for a repository at Yucca Mountain is complicated because of uncertainty about the modes and numbers of nuclear waste shipments and because of uncertainty about the routes which will be used. There could be as many as 76,000 truck shipments, or as few as 1,060 dedicated train shipments, during repository operations. The site lacks rail access. Three rail access options currently under study range in length from 120 miles to more than 400 miles. The site is more than 100 miles from the Interstate highway system. The UNLV Transportation Research Center has evaluated three rail and four highway routes using a broad range of impact measures. This preliminary evaluation found that the routing options differ significantly regarding resident and non-resident populations, environmentally sensitive areas, accident rates, and other factors. Crosscutting issues include impacts on Nevada Indian tribes, potential conflicts with US Air Force operations, and future population growth in southern Nevada. Considerable additional analysis will be required prior to environmental impact statement scoping

  7. BIOSPHERE MODELING AT YUCCA MOUNTAIN, NEVADA

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    NING LIU; JEFFERY, J.; TAPPEN, DE WU; CHAO-HSIUNG TUNG

    1998-01-01

    The objectives of the biosphere modeling efforts are to assess how radionuclides potentially released from the proposed repository could be transported through a variety of environmental media. The study of these transport mechanisms, referred to as pathways, is critical in calculating the potential radiation dose to man. Since most of the existing and pending regulations applicable to the Project are radiation dose based standards, the biosphere modeling effort will provide crucial technical input to support the Viability Assessment (VA), the Working Draft of License Application (WDLA), and the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). In 1982, the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA) was enacted into law. This federal law, which was amended in 1987, addresses the national issue of geologic disposal of high-level nuclear waste generated by commercial nuclear power plants, as well as defense programs during the past few decades. As required by the law, the Department of Energy (DOE) is conducting a site characterization project at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, approximately 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada, to determine if the site is suitable for the nation's first high-level nuclear waste repository

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  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. Preliminary conceptual model for mineral evolution in Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Duffy, C.J.

    1993-12-01

    A model is presented for mineral alteration in Yucca Mountain, Nevada, that suggests that the mineral transformations observed there are primarily controlled by the activity of aqueous silica. The rate of these reactions is related to the rate of evolution of the metastable silica polymorphs opal-CT and cristobalite assuming that a SiO 2(aq) is fixed at the equilibrium solubility of the most soluble silica polymorph present. The rate equations accurately predict the present depths of disappearance of opal-CT and cristobalite. The rate equations have also been used to predict the extent of future mineral alteration that may result from emplacement of a high-level nuclear waste repository in Yucca Mountain. Relatively small changes in mineralogy are predicted, but these predictions are based on the assumption that emplacement of a repository would not increase the pH of water in Yucca Mountain nor increase its carbonate content. Such changes may significantly increase mineral alteration. Some of the reactions currently occurring in Yucca Mountain consume H + and CO 3 2- . Combining reaction rate models for these reactions with water chemistry data may make it possible to estimate water flux through the basal vitrophyre of the Topopah Spring Member and to help confirm the direction and rate of flow of groundwater in Yucca Mountain

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. The vegetation of Yucca Mountain: Description and ecology

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1996-01-01

    Vegetation at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, was monitored over a six-year period, from 1989 through 1994. Yucca Mountain is located at the northern limit of the Mojave Desert and is the only location being studied as a potential repository for high-level nuclear waste. Site characterization consists of a series of multidisciplinary, scientific investigations designed to provide detailed information necessary to assess the suitability of the Yucca Mountain Site as a repository. This vegetation description establishes a baseline for determining the ecological impact of site characterization activities; it porvides input for site characterization research and modeling; and it clarifies vegetation community dynamics and relationships to the physical environment. A companion study will describe the impact of site characterization of vegetation. Cover, density, production, and species composition of vascular plants were monitored at 48 Ecological Study Plots (ESPs) stratified in four vegetation associations. Precipitation, soil moisture, and maximum and minimum temperatures also were measured at each study plot

  1. The terrestrial ecosystem program for the Yucca Mountain Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ostler, W.K.; O'Farrell, T.P.

    1994-01-01

    DOE has implemented a program to monitor and mitigate impacts associated with site Characterization Activities at Yucca Mountain on the environment. This program has a sound experimental and statistical base. Monitoring data has been collected for parts of the program since 1989. There have been numerous changes in the Terrestrial Ecosystems Program since 1989 that reflect changes in the design and locations of Site Characterization Activities. There have also been changes made in the mitigation techniques implemented to protect important environmental resources based on results from the research efforts at Yucca Mountain. These changes have strengthened DOE efforts to ensure protection of the environmental during Site Characterization. DOE,has developed and implemented an integrated environmental program that protects the biotic environment and will restore environmental quality at Yucca Mountain

  2. Yucca Mountain Site characterization project bibliography, January--June 1991

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lorenz, J.J.; Stephan, P.M.

    1991-09-01

    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 Energy Science and Technology Database from January 1991 through June 1991. The bibliography is categorized by principal project participating organization. Participant-sponsored subcontractor reports, papers, and articles are included in the sponsoring organization's list. Another section contains information about publications on the Energy Science and Technology Database that were not sponsored by the project but have some relevance to it

  3. Yucca Mountain biological resources monitoring program; Annual report FY92

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    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&G Energy Measurements, Inc. (EG&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.

  4. Characterization of a desert soil sequence at Yucca Mountain, NV

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Guertal, W.R.; Hofmann, L.L. Hudson, D.B.; Flint, A.L.

    1994-01-01

    Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is currently being evaluated as a potential site for a geologic repository for high level radioactive waste. Hydrologic evaluation of the unsaturated zone of Yucca Mountain is being conducted as an integrated set of surface and subsurface-based activities with a common objective to characterize the temporal and spatial distribution of water flux through the potential repository. Yucca Mountain is covered with a thin to thick layer of colluvial/alluvial materials, where there are not bedrock outcrops. It is across this surface boundary that all infiltration and all exfiltration occurs. This surface boundary effects water movement through the unsaturated zone. Characterization of the hydrologic properties of surficial materials is then a necessary step for short term characterization goals and for long term modeling

  5. Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project bibliography, January--June 1992

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1992-01-01

    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 Energy Science and Technology Database from January 1, 1993, through June 30, 1993. The bibliography is categorized by principal project participating organization. Participant-sponsored subcontractor reports, papers, and articles are included in the sponsoring organization's list. Another section contains information about publications on the Energy Science and Technology Database that were not sponsored by the project but have some relevance to it

  6. Tectonic stability and expected ground motion at Yucca Mountain

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    1984-10-02

    A workshop was convened on August 7-8, 1984 at the direction of DOE to discuss effects of natural and artificial earthquakes and associated ground motion as related to siting of a high-level radioactive waste (HLW) repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. A panel of experts in seismology and tectonics was assembled to review available data and analyses and to assess conflicting opinions on geological and seismologic data. The objective of the meeting was to advise the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations (NNWSI) Project about how to present a technically balanced and scientifically credible evaluation of Yucca Mountain for the NNWSI Project EA. The group considered two central issues: the magnitude of ground motion at Yucca Mountain due to the largest expected earthquake, and the overall tectonic stability of the site given the current geologic and seismologic data base. 44 refs.

  7. Tectonic stability and expected ground motion at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1984-01-01

    A workshop was convened on August 7-8, 1984 at the direction of DOE to discuss effects of natural and artificial earthquakes and associated ground motion as related to siting of a high-level radioactive waste (HLW) repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. A panel of experts in seismology and tectonics was assembled to review available data and analyses and to assess conflicting opinions on geological and seismologic data. The objective of the meeting was to advise the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations (NNWSI) Project about how to present a technically balanced and scientifically credible evaluation of Yucca Mountain for the NNWSI Project EA. The group considered two central issues: the magnitude of ground motion at Yucca Mountain due to the largest expected earthquake, and the overall tectonic stability of the site given the current geologic and seismologic data base. 44 refs

  8. The vegetation of Yucca Mountain: Description and ecology

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    1996-03-29

    Vegetation at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, was monitored over a six-year period, from 1989 through 1994. Yucca Mountain is located at the northern limit of the Mojave Desert and is the only location being studied as a potential repository for high-level nuclear waste. Site characterization consists of a series of multidisciplinary, scientific investigations designed to provide detailed information necessary to assess the suitability of the Yucca Mountain Site as a repository. This vegetation description establishes a baseline for determining the ecological impact of site characterization activities; it porvides input for site characterization research and modeling; and it clarifies vegetation community dynamics and relationships to the physical environment. A companion study will describe the impact of site characterization of vegetation. Cover, density, production, and species composition of vascular plants were monitored at 48 Ecological Study Plots (ESPs) stratified in four vegetation associations. Precipitation, soil moisture, and maximum and minimum temperatures also were measured at each study plot.

  9. Yucca Mountain Project bibliography, January--June 1989

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1990-01-01

    Following a reorganization of the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, 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 Energy Science and Technology Database from January 1990 through June 1990. The bibliography is categorized by principal project participating organization. Participant-sponsored subcontractor reports, papers, and articles are included in the sponsoring organization's list. Another section contains information about publications on the Energy Science and Technology Database that were not sponsored by the project but have some relevance to it

  10. Yucca Mountain Biological Resources Monitoring Program; Annual report, FY91

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    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.

  11. Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project Bibliography, July--December 1990

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1991-05-01

    Following a reorganization of the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, the Yucca Mountain Project was renamed Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project. The title of this bibliography was also changed to Yucca Mountains 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 Energy Science and Technology Database from July 1990 through December 1990. The bibliography is categorized by principal project participating organization. Participant-sponsored subcontractor reports, papers and articles are included in the sponsoring organizations list. Another section contains information about publications on the Energy Science and Technology Database that were not sponsored by the project but have some relevance to it

  12. Native American plant resources in the Yucca Mountain Area, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Stoffle, R.W.; Evans, M.J.; Halmo, D.B.

    1989-11-01

    This report presents Native American interpretations of and concerns for plant resources on or near Yucca Mountain, Nevada. This one of three research reports regarding Native American cultural resources that may be affected by site characterization activities related to the Yucca Mountain high-level radioactive waste disposal facility. Representatives of the sixteen involved American Indian tribes identified and interpreted plant resources as part of a consultation relationship between themselves and the US Department of Energy (DOE). Participants in the ethnobotany studies included botanists who have conducted, and continue to conduct, botanical studies for the Yucca Mountain Project. This report is to be used to review research procedures and findings regarding the process of consulting with the sixteen tribes, interviews with tribal plant specialists and elders, and findings from the ethnobotanical visits with representatives of the sixteen tribes. An annual report will include a chapter that summarizes the key findings from this plant resources study. 23 refs., 75 figs., 39 tabs

  13. Native American plant resources in the Yucca Mountain Area, Nevada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Stoffle, R.W.; Evans, M.J.; Halmo, D.B. [Michigan Univ., Ann Arbor, MI (USA). Inst. for Social Research; Niles, W.E.; O`Farrell, J.T. [EG and G Energy Measurements, Inc., Goleta, CA (USA)

    1989-11-01

    This report presents Native American interpretations of and concerns for plant resources on or near Yucca Mountain, Nevada. This one of three research reports regarding Native American cultural resources that may be affected by site characterization activities related to the Yucca Mountain high-level radioactive waste disposal facility. Representatives of the sixteen involved American Indian tribes identified and interpreted plant resources as part of a consultation relationship between themselves and the US Department of Energy (DOE). Participants in the ethnobotany studies included botanists who have conducted, and continue to conduct, botanical studies for the Yucca Mountain Project. This report is to be used to review research procedures and findings regarding the process of consulting with the sixteen tribes, interviews with tribal plant specialists and elders, and findings from the ethnobotanical visits with representatives of the sixteen tribes. An annual report will include a chapter that summarizes the key findings from this plant resources study. 23 refs., 75 figs., 39 tabs.

  14. Yucca Mountain Site characterization project bibliography, January--June 1992

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1992-09-01

    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 Energy Science and Technology Database from January 1, 1992, through June 30, 1992. The bibliography is categorized by principal project participating organization. Participant-sponsored subcontractor resorts, papers, and articles are included in the sponsoring organization's list. Another section contains information about publications on the Energy Science and Technology Database that were not sponsored by the project but have some relevance to it

  15. Volcanism Studies: Final Report for the Yucca Mountain Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Crowe, Bruce M.; Perry, Frank V.; Valentine, Greg A.; Bowker, Lynn M.

    1998-01-01

    This report synthesizes the results of volcanism studies conducted by scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and collaborating institutions on behalf of the Department of Energy's Yucca Mountain Project. An assessment of the risk of future volcanic activity is one of many site characterization studies that must be completed to evaluate the Yucca Mountain site for potential long-term storage of high-level radioactive waste. The presence of several basaltic volcanic centers in the Yucca Mountain region of Pliocene and Quaternary age indicates that there is a finite risk of a future volcanic event occurring during the 10,000-year isolation period of a potential repository. Chapter 1 introduces the volcanism issue for the Yucca Mountain site and provides the reader with an overview of the organization, content, and significant conclusions of this report. The risk of future basaltic volcanism is the primary topic of concern including both events that intersect a potential repository and events that occur near or within the waste isolation system of a repository. Future volcanic events cannot be predicted with certainty but instead are estimated using formal methods of probabilistic volcanic hazard assessment (PVHA). Chapter 2 describes the volcanic history of the Yucca Mountain region (YMR) and emphasizes the Pliocene and Quaternary volcanic record, the interval of primary concern for volcanic risk assessment. The distribution, eruptive history, and geochronology of Plio-Quaternary basalt centers are described by individual center emphasizing the younger postcaldera basalt ( than about 7 x 10 -8 events yr -1 . Simple probability estimates are used to assess possible implications of not drilling aeromagnetic anomalies in the Amargosa Valley. The sensitivity of the disruption probability to the location of northeast boundaries of volcanic zones near the Yucca Mountain sit

  16. Cosine components in water levels at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rice, J.; Lehman, L.; Keen, K.

    1990-01-01

    Water-level records from wells at Yucca Mountain, Nevada are analyzed periodically to determine if they contain periodic (cosine) components. Water-level data from selected wells are input to an iterative numerical procedure that determines a best fitting cosine function. The available water-level data, with coverage of up to 5 years, appear to be representative of the natural water-level changes. From our analysis of 9 water-level records, it appears that there may be periodic components (periods of 2-3 years) in the groundwater-level fluctuations at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, although some records are fit better than others by cosine functions. It also appears that the periodic behavior has a spatial distribution. Wells west of Yucca Mountain have different periods and phase shifts from wells on and east of Yucca Mountain. Interestingly, a similar spatial distribution of groundwater chemistry at Yucca Mountain is reported by Matuska (1988). This suggests a physical cause may underlie the different physical and chemical groundwater conditions. Although a variety of natural processes could cause water-level fluctuations, hydrologic processes are the most likely, because the periodicities are only a few years. A possible cause could be periodic recharge related to a periodicity in precipitation. It is interesting that Cochran et al., (1988), show a crude two-year cycle of precipitation for 1961 to 1970 in southern Nevada. Why periods and phase shifts may differ across Yucca Mountain is unknown. Different phase shifts could indicate different lag times of response to hydrologic stimuli. Difference in periods could mean that the geologic media is heterogeneous and displays heterogeneous response to a single stimulus, or that stimuli differ in certain regions, or that a hydraulic barrier separates the groundwater system into two regions having different water chemistry and recharge areas. 13 refs., 5 figs., 1 tab

  17. 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

  18. The Proposed Yucca Mountain Repository From A Corrosion Perspective

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    J.H. Payer

    2005-01-01

    Corrosion is a primary determinant of waste package performance at the proposed Yucca Mountain Repository and will control the delay time for radionuclide transport from the waste package. Corrosion is the most probable and most likely degradation process that will determine when packages will be penetrated and the shape size and distribution of those penetrations. The general issues in corrosion science, materials science and electrochemistry are well defined, and the knowledge base is substantial for understanding corrosion processes. In this paper, the Yucca Mountain Repository is viewed from a corrosion perspective

  19. Estimating the consequences of significant fracture flow at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gauthier, J.H.; Wilson, M.L.; Lauffer, F.C.

    1992-01-01

    In this paper a simple model is proposed for investigating the possibility of significant fracture flow at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The model allows an estimate of the number of flowing fractures at Yucca Mountain based on the size of the fractures and the yearly volume of infiltrating water. Given the number of flowing fractures, the number of waste containers they contact is estimated by a geometric argument. Preliminary results indicate that the larger the flowing fractures, the lower the releases of radionuclides. Also, even with significant fracture flow, releases could be well below the limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency

  20. Estimating the consequences of significant fracture flow at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gauthier, J.H.; Wilson, M.L.; Lauffer, F.C.

    1991-01-01

    A simple model is proposed for investigating the possibility of significant fracture flow at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The model allows an estimate of the number of flowing fractures at Yucca Mountain based on the size of the fractures and the yearly volume of infiltrating water. Given the number of flowing fractures, the number of waste containers they contact is estimated by a geometric argument. Preliminary results indicate that the larger the flowing fractures, the lower the releases of radionuclides. Also, even with significant fracture flow, releases could be well below the limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency

  1. Basaltic volcanic episodes of the Yucca Mountain region

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Crowe, B.M.

    1990-01-01

    The purpose of this paper is to summarize briefly the distribution and geologic characteristics of basaltic volcanism in the Yucca Mountain region during the last 10--12 Ma. This interval largely postdates the major period of silicic volcanism and coincides with and postdates the timing of major extensional faulting in the region. Field and geochronologic data for the basaltic rocks define two distinct episodes. The patterns in the volume and spatial distribution of these basaltic volcanic episodes in the central and southern part of the SNVF are used as a basis for forecasting potential future volcanic activity in vicinity of Yucca Mountain. 33 refs., 2 figs

  2. Can nuclear waste be stored safely at Yucca mountain?

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Whipple, C.G.

    1996-01-01

    In 1987 the federal government narrowed to one its long-term options for disposing of nuclear waste: storing it permanently in a series of caverns excavated out of the rock deep below Yucca mountain in southern Nevada. Whether it makes sense at this time to dispose permanently of spent fuel and radioactive waste in a deep geologic repository is hotly disputed. But the Nuclear Waste Policy Act amendements of 1987 decree that waste be consolidated in Yucca Mountain if the mountain is found suitable. Meanwhile the spent fuel continues to pile up across the country, and 1998 looms, adding urgency to the question: What can science tell us about the ability of the mountain to store nuclear waste safely? This paper discusses this issue and describes how studies of the mountain's history and geology can contribute useful insights but not unequivocal conclusions

  3. Volcanism Studies: Final Report for the Yucca Mountain Project

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bruce M. Crowe; Frank V. Perry; Greg A. Valentine; Lynn M. Bowker

    1998-12-01

    This report synthesizes the results of volcanism studies conducted by scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and collaborating institutions on behalf of the Department of Energy's Yucca Mountain Project. An assessment of the risk of future volcanic activity is one of many site characterization studies that must be completed to evaluate the Yucca Mountain site for potential long-term storage of high-level radioactive waste. The presence of several basaltic volcanic centers in the Yucca Mountain region of Pliocene and Quaternary age indicates that there is a finite risk of a future volcanic event occurring during the 10,000-year isolation period of a potential repository. Chapter 1 introduces the volcanism issue for the Yucca Mountain site and provides the reader with an overview of the organization, content, and significant conclusions of this report. The risk of future basaltic volcanism is the primary topic of concern including both events that intersect a potential repository and events that occur near or within the waste isolation system of a repository. Future volcanic events cannot be predicted with certainty but instead are estimated using formal methods of probabilistic volcanic hazard assessment (PVHA). Chapter 2 describes the volcanic history of the Yucca Mountain region (YMR) and emphasizes the Pliocene and Quaternary volcanic record, the interval of primary concern for volcanic risk assessment. The distribution, eruptive history, and geochronology of Plio-Quaternary basalt centers are described by individual center emphasizing the younger postcaldera basalt (<5 Ma). The Lathrop Wells volcanic center is described in detail because it is the youngest basalt center in the YMR. The age of the Lathrop Wells center is now confidently determined to be about 75 thousand years old. Chapter 3 describes the tectonic setting of the YMR and presents and assesses the significance of multiple alternative tectonic models. The Crater Flat volcanic zone is

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. Thermally driven gas flow beneath Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1991-01-01

    A coupled thermopneumatic model is developed for simulating heat transfer, rock-gas flow and carbon-14 travel time beneath Yucca Mountain, NV. The aim of this work is to understand the coupling of heat transfer and gas flow. Heat transfer in and near the potential repository region depends on several factors, including the geothermal gradient, climate, and local sources of heat such as radioactive wastes. Our numerical study shows that small temperature changes at the surface can change both the temperature field and the gas flow pattern beneath Yucca Mountain. A lateral temperature difference of 1 K is sufficient to create convection cells hundreds of meters in size. Differences in relative humidities between gas inside the mountain and air outside the mountain also significantly affect the gas flow field. 6 refs., 7 figs

  7. Yucca Mountain transportation routes: Preliminary characterization and risk analysis

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Souleyrette, R.R. II; Sathisan, S.K.; di Bartolo, R.

    1991-01-01

    This report presents appendices related to the preliminary assessment and risk analysis for high-level radioactive waste transportation routes to the proposed Yucca Mountain Project repository. Information includes data on population density, traffic volume, ecologically sensitive areas, and accident history

  8. Regulatory perspective on NAS recommendations for Yucca Mountain standards

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Brocoum, S.J.; Nesbit, S.P.; Duguid, J.A.; Lugo, M.A.; Krishna, P.M.

    1996-01-01

    This paper provides a regulatory perspective from the viewpoint of the potential licensee, the US Department of Energy (DOE), on the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report on Yucca Mountain standards published in August 1995. The DOE agrees with some aspects of the NAS report; however, the DOE has serious concerns with the ability to implement some of the recommendations in a reasonable manner

  9. The status of Yucca Mountain site characterization activities

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gertz, Carl P.; Larkin, Erin L.; Hamner, Melissa

    1992-01-01

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM) is continuing its studies to determine if Yucca Mountain, Nevada, can safely isolate high-level nuclear waste for the next ten thousand years. As mandated by Congress in 1987, DOE is studying the rocks, the climate, and the water table at Yucca Mountain to ensure that the site is suitable before building a repository adopt 305 meters below the surface. Yucca Mountain, located 160.9 kilometers northwest of Las Vegas, lies on the western edge of the Nevada Test Site. Nevada and DOE have been in litigation over environmental permits needed to conduct studies, but recent court decisions have allowed limited new work to begin. This paper will examine progress made on the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project (YMP) during 1991 and continuing into 1992, discuss the complex legal issues and describe new site drilling work. Design work on the underground exploratory studies facility (ESF) will also be discussed. (author)

  10. Nature and continuity of the Sundance Fault, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Potter, Christopher J.; Dickerson, Robert P.; Day, Warren C.

    2000-01-01

    This report describes the detailed geologic mapping (1:2,400 scale) that was performed in the northern part of the potential nuclear waste repository area at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, to determine the nature and extent of the Sundance Fault zone and to evaluate structural relations between the Sundance and other faults

  11. Understanding the Potential for Volcanoes at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    NA

    2002-01-01

    By studying the rocks and geologic features of an area, experts can assess whether it is vulnerable to future volcanic eruptions. Scientists have performed extensive studies at and near Yucca Mountain to determine whether future volcanoes could possibly affect the proposed repository for nuclear waste

  12. The appropriateness of one-dimensional Yucca Mountain hydrologic calculations

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Eaton, R.R.

    1993-07-01

    This report brings into focus the results of numerous studies that have addressed issues associated with the validity of assumptions which are used to justify reducing the dimensionality of numerical calculations of water flow through Yucca Mountain, NV. it is shown that, in many cases, one-dimensional modeling is more rigorous than previously assumed

  13. 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

  14. Geodesy and contemporary strain in the Yucca Mountain region, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Keefer, W.R.; Coe, J.A.; Pezzopane, S.K.; Hunter, W.C.

    1997-01-01

    Geodetic surveys provide important information for estimating recent ground movement in support of seismotectonic investigations of the potential nuclear-waste storage site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Resurveys of established level lines document up to 22 millimeters of local subsidence related to the 1992 Little Skull Mountain earthquake, which is consistent with seismic data that show normal-slip rupture and with data from a regional trilateration network. Comparison of more recent surveys with a level line first established in 1907 suggests 3 to 13 centimeters of subsidence in the Crater Flat-Yucca Mountain structural depression that coincides with the Bare Mountain fault; small uplifts also were recorded near normal faults at Yucca Mountain. No significant deformation was recorded by a trilateration network over a 10-year period, except for coseismic deformation associated with the Little Skull Mountain earthquake, but meaningful results are limited by the short temporal period of that data set and the small rate of movement. Very long baseline interferometry that is capable of measuring direction and rates of deformation is likewise limited by a short history of observation, but rates of deformation between 8 and 13 millimeters per year across the basin and Range province are indicated by the available data

  15. Dialogs on the Yucca Mountain controversy. Special report No. 10

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Schluter, C.M.; Szymanski, J.S.

    1993-08-01

    In an attempt to resolve the controversial issue of tectonic and hydrologic stability of the Yucca Mountain region, the National Academy of Sciences established a Panel on Coupled Hydrologic/Tectonic/HydrothermaI Systems. The Panel has recently released it's findings in a report entitled Ground Water at Yucca Mountain: How High Can It Rise? The representation of data and the scientific validity of this report was the subject of comprehensive evaluations and reviews which has led to correspondence between Dr. Charles Archarnbeau and Dr. Frank Press, the President of the National Academy of Sciences. All such correspondence prior to April 9, 1993 is covered by TRAC Special Report No. 5, open-quotes Dialogs on the Yucca Mountain Controversy.close quotes The present report represents a continuation of the dialog between Dr. Archambeau and Dr. Press; specifically the letter from Dr. Press to Dr. Archambeau dated April 9, 1993 and Archambeau's response to Press, dated August 19, 1993. In addition to the correspondence between Press and Archambeau, a series of recent reports by other investigators, referred to in the correspondence from Archambeau, are included in this report and document new data and inferences of importance for resolution of the question of suitability of the Yucca Mountain site as a high level nuclear waste repository. These reports also demonstrate that other scientists, not previously associated with the government's program at Yucca Mountain or the National Academy review of an aspect of that program, have arrived at conclusions that are different than those stated by the Academy review and DOE program scientists

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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)

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. Yucca Mountain project canister material corrosion studies as applied to the electrometallurgical treatment metallic waste form

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Keiser, D.D.

    1996-11-01

    Yucca Mountain, Nevada is currently being evaluated as a potential site for a geologic repository. As part of the repository assessment activities, candidate materials are being tested for possible use as construction materials for waste package containers. A large portion of this testing effort is focused on determining the long range corrosion properties, in a Yucca Mountain environment, for those materials being considered. Along similar lines, Argonne National Laboratory is testing a metallic alloy waste form that also is scheduled for disposal in a geologic repository, like Yucca Mountain. Due to the fact that Argonne's waste form will require performance testing for an environment similar to what Yucca Mountain canister materials will require, this report was constructed to focus on the types of tests that have been conducted on candidate Yucca Mountain canister materials along with some of the results from these tests. Additionally, this report will discuss testing of Argonne's metal waste form in light of the Yucca Mountain activities

  13. Determination of import process during Yucca Mountain Site characterization

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hastings, P.S.; Gwyn, D.W.; Wemheuer, R.F.

    1996-01-01

    Construction of an underground Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF) for characterizing the Yucca Mountain site precedes the design of a potential repository, with site characterization testing and ESF construction conducted as parallel activities. As a result of this fact, a program is required to: (1) provide for inclusion of the underground excavation into a potential repository, (2) minimize the potential impact of ESF construction on site characterization test results, and (3) minimize the potential impact of ESF construction and site characterization testing on the waste isolation capabilities of the site. At Yucca Mountain, the Determination of Importance (DI) process fulfills these goals. This paper addresses the evolution of the DI process; describes how the DI process fits into design, testing, and construction programs: and discusses how the process is implemented through specification requirements

  14. Development of the Performance Confirmation Program at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    G.D. LeCain; D. Barr; D. Weaver; R. Snell; S.W. Goodin; F.D. Hansen

    2006-01-01

    The Yucca Mountain Performance Confirmation program consists of tests, monitoring activities, experiments, and analyses to evaluate the adequacy of assumptions, data, and analyses that form the basis of the conceptual and numerical models of flow and transport associated with a proposed radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The Performance Confirmation program uses an eight-stage risk-informed, performance-based approach. Selection of the Performance Confirmation activities (a parameter and a test method) for inclusion in the Performance Confirmation program was done using a risk-informed performance-based decision analysis. The result of this analysis and review was a Performance Confirmation base portfolio that consists of 20 activities. The 20 Performance Confirmation activities include geologic, hydrologic, and construction/engineering testing. Several of the activities were initiated during site characterization and are ongoing. Others activities will commence during construction and/or post emplacement and will continue until repository closure

  15. TBM tunneling on the Yucca Mountain Project: Proceedings

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Williamson, G.E.; Gowring, I.M.

    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. Status of this long-term project form the construction perspective is described. A key element is construction of the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF), 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 to 7.6 m(10 to 25 ft). Prior to construction, extensive constructibility reviews were an interactive part of the final design. Intent was to establish a constructible 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

  16. Spotlight back on LHW with Yucca Mountain on Trump's horizon

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Shepherd, John

    2017-01-01

    After years of argument and delay could the US be edging closer to resurrecting proposals to build a national repository for high level nuclear waste (HLW) at Yucca Mountain in Nevada? The federal government has looked at the site with a view to establishing a repository since the 1970s. However, after pouring billions of dollars into projects and studies over the decades, the project remained bogged down in legal battles and opposition from politicians and pressure groups. Now, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said it had directed its staff to use the equivalent of about EUR 95,000 from the national Nuclear Waste Fund on ''information-gathering activities'' that could pave the way for resuming a licensing review of Yucca Mountain as a potential deep geologic repository (DGR).

  17. CAPILLARY BARRIERS IN UNSATURATED FRACTURED ROCKS OF YUCCA MOUNTAIN, NEVADA

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wu, Y.S.; Zhang, W.; Pan, L.; Hinds, J.; Bodvarsson, G.

    2000-01-01

    This work presents modeling studies investigating the effects of capillary barriers on fluid-flow and tracer-transport processes in the unsaturated zone of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, a potential site for storing high-level radioactive waste. These studies are designed to identify factors controlling the formation of capillary barriers and to estimate their effects on the extent of possible large-scale lateral flow in unsaturated fracture rocks. The modeling approach is based on a continuum formulation of coupled multiphase fluid and tracer transport through fractured porous rock. Flow processes in fractured porous rock are described using a dual-continuum concept. In addition, approximate analytical solutions are developed and used for assessing capillary-barrier effects in fractured rocks. This study indicates that under the current hydrogeologic conceptualization of Yucca Mountain, strong capillary-barrier effects exist for significantly diverting moisture flow

  18. Scientific issues and public interactions: The Yucca Mountain project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Crowe, B.M.

    1995-01-01

    This report provides a review of impressions obtained from public interactions regarding the risk of volcanism for underground storage of radioactive waste. These impressions were gained through participation in numerous contacts for the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project during the last six years. A conclusion emerging from public interactions is that scientists and those responsible for policy decisions must become more familiar with risk assessment, risk communication, and the requirements of objectively examining decision options for defining acceptable risk

  19. Implementation of NUREG-1318 guidance within the Yucca Mountain Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    La Monica, L.B.; Waddell, J.D.; Hardin, E.L.

    1990-01-01

    The US Department of Energy's Yucca Mountain Project is implementing a quality assurance program that fulfills the requirements of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Additional guidance for this program was provided in NUREG 1318, ''Technical Position on Items and Activities in the High-Level Waste Geologic Repository Program Subject to Quality Assurance Requirements'' for identification of items and activities important to public radiological safety and waste isolation. The process and organization for implementing this guidance is discussed. 3 refs., 2 figs

  20. Yucca Mountain Project bibliography, January--June 1989

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Henline, D.M.; Bales, J.D.

    1990-03-01

    This update contains information on the Yucca Mountain Project that was added to the Energy Data Base (EDB) during the first six months of 1989. Prior to August 5, 1988, this project was called the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations. The update is categorized by principal project participant organizations, and items are arranged in chronological order according to publication date. Participant-sponsored subcontractor reports, meeting papers, and journal articles are included with sponsoring organization

  1. Hydrological flow analysis at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Final report

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1995-01-01

    This final report, prepared by Hydro Geo Chem staff for Los Alamos National Laboratory, summarizes work conducted by the company under Subcontract 52OHHOOI 5-3G, which was terminated by LANL effective 7 February 1995 for practical reasons, in that responsibilities for all tasks in the Statement of Work had been transitioned to LANL employees. The ultimate objective of this work is to characterize the movement of subsurface water in the vicinity of Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Data produced under this contract is to be used by the U.S. Department of Energy in its Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project (YMP) to help determine hydrologic flows that may affect the performance of a potential nuclear waste,, repository. The data may be used in the licensing proceedings, and certain quality assurance procedures have thus been required. The work has focused on measuring the distribution of environmental tracers- chlorine-36, chlorine, and bromine-and on evaluating the depth to which these conservative solutes have percolated in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain. The period of performance for the original Subcontract was I October 1994 to 31 December 1996. Obviously, we have not completed, nor are we expected to complete, all of the scope of work in the Subcontract. The following discussion summarizes progress made on the tasks outlined in the Statement of Work for this Subcontract Details of this work and all data acquired by Hydro Geo Chem for this Subcontract have, been systematically organized in logbooks and - laboratory notebooks (Appendices A and B). These documents have been structured to make it easy to trace the analytical history of a sample, from time of receipt to the final analytical results. The current status of this work and its relevance for the Yucca Mountain Project are described in a LANL report co-authored by Hydro Geo Chem staff

  2. Nine-component vertical seismic profiling at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Balch, A.H.; Erdemir, C.; Spengler, R.W.; Hunter, W.C.

    1996-01-01

    Nine-component vertical seismic profiling has been conducted at the UE-25 UZ No. 16 borehole at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, in support of investigation of the hydrologic significance of fault and fracture systems. A large data set from multi-component sources and receivers allows state-of-the-art advances in processing using polarization filtering and reverse time migration, for enhanced interpretation of geologic features

  3. The Proposed Yucca Mountain Repository From A Corrosion Perspective

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    J.H. Payer

    2005-01-01

    Corrosion is a primary determinant of waste package performance at the proposed Yucca Mountain Repository and will control the delay time for radionuclide transport from the waste package. Corrosion is the most probable and most likely degradation process that will determine when packages will be penetrated and the shape, size, and distribution of those penetrations. The general issues in corrosion science, materials science and electrochemistry are well defined, and the knowledge base is substantial for understanding corrosion processes. In this paper, the Yucca Mountain Repository is viewed from a corrosion perspective. A major component of the long-term strategy for safe disposal of nuclear waste at the Yucca Mountain Repository is first to completely isolate the radionuclides in the waste packages for long times and to greatly retard the egress and transport of radionuclides from penetrated packages. Therefore, long-lived waste packages are important. The corrosion resistance of the waste package outer canister is reviewed, and a framework for the analysis of localized corrosion processes is presented. An overview is presented of the Materials Performance targeted thrust of the U.S. Department of Energy/Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management's Office of Science and Technology and International. The thrust program strives for increased scientific understanding, enhanced process models and advanced technologies for corrosion control

  4. Probabilistic performance assessments for evaluations of the Yucca Mountain site

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rickertsen, L.D.; Noronha, C.J.

    1992-01-01

    Site suitability evaluations are conducted to determine if a repository system at a particular site will be able to meet the performance objectives for that system. Early evaluations to determine if the Yucca Mountain site is suitable for repository development have been made in the face of large uncertainties in site features and conditions. Because of these large uncertainties, the evaluations of the site have been qualitative in nature, focusing on the presence or absence of particular features or conditions thought to be important to performance, rather than on results of quantitative performance assessments. Such a qualitative approach was used in the recently completed evaluation of the Yucca Mountain site, the Early Site-Suitability Evaluation (ESSE). In spite of the qualitative approach, the ESSE was able to conclude that no disqualifying conditions are likely to be present at the site and that all of the geologic conditions that would qualify the site are likely to be met. At the same time, because of the qualitative nature of the approach used in the ESSE, the precise importance of the identified issues relative to performance could not be determined. Likewise, the importance of the issues relative to one another could not be evaluated, and, other than broad recommendations, specific priorities for future testing could not be set. The authors have conducted quantitative performance assessments for the Yucca Mountain site to address these issues

  5. The occurrence and distribution of erionite at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1989-09-01

    We have conducted an investigation to determine the occurrence and distribution of erionite, a potential carcinogen, at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Using x-ray powder diffraction techniques yielding detection limits to below 0.05 wt %, we positively identified erionite in only 3 out of 76 bulk and 12 fracture samples investigated. The three erionite-bearing samples (J12-620/630, UE-25aNo.1-1296.2, and USW G4-1314) all occur above the static water level in clay/zeolite-rich horizons near the top of vitrophyres. Erionite occurs as trace amounts of less than 1 wt % in the whole rock, although it may occur locally in significant amounts as fracture fillings (e.g., UE-25aNo.1-1296.2 where it comprises approximately 45 wt % of the fracture filling material). All three occurrences appear to be extremely isolated cases since erionite was not detected in neighboring samples. Erionite at Yucca Mountain apparently formed only in localized microenvironments, possibly restricted to fractures. Since erionite occurs in trace amounts only in extremely isolated instances, it should pose little or no health hazard to workers in the potential repository at Yucca Mountain or to the public. The amounts of erionite liberated to the biosphere should be negligible, particularly when compared with the amounts of erionite occurring naturally at the surface in Nevada and surrounding states. 24 refs., 7 figs., 2 tabs

  6. Vertical Variability in Saturated Zone Hydrochemistry Near Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    G. Patterson; P. Striffler

    2007-01-01

    The differences in the saturated zone hydrochemistry with depth at borehole NC-EWDP-22PC reflect the addition of recharge along Fortymile Wash. The differences in water chemistry with depth at borehole NC-EWDP-19PB appear to indicate that other processes are involved. Water from the lower part of NC-EWDP-19PB possesses chemical characteristics that clearly indicate that it has undergone cation exchange that resulted in the removal of calcium and magnesium and the addition of sodium. This water is very similar to water from the Western Yucca Mountain facies that has previously been thought to flow west of NC-EWDP-19PB. Water from the lower zone in NC-EWDP-19PB also could represent water from the Eastern Yucca Mountain facies that has moved through clay-bearing or zeolitized aquifer material resulting in the altered chemistry. Water chemistry from the upper part of the saturated zone at NC-EWDP-19PB, both zones at NC-EWDP-22PC, and wells in the Fortymile Wash facies appears to be the result of recharge through the alluvium south of Yucca Mountain and within the Fortymile Wash channel

  7. Yucca Mountain public tours: Can they impact public opinion?

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Reilly, B.; Austin, P.

    1991-01-01

    The Yucca Mountain site in Nevada was selected by Congress in 1987 as the only site for the US Department of Energy (DOE) to study for suitability as a high-level radioactive waste repository. Several years of site characterization studies are needed to determine if the site is suitable. However, DOE's study of the site is one of the most intensely opposed federal programs today. The fight against DOE's effort to study the repository leads the political agendas of Nevada's governor and Congressional delegation. The politicians and the press have been the primary sources of information for Nevada citizens on the Yucca Mountain site characterization program. However, there is a more direct source of factual information regarding the program - the site itself and the participating scientists. The DOE is offering Nevada citizens the opportunity to form their own opinions by touring the Yucca Mountain site and interacting with DOE scientists and engineers. Feedback from monthly tours conducted from March to June 1991 has indicated substantial support from Nevada citizens for DOE's study of the site. In fact, a surprising number of citizens have indicated that the opportunity to gather information and formulate their own opinions led them to change their opinions

  8. Development of stochastic indicator models of lithology, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rautman, C.A.; Robey, T.H.

    1994-01-01

    Indicator geostatistical techniques have been used to produce a number of fully three-dimensional stochastic simulations of large-scale lithologic categories at the Yucca Mountain site. Each realization reproduces the available drill hole data used to condition the simulation. Information is propagated away from each point of observation in accordance with a mathematical model of spatial continuity inferred through soft data taken from published geologic cross sections. Variations among the simulated models collectively represent uncertainty in the lithology at unsampled locations. These stochastic models succeed in capturing many major features of welded-nonwelded lithologic framework of Yucca Mountain. However, contacts between welded and nonwelded rock types for individual simulations appear more complex than suggested by field observation, and a number of probable numerical artifacts exist in these models. Many of the apparent discrepancies between the simulated models and the general geology of Yucca Mountain represent characterization uncertainty, and can be traced to the sparse site data used to condition the simulations. Several vertical stratigraphic columns have been extracted from the three-dimensional stochastic models for use in simplified total-system performance assessment exercises. Simple, manual adjustments are required to eliminate the more obvious simulation artifacts and to impose a secondary set of deterministic geologic features on the overall stratigraphic framework provided by the indictor models

  9. Study of nuclear waste storage capacity at Yucca mountain repository

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Zhou Wei; Apted, M.; Kessler, J.H.

    2008-01-01

    The Yucca Mountain repository is applying license for storing 70000 MTHM nuclear waste including commercial spent nuclear fuel (CSNF) and defense high-level radioactive waste (HLW). The 70000 MTHM is a legal not the technical limit. To study the technical limit, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) carried out a systematic study to explore the potential impact if the repository will accept more waste. This paper describes the model and results for evaluating the spent-fuel disposal capacity for a repository at Yucca Mountain from the thermal and hydrological point of view. Two proposed alternative repository designs are analyzed, both of which would fit into the currently well-characterized site and, therefore, not necessitating any additional site characterization at Yucca Mountain. The two- and three-dimensional models for coupled thermo-hydrological analysis extends from the surface to the water table, covering all the major and subgroup rock layers of the planned repository, as well as formations above and below the repository horizon. A dual-porosity and dual-permeability approach is used to model coupled heat and mass transfer through fracture formations. The waste package heating and ventilation are all assumed to follow those of the current design. The results show that the repository is able to accommodate three times the amount of spent fuel compared to the current design, without extra spatial expansion or exceeding current thermal and hydrological constraints. (authors)

  10. Water levels in the Yucca Mountain area, Nevada, 1993

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tucci, P.; Goemaat, R.L.; Burkhardt, D.J.

    1996-01-01

    Water levels were monitored in 28 wells in the Yucca Mountain area, Nevada, during 1993. Seventeen wells were monitored periodically, generally on a monthly basis, and 11 wells representing 18 intervals were monitored hourly. All wells monitor water levels in Tertiary volcanic rocks, except one that monitors water levels in Paleozoic carbonate rocks. Water levels were measured using calibrated steel tapes and pressure transducers; steel-tape measurements were corrected for mechanical stretch, thermal expansion, and borehole deviation to obtain precise water-level altitudes. Water-level altitudes in the Tertiary volcanic rocks ranged from about 728 meters above sea level east of Yucca Mountain to about 1,034 meters above sea level north of Yucca Mountain. Water-level altitudes in the well monitoring the Paleozoic carbonate rocks varied between 752 and 753 meters above sea level during 1993. Water levels were an average of about 0.04 meter lower than 1992 water levels. All data were acquired in accordance with a quality-assurance program to support the reliability of the data

  11. Modeling a ponded infiltration experiment at Yucca Mountain, NV

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hudson, D.B.; Guertal, W.R.; Flint, A.L.

    1994-01-01

    Yucca Mountain, Nevada is being evaluated as a potential site for a geologic repository for high level radioactive waste. As part of the site characterization activities at Yucca Mountain, a field-scale ponded infiltration experiment was done to help characterize the hydraulic and infiltration properties of a layered dessert alluvium deposit. Calcium carbonate accumulation and cementation, heterogeneous layered profiles, high evapotranspiration, low precipitation, and rocky soil make the surface difficult to characterize.The effects of the strong morphological horizonation on the infiltration processes, the suitability of measured hydraulic properties, and the usefulness of ponded infiltration experiments in site characterization work were of interest. One-dimensional and two-dimensional radial flow numerical models were used to help interpret the results of the ponding experiment. The objective of this study was to evaluate the results of a ponded infiltration experiment done around borehole UE25 UZN number-sign 85 (N85) at Yucca Mountain, NV. The effects of morphological horizons on the infiltration processes, lateral flow, and measured soil hydaulic properties were studied. The evaluation was done by numerically modeling the results of a field ponded infiltration experiment. A comparison the experimental results and the modeled results was used to qualitatively indicate the degree to which infiltration processes and the hydaulic properties are understood. Results of the field characterization, soil characterization, borehole geophysics, and the ponding experiment are presented in a companion paper

  12. Statistical analysis of hydrologic data for Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rutherford, B.M.; Hall, I.J.; Peters, R.R.; Easterling, R.G.; Klavetter, E.A.

    1992-02-01

    The geologic formations in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain are currently being studied as the host rock for a potential radioactive waste repository. Data from several drill holes have been collected to provide the preliminary information needed for planning site characterization for the Yucca Mountain Project. Hydrologic properties have been measured on the core samples and the variables analyzed here are thought to be important in the determination of groundwater travel times. This report presents a statistical analysis of four hydrologic variables: saturated-matrix hydraulic conductivity, maximum moisture content, suction head, and calculated groundwater travel time. It is important to modelers to have as much information about the distribution of values of these variables as can be obtained from the data. The approach taken in this investigation is to (1) identify regions at the Yucca Mountain site that, according to the data, are distinctly different; (2) estimate the means and variances within these regions; (3) examine the relationships among the variables; and (4) investigate alternative statistical methods that might be applicable when more data become available. The five different functional stratigraphic units at three different locations are compared and grouped into relatively homogeneous regions. Within these regions, the expected values and variances associated with core samples of different sizes are estimated. The results provide a rough estimate of the distribution of hydrologic variables for small core sections within each region

  13. Surfaced-based investigations plan, Volume 4: Yucca Mountain Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1988-12-01

    This document represents a detailed summary of design plans for surface-based investigations to be conducted for site characterization of the Yucca Mountain site. These plans are current as of December 1988. The description of surface-based site characterization activities contained in this document is intended to give all interested parties an understanding of the current plans for site characterization of Yucca Mountain. The maps presented in Volume 4 are products of the Geographic Information System (GIS) being used by the Yucca Mountain Project. The ARC/INFO GIS software, developed by Environmental Systems Research Institute, was used to digitize and process these SBIP maps. The maps were prepared using existing US Geological Survey (USGS) maps as a planimetric base. Roads and other surface features were interpreted from a variety of sources and entered into the GIS. Sources include the USGS maps, 1976 USGS orthophotoquads and aerial photography, 1986 and 1987 aerial photography, surveyed coordinates of field sites, and a combination of various maps, figures, descriptions and approximate coordinates of proposed locations for future activities

  14. Uncertainty analyses of unsaturated zone travel time at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1993-01-01

    Uncertainty analysis method can be applied to numerical models of ground-water flow to estimate the relative importance of physical and hydrologic input variables with respect to ground-water travel time. Monte Carlo numerical simulations of unsaturated flow in the Calico Hills nonwelded zeolitic (CHnz) layer at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, indicate that variability in recharge, and to a lesser extent in matrix porosity, explains most of the variability in predictions of water travel time through the unsaturated zone. Variations in saturated hydraulic conductivity and unsaturated curve-fitting parameters were not statistically significant in explaining variability in water travel time through the unsaturated CHnz unit. The results of this study suggest that the large uncertainty associated with recharge rate estimates for the Yucca Mountain site is of concern because the performance of the potential repository would be more sensitive to uncertainty in recharge than to any other parameter evaluated. These results are not exhaustive because of the limited site characterization data available and because of the preliminary nature of this study, which is limited to a single stratigraphic unit, one dimension, and does not account for fracture flow or other potential fast pathways at Yucca Mountain

  15. Yucca Mountain Area Saturated Zone Dissolved Organic Carbon Isotopic Data

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Thomas, James; Decker, David; Patterson, Gary; Peterman, Zell; Mihevc, Todd; Larsen, Jessica; Hershey, Ronald

    2007-01-01

    Groundwater samples in the Yucca Mountain area were collected for chemical and isotopic analyses and measurements of water temperature, pH, specific conductivity, and alkalinity were obtained at the well or spring at the time of sampling. For this project, groundwater samples were analyzed for major-ion chemistry, deuterium, oxygen-18, and carbon isotopes of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC). The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) performed all the fieldwork on this project including measurement of water chemistry field parameters and sample collection. The major ions dissolved in the groundwater, deuterium, oxygen-18, and carbon isotopes of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) were analyzed by the USGS. All preparation and processing of samples for DOC carbon isotopic analyses and geochemical modeling were performed by the Desert Research Institute (DRI). Analysis of the DOC carbon dioxide gas produced at DRI to obtain carbon-13 and carbon-14 values was conducted at the University of Arizona Accelerator Facility (a NSHE Yucca Mountain project QA qualified contract facility). The major-ion chemistry, deuterium, oxygen-18, and carbon isotopes of DIC were used in geochemical modeling (NETPATH) to determine groundwater sources, f ow paths, mixing, and ages. The carbon isotopes of DOC were used to calculate groundwater ages that are independent of DIC model corrected carbon-14 ages. The DIC model corrected carbon-14 calculated ages were used to evaluate groundwater travel times for mixtures of water including water beneath Yucca Mountain. When possible, groundwater travel times were calculated for groundwater flow from beneath Yucca Mountain to down gradient sample sites. DOC carbon-14 groundwater ages were also calculated for groundwaters in the Yucca Mountain area. When possible, groundwater travel times were estimated for groundwater flow from beneath Yucca Mountain to down gradient groundwater sample sites using the DOC calculated

  16. 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

  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. 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

  20. 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

  1. Evaluations of Yucca Mountain survey findings about the attitudes, opinions, and evaluations of nuclear waste disposal and Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Flynn, J.H.; Slovic, P.; Mertz, C.K.; Toma, J.

    1990-09-01

    This report provides findings from three surveys conducted during the Fall 1989 as part of the socioeconomic research program sponsored by the Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects. The US Congress passed the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA) in 1982 and defined specific oversight responsibilities, including studies of socioeconomic effects and impacts, to the states in which potential high-level nuclear waste repositories might be located. The NWPA was amended in 1987 and Yucca Mountain, Nevada was designated as the only site to be characterized (studied in detail) as a location for the nation's first repository. These surveys were conducted so they could provide information to the state of Nevada in its evaluation of the Yucca Mountain project. This report presents information from these surveys on two major areas. First, respondent evaluations of environmental hazards, especially nuclear waste facilities are reported. Second, an analysis is made of the Nevada State Survey to examine the public response to the positions taken by the officials and institutions of Nevada in regard to the Yucca Mountain project. The survey data support a finding that the respondents from all three surveys are seriously concerned about the environmental effects of technological facilities and hazards. The evaluations of a nuclear waste repository especially is viewed as likely to produce adverse events and impacts in every aspect of its implementation, operation or long-term existence. When compared to other industrial or technological activities, a high-level nuclear waste repository is seen as the most feared and least acceptable. 36 tabs

  2. 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

  3. Potential Future Igneous Activity at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Cline, M.; Perry, F.; Valentine, G.; Smistad, E.

    2005-01-01

    Location, timing, and volumes of post-Miocene volcanic activity, along with expert judgment, provide the basis for assessing the probability of future volcanism intersecting a proposed repository for nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Analog studies of eruptive centers in the region that may represent the style and extent of possible future igneous activity at Yucca Mountain have aided in defining the consequence scenarios for intrusion into and eruption through a proposed repository. Modeling of magmatic processes related to magma/proposed repository interactions has been used to assess the potential consequences of a future igneous event through a proposed repository at Yucca Mountain. Results of work to date indicate future igneous activity in the Yucca Mountain region has a very low probability of intersecting the proposed repository. Probability of a future event intersecting a proposed repository at Yucca Mountain is approximately 1.7 x 10 -8 per year. Since completion of the Probabilistic Volcanic Hazard Assessment (PVHA) in 1996, anomalies representing potential buried volcanic centers have been identified from aeromagnetic surveys. A re-assessment of the hazard is currently underway to evaluate the probability of intersection in light of new information and to estimate the probability of one or more volcanic conduits located in the proposed repository along a dike that intersects the proposed repository. US Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulations for siting and licensing a proposed repository require that the consequences of a disruptive event (igneous event) with annual probability greater than 1 x 10 -8 be evaluated. Two consequence scenarios are considered: (1) igneous intrusion-poundwater transport case and (2) volcanic eruptive case. These scenarios equate to a dike or dike swarm intersecting repository drifts containing waste packages, formation of a conduit leading to a volcanic eruption through the repository that carries the contents of

  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. Multiscale thermohydrologic model: addressing variability and uncertainty at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Buscheck, T; Rosenberg, N D; Gansemer, J D; Sun, Y

    2000-01-01

    Performance assessment and design evaluation require a modeling tool that simultaneously accounts for processes occurring at a scale of a few tens of centimeters around individual waste packages and emplacement drifts, and also on behavior at the scale of the mountain. Many processes and features must be considered, including non-isothermal, multiphase-flow in rock of variable saturation and thermal radiation in open cavities. Also, given the nature of the fractured rock at Yucca Mountain, a dual-permeability approach is needed to represent permeability. A monolithic numerical model with all these features requires too large a computational cost to be an effective simulation tool, one that is used to examine sensitivity to key model assumptions and parameters. We have developed a multi-scale modeling approach that effectively simulates 3D discrete-heat-source, mountain-scale thermohydrologic behavior at Yucca Mountain and captures the natural variability of the site consistent with what we know from site characterization and waste-package-to-waste-package variability in heat output. We describe this approach and present results examining the role of infiltration flux, the most important natural-system parameter with respect to how thermohydrologic behavior influences the performance of the repository

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. Geothermal resource assessment of the Yucca Mountain Area, Nye County, Nevada. Final report

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Flynn, T.; Buchanan, P.; Trexler, D. [Nevada Univ., Las Vegas, NV (United States). Harry Reid Center for Environmental Studies, Division of Earth Sciences; Shevenell, L., Garside, L. [Nevada Univ., Reno, NV (United States). Mackay School of Mines, Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology

    1995-12-01

    An assessment of the geothermal resources within a fifty-mile radius of the Yucca Mountain Project area was conducted to determine the potential for commercial development. The assessment includes collection, evaluation, and quantification of existing geological, geochemical, hydrological, and geophysical data within the Yucca Mountain area as they pertain to geothermal phenomena. Selected geologic, geochemical, and geophysical data were reduced to a set of common-scale digital maps using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for systematic analysis and evaluation. Available data from the Yucca Mountain area were compared to similar data from developed and undeveloped geothermal areas in other parts of the Great Basin to assess the resource potential for future geothermal development at Yucca Mountain. This information will be used in the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project to determine the potential suitability of the site as a permanent underground repository for high-level nuclear waste.

  9. Geothermal resource assessment of the Yucca Mountain Area, Nye County, Nevada. Final report

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Flynn, T.; Buchanan, P.; Trexler, D.

    1995-12-01

    An assessment of the geothermal resources within a fifty-mile radius of the Yucca Mountain Project area was conducted to determine the potential for commercial development. The assessment includes collection, evaluation, and quantification of existing geological, geochemical, hydrological, and geophysical data within the Yucca Mountain area as they pertain to geothermal phenomena. Selected geologic, geochemical, and geophysical data were reduced to a set of common-scale digital maps using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for systematic analysis and evaluation. Available data from the Yucca Mountain area were compared to similar data from developed and undeveloped geothermal areas in other parts of the Great Basin to assess the resource potential for future geothermal development at Yucca Mountain. This information will be used in the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project to determine the potential suitability of the site as a permanent underground repository for high-level nuclear waste

  10. Water levels in the Yucca Mountain Area, Nevada, 1996

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Graves, R.P.

    1998-01-01

    Water levels were monitored in 24 wells in the Yucca Mountain area, Nevada, during 1996. Twenty-two wells representing 28 depth intervals were monitored periodically, generally on a monthly basis, and 2 wells representing 3 depth intervals were monitored both hourly and periodically. All wells monitor water levels in Tertiary volcanic rocks except one that monitors water levels in paleozoic carbonate rocks. Water levels were measured using either calibrated steel tapes or a pressure sensor. Mean water-level altitudes in the Tertiary volcanic rocks ranged from about 727.86 to about 1,034.58 meters above sea level during 1996. The mean water-level altitude in the well monitoring the Paleozoic carbonate rocks was about 752.57 meters above sea level during 1996. Mean water-level altitudes for 1996 were an average of about 0.06 meter lower than 1995 mean water-level altitudes and 0.03 meter lower than 1985--95 mean water-level altitudes. During 1996, water levels in the Yucca Mountain area could have been affected by long-term pumping at the C-hole complex that began on May 8, 1996. Through December 31, 1996, approximately 196 million liters were pumped from well UE-25 c number-sign 3 at the C-hole complex. Other ground-water pumpage in the Yucca Mountain area includes annual pumpage from water-supply wells UE-25 J-12 and UE-25 J-13 of approximately 163 and 105 million liters, respectively, and pumpage from well USW G-2 for hydraulic testing during February and April 1996 of approximately 6 million liters

  11. Calculations supporting evaluation of potential environmental standards for Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Duguid, J.O.; Andrews, R.W.; Brandstetter, E.; Dale, T.F.; Reeves, M.

    1994-04-01

    The Energy Policy Act of 1992, Section 801 (US Congress, 1992) provides for the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to contract the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to conduct a study and provide findings and recommendations on reasonable standards for the disposal of high-level wastes at the Yucca Mountain site. The NAS study is to provide findings and recommendations which include, among other things, whether a health-based standard based on dose to individual members of the public from releases to the accessible environment will provide a reasonable standard for the protection of the health and safety of the public. The EPA, based upon and consistent with the findings and recommendations of the NAS, is required to promulgate standards for protection of the public from releases from radioactive materials stored or disposed of in a repository at the Yucca Mountain site. This document presents a number of different ''simple'' analyses of undisturbed repository performance that are intended to provide input to those responsible for setting appropriate environmental standards for a potential repository at the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada. Each of the processes included in the analyses has been simplified to capture the primary significance of that process in containing or isolating the waste from the biosphere. In these simplified analyses, the complex waste package interactions were approximated by a simple waste package ''failure'' distribution which is defined by the initiation and rate of waste package ''failures''. Similarly, releases from the waste package and the engineered barrier system are controlled by the very near field environment and the presence and rate of advective and diffusive release processes. Release was approximated by either a simple alteration-controlled release for the high solubility radionuclides and either a diffusive or advective-controlled release for the solubility-limited radionuclides

  12. ERMYN: Environmental Radiation Model for the Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wu, D.W.; Wasiolek, M.A.; Tappen, J.J.; Rautenstrauch, K.R.; Smith, A.J.

    2002-01-01

    This paper briefly describes a new biosphere model, ERMYN, that was developed to characterize biosphere processes for radionuclides released from the proposed high-level radioactive waste geologic repository at Yucca Mountain (YM). Biosphere modeling for YM is conducted independently for two radionuclide release modes and resulting exposure scenarios, groundwater release and volcanic release. This paper focuses on the model for groundwater release. The groundwater release exposure scenario addresses the case in which the geosphere-biosphere interface is well extraction of contaminated groundwater

  13. Thermal Management and Analysis for a Potential Yucca Mountain Repository

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dr. A. Van Luik

    2004-01-01

    In the current Yucca Mountain repository design concept, heat from the emplaced waste (mostly from spent nuclear fuel) would keep the temperature of the rock around the waste packages higher than the boiling point of water for hundreds to thousands of years after the repository is closed. The design concept allows below-boiling portions of the pillars between drifts to serve as pathways for the drainage of thermally mobilized water and percolating groundwater by limiting the distance that boiling temperatures extend into the surrounding rock. This design concept takes advantage of host rock dry out, which would create a dry environment within the emplacement drifts and reduce the amount of water that might otherwise be available to enter the drifts and contact the waste packages during this thermal pulse. Table 1 provides an overview of design constraints related to thermal management after repository closure. The Yucca Mountain repository design concept also provides flexibility to allow for operation over a range of lower thermal operating conditions. The thermal conditions within the emplacement drifts can be varied, along with the relative humidity, by modifying operational parameters such as the thermal output of the waste packages, the spacing of the waste packages in the emplacement drifts, and the duration and rate of active and passive ventilation. A lower range has been examined to quantify lower-temperature thermal conditions (temperatures and associated humidity conditions) in the emplacement drifts and to quantify impacts to the required emplacement area and excavated drift length. This information has been used to evaluate the potential long-term performance of a lower-temperature repository and to estimate the increase in costs associated with operating a lower-temperature repository. This presentation provides an overview of the thermal management evaluations that have been conducted to investigate a range of repository thermal conditions and

  14. ERMYN: Environmental Radiation Model for the Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    D.W. Wu; M.A. Wasiolek; J.J. Tappen; K.R. Rautenstrauch; A.J. Smith

    2002-11-18

    This paper briefly describes a new biosphere model, ERMYN, that was developed to characterize biosphere processes for radionuclides released from the proposed high-level radioactive waste geologic repository at Yucca Mountain (YM). Biosphere modeling for YM is conducted independently for two radionuclide release modes and resulting exposure scenarios, groundwater release and volcanic release. This paper focuses on the model for groundwater release. The groundwater release exposure scenario addresses the case in which the geosphere-biosphere interface is well extraction of contaminated groundwater.

  15. Thermal management and analysis for a potential yucca mountain repository

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Van Luik, A.

    2005-01-01

    In the current Yucca Mountain repository design concept, heat from the emplaced. waste (mostly from spent nuclear fuel.) would keep the temperature of the rock around the waste packages higher than the boiling point of water for hundreds to thousands of years after the repository is closed. The design concept allows below-boiling portions of the pillars between drifts to serve as pathways for the drainage of thermally mobilized water and percolating groundwater by limiting the distance that boiling temperatures extend into the surrounding rock. This design concept takes advantage of host rock dry out, which would create a dry environment within the emplacement drifts and reduce the amount of water that might otherwise be available to enter the drifts and contact the waste packages during this thermal pulse. The Yucca Mountain repository design concept also provides flexibility to allow for operation over a range of lower thermal operating conditions. The thermal conditions within the emplacement drifts can be varied, along with the relative humidity, by modifying operational parameters such as the thermal output of the waste packages, the spacing of the waste packages in the emplacement drifts, and. the duration and rate of active and passive ventilation. A lower range has been examined to quantify lower-temperature thermal conditions (temperatures and associated humidity conditions) in the emplacement drifts and to quantify impacts to the required emplacement area and excavated drift length. This information has been used to evaluate the potential long-term performance of a lower-temperature repository and to estimate the increase in costs associated with operating a lower-temperature repository. This presentation provides an overview of the thermal management evaluations that have been conducted to investigate a range of repository thermal conditions and includes a summary of the technical basis that supports these evaluations. The majority of the material

  16. System safety analysis of the Yucca Mountain tunnel boring machine

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Smith, M.G.; Booth, L.; Eisler, L.

    1995-01-01

    The purpose of this analysis was to systematically identify and evaluate hazards related to the tunnel boring machine to be used at Yucca Mountain. This analysis required three steps to complete the risk evaluation: hazard/scenario identification, consequence assessment, and frequency assessment. The result was a 'risk evaluation' of the scenarios identified in this analysis in accordance with MIL-STD-882C. The risk assessment in this analysis characterized the accident scenarios associated with the TBM in terms of relative risk and included recommendations for mitigating all identified risks

  17. Design basis event consequence analyses for the Yucca Mountain project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Orvis, D.D.; Haas, M.N.; Martin, J.H.

    1997-01-01

    Design basis event (DBE) definition and analysis is an ongoing and integrated activity among the design and analysis groups of the Yucca Mountain Project (YMP). DBE's are those that potentially lead to breach of the waste package and waste form (e.g., spent fuel rods) with consequent release of radionuclides to the environment. A Preliminary Hazards Analysis (PHA) provided a systematic screening of external and internal events that were candidate DBE's that will be subjected to analyses for radiological consequences. As preparation, pilot consequence analyses for the repository subsurface and surface facilities have been performed to define the methodology, data requirements, and applicable regulatory limits

  18. Anaerobic bacterial quantitation of Yucca Mountain, Nevada DOE site samples

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Clarkson, W.W.; Krumholz, L.R.; Suflita, J.M.

    1996-01-01

    Anaerobic bacteria were studied from samples of excavated rock material as one phase of the overall Yucca Mountain site characterization effort. An indication of the abundance of important groups of anaerobic bacteria would enable inferences to be made regarding the natural history of the site and allow for more complete risk evaluation of the site as a nuclear repository. Six bacterial groups were investigated including anaerobic heterotrophs, acetogens, methanogens, sulfate-, nitrate-, and iron-reducing bacteria. The purpose of this portion of the study was to detect and quantify the aforementioned bacterial groups

  19. The treatment of conceptual model uncertainty for Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Boak, J.M.; Flint, A.; Dockery, H.A.

    1995-01-01

    A reasonable risk assessment of radioactive waste disposals faces three main problems : 1) the ability of the conceptual model to account for the effective repository process ; 2) the boundary conditions ; 3) the parameters values that model the particular site. Yucca mountain Site Characterization Project deals with these problems through two major approaches that are described here : 1) the evolution of models for the recurrence rate of volcanism ; 2) the nominal hydrologic performance for the site. These two approaches are expected to lead to a reasonable demonstration of the suitability of the site. (D.L.). 13 refs., 2 figs

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. DEGRADATION MODES OF ALLOY 22 IN YUCCA MOUNTAIN REPOSITORY CONDITIONS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    F. Hua; G.M. Gordon; R.B. Rebak

    2005-10-13

    The nuclear waste package design for Yucca Mountain (Nevada, USA), in its current configuration, consists of a double wall cylindrical container fabricated using a highly corrosion resistant Ni-based Alloy 22 for the outer barrier and type 316 stainless steel for the inner structural vessel. A mailbox-shaped drip shield fabricated primarily using Ti Grade 7 will cover the waste packages. The environmental degradation of the relevant materials have been extensively studied and modeled for over ten years. This paper reviews the state-of-the-art understanding of the degradation modes of Alloy 22 (N06022) due to its interaction with the predicted in-drift mountain conditions including temperature and types of electrolytes. Subjects discussed include thermal aging and phase stability, dry oxidation, general and localized corrosion, stress corrosion cracking and hydrogen induced cracking.

  6. DEGRADATION MODES OF ALLOY 22 IN YUCCA MOUNTAIN REPOSITORY CONDITIONS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hua, F.; Gordon, G.M.; Rebak, R.B.

    2005-01-01

    The nuclear waste package design for Yucca Mountain (Nevada, USA), in its current configuration, consists of a double wall cylindrical container fabricated using a highly corrosion resistant Ni-based Alloy 22 for the outer barrier and type 316 stainless steel for the inner structural vessel. A mailbox-shaped drip shield fabricated primarily using Ti Grade 7 will cover the waste packages. The environmental degradation of the relevant materials have been extensively studied and modeled for over ten years. This paper reviews the state-of-the-art understanding of the degradation modes of Alloy 22 (N06022) due to its interaction with the predicted in-drift mountain conditions including temperature and types of electrolytes. Subjects discussed include thermal aging and phase stability, dry oxidation, general and localized corrosion, stress corrosion cracking and hydrogen induced cracking

  7. Estimating recharge at yucca mountain, nevada, usa: comparison of methods

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Flint, A. L.; Flint, L. E.; Kwicklis, E. M.; Fabryka-Martin, J. T.; Bodvarsson, G. S.

    2001-01-01

    Obtaining values of net infiltration, groundwater travel time, and recharge is necessary at the Yucca Mountain site, Nevada, USA, in order to evaluate the expected performance of a potential repository as a containment system for high-level radioactive waste. However, the geologic complexities of this site, its low precipitation and net infiltration, with numerous mechanisms operating simultaneously to move water through the system, provide many challenges for the estimation of the spatial distribution of recharge. A variety of methods appropriate for and environments has been applied, including water-balance techniques, calculations using Darcy's law in the unsaturated zone, a soil-physics method applied to neutron-hole water-content data, inverse modeling of thermal profiles in boreholes extending through the thick unsaturated zone, chloride mass balance, atmospheric radionuclides, and empirical approaches. These methods indicate that near-surface infiltration rates at Yucca Mountain are highly variable in time and space, with local (point) values ranging from zero to several hundred millimeters per year. Spatially distributed net-infiltration values average 5 mm/year, with the highest values approaching 20 nun/year near Yucca Crest. Site-scale recharge estimates range from less than I to about 12 mm/year. These results have been incorporated into a site-scale model that has been calibrated using these data sets that reflect infiltration processes acting on highly variable temporal and spatial scales. The modeling study predicts highly non-uniform recharge at the water table, distributed significantly differently from the non-uniform infiltration pattern at the surface. [References: 57

  8. Estimating recharge at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, USA: Comparison of methods

    Science.gov (United States)

    Flint, A.L.; Flint, L.E.; Kwicklis, E.M.; Fabryka-Martin, J. T.; Bodvarsson, G.S.

    2002-01-01

    Obtaining values of net infiltration, groundwater travel time, and recharge is necessary at the Yucca Mountain site, Nevada, USA, in order to evaluate the expected performance of a potential repository as a containment system for high-level radioactive waste. However, the geologic complexities of this site, its low precipitation and net infiltration, with numerous mechanisms operating simultaneously to move water through the system, provide many challenges for the estimation of the spatial distribution of recharge. A variety of methods appropriate for arid environments has been applied, including water-balance techniques, calculations using Darcy's law in the unsaturated zone, a soil-physics method applied to neutron-hole water-content data, inverse modeling of thermal profiles in boreholes extending through the thick unsaturated zone, chloride mass balance, atmospheric radionuclides, and empirical approaches. These methods indicate that near-surface infiltration rates at Yucca Mountain are highly variable in time and space, with local (point) values ranging from zero to several hundred millimeters per year. Spatially distributed net-infiltration values average 5 mm/year, with the highest values approaching 20 mm/year near Yucca Crest. Site-scale recharge estimates range from less than 1 to about 12 mm/year. These results have been incorporated into a site-scale model that has been calibrated using these data sets that reflect infiltration processes acting on highly variable temporal and spatial scales. The modeling study predicts highly non-uniform recharge at the water table, distributed significantly differently from the non-uniform infiltration pattern at the surface.

  9. Isotopic discontinuities in ground water beneath Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Stuckless, J.S.; Whelan, J.F.; Steinkampf, W.C.

    1991-01-01

    Analytical data for stable isotopes in ground water from beneath Yucca Mountain, when examined in map view, show areal patterns of heterogeneity that can be interpreted in terms of mixing of at least three end members. One end member must be isotopically heavy in terms of hydrogen and oxygen and have a young apparent 14 C age such as water found at the north end of Yucca Mountain beneath Fortymile Wash. A second end member must contain isotopically heavy carbon and have an old apparent 14 C age such as water from the Paleozoic aquifer. The third end member cannot be tightly defined. It must be isotopically lighter than the first with respect of hydrogen and oxygen and be intermediate to the first and second end members with respect to both apparent 14 C age and δ 13 C. The variable isotopic compositions of hydrogen and oxygen indicate that two of the end members are waters, but the variable carbon isotopic composition could represent either a third water end member or reaction of water with a carbon-bearing solids such as calcite. 15 refs., 4 figs., 1 tab

  10. Site characterization plan: Public Handbook, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1989-01-01

    The Yucca Mountain site in Nevada has been designated by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, as amended, for detailed study as the candidate site for the first US geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. The detailed study --- called ''site characterization'' --- will be conducted by the Department of Energy (DOE) to determine the suitability of the site for a repository and, if the site is suitable, to obtain from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission authorization to construct the repository. As part of the site characterization study, DOE has prepared a Site Characterization Plan (SCP) for the Yucca Mountain site. The Site Characterization Plan is a nine-volume document, approximately 6300 pages in length, which describes the activities that will be conducted to characterize the geologic, hydrologic, and other conditions relevant to the suitability of the site for a repository. Part 1 of this Handbook explains what site characterization is and how the Site Characterization Plan (Plan) relates to it. Part 2 tells how to locate subjects covered in the Plan. Another major purpose of this Handbook is to identify opportunities for public involement in the review of the Site Characterization Plan. DOE wants to be sure that the public has adequate opportunities to learn about the Plan and review the results of the subsequent technical studies. 14 refs

  11. 1989 vegetation studies at Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1990-02-01

    The overall purpose of the 1989 vegetation ecology studies was to describe the existing vegetation and baseline ecological conditions of the Yucca Mountain study area, before further disturbances due to site characterization occur. Extensive disturbances have already occurred due to preliminary studies associated with the waste repository. If the site is determined to be unsuitable for a waste repository, then reclamation of disturbed sites will be required. Biotic conditions are described within both regional and local contexts because the intensity of local disturbances may result in impacts to outlying areas. The most detailed data collection was conducted in the Focused Baseline Study Area where site characterization activities will be concentrated. Less detailed information was obtained for adjacent areas in the Core Study Area and Cumulative Assessment Study Area. The major tasks of this study were as follows: describe and map the vegetation of the Yucca Mountain study area; identify important relationships between the biotic and physical elements of the ecosystem; identify unique or sensitive resources; preliminary assessment of the baseline ecological conditions of the area

  12. Technical data management at the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Statler, J.; Newbury, C.M.; Heitland, G.W.

    1992-01-01

    The Department of Energy/Office of Civilian Radioactive waste Management (DOE/OCRWM) is responsible for the characterization of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, to determine its potential as a site of a high-level radioactive waste repository. The characterization of Yucca Mountain encompasses many diverse investigations, both onsite and in laboratories across the country. Investigations are being conducted of the geology, hydrology, mineralogy, paleoclimate, geotechnical properties, and archeology of the area, to name a few. Effective program management requires that data from site investigations be processed, interpreted and disseminated in a timely manner to support model development and validation, repository design, and performance assessment. The Program must also meet regulatory requirements for making the technical data accessible to a variety of external users throughout the life of the Project. Finally, the DOE/OCRWM must make available the data or its description and access location available for use in support of the license application and supporting documentation. To accomplish these objectives, scientific and engineering data, generated by site characterization activities, and technical data, generated by environmental and socioeconomic impact assessment activities, must be systematically identified, cataloged, stored and disseminated in a controlled manner

  13. US strategy for evaluating the Yucca Mountain, Nevada site

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gertz, C.

    1988-01-01

    The principal role of a disposal system at Yucca Mountain, Nevada is to isolate waste for a long period into the future. Therefore, the general objective for the entire system is to limit any radionuclide releases to the accessible environment. This objective will be achieved by selecting a site that contains natural barriers against radionuclide releases and by providing an appropriate system of engineered barriers. To provide additional insurance that the system at Yucca Mountain will perform adequately, individual objectives have also been defined for the engineered and natural barriers to radionuclide release and for the design of the disposal system. The general objective for the engineered barriers is that they should limit the release of radionuclides to the natural barriers. The general objective for the natural barriers is that the time of radionuclide travel to the accessible environment through these barriers should be very long. In particular, since groundwater may transport radionuclides, the groundwater travel time should be very long. The general objectives for the design of the disposal system are that its operation should be safe and that its construction should not compromise its ability to meet the other general objectives

  14. Yucca Mountain Project Site Atlas: Volume 1: Draft

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1988-10-01

    The Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations (NNWSI) Project Site Atlas is a reference document of field activities which have been, or are being, conducted by the US Department of Energy (DOE) to support investigations of Yucca Mountain as a potential site for an underground repository for high-level radioactive waste. These investigations, as well as future investigations, will yield geologic, geophysical, geochemical, geomechanical, hydrologic, volcanic, seismic, and environmental data necessary to characterize Yucca Mountain and its regional setting. This chapter summarizes the background of the NNWSI Project and the objective, scope, structure, and preparation of the Site Atlas. Chapter 2 describes in more detail the bibliography and map portfolio portions of the Atlas, which are presented in Chapter 4 and Volume 2, respectively. Chapter 3 describes how to use the Atlas. The objective of the Site Atlas is to create a management tool for the DOE Waste Management Project Office (WMPO) that will allow the WMPO to compile and disseminate information regarding the location of NNWSI Project field investigations, and document the permits acquired and the environmental, archaeological, and socioeconomic surveys conducted to support those investigations. The information contained in the Atlas will serve as a historical reference of site investigation field activities. A companion document to the Atlas is the NNWSI Project Surface Based Investigations Plan (SBIP)

  15. Tunneling on the Yucca Mountain Project: Progress and lessons learned

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hansmire, W.H.; Rogers, D.J.; Wightman, W.D.

    1996-01-01

    The Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project is the US's effort to confirm the technical acceptability of Yucca Mountain as a repository for high-level nuclear waste. A key part of the site characterization project is the construction of a 7.8-km-long, 7.6-m-diameter tunnel for in-depth geologic and other scientific investigations. The work is governed in varying degrees by the special requirements for nuclear quality assurance, which imposes uncommon and often stringent limitations on the materials which can be used in construction, the tunneling methods and procedures used, and record-keeping for many activities. This paper presents the current status of what has been learned, how construction has adapted to meet the requirements, and how the requirements were interpreted in a mitigating way to meet the legal obligations, yet build the tunnel as rapidly as possible. With regard to design methodologies and the realities of tunnel construction, ground support with a shielded Tunnel Boring Machine is discussed. Notable lessons learned include the need for broad design analyses for a wide variety of conditions and how construction procedures affect ground support

  16. Autotrophic and heterotrophic bacterial diversity from Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Khalil, M.; Haldeman, D.L.; Igbinovia, A.; Castro, P.

    1996-01-01

    A basic understanding of the types and functions of microbiota present within the deep subsurface of Yucca Mountain will be important in terms of modeling the long term stability of a nuclear waste repository. Microorganisms can degrade building materials used in tunnel construction such as concrete and steel. For example, high concentrations of nitrifying bacteria, may cause corrosion of concrete due to the release of nitric acid. Likewise, sulfur-oxidizing and iron-oxidizing bacteria have been implicated in microbially influenced corrosion (MIC), and may contribute to the degradation of waste packages. In addition, the metabolic activities of microbiota may alter the geochemistry of surrounding environments, which may in turn influence the permeability of subsurface strata and the fate of radioactive compounds. Microorganisms that play roles in these processes have diverse methods of obtaining the energy required for growth and metabolism and have been recovered from a wide range of environments, including the deep subsurface. The purpose of this research was to determine if these bacterial groups, important to the long-term success of a high-level nuclear waste repository, were indigenous to Yucca Mountain

  17. Isotopic studies of Yucca Mountain soil fluids and carbonate pedogenesis

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    McConnaughey, T.A.; Whelan, J.F.; Wickland, K.P.; Moscati, R.J.

    1994-01-01

    Secondary carbonates occurring within the soils, faults, and subsurface fractures of Yucca Mountain contain some of the best available records of paleoclimate and palehydrology for the potential radioactive waste repository site. This article discusses conceptual and analytical advances being made with regard to the interpretation of stable isotope data from pedogenic carbonates, specifically related to the 13 C content of soil CO 2 , CaCO 3 , precipitation mechanisms, and isotopic fractionations between parent fluids and precipitating carbonates. The 13 C content of soil carbon dioxide from Yucca Mountain and vicinity shows most of the usual patterns expected in such contexts: Decreasing 13 C content with depth decreasing 13 C with altitude and reduced 13 C during spring. These patterns exist within the domain of a noisy data set; soil and vegetational heterogeneities, weather, and other factors apparently contribute to isotopic variability in the system. Several soil calcification mechanisms appear to be important, involving characteristic physical and chemical environments and isotopic fractionations. When CO 2 loss from thin soil solutions is an important driving factor, carbonates may contain excess heavy isotopes, compared to equilibrium precipitation with soil fluids. When root calcification serves as a proton generator for plant absorption of soil nutrients, heavy isotope deficiencies are likely. Successive cycles of dissolution and reprecipitation mix and redistribute pedogenic carbonates, and tend to isotopically homogenize and equilibrate pedogenic carbonates with soil fluids

  18. A demonstration of dose modeling at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Miley, T.B.; Eslinger, P.W.

    1992-11-01

    The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency is currently revising the regulatory guidance for high-level nuclear waste disposal. In its draft form, the guidelines contain dose limits. Since this is likely to be the case in the final regulations, it is essential that the US Department of Energy be prepared to calculate site-specific doses for any potential repository location. This year, Pacific Northwest Laboratory (PNL) has made a first attempt to estimate doses for the potential geologic repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada as part of a preliminary total-systems performance assessment. A set of transport scenarios was defined to assess the cumulative release of radionuclides over 10,000 years under undisturbed and disturbed conditions at Yucca Mountain. Dose estimates were provided for several of the transport scenarios modeled. The exposure scenarios used to estimate dose in this total-systems exercise should not, however, be considered a definitive set of scenarios for determining the risk of the potential repository. Exposure scenarios were defined for waterborne and surface contamination that result from both undisturbed and disturbed performance of the potential repository. The exposure scenarios used for this analysis were designed for the Hanford Site in Washington. The undisturbed performance scenarios for which exposures were modeled are gas-phase release of 14 C to the surface and natural breakdown of the waste containers with waterborne release. The disturbed performance scenario for which doses were estimated is exploratory drilling. Both surface and waterborne contamination were considered for the drilling intrusion scenario

  19. 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

  20. Report of early site suitability evaluation of the potential repository site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada; Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Younker, J.L.; Andrews, W.B.; Fasano, G.A.; Herrington, C.C.; Mattson, S.R.; Murray, R.C. [Science Applications International Corp., Las Vegas, NV (United States); Ballou, L.B.; Revelli, M.A. [Lawrence Livermore National Lab., CA (United States); Ducharme, A.R.; Shephard, L.E. [Sandia National Labs., Albuquerque, NM (United States); Dudley, W.W.; Hoxie, D.T. [Geological Survey, Denver, CO (United States); Herbst, R.J.; Patera, E.A. [Los Alamos National Lab., NM (United States); Judd, B.R. [Decision Analysis Co., Portola Valley, CA (United States); Docka, J.A.; Rickertsen, L.D. [Weston Technical Associates, Washington, DC (United States)

    1992-01-01

    This study evaluated the technical suitability of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, as a potential site for a mined geologic repository for the permanent disposal of radioactive waste. The evaluation was conducted primarily to determine early in the site characterization program if there are any features or conditions at the site that indicate it is unsuitable for repository development. A secondary purpose was to determine the status of knowledge in the major technical areas that affect the suitability of the site. This early site suitability evaluation (ESSE) was conducted by a team of technical personnel at the request of the Associate Director of the US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Geologic Disposal, a unit within the DOE`s Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management. The Yucca Mountain site has been the subject of such evaluations for over a decade. In 1983, the site was evaluated as part of a screening process to identify potentially acceptable sites. The site was evaluated in greater detail and found suitable for site characterization as part of the Environmental Assessment (EA) (DOE, 1986) required by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (NWPA). Additional site data were compiled during the preparation of the Site Characterization Plan (SCP) (DOE, 1988a). This early site suitability evaluation has considered information that was used in preparing both-documents, along with recent information obtained since the EA and SCP were published. This body of information is referred to in this report as ``current information`` or ``available evidence.``

  1. 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

  2. Aeromagnetic surveys across Crater Flat and parts of Yucca Mountain, Nevada; TOPICAL

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sikora, R.F.; Campbell, D.L.; Kucks, R.P.

    1995-01-01

    As part of a study to characterize a potential nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, aeromagnetic surveys were conducted in April 1993 along the trace of a planned seismic profile across Crater Flat and parts of Yucca Mountain. This report includes a presentation and preliminary interpretation of the data. The profiles are at scales of 1:100,000. Also included are a gridded color contour map of the newly acquired data and a discussion of the likely applicability of very-low-frequency (VLF) electromagnetic surveys to Yucca Mountain investigations

  3. Chemical changes associated with zeolitization of the tuffaceous beds of Calico Hills at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Broxton, D.E.

    1992-01-01

    The chemistry of the tuffaceous beds of Calico Hills was examined in samples collected over a 100 2 km area south of the Timber Mountain-Oasis Valley caldera complex to determine regional geochemical patterns during zeolitization. Samples of 58 vitric and zeolitic tuffs were analyzed for 48 elements by a combination of x-ray fluorescence, atomic absorption spectrophotometry, and neutron activation analysis. Major and trace element concentrations for zeolitic tuffs vary significantly from those for vitric tuffs. Complex, geographically-controlled patterns of elemental enrichment and depletion in the zeolitic tuffs are found for Na, K, Ca, Mg, U, Rb, Sr, Ba and Cs. Vitric and zeolitic tuffs generally have the same SiO 2 contents on an anhydrous basis, but minor net silica gain or loss has occurred in some samples. Zeolitic tuffs from the northern part of the study area, adjacent to the caldera complex, are notably K-rich and Na- and U-poor compared to zeolitic tuffs to the south. The compositions of the K-rich zeolitic tuffs are similar to those found in other areas of the western US where volcanic rocks are affected by potassium metasomatism. Alteration of vitric tuffs took place in an open chemical system and geographic control of major element compositions probably reflects regional variations in groundwater chemistry during alteration. The K-rich zeolitic tuffs in the northern part of the study area were probably altered by hydrothermal fluids whereas tuffs further south were altered by lower-temperature groundwaters

  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. Public Interaction and Educational Outreach on the Yucca Mountain Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Benson, A.; Riding, Y.

    2002-01-01

    In July 2002, the U.S. Congress approved Yucca Mountain in Nevada as the nation's first long-term geologic repository site for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. This major milestone for the country's high-level radioactive waste disposal program comes after more than twenty years of scientific study and intense public interaction and outreach. This paper describes public interaction and outreach challenges faced by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Yucca Mountain Project in the past and what additional communication strategies may be instituted following the July 2002 approval by the U.S. Congress to develop the site as the nation's first long-term geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. The DOE public involvement activities were driven by two federal regulations--the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA) of 1982, as amended. The NEPA required that DOE hold public hearings at key points in the development of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and the NWPA required the agency to conduct public hearings in the vicinity of the site prior to making a recommendation regarding the site's suitability. The NWPA also provided a roadmap for how DOE would interact with affected units of government, which include the state of Nevada and the counties surrounding the site. Because the Department anticipated and later received much public interest in this high-profile project, the agency decided to go beyond regulatory-required public involvement activities and created a broad-based program that implemented far-reaching public interaction and outreach tactics. Over the last two decades, DOE informed, educated, and engaged a myriad of interested local, national, and international parties using various traditional and innovative approaches. The Yucca Mountain Project's intensive public affairs initiatives were instrumental in involving the public, which in turn resulted in

  6. Public Interaction and Educational Outreach on the Yucca Mountain Project

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    A. Benson; Y. Riding

    2002-11-14

    In July 2002, the U.S. Congress approved Yucca Mountain in Nevada as the nation's first long-term geologic repository site for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. This major milestone for the country's high-level radioactive waste disposal program comes after more than twenty years of scientific study and intense public interaction and outreach. This paper describes public interaction and outreach challenges faced by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Yucca Mountain Project in the past and what additional communication strategies may be instituted following the July 2002 approval by the U.S. Congress to develop the site as the nation's first long-term geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. The DOE public involvement activities were driven by two federal regulations--the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA) of 1982, as amended. The NEPA required that DOE hold public hearings at key points in the development of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and the NWPA required the agency to conduct public hearings in the vicinity of the site prior to making a recommendation regarding the site's suitability. The NWPA also provided a roadmap for how DOE would interact with affected units of government, which include the state of Nevada and the counties surrounding the site. Because the Department anticipated and later received much public interest in this high-profile project, the agency decided to go beyond regulatory-required public involvement activities and created a broad-based program that implemented far-reaching public interaction and outreach tactics. Over the last two decades, DOE informed, educated, and engaged a myriad of interested local, national, and international parties using various traditional and innovative approaches. The Yucca Mountain Project's intensive public affairs initiatives were instrumental in involving the public

  7. Room at the Mountain: Estimated Maximum Amounts of Commercial Spent Nuclear Fuel Capable of Disposal in a Yucca Mountain Repository

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kessler, John H.; Kemeny, John; King, Fraser; Ross, Alan M.; Ross, Benjamen

    2006-01-01

    The purpose of this paper is to present an initial analysis of the maximum amount of commercial spent nuclear fuel (CSNF) that could be emplaced into a geological repository at Yucca Mountain. This analysis identifies and uses programmatic, material, and geological constraints and factors that affect this estimation of maximum amount of CSNF for disposal. The conclusion of this initial analysis is that the current legislative limit on Yucca Mountain disposal capacity, 63,000 MTHM of CSNF, is a small fraction of the available physical capacity of the Yucca Mountain system assuming the current high-temperature operating mode (HTOM) design. EPRI is confident that at least four times the legislative limit for CSNF (∼260,000 MTHM) can be emplaced in the Yucca Mountain system. It is possible that with additional site characterization, upwards of nine times the legislative limit (∼570,000 MTHM) could be emplaced. (authors)

  8. 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

  9. Yucca Mountain transportation routes: Preliminary characterization and risk analysis

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Souleyrette, R.R. II; Sathisan, S.K.; di Bartolo, R.

    1991-01-01

    In this study, rail and highway routes which may be used for shipments of high-level nuclear waste to a proposed repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada are characterized. This characterization facilitates three types of impact analysis: comparative study, limited worst-case assessment, and more sophisticated probabilistic risk assessment techniques. Data for relative and absolute impact measures are provided to support comparisons of routes based on selected characteristics. A worst-case scenario assessment is included to determine potentially critical and most likely places for accidents or incidents to occur. The assessment facilitated by the data in this study is limited because impact measures are restricted to the identification of potential areas or persons affected. No attempt is made to quantify the magnitude of these impacts. Most likely locations for accidents to occur are determined relative to other locations within the scope of this study. Independent factors and historical trends used to identify these likely locations are only proxies for accident probability

  10. Geotechnical Issues in Total System Performance Assessments of Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    HO, CLIFFORD K.; HOUSEWORTH, JIM; WILSON, MICHAEL L.

    1999-01-01

    A Total System Performance Assessment (TSPA) of Yucca Mountain consists of integrated sub-models and analyses of natural and engineered systems. Examples of subsystem models include unsaturated-zone flow and transport, seepage into drifts, coupled thermal hydrologic processes, transport through the engineered barrier system, and saturated-zone flow and transport. The TSPA evaluates the interaction of important processes among these subsystems, and it determines the impact of these processes on the overall performance measures (e.g., dose rate to humans). This paper summarizes the evaluation, abstraction, and combination of these subsystem models in a TSPA calculation, and it provides background on the individual TSPA subsystem components that are most directly impacted by geotechnical issues. The potential impact that geologic features, events, and processes have on the overall performance is presented, and an evaluation of the sensitivity of TSPA calculations to these issues is also provided

  11. Post-closure radiation dose assessment for Yucca Mountain repository

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Jia Mingyan; Zhang Xiabin; Yang Chuncai

    2006-01-01

    A brief introduction of post-closure long-term radiation safety assessment results was represented for the yucca mountain high-level waste geographic disposal repository. In 1 million years after repository closure, for the higher temperature repository operating mode, the peak annual dose would be 150 millirem (120 millirem under the lower-temperature operating mode) to a reasonably maximally exposed individual approximately 18 kilometers (11 miles) from the repository. The analysis of a drilling intrusion event occurring at 30,000 years indicated a peak of the mean annual dose to the reasonably maximally exposed individual approximately 18 kilometers (11 miles) downstream of the repository would be 0.002 millirem. The analysis of an igneous activity scenario, including a volcanic eruption event and igneous intrusion event indicated a peak of the mean annual dose to the reasonably maximally exposed individual approximately 18 kilometers downstream of the repository would be 0.1 millirem. (authors)

  12. Design considerations for the Yucca Mountain project exploratory shaft facility

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bullock, R.L. Sr.

    1990-01-01

    This paper reports on the regulatory/requirements challenges of this project which exist because this is the first facility of its kind to ever be planned, characterized, designed, and built under the purview of a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Agency. The regulations and requirements that flow down to the Architect/Engineer (A/E) for development of the Exploratory Shaft Facility (ESF) design are voluminous and unique to this project. The subsurface design and construction of the ESF underground facility may eventually become a part of the future repository facility and, if so, will require licensing by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The Fenix and Scisson of Nevada-Yucca Mountain Project (FSN-YMP) group believes that all of the UMP design and construction related activities, with good design/construct control, can be performed to meet all engineering requirements, while following a strict quality assurance program that will also meet regulatory requirements

  13. Illuminating the Decision Path: The Yucca Mountain Site Recommendation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Knox, E.; Slothouber, L.

    2003-02-25

    On February 14, 2002, U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham provided to the President the ''Recommendation by the Secretary of Energy Regarding the Suitability of the Yucca Mountain Site for a Repository Under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982.'' This Recommendation, along with supporting materials, complied with statutory requirements for communicating a site recommendation to the President, and it did more: in 49 pages, the Recommendation also spoke directly to the Nation, illuminating the methodology and considerations that led toward the decision to recommend the site. Addressing technical suitability, national interests, and public concerns, the Recommendation helped the public understand the potential risks and benefits of repository development and placed those risks and benefits in a meaningful national context.

  14. Fault stress analysis for the Yucca Mountain site characterization project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bauer, S.J.; Hardy, M.P.; Goodrich, R.; Lin, M.

    1992-01-01

    An understanding of the state of stress on faults is important for pre- and post-closure performance considerations for the potential high-level radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain. This paper presents the results of three-dimensional numerical analyses that provide estimates of the state of stress through time (10,000 years) along three major faults in the vicinity of the potential repository due to thermal stresses resulting from waste emplacement. it was found, that the safety factor for slip close to the potential repository increases with time after waste emplacement. Possible fault slip is predicted above and below the potential repository for certain loading conditions and times. In general, thermal loading reduces the potential for slip in the vicinity of the potential repository

  15. Science and students: Yucca Mountain project's education outreach program

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gil, A.V.; Larkin, E.L.; Reilly, B.; Austin, P.

    1992-01-01

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is very concerned about the lack of understanding of basic science. Increasingly, critical decisions regarding the use of energy, technology, and the environment are being made. A well-educated and science-literate public is vital to the success of these decisions. Science education and school instruction are integral parts of the DOE's public outreach program on the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project (YMP). Project staff and scientists speak to elementary, junior high, high school, and university students, accepting all speaking invitations. The objectives of this outreach program include the following: (1) educating Nevada students about the concept of a high-level nuclear waste repository; (2) increasing awareness of energy and environmental issues; (3) helping students understand basic concepts of earth science and geology in relation to siting a potential repository; and (4) giving students information about careers in science and engineering

  16. Geophysical borehole logging in the unsaturated zone, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Schimschal, U.; Nelson, P.H.

    1991-01-01

    Borehole geophysical logging for site characterization in the volcanic rocks at the proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, requires data collection under rather unusual conditions. Logging tools must operate in rugose, dry holes above the water table in the unsaturated zone. Not all logging tools will operate in this environment, therefore; careful consideration must be given to selection and calibration. A sample suite of logs is presented that demonstrates correlation of geological formations from borehole to borehole, the definition of zones of altered mineralogy, and the quantitative estimates of rock properties. The authors show the results of an exploratory calculation of porosity and water saturation based upon density and epithermal neutron logs. Comparison of the results with a few core samples is encouraging, particularly because the logs can provide continuous data in boreholes where core samples are not available

  17. Fault stress analysis for the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bauer, S.J.; Hardy, M.P.; Goodrich, R.; Lin, M.

    1991-01-01

    An understanding of the state of stress on faults is important for pre- and postclosure performance considerations for the potential high-level radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain. This paper presents the results of three-dimensional numerical analyses that provide estimates of the state of stress through time (10,000 years) along three major faults in the vicinity of the potential repository due to thermal stresses resulting from waste emplacement. It was found, that the safety factor for slip close to the potential repository increases with time after waste emplacement. Possible fault slip is predicted above and below the potential repository for certain loading conditions and times. In general, thermal loading reduces the potential for slip in the vicinity of the potential repository

  18. Infiltration at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, traced by 36Cl

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Norris, A.E.; Wolfsberg, K.; Gifford, S.K.; Bentley, H.W.; Elmore, D.

    1987-04-01

    Measurements of chloride and 36 Cl in soils from two locations near Yucca Mountain, Nevada, have been used to trace the infiltration of precipitation in this arid region. The results show that the 36 Cl fallout from nuclear weapons testing formed a well-defined peak at one location, with a maximum 0.5m below the surface. The structure of the 36 Cl bomb pulse at the other location was much more complex, and quantity of 36 Cl in the bomb pulse was 12 atoms 36 Cl/m 2 in the bomb pulse at the first location. The data indicate hydrologic activity subsequent to the 36 Cl bomb pulse fallout at one location, but none at the other location. 11 refs

  19. Yucca Mountain engineered barrier system corrosion model (EBSCOM)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    King, F.; Kolar, M.; Kessler, J.H.; Apted, M.

    2008-01-01

    A revised engineered barrier system model has been developed by the Electric Power Research Institute to predict the time dependence of the failure of the drip shields and waste packages in the proposed Yucca Mountain repository. The revised model is based on new information on various corrosion processes developed by the US Department of Energy and others and for a 20-mm-thick waste package design with a double closure lid system. As with earlier versions of the corrosion model, the new EBSCOM code produces a best-estimate of the failure times of the various barriers. The model predicts that only 15% of waste packages will fail within a period of 1 million years. The times for the first corrosion failures are 40,000 years, 336,000 years, and 375,000 years for the drip shield, waste package, and combination of drip shield and the associated waste package, respectively

  20. Stability of underground openings in the Yucca Mountain repository

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Blejwas, T.E.

    1989-01-01

    The licensing of a repository for high level radioactive waste will require assurances that underground openings do not experience frequent major instabilities, which are defined here as sudden movements of blocks of rock that limit the functions of the openings. Although the design of nuclear power plant structure is controlled by strict adherence to building or professional- engineering codes, this approach is not practical for the structural design of underground facilities because the design must accommodate a varied and partially defined geologic setting. However, regulations require the reduction of the potential for deleterious rock movement and the design of openings to maintain the option to retrieve waste. The present plans for meeting these requirements for a repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, include a program of state-of-the- art analyses and modified forms of existing empirically based design methods. An extensive experimental program is required to provide confidence in the results of the design- analysis process

  1. Total-System Performance Assessment for the Yucca Mountain Site

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wilson, M.L.

    2001-01-01

    Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is under consideration as a potential site for a repository for high-level radioactive waste. Total-system performance-assessment simulations are performed to evaluate the safety of the site. Features, events, and processes have been systematically evaluated to determine which ones are significant to the safety assessment. Computer models of the disposal system have been developed within a probabilistic framework, including both engineered and natural components. Selected results are presented for three different total-system simulations, and the behavior of the disposal system is discussed. The results show that risk is dominated by igneous activity at early times, because the robust waste-package design prevents significant nominal (non-disruptive) releases for tens of thousands of years or longer. The uncertainty in the nominal performance is dominated by uncertainties related to waste-package corrosion at early times and by uncertainties in the natural system, most significantly infiltration, at late times

  2. Regulatory perspective on future climates at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Coleman, N.M.; Eisenberg, N.A.; Brooks, D.J.

    1996-01-01

    Current regulations of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) require that any performance assessment supporting the license application for a high-level waste (HLW) repository must consider the potential for changes in hydrologic conditions caused by reasonably foreseeable climatic conditions. The requirement is important because the earth's climate will almost certainly change significantly during the thousands of years that disposed nuclear wastes will remain hazardous. More importantly, climate controls the range of precipitation, which in turn controls the rates of infiltration, deep percolation, and groundwater flux through a geologic repository located in an unsaturated environment. Therefore, future changes in climate could significantly influence waste isolation in a repository at Yucca Mountain

  3. Topography, stresses, and stability at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Swolfs, H.S.; Savage, W.Z.

    1985-01-01

    Plane-strain solutions are used to analyze the influence of topography on the state of stress at Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada. The results are in good agreement with the measured stress components obtained in drill holes by the hydraulic-fracturing technique, particularly those measured directly beneath the crest of the ridge, and indicate that these stresses are gravitationally induced. A separate analysis takes advantage of the fact that a well-developed set of vertical faults and fractures, subparallel to the ridge trend, imparts a vertical transverse isotropy to the rock and that, as a consequence of gravitational loading, unequal horizontal stresses are induced in directions perpendicular and parallel to the anisotropy

  4. Illuminating the Decision Path: The Yucca Mountain Site Recommendation

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Knox, E.; Slothouber, L.

    2003-01-01

    On February 14, 2002, U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham provided to the President the ''Recommendation by the Secretary of Energy Regarding the Suitability of the Yucca Mountain Site for a Repository Under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982.'' This Recommendation, along with supporting materials, complied with statutory requirements for communicating a site recommendation to the President, and it did more: in 49 pages, the Recommendation also spoke directly to the Nation, illuminating the methodology and considerations that led toward the decision to recommend the site. Addressing technical suitability, national interests, and public concerns, the Recommendation helped the public understand the potential risks and benefits of repository development and placed those risks and benefits in a meaningful national context

  5. Assessment of faulting and seismic hazards at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    King, J.L.; Frazier, G.A.; Grant, T.A.

    1989-01-01

    Yucca Mountain is being evaluated for the nation's first high-level nuclear-waste repository. Local faults appear to be capable of moderate earthquakes at recurrence intervals of tens of thousands of years. The major issues identified for the preclosure phase (<100 yrs) are the location and seismic design of surface facilities for handling incoming waste. It is planned to address surface fault rupture by locating facilities where no discernible recent (<100,000 yrs) faulting has occurred and to base the ground motion design on hypothetical earthquakes, postulated on nearby faults, that represent 10,000 yrs of average cumulative displacement. The major tectonic issues identified for the postclosure phase (10,000 yrs) are volcanism (not addressed here) and potential changes to the hydrologic system resulting from a local faulting event which could trigger potential thermal, mechanical, and chemical interactions with the ground water. Extensive studies are planned for resolving these issues. 33 refs., 3 figs

  6. Software quality assurance on the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Matras, J.R.

    1993-01-01

    The Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project (YMP) has been involved over the years in the continuing struggle with establishing acceptable Software Quality Assurance (SQA) requirements for the development, modification, and acquisition of computer programs used to support the Mined Geologic Disposal System. These computer programs will be used to produce or manipulate data used directly in site characterization, design, analysis, performance assessment, and operation of repository structures, systems, and components. Scientists and engineers working on the project have claimed that the SQA requirements adopted by the project are too restrictive to allow them to perform their work. This paper will identify the source of the original SQA requirements adopted by the project. It will delineate the approach used by the project to identify concerns voiced by project engineers and scientists regarding the original SQA requirements. It will conclude with a discussion of methods used to address these problems in the rewrite of the original SQA requirements

  7. [Paleoclimatology studies for Yucca Mountain site characterization]. Final report

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1996-01-01

    This report consists of two separate papers: Fernley Basin studies; and Influence of sediment supply and climate change on late Quaternary eolian accumulation patterns in the Mojave Desert. The first study involved geologic mapping of late Quaternary sediments and lacustrine features combined with precise control of elevations and descriptions of sediments for each of the major sedimentary units. The second paper documents the response of a major eolian sediment transport system in the east-central Mojave Desert: that which feeds the Kelso Dune field. Information from geomorphic, stratigraphic, and sedimentologic studies of eolian deposits and landforms is combined with luminescence dating of these deposits to develop a chronology of periods of eolian deposition. Both studies are related to site characterization studies of Yucca Mountain and the forecasting of rainfall patterns possible for the high-level radioactive waste repository lifetime

  8. Preliminary postclosure risk assessment: Yucca Mountain, Nevada, candidate repository site

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Eslinger, P.W.; Elwood, D.M.; Freshley, M.D.; Reimus, P.W.; Tanner, J.E.; Doctor, P.G.; Engel, D.W.; Liebetrau, A.M.; Strenge, D.L.; Van Luik, A.E.

    1989-10-01

    A study was conducted by the Pacific Northwest Laboratory for the US Department of Energy, Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, to estimate the postclosure risk, in terms of population health effects, of a proposed high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The risk estimates cover a time span of 1 million years following repository closure. Representative disruptive and intrusive events were selected and evaluated in addition to expected conditions. The estimates were generated assuming spent fuel as the waste form and included all important nuclides from inventory, half-life and dose perspectives. The base case results yield an estimate of 36 health effects over the first million years of repository operation. The doses attributed to the repository corresponds to about 0.1 percent of the doses received from natural background radiation. 16 refs., 1 fig

  9. Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project Waste Package Plan

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Harrison-Giesler, D.J.; Jardine, L.J.

    1991-02-01

    The goal of the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project (YMP) waste package program is to develop, confirm the effectiveness of, and document a design for a waste package and associated engineered barrier system (EBS) for spent nuclear fuel and solidified high-level nuclear waste (HLW) that meets the applicable regulatory requirements for a geologic repository. The Waste Package Plan describes the waste package program and establishes the technical approach against which overall progress can be measured. It provides guidance for execution and describes the essential elements of the program, including the objectives, technical plan, and management approach. The plan covers the time period up to the submission of a repository license application to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). 1 fig

  10. Repository-relevant testing applied to the Yucca Mountain Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bates, J.K.; Gerding, T.J.; Veleckis, E.

    1989-04-01

    A repository environment poses a challenge to developing a testing program because of the diverse nature of conditions that may exist at a given time during the life of the repository. A starting point is to identify whether any potential waste-water contact modes are particularly deleterious to the waste form performance, and whether any interactions between materials present in the waste package environment need to be accounted for during modeling the waste form reaction. The Unsaturated Test method in one approach that has been developed by the Yucca Mountain Project (YMP) to investigate the above issues, and a description of results that have been obtained during the testing of glass and unirradiated UO 2 are the subject of this report. 10 refs., 7 figs., 4 tabs

  11. Candidate container materials for Yucca Mountain waste package designs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    McCright, R.D.; Halsey, W.G.; Gdowski, G.E.; Clarke, W.L.

    1991-09-01

    Materials considered as candidates for fabricating nuclear waste containers are reviewed in the context of the Conceptual Design phase of a potential repository located at Yucca Mountain. A selection criteria has been written for evaluation of candidate materials for the next phase -- Advanced Conceptual Design. The selection criteria is based on the conceptual design of a thin-walled container fabricated from a single metal or alloy; the criteria consider the performance requirements on the container and the service environment in which the containers will be emplaced. A long list of candidate materials is evaluated against the criteria, and a short list of materials is proposed for advanced characterization in the next design phase

  12. Waste package performance assessment for the Yucca Mountain project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    O'Connell, W.J.; Lappa, D.A.; Thatcher, R.M.

    1989-01-01

    The authors completed a first cycle of model development from a specification to a computer program, PANDORA-1, for long-term performance assessment of waste packages. The model for one waste package at a time incorporates processes specific to the unsaturated environment at the proposed Yucca Mountain, NV, site. PANDORA-1 models the most likely processes and several modes of waste alteration and release. The development identified information needs for future models; many processes, local details, and combinations will have to be examined. Integration of ensemble performance and quantification of uncertainties are modeling steps at higher aggregation. Methodologies for these steps include sampling, which is well studied; we have focused on several open questions. The authors can now calculate the amount of variance reduction available from Latin hypercube sampling; it is a limited reduction. A new method, uncertainty analysis test-bed program compares the new with old sampling methods

  13. Smelters as Analogs for a Volcanic Eruption at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ross, Benjamin

    2004-01-01

    The distribution of trace radionuclides in secondary metal smelters provides an analog for spent fuel released from packages during a volcanic eruption. The fraction of the inventory of a radionuclide that would be released into the air in a volcanic eruption is called the dust partitioning factor. In consequence analyses of a volcanic eruption at Yucca Mountain, a value of one has been used for this parameter for all elements. This value is too high for the refractory elements. Reducing the dust partitioning factor for refractory elements to a value equal to the fraction of the magma that becomes ash would still yield conservative estimates of how much radioactivity would be released in an eruption

  14. Total-System Analyzer for performance assessment of Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wilson, M.L.; Lauffer, F.C.; Cummings, J.C.; Zieman, N.B.

    1990-01-01

    The Total-System Analyzer is a modular computer program for probabilistic total-system performance calculations. The code employs stratified random sampling from model parameter distribution functions to generate multiple realizations of the system. The results of flow and transport calculations for each realization are combined into a probability distribution function of the system response as indicated by the performance measure. We give a detailed description of the code and present results for four example problems simulating the release of radionuclides from a proposed high-level-waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The example simulations illustrate the impact of significant variation of percolation flux and sorption on radionuclide releases. We discuss the effects of numerical sampling error and of correlations among the model parameters. 20 refs., 7 figs., 2 tabs

  15. Focusing Yucca Mountain program priorities through performance assessment

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Shaw, R.A.; Stepp, J.C.; Williams, R.F.; McGuire, R.K.

    1992-01-01

    A probability-based methodology has been developed and applied to predict the release of radioisotopes to the environment from an underground nuclear waste repository, considering the features and the characteristics that are present at Yucca Mountain. Experts in specific scientific and engineering disciplines combined their talents to generate a model to determine these radioactive releases. The disciplines represented by these experts include climatology, soil physics, volcanology, seismology, rock mechanics, waste package design, engineered barrier system design, gaseous transport, thermal analysis, geochemistry, hydrology, and risk analysis. The model was developed using a logic-tree approach in which uncertainties were quantified by specifying discrete alternatives, which constitute the various branches of the logic tree. Significant revisions and modifications of the model have been performed recently and are the subject of this paper

  16. 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)

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. TSPA Model for the Yucca Mountain Unsaturated Zone

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    M.L. Wilson; C.K. Ho

    2001-01-01

    Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is being considered as a potential site for a repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. Total-system performance-assessment (TSPA) calculations are performed to evaluate the safety of the site. Such calculations require submodels for all important engineered and natural components of the disposal system. There are five submodels related to the unsaturated zone: climate, infiltration, mountain-scale flow of water, seepage into emplacement drifts, and radionuclide transport. For each of these areas, models have been developed and implemented for use in TSPA. The climate model is very simple (a set of climate states have been deduced from paleoclimate data, and the times when climate changes occur in the future have been estimated), but the other four models make use of complex process models involving time-consuming computer runs. An important goal is to evaluate the impact of uncertainties (e.g., incomplete knowledge of the site) on the estimates of potential repository performance, so particular attention is given to the key uncertainties for each area. Uncertainties in climate, infiltration, and mountain-scale flow are represented in TSPA simulations by means of discrete high, medium, and low cases, Uncertainties in seepage and radionuclide transport are represented by means of continuous probability distributions for several key parameters

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Dialogs on the Yucca Mountain controversy. Special report No. 5

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Archambeau, C.B.; Szymanski, J.S.

    1993-03-01

    The recent, 1992, report prepared by the Panel on Coupled Hydrologic/Tectonic/Hydrothermal Systems at Yucca Mountain for the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, entitled Ground Water at Yucca Mountain: How High Can It Rise? has generated critical reviews by Somerville et al. (1992) and by Archambeau (1992). These reviews were submitted as reports to the Nuclear Waste Project Office, State of Nevada by Technology and Resource Assessment Corporation under Contract No. 92/94.0004. A copy of the review report by C. B. Archambeau was also sent to Dr. Frank Press, President of the National Academy of Sciences, along with a cover letter from Dr. Archambeau expressing his concerns with the NRC report and his suggestion that the Academy President consider a re-evaluation of the issues covered by the NRC report. Dr. Press responded in a letter to Dr. Archambeau in February of this year which stated that, based on his staff recommendations and a review report by Dr. J. F. Evernden of the United States Geological Survey, he declined to initiate any further investigations and that, in his view, the NRC report was a valid scientific evaluation which was corroborated by Evernden`s report. He also enclosed, with his letter, a copy of the report he received from his staff. In March of this year Dr. Archambeau replied to the letter and NRC staff report sent by Dr. Press with a detailed point-by-point rebuttal of the NRC staff report to Press. Also, in March, a critical review of Dr. Evernden`s report by M. Somerville was submitted to the Nuclear Waste Project Office of the State of Nevada and this report, along with the earlier review of the NRC report by Somerville et al., was included as attachments to the letter sent to Dr. Press.

  5. Dialogs on the Yucca Mountain controversy. Special report No. 5

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Archambeau, C.B.; Szymanski, J.S.

    1993-03-01

    The recent, 1992, report prepared by the Panel on Coupled Hydrologic/Tectonic/Hydrothermal Systems at Yucca Mountain for the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, entitled Ground Water at Yucca Mountain: How High Can It Rise? has generated critical reviews by Somerville et al. (1992) and by Archambeau (1992). These reviews were submitted as reports to the Nuclear Waste Project Office, State of Nevada by Technology and Resource Assessment Corporation under Contract No. 92/94.0004. A copy of the review report by C. B. Archambeau was also sent to Dr. Frank Press, President of the National Academy of Sciences, along with a cover letter from Dr. Archambeau expressing his concerns with the NRC report and his suggestion that the Academy President consider a re-evaluation of the issues covered by the NRC report. Dr. Press responded in a letter to Dr. Archambeau in February of this year which stated that, based on his staff recommendations and a review report by Dr. J. F. Evernden of the United States Geological Survey, he declined to initiate any further investigations and that, in his view, the NRC report was a valid scientific evaluation which was corroborated by Evernden's report. He also enclosed, with his letter, a copy of the report he received from his staff. In March of this year Dr. Archambeau replied to the letter and NRC staff report sent by Dr. Press with a detailed point-by-point rebuttal of the NRC staff report to Press. Also, in March, a critical review of Dr. Evernden's report by M. Somerville was submitted to the Nuclear Waste Project Office of the State of Nevada and this report, along with the earlier review of the NRC report by Somerville et al., was included as attachments to the letter sent to Dr. Press

  6. Constructing the Exploratory Studies Facility at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kalia, H.N.; Replogle, J.M.

    1996-01-01

    Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Office of the US Department of Energy (DOE) is constructing an underground Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF), approximately 160 km (100 miles) northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada. This facility is being used to obtain geological, hydrological, geomechanical, thermomechanical and geochemical information to characterize, Yucca Mountain as a potential site to isolate High-Level Radioactive Waste from the accessible environment. The ESF, when completed, will consist of two ramps from surface (North and South ramp) to the potential repository horizon formations, a drift connecting the two ramps, test alcoves, and above and below ground operational support facilities. The ramps and connecting drift are being mined by a 7.62 m (25 ft) diameter, fully shielded, Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM). This paper describes the current status of the construction of the ESF and test alcoves. At the time of this writing, the following has been accomplished: North Ramp excavation is complete; four test alcoves have been excavated and are in use for scientific experiments; the excavation has reached the potential repository horizon; the drift connecting the two ramps is being excavated, and the excavation of a test alcove for thermal testing is in progress. The mining operations are ahead of schedule, and to date March 26, 1996, the TBM has excavated over 4623 m(15,160 ft.) without any major breakdowns or accidents. The average advance for a three shift (two mining shifts) production day has been 33.46 m (110 ft.). Maximum advance for a week was 218.3 m (716 ft.). An Alpine Miner (AM 75) roadheader is being used to excavate test alcoves. The major ground support system consists of Supper Swellex rock bolts, steel sets as required, Williams rock bolts and channels, and welded wire fabric. Various sections of the tunnel have been instrumented, and the entire excavation has been geologically mapped. To date, the site conditions have been those predicted

  7. Continuing Science and Technology at the Proposed Yucca Mountain Repository

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Finch, R.J.

    2005-01-01

    Yucca Mountain, Nevada, was designated in 2002 to be the site for the nation's first permanent geological repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. The process of selecting a site for the repository began nearly 25 years ago with passage of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act in 1982. The Department of Energy (DOE) is responsible for submitting a license application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for constructing and operating the repository, and DOE's Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM) is charged with carrying out this action. The use of multiple natural and engineered barriers in the current repository design are considered by OCRWM to be sufficiently robust to warrant license approval; however, potential design enhancements and increased understanding of both natural and engineered barriers, especially over the long time frames during which the waste is to remain isolated from human contact continue to be examined. The Office of Science and Technology and International (OST andI) was created within OCRWM to help explore novel technologies that might lower overall costs and to develop a greater understanding of processes relevant to the long-term performance of the repository. A brief overview of Yucca Mountain, and the role that OST andI has in identifying technological or scientific advances that could make repository operations more efficient or performance more robust, will be presented. It is important to note, however, that adopting any of OST andI's technological or scientific developments will be at the discretion of OCRWM's Office of Repository Development (ORD)

  8. Characterization of hydrogeologic units using matrix properties, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Flint, L.E.

    1998-01-01

    Determination of the suitability of Yucca Mountain, in southern Nevada, as a geologic repository for high-level radioactive waste requires the use of numerical flow and transport models. Input for these models includes parameters that describe hydrologic properties and the initial and boundary conditions for all rock materials within the unsaturated zone, as well as some of the upper rocks in the saturated zone. There are 30 hydrogeologic units in the unsaturated zone, and each unit is defined by limited ranges where a discrete volume of rock contains similar hydrogeologic properties. These hydrogeologic units can be easily located in space by using three-dimensional lithostratigraphic models based on relation- ships of the properties with the lithostratigraphy. Physical properties of bulk density, porosity, and particle density; flow properties of saturated hydraulic conductivity and moisture-retention characteristics; and the state variables (variables describing the current state of field conditions) of saturation and water potential were determined for each unit. Units were defined using (1) a data base developed from 4,892 rock samples collected from the coring of 23 shallow and 8 deep boreholes, (2) described lithostratigraphic boundaries and corresponding relations to porosity, (3) recognition of transition zones with pronounced changes in properties over short vertical distances, (4) characterization of the influence of mineral alteration on hydrologic properties such as permeability and moisture-retention characteristics, and (5) a statistical analysis to evaluate where boundaries should be adjusted to minimize the variance within layers. This study describes the correlation of hydrologic properties to porosity, a property that is well related to the lithostratigraphy and depositional and cooling history of the volcanic deposits and can, therefore, be modeled to be distributed laterally. Parameters of the hydrogeologic units developed in this study and the

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. Word images as policy instruments: Lessons from the Yucca Mountain Controversey

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Conary, J.S.; Soden, D.L.; Carns, D.E.

    1993-01-01

    A study is described which explores word images which have developed about nuclear issues by Nevadans. The study is based on results of a survey conducted regarding issues related to the Yucca Mountain repository

  18. Word images as policy instruments: Lessons from the Yucca Mountain Controversey

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Conary, J.S.; Soden, D.L.; Carns, D.E.

    1993-08-01

    A study is described which explores word images which have developed about nuclear issues by Nevadans. The study is based on results of a survey conducted regarding issues related to the Yucca Mountain repository.

  19. Yucca Mountain Biological Resources Monitoring Program. Progress report, October 1992--December 1993

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1994-05-01

    The US Department of Energy (DOE) is required by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of (as amended in 1987) to study and characterize the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a potential 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 do not adversely affect the environment at Yucca Mountain, a 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) from October 1992 through December 1993 for six program areas within the Terrestrial Ecosystem component of the environmental program for the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project (YMP): Site Characterization Effects, Desert Tortoises (Gopherus agassizii), Habitat Reclamation, Monitoring and Mitigation, Radiological Monitoring, and Biological Support

  20. Ecology, ethics, and professional environmental practice: The Yucca Mountain, Nevada, project as a case study

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Malone, C.R.

    1995-01-01

    The US Department of Energy (DOE) is proposing to develop a geologic repository for disposing of high-level nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. In this commentary, the ecology program for the DOE's Yucca Mountain Project is discussed from the perspective of state-of-the-art ecosystem analysis, environmental ethics, and standards of professional practice. Specifically at issue is the need by the Yucca Mountain ecology program to adopt an ecosystem approach that encompasses the current strategy based on population biology and community ecology alone. The premise here is that an ecosystem approach is essential for assessing the long-term potential environmental impacts at Yucca Mountain in light of the thermal effects expected to be associated with heat from radioactive decay

  1. Environmental assessment overview, Yucca Mountain site, Nevada Research and Development Area, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1986-05-01

    In February 1983, the US Department of Energy (DOE) identified the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada as one of nine potentially acceptable sites for a mined geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. The site is in the Great Basin, which is one of five distinct geohydrologic settings considered for the first repository. To determine their suitability, the Yucca Mountain site and the eight other potentially acceptable sites have been evaluated in accordance with the DOE's General Guidelines for the Recommendations of Sites for the Nuclear Waste Repositories. On the basis of the evaluations reported in this EA, the DOE has found that the Yucca Mountain site is not disqualified under the guidelines. On the basis of these findings, the DOE is nominating the Yucca Mountain site as one of five sites suitable for characterization. 3 figs

  2. 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

  3. Preliminary mapping of surficial geology of Midway Valley Yucca Mountain Project, Nye County, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wesling, J.R.; Bullard, T.F.; Swan, F.H.; Perman, R.C.; Angell, M.M.; Gibson, J.D.

    1992-04-01

    The tectonics program for the proposed high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain in southwestern Nevada must evaluate the potential for surface faulting beneath the prospective surface facilities. To help meet this goal, Quaternary surficial mapping studies and photolineament analyses were conducted to provide data for evaluating the location, recency, and style of faulting with Midway Valley at the eastern base of Yucca Mountain, the preferred location of these surface facilities. This interim report presents the preliminary results of this work

  4. Three-year movement patterns of adult desert tortoises at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Holt, E.A.; Rautenstrauch, K.R.

    1995-01-01

    We studied the home-range size and site fidelity of adult desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, during 1992-1994. Of 67 adult tortoises monitored at Yucca Mountain during this period, we evaluated the movements of 22 female and 16 male radiomarked tortoises that were located >50 times during each of the 1992, 1993, and 1994 activity seasons. We measured annual and three-year home range sizes by either 100% minimum convex polygon (MCP) or by 95% cluster

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. Preclosure radiological safety analysis for accident conditions of the potential Yucca Mountain Repository: Underground facilities; Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ma, C.W.; Sit, R.C.; Zavoshy, S.J.; Jardine, L.J. [Bechtel National, Inc., San Francisco, CA (United States); Laub, T.W. [Sandia National Labs., Albuquerque, NM (United States)

    1992-06-01

    This preliminary preclosure radiological safety analysis assesses the scenarios, probabilities, and potential radiological consequences associated with postulated accidents in the underground facility of the potential Yucca Mountain repository. The analysis follows a probabilistic-risk-assessment approach. Twenty-one event trees resulting in 129 accident scenarios are developed. Most of the scenarios have estimated annual probabilities ranging from 10{sup {minus}11}/yr to 10{sup {minus}5}/yr. The study identifies 33 scenarios that could result in offsite doses over 50 mrem and that have annual probabilities greater than 10{sup {minus}9}/yr. The largest offsite dose is calculated to be 220 mrem, which is less than the 500 mrem value used to define items important to safety in 10 CFR 60. The study does not address an estimate of uncertainties, therefore conclusions or decisions made as a result of this report should be made with caution.

  8. 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

  9. Geologic and hydrologic investigations of a potential nuclear waste disposal site at Yucca Mountain, southern Nevada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Carr, M.D.; Yount, J.C. (eds.)

    1988-12-31

    Yucca Mountain in southern Nye County, Nevada, has been selected by the United States Department of Energy as one of three potential sites for the nation`s first high-level nuclear waste repository. Its deep water table, closed-basin ground-water flow, potentially favorable host rock, and sparse population have made the Yucca Mountain area a viable candidate during the search for a nuclear waste disposal site. Yucca Mountain, however, lies within the southern Great Basin, a region of known contemporary tectonism and young volcanic activity, and the characterization of tectonism and volcanism remains as a fundamental problem for the Yucca Mountain site. The United States Geological Survey has been conducting extensive studies to evaluate the geologic setting of Yucca Mountain, as well as the timing and rates of tectonic and volcanic activity in the region. A workshop was convened by the Geologic Survey in Denver, Colorado, on August 19, 20, and 21, 1985, to review the scientific progress and direction of these studies. Considerable debate resulted. This collection of papers represents the results of some of the studies presented at the workshop, but by no means covers all of the scientific results and viewpoints presented. Rather, the volume is meant to serve as a progress report on some of the studies within the Geological Survey`s continuing research program toward characterizing the tectonic framework of Yucca Mountain. Individual papers were processed separately for the data base.

  10. Annotated bibliography of the physical data of Rainier Mesa and Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Russell, C.E.

    1988-09-01

    Yucca Mountain, located on and adjacent to the Nevada Test Site (NTS) has been designated as the only site to undergo characterization to determine if it meets the criteria to become the Nation's first high-level nuclear waste repository. During this process, care must be taken to not compromise the site's integrity through excessive testing. In order to supplement the limited data to be gathered at Yucca Mountain, analog areas are to be considered. This annotated bibliography was compiled by the Desert Research Institute to help investigate ways in which Rainier Mesa could either be used as a supplemental repository test site or where existing Rainier Mesa data can be used either to support or refute test results from Yucca Mountain. Rainier Mesa, the location of numerous underground nuclear tests on the NTS, possesses some geologic characteristics similar to those of Yucca Mountain, which makes it a likely candidate for comparison. Almost 500 references regarding geology, hydrology, meteorology, biology, and archaeology were annotated and entered alpha-numerically into the bibliography. These references were categorized into 50 topics which are defined in Section 2 and presented in Section 3. Each reference is categorized as to whether it contains Yucca Mountain data, Rainier Mesa data, or both, and a final category consists of those reports that contain Rainier Mesa data that have already been applied to Yucca Mountain research. The annotated bibliography is presented in Section 4

  11. Geologic and hydrologic investigations of a potential nuclear waste disposal site at Yucca Mountain, southern Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Carr, M.D.; Yount, J.C.

    1988-01-01

    Yucca Mountain in southern Nye County, Nevada, has been selected by the United States Department of Energy as one of three potential sites for the nation's first high-level nuclear waste repository. Its deep water table, closed-basin ground-water flow, potentially favorable host rock, and sparse population have made the Yucca Mountain area a viable candidate during the search for a nuclear waste disposal site. Yucca Mountain, however, lies within the southern Great Basin, a region of known contemporary tectonism and young volcanic activity, and the characterization of tectonism and volcanism remains as a fundamental problem for the Yucca Mountain site. The United States Geological Survey has been conducting extensive studies to evaluate the geologic setting of Yucca Mountain, as well as the timing and rates of tectonic and volcanic activity in the region. A workshop was convened by the Geologic Survey in Denver, Colorado, on August 19, 20, and 21, 1985, to review the scientific progress and direction of these studies. Considerable debate resulted. This collection of papers represents the results of some of the studies presented at the workshop, but by no means covers all of the scientific results and viewpoints presented. Rather, the volume is meant to serve as a progress report on some of the studies within the Geological Survey's continuing research program toward characterizing the tectonic framework of Yucca Mountain. Individual papers were processed separately for the data base

  12. Magnetic investigations along selected high-resolution seismic traverses in the central block of Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ponce, D.A.; Sikora, R.F.; Roberts, C.W.; Morin, R.L.; Halvorson, P.F.

    1995-01-01

    Ground magnetic data collected along several traverses across the central block 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. Magnetic data and models along traverses across the central block of Yucca Mountain reveal anomalies associated with known faults and indicate 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 numerous small-amplitude anomalies that probably reflect small-scale faulting. Magnetic modeling of the terrain along the eastern flank of Yucca Mountain indicates that terrain induced magnetic anomalies of about 100 to 150 nT are present along some profiles where steep terrain exists above the magnetometer

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. Application of natural analogues in the Yucca Mountain project - overview

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Simmons, Ardyth M.

    2003-01-01

    The Natural Analogue Synthesis Report (NASR) [1] provides a compilation of information from analogues that test, corroborate, and add confidence to process models and model predictions pertinent to total system performance assessment (TSPA). The report updated previous work [2] with new literature examples and results of quantitative studies conducted by the Yucca Mountain Project (YMP). The intent of the natural analogue studies was to collect corroborative evidence from analogues to demonstrate greater understanding of processes expected to occur during postclosure of a proposed Yucca Mountain repository. Natural analogues, as used here, refer to either natural or anthropogenic systems in which processes similar to those expected to occur in a nuclear waste repository are thought to have occurred over long time periods (decades to millenia) and large spatial scales (up to tens of kilometers). In the past, the YMP has used analogues for testing and building confidence in conceptual and numerical process models in a number of ways. Yucca Mountain mineral alteration phases provided a self-analogue for postclosure alteration [3]. Thermodynamic parameters for silica minerals of the Wairakai, New Zealand geothermal field were added to databases used in geochemical modeling [4]. Scoping calculations of radionuclide transport using the Yucca Mountain TSPA numerical model were conducted for the Peqa Blanca site [5]. Eruption parameters from the Cerro Negro volcano, Nicaragua, were used to verify codes that model ash plume dispersion [6]. Analogues have also been used in supplemental science and performance analyses to provide multiple lines of evidence in support of both analyses and model reports (AMRs) [7]; in screening arguments for inclusion or exclusion of features, events, and processes (FEP)s in TSPAs; in the quantification of uncertainties [7]; in expert elicitations of volcanic and seismic hazards [8, 9] and in peer reviews [10]. Natural analogues may be applied

  17. Interpretive geophysical fault map across the central block of Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ponce, D.A.

    1996-01-01

    Geophysical data collected along 29 traverses across the central block of Yucca Mountain in southwest Nevada reveal anomalies associated with known fault sand indicate a number of possible concealed faults beneath the eastern flank of Yucca Mountain. Geophysical interpretations indicate that Midway Valley is characterized by several known and previously unknown faults, that the existence of the Yucca Wash fault is equivocal, and that the central part of the eastern flank of Yucca Mountain is characterized by numerous low-amplitude anomalies that probably reflect numerous small-scale faults. Gravity and magnetic data also reveal several large-amplitude anomalies that reflect larger-scale faulting along the margins of the central block

  18. Calcite deposits in drill cores USW G-2 and USW GU-3/G-3 at Yucca Mountain, Nevada: Preliminary report

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Vaniman, D.T.

    1994-04-01

    Yucca Mountain is being studied as a potential site for deep geologic disposal of high-level radioactive waste. Should a repository be developed at Yucca Mountain, the preferred location is within the upper unsaturated tuffaceous volcanic rocks. In this location, one factor of concern is the amount and rate of aqueous transport through the unsaturated rocks toward the underlying saturated intervals. Calcite, one of the most recently-formed minerals at Yucca Mountain, is of minor abundance in the unsaturated rocks but is widely distributed. Studies of calcite ages, isotopic systematics, chemistry and petrography could lead to a better understanding of transport processes at Yucca Mountain

  19. Modeling unsaturated-zone flow at Rainier Mesa as a possible analog for a future Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gauthier, J.H.

    1998-01-01

    Rainier Mesa is structurally similar to Yucca Mountain, and receives precipitation similar to the estimated long-term average for Yucca Mountain. Tunnels through the unsaturated zone at Rainier Mesa have encountered perched water and, after the perched water was drained, flow in fractures and faults. Although flow observations have been primarily qualitative, Rainier Mesa hydrology is a potential analog for Yucca Mountain hydrology in a wetter climate. In this paper, a groundwater flow model that has been used in the performance assessment of Yucca Mountain--the weeps model--is applied to Rainier Mesa. The intent is to gain insight in both Rainier Mesa and the weeps flow model

  20. The Enhanced Plan for Features, Events, and Processes (FEPs) at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    G. Freeze

    2002-01-01

    A performance assessment is required to demonstrate compliance with the post-closure performance objectives for the Yucca Mountain Project (YMP), as stated in 10 CFR Part 63.1 13 (66 FR 55732, p. 55807). A performance assessment is defined in 10 CFR 63.2 (66 FR 55732, p. 55794) as an analysis that: (1) identifies the features, events, and processes (FEPs) that might affect the potential geologic repository; (2) examines the effects of those FEPs upon the performance of the potential geologic repository; and (3) estimates the expected dose incurred by a specified reasonably maximally exposed individual as a result of releases caused by significant FEPs. The performance assessment must also provide the technical basis for inclusion or exclusion of specific FEPs in the performance assessment as stated in 10 CFR 63.114 (66 FR 55732, p. 55807). An initial approach for FEP development, in support of the Total System Performance Assessment for the Site Recommendation (TSPA-SR) (CRWMS M and O 2000e), was documented in Freeze et al. (2001). The development of a comprehensive list of FEPs potentially relevant to the post-closure performance of the potential Yucca Mountain repository is an ongoing, iterative process based on site-specific information, design, and regulations. Although comprehensiveness of the FEPs list cannot be proven with absolute certainty, confidence can be gained through a combination of formal and systematic reviews (both top-down and bottom-up), audits, and comparisons with other FEP lists and through the application of more than one classification scheme. To support TSPA-SR, DOE used a multi-step approach for demonstrating comprehensiveness of the initial list of FEPs. Input was obtained from other international radioactive waste disposal programs as compiled by the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to establish a general list of FEPs. The list was subsequently refined to include YMP

  1. The Enhanced Plan for Features, Events, and Processes (FEPS) at Yucca Mountain

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    G. Freeze

    2002-03-25

    A performance assessment is required to demonstrate compliance with the post-closure performance objectives for the Yucca Mountain Project (YMP), as stated in 10 CFR Part 63.1 13 (66 FR 55732, p. 55807). A performance assessment is defined in 10 CFR 63.2 (66 FR 55732, p. 55794) as an analysis that: (1) identifies the features, events, and processes (FEPs) that might affect the potential geologic repository; (2) examines the effects of those FEPs upon the performance of the potential geologic repository; and (3) estimates the expected dose incurred by a specified reasonably maximally exposed individual as a result of releases caused by significant FEPs. The performance assessment must also provide the technical basis for inclusion or exclusion of specific FEPs in the performance assessment as stated in 10 CFR 63.114 (66 FR 55732, p. 55807). An initial approach for FEP development, in support of the Total System Performance Assessment for the Site Recommendation (TSPA-SR) (CRWMS M&O 2000e), was documented in Freeze et al. (2001). The development of a comprehensive list of FEPs potentially relevant to the post-closure performance of the potential Yucca Mountain repository is an ongoing, iterative process based on site-specific information, design, and regulations. Although comprehensiveness of the FEPs list cannot be proven with absolute certainty, confidence can be gained through a combination of formal and systematic reviews (both top-down and bottom-up), audits, and comparisons with other FEP lists and through the application of more than one classification scheme. To support TSPA-SR, DOE used a multi-step approach for demonstrating comprehensiveness of the initial list of FEPs. Input was obtained from other international radioactive waste disposal programs as compiled by the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to establish a general list of FEPs. The list was subsequently refined to include YMP

  2. Yucca Mountain Feature, Event, and Process (FEP) Analysis

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Freeze, G.

    2005-01-01

    A Total System Performance Assessment (TSPA) model was developed for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Yucca Mountain Project (YMP) to help demonstrate compliance with applicable postclosure regulatory standards and support the License Application (LA). Two important precursors to the development of the TSPA model were (1) the identification and screening of features, events, and processes (FEPs) that might affect the Yucca Mountain disposal system (i.e., FEP analysis), and (2) the formation of scenarios from screened in (included) FEPs to be evaluated in the TSPA model (i.e., scenario development). YMP FEP analysis and scenario development followed a five-step process: (1) Identify a comprehensive list of FEPs potentially relevant to the long-term performance of the disposal system. (2) Screen the FEPs using specified criteria to identify those FEPs that should be included in the TSPA analysis and those that can be excluded from the analysis. (3) Form scenarios from the screened in (included) FEPs. (4) Screen the scenarios using the same criteria applied to the FEPs to identify any scenarios that can be excluded from the TSPA, as appropriate. (5) Specify the implementation of the scenarios in the computational modeling for the TSPA, and document the treatment of included FEPs. This paper describes the FEP analysis approach (Steps 1 and 2) for YMP, with a brief discussion of scenario formation (Step 3). Details of YMP scenario development (Steps 3 and 4) and TSPA modeling (Step 5) are beyond scope of this paper. The identification and screening of the YMP FEPs was an iterative process based on site-specific information, design, and regulations. The process was iterative in the sense that there were multiple evaluation and feedback steps (e.g., separate preliminary, interim, and final analyses). The initial YMP FEP list was compiled from an existing international list of FEPs from other radioactive waste disposal programs and was augmented by YMP site- and design

  3. Characterize Framework for Igneous Activity at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Perry, F.; Youngs, B.

    2000-01-01

    The purpose of this Analysis/Model (AMR) report is twofold. (1) The first is to present a conceptual framework of igneous activity in the Yucca Mountain region (YMR) consistent with the volcanic and tectonic history of this region and the assessment of this history by experts who participated in the Probabilistic Volcanic Hazard Analysis (PVHA) (CRWMS M and O 1996). Conceptual models presented in the PVHA are summarized and extended in areas in which new information has been presented. Alternative conceptual models are discussed as well as their impact on probability models. The relationship between volcanic source zones defined in the PVHA and structural features of the YMR are described based on discussions in the PVHA and studies presented since the PVHA. (2) The second purpose of the AMR is to present probability calculations based on PVHA outputs. Probability distributions are presented for the length and orientation of volcanic dikes within the repository footprint and for the number of eruptive centers located within the repository footprint (conditional on the dike intersecting the repository). The probability of intersection of a basaltic dike within the repository footprint was calculated in the AMR ''Characterize Framework for Igneous Activity at Yucca Mountain, Nevada'' (CRWMS M and O 2000g) based on the repository footprint known as the Enhanced Design Alternative [EDA II, Design B (CRWMS M and O 1999a; Wilkins and Heath 1999)]. Then, the ''Site Recommendation Design Baseline'' (CRWMS M and O 2000a) initiated a change in the repository design, which is described in the ''Site Recommendation Subsurface Layout'' (CRWMS M and O 2000b). Consequently, the probability of intersection of a basaltic dike within the repository footprint has also been calculated for the current repository footprint, which is called the 70,000 Metric Tons of Uranium (MTU) No-Backfill Layout (CRWMS M and O 2000b). The calculations for both footprints are presented in this AMR. In

  4. Characterize Framework for Igneous Activity at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    F. Perry; B. Youngs

    2000-11-06

    The purpose of this Analysis/Model (AMR) report is twofold. (1) The first is to present a conceptual framework of igneous activity in the Yucca Mountain region (YMR) consistent with the volcanic and tectonic history of this region and the assessment of this history by experts who participated in the Probabilistic Volcanic Hazard Analysis (PVHA) (CRWMS M&O 1996). Conceptual models presented in the PVHA are summarized and extended in areas in which new information has been presented. Alternative conceptual models are discussed as well as their impact on probability models. The relationship between volcanic source zones defined in the PVHA and structural features of the YMR are described based on discussions in the PVHA and studies presented since the PVHA. (2) The second purpose of the AMR is to present probability calculations based on PVHA outputs. Probability distributions are presented for the length and orientation of volcanic dikes within the repository footprint and for the number of eruptive centers located within the repository footprint (conditional on the dike intersecting the repository). The probability of intersection of a basaltic dike within the repository footprint was calculated in the AMR ''Characterize Framework for Igneous Activity at Yucca Mountain, Nevada'' (CRWMS M&O 2000g) based on the repository footprint known as the Enhanced Design Alternative [EDA II, Design B (CRWMS M&O 1999a; Wilkins and Heath 1999)]. Then, the ''Site Recommendation Design Baseline'' (CRWMS M&O 2000a) initiated a change in the repository design, which is described in the ''Site Recommendation Subsurface Layout'' (CRWMS M&O 2000b). Consequently, the probability of intersection of a basaltic dike within the repository footprint has also been calculated for the current repository footprint, which is called the 70,000 Metric Tons of Uranium (MTU) No-Backfill Layout (CRWMS M&O 2000b). The calculations for both

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. Field trip report: Observations made at Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada. Special report No. 2

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hill, C.A.

    1993-03-01

    A field trip was made to the Yucca Mountain area on December 5-9, 1992 by Jerry Frazier, Don Livingston, Christine Schluter, Russell Harmon, and Carol Hill. Forty-three separate stops were made and 275 lbs. of rocks were collected during the five days of the field trip. Key localities visited were the Bare Mountains, Yucca Mountain, Calico Hills, Busted Butte, Harper Valley, Red Cliff Gulch, Wahmonie Hills, Crater Flat, and Lathrop Wells Cone. This report only describes field observations made by Carol Hill. Drawings are used rather than photographs because cameras were not permitted on the Nevada Test Site during this trip

  11. Impact of Quaternary Climate on Seepage at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    J.F. Whelan; J.B. Paces; L.A. Neymark; A.K. Schmitt; M. Grove

    2006-01-01

    Uranium-series ages, oxygen-isotopic compositions, and uranium contents were determined in outer growth layers of opal and calcite from 0.5- to 3-centimeter-thick mineral coatings hosted by lithophysal cavities in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, the proposed site of a permanent repository for high-level radioactive waste. Micrometer-scale growth layering in the minerals was imaged using a cathodoluminescence detector on a scanning electron microscope. Determinations of the chemistry, ages, and delta oxygen-18 values of the growth layers were conducted by electron microprobe analysis and secondary ion mass spectrometry techniques at spatial resolutions of 1 to about 20 micrometers ((micro)m) and 25 to 40 micrometers, respectively. Growth rates for the last 300 thousand years (k.y.) calculated from about 300 new high-resolution uranium-series ages range from approximately 0.5 to 1.5 (micro)m/k.y. for 1- to 3-centimeter-thick coatings, whereas coatings less than about I-centimeter-thick have growth rates less than 0.5 (micro)m/k.y. At the depth of the proposed repository, correlations of uranium concentration and delta oxygen-18 values with regional climate records indicate that unsaturated zone percolation and seepage water chemistries have responded to changes in climate during the last several hundred thousand years

  12. Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project: Technical Data Catalog quarterly supplement

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    1994-03-31

    The March 21, 1993, Department of Energy (DOE)/Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Site-Specific Procedural Agreement for Geologic Repository Site Investigation and Characterization Program requires the DOE to develop and maintain a catalog of data which will be updated and provided to the NRC at least quarterly. This catalog is to include a description of the data; the time (date), place, and method of acquisition; and where it may be examined. The Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project (YMP) Technical Data Catalog is published and distributed in accordance with the requirements of the Site-Specific Agreement. The YMP Technical Data Catalog is a report based on reference information contained in the YMP Automated Technical Data Tracking System (ATDT). The reference information is provided by Participants for data acquired or developed in support of the YMP. The Technical Data Catalog is updated quarterly and published in the month following the end of each quarter. A complete revision to the Catalog is published at the end of each fiscal year. Supplements to the end-of-year edition are published each quarter. These supplements provide information related to new data items not included in previous quarterly updates and data items affected by changes to previously published reference information. The Technical Data Catalog, dated September 30, 1993, should be retained as the baseline document for the supplements until the end-of-year revision is published and distributed in October 1994.

  13. Effects of actinide burning on waste disposal at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hirschfelder, J.

    1992-01-01

    Release rates of 15 radionuclides from waste packages expected to result from partitioning and transmutation of Light-Water Reactor (LWR) and Actinide-Burning Liquid-Metal Reactor (ALMR) spent fuel are calculated and compared to release rates from standard LWR spent fuel packages. The release rates are input to a model for radionuclide transport from the proposed geologic repository at Yucca Mountain to the water table. Discharge rates at the water table are calculated and used in a model for transport to the accessible environment, defined to be five kilometers from the repository edge. Concentrations and dose rates at the accessible environment from spent fuel and wastes from reprocessing, with partitioning and transmutation, are calculated. Partitioning and transmutation of LWR and ALMR spent fuel reduces the inventories of uranium, neptunium, plutonium, americium and curium in the high-level waste by factors of 40 to 500. However, because release rates of all of the actinides except curium are limited by solubility and are independent of package inventory, they are not reduced correspondingly. Only for curium is the repository release rate much lower for reprocessing wastes

  14. Waste package performance assessment for the Yucca Mountain Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    O'Connell, W.J.; Lappa, D.A.; Thatcher, R.M.

    1989-02-01

    We completed a first cycle of model development from a specification to a computer program, PANDORA-1, for long-term performance assessment of waste packages. The model for one waste package at a time incorporates processes specific to the unsaturated environment at the proposed Yucca Mountain, NV, site. PANDORA-1 models the most likely processes and several modes of waste alteration and release. The development identified information needs for future models; many processes, local details, and combinations will have to be examined. Integration of ensemble performance and quantification of uncertainties are modeling steps at higher aggregation. Methodologies for these steps include sampling, which is well studied; we have focused on several open questions. We can now calculate the amount of variance reduction available from Latin hypercube sampling; it is a limited reduction. A new method, controlled sampling, provides substantial variance reduction for a broad range of model functions. An uncertainty analysis test-bed program compares the new with old sampling methods. 7 refs., 1 tab

  15. Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project Technical Data Catalog (quarterly supplement)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1993-01-01

    The June 1, 1985, Department of Energy (DOE)/Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Site-Specific Procedural Agreement for Geologic Repository Site Investigation and Characterization Program requires the DOE to develop and maintain a catalog of data which will be updated and provided to the NRC at least quarterly. This catalog is to include a description of the data; the time (date), place, and method of acquisition; and where it may be examined. The Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project (YMP) Technical Data Catalog is published and distributed in accordance with the requirements of the Site-Specific Agreement. The YMP Technical Data Catalog is a report based on reference information contained in the YMP Automated Technical Data Tracking System (ATDT). The reference information is provided by Participants for data acquired or developed in support of the YMP. The Technical Data Catalog is updated quarterly and published in the month following the end of each quarter. A complete revision to the Catalog is published at the end of each fiscal year. Supplements to the end-of-year edition are published each quarter. These supplements provide information related to new data items not included in previous quarterly updates and data items affected by changes to previously published reference information. The Technical Data Catalog, dated December 31, 1992, should be retained as the baseline document for the supplements until the end-of-year revision is published and distributed in October 1993

  16. Illstrative probabilistic biosphere model for Yucca Mountain individual risk calculations

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wilems, R.E.

    1994-01-01

    The proposed EPA Standards for the disposal of spent fuel, high-level and transuranic radioactive waste prescribe future biosphere--one in which no sustained human activity occurs inside the controlled zone, yet sustained use of groundwater occurs just outside the controlled zone boundary. Performance assessments have generally assumed a person at this location extracts all his water needs directly from the projected contaminated plume for all of his life. Dose to this maximally-exposed individual is too conservative a measure of performance for a nuclear waste repository and does not reflect the isolation characteristics of a site. A better measure is individual risk in which uncertainties in biosphere characteristics for the longer periods of performance, for a site like Yucca Mountain only those characteristics associated with well water scenarios need be prescribed. Such a prescription of the biosphere is appropriate because the goal of the regulations is to provide indicators of future performance so the regulators can make a responsible decision regarding reasonable assurance of public health and safety

  17. Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project Technical Data Catalog

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1992-01-01

    The June 1, 1985, Department of Energy (DOE)/Nuclear, Regulatory Commission (NRC) Site-Specific Procedural Agreement for Geologic Repository Site Investigation and Characterization Program requires the DOE to develop and maintain a catalog of data which will be updated and provided to the NRC at least quarterly. This catalog is to include a description of the data; the time (date), place, and method of acquisition; and where it may be examined. The Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project (YMP) Technical Data Catalog is published and distributed in accordance with the requirements of the Site-Specific Agreement. The YMP Technical Data Catalog is a report based on reference information contained in the YMP Automated Technical Data Tracking System (ATDT). The reference information is provided by Participants for data acquired or developed in support of the YMP. The Technical Data Catalog is updated quarterly and published in the month following the end of each quarter. Each new publication of the Technical Data Catalog supersedes the previous edition

  18. Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project technical data catalog

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1992-01-01

    The June 1, 1985, Department of Energy (DOE)/Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Site-Specific Procedural Agreement for Geologic Repository Site Investigation and Characterization Program requires the DOE to develop and maintain a catalog of data which will be updated and provided to the NRC at least quarterly. This catalog is to include a description of the data; the time (date), place, and method of acquisition; and where it may be examined. The Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project (YMP) Technical Data Catalog is published and distributed in accordance with the requirements of the Site-Specific Agreement. The YMP Technical Data Catalog is a report based on reference information contained in the YMP Automated Technical Data Tracking System (ATDT). The reference information is provided by Participants for data acquired or developed in support of the YMP. The Technical Data Catalog is updated quarterly and published in the month following the end of each quarter. Each new publication of the Technical Data Catalog supersedes the previous edition

  19. Integrity of radioactive waste packages at the Yucca mountain repository

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sandquist, G.; Biaglow, A.; Huber, M.; Jagmin, C.

    2004-01-01

    Several of the important physical and chemical processes that impact the integrity of the radioactive waste packages planned for disposal at the proposed Repository at Yucca Mountain are examined. These processes are described by the aerodynamic, thermodynamic, and chemical interactions associated with the waste packages. The effects of chemical corrosion, mechanical erosion, temperature distributions throughout the repository environs, interactions of air, water, and solid particles, and radiological and biological influences are addressed. Materials will be exposed to at least 3 conditions threatening the integrity of the waste package: 1) accumulated dust and particles on the package surface and suspended in the air, 2) chemical reactions from deposits on the waste package infrastructure materials and tight contact areas, and crevices, and 3) environmental factors affecting chemical reactions such as moisture, pH, Eh, and radiolysis. All 3 of these conditions can combine and produce damaging impacts upon the thin protective layer on the alloy surface of the waste package. There are certain benefits from the low-temperature operating mode with ambient temperature below 85 Celsius degrees, but the materials could be subjected to a maximum temperature of 180 Celsius degrees which might introduce stress corrosion cracking and high temperature effects

  20. Volcanic hazard studies for the Yucca Mountain project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Crowe, B.; Turrin, B.; Wells, S.; Perry, F.; McFadden, L.; Renault, C.E.; Champion, D.; Harrington, C.

    1989-01-01

    Volcanic hazard studies are ongoing to evaluate the risk of future volcanism with respect to siting of a repository for disposal of high-level radioactive waste at the Yucca Mountain site. Seven Quaternary basaltic volcanic centers are located a minimum distance of 12 km and a maximum distance of 47 km from the outer boundary of the exploration block. The conditional probability of disruption of a repository by future basaltic volcanism is bounded by the range of 10/sup /minus/8/ to 10/sup /minus/10/ yr/sup /minus/1/. These values are currently being reexamined based on new developments in the understanding of the evaluation of small volume, basaltic volcanic centers including: (1) Many, perhaps most, of the volcanic centers exhibit brief periods of eruptive activity separated by longer periods of inactivity. (2) The centers may be active for time spans exceeding 10 5 yrs, (3) There is a decline in the volume of eruptions of the centers through time, and (4) Small volume eruptions occurred at two of the Quaternary centers during latest Pleistocene or Holocene time. We classify the basalt centers as polycyclic, and distinguish them from polygenetic volcanoes. Polycyclic volcanism is characterized by small volume, episodic eruptions of magma of uniform composition over time spans of 10 3 to 10 5 yrs. Magma eruption rates are low and the time between eruptions exceeds the cooling time of the magma volumes. 25 refs., 2 figs

  1. Corrosion of candidate container materials by Yucca Mountain bacteria

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Horn, J; Jones, D; Lian, T; Martin, S; Rivera, A

    1999-01-01

    Several candidate container materials have been studied in modified Yucca Mountain (YM) ground water in the presence or absence of YM bacteria. YM bacteria increased corrosion rates by 5-6 fold in UNS G10200 carbon steel, and nearly 100-fold in UNS NO4400 Ni-Cu alloy. YM bacteria caused microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC) through de-alloying or Ni-depletion of Ni-Cu alloy as evidenced by scanning electronic microscopy (SEM) and inductively coupled plasma spectroscopy (ICP) analysis. MIC rates of more corrosion-resistant alloys such as UNS NO6022 Ni-Cr- MO-W alloy, UN's NO6625 Ni-Cr-Mo alloy, and UNS S30400 stainless steel were measured below 0.05 umyr, however YM bacteria affected depletion of Cr and Fe relative to Ni in these materials. The chemical change on the metal surface caused by depletion was characterized in anodic polarization behavior. The anodic polarization behavior of depleted Ni-based alloys was similar to that of pure Ni. Key words: MIC, container materials, YM bacteria, de-alloying, Ni-depletion, Cr-depletion, polarization resistance, anodic polarization,

  2. Stability of underground openings in the Yucca Mountain repository

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Blejwas, T.E.

    1989-01-01

    The licensing of a repository for high-level radioactive waste will require assurances that underground openings do not experience frequent major instabilities, which are defined here as sudden movements of blocks of rock that limit the functions of the openings. Although the design of nuclear power plant structures is controlled by strict adherence to building or professional-engineering codes, this approach is not practical for the structural design of underground facilities because the design must accommodate a varied and partially defined geologic setting. However, regulations require the reduction of the potential for deleterious rock movement and the design of openings to maintain the option to retrieve waste. The present plans for meeting these requirements for a repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, include a program of state-of-the-art analyses and modified forms of existing empirically based design methods. An extensive experimental program is required to provide confidence in the results of the design-analysis process. 7 refs., 1 fig

  3. Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project technical data catalog: Quarterly supplement

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    1994-12-31

    The Department of Energy (DOE)/Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Site-Specific Procedural Agreement for Geologic Repository Site Investigation and Characterization Program requires the DOE to develop and maintain a catalog of data which will be updated and provided to the NRC at least quarterly. This catalog is to include a description of the data; the time (date), place, and method of acquisition; and where the data may be examined. The Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project (YMP) Technical Data Catalog is published and distributed-in accordance with the requirements of the Site-Specific Agreement. The YMP Technical Data Catalog is a report based on reference information contained in the YMP Automated Technical Data Tracking System (ATDT). The reference information is provided by Participants for data acquired or developed in support of the YMP. The Technical Data Catalog is updated quarterly and distributed in the month following the end of each quarter. A complete revision to the catalog is published at the end of each fiscal year. Supplements to the end-of-year edition are published each quarter. These supplements provide information related to new data items not included in previous quarterly updates and data items affected by changes to previously published reference information. The Technical Data Catalog, dated September 30, 1994, should be retained as the baseline document for the supplements until the end-of-year revision is published and distributed in October 1995.

  4. Distributional equity problems at the proposed Yucca Mountain facility

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kasperson, R.E.; Abdollahzadeh, S.

    1988-07-01

    This paper addresses one quite specific part of this broad range of issues -- the distribution of impacts to the state of Nevada and to the nation likely to be associated with the proposed Yucca Mountain repository. As such, it is one of four needed analyses of the overall equity problems and needs to be read in conjunction with our proposed overall framework for equity studies. The objective of this report is to consider how an analysis might be made of the distribution of projected outcomes between the state and nation. At the same time, it needs to be clear that no attempt will be made actually to implement the analysis that is proposed. What follows is a conceptual statement that identifies the analytical issues and pro poses an approach for overcoming them. Significantly, it must also be noted that this report will not address procedural equity issues between the state and nation for this is the subject of a separate analysis. 14 refs., 8 figs., 3 tabs

  5. The reclamation program for the Yucca Mountain Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ostler, W.K.; O'Farrell, T.P.; Winkel, V.K.; Schultz, B.W.

    1991-01-01

    The US Department of Energy (DOE) is required by law and other regulatory requirements to reclaim disturbances created by site characterization activities at Yucca Mountain. Because of the difficulty of reclaiming arid areas and the lack of site specific information on successful reclamation techniques and procedures, the DOE has developed a comprehensive reclamation program. The program consists of three phases: planning, operational and research. The planning phase is a continuing process that ensures that program policy, goals, tasks and responsibilities are clearly identified and linked. The operational phase uses best available knowledge to develop and implement reclamation plans that are site-specific for each disturbance. Reclamation activities start prior to any surface disturbance with a survey of each disturbance by trained scientists. The scientists survey the area for the presence of protected species or critical wildlife habitat. They also gather vegetation, landscape, soils and other environmental data that is used to assess the impact of the proposed disturbance. Recommendations can be made to either avoid areas or mitigate impacts. The operational phase includes interim reclamation to protect valuable resources and control erosion prior to final reclamation. Monitoring of reclaimed sites is conducted to correct problem areas and insure that reclamation objectives are achieved. The third phase of the reclamation program is designed to provide site-specific information on effective reclamation techniques through research and field demonstrations. 52 refs., 1 tab

  6. Shallow infiltration processes in arid watersheds at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1994-01-01

    A conceptual model of shallow infiltration processes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, was developed for use in hydrologic flow models to characterize net infiltration (the penetration of the wetting front below the zone influenced by evapotranspiration). The model categorizes the surface of the site into four infiltration zones. These zones were identified as ridgetops, sideslopes, terraces, and active channels on the basis of water-content changes with depth and time. The maximum depth of measured water-content change at a specific site is a function of surface storage capacity, the timing and magnitude of precipitation, evapotranspiration, and the degree of saturation of surficial materials overlying fractured bedrock. Measured water-content profiles for the four zones indicated that the potential for net infiltration is higher when evapotranspiration is low (i.e winter, cloudy periods), where surface concentration of water is likely to occur (i.e. depressions, channels), where surface storage capacity is low, and where fractured bedrock is close to the surface

  7. Waste package for Yucca Mountain repository: Strategy for regulatory compliance

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Cloninger, M.; Short, D.; Stahl, D.

    1989-02-01

    This document summarizes the strategy given in the Site Characterization Plan (1) for demonstrating compliance with the post closure performance objectives for the waste package and the Engineered Barrier System (EBS) contained in the Code of Federal Regulations. The strategy consists of the development of a conservative waste package design that will meet the regulatory requirements with sufficient margin for uncertainty using a multi-barrier approach that takes advantage of the unsaturated nature of the Yucca Mountain site. This strategy involves an iterative process designed to achieve compliance with the requirements for substantially complete containment and EBS release. The strategy will be implemented in such a manner that sufficient evidence will be provided for presentation to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) so that it may make a finding that there is ''reasonable assurance'' that these performance requirements will indeed be met. In implementing the strategy, DOE recognizes four fundamental goals: (1) protect public health and safety; (2) minimize financial and other resource commitments; (3) comply with applicable laws and regulations; and (4) maintain an aggressive schedule. The strategy is intended to be a reasonable balance of these competing goals. 7 refs., 3 figs., 1 tab

  8. Water levels in the Yucca Mountain area, Nevada, 1995

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Graves, R.P.; Goemaat, R.L.

    1998-01-01

    Water levels were monitored in 28 wells in the Yucca Mountain area, Nevada, during 1995. Seventeen wells representing 18 depth intervals were monitored periodically, generally on a monthly basis, 2 wells representing 3 depth intervals were monitored hourly, and 9 wells representing 15 depth intervals were monitored both periodically and hourly. All wells monitor water levels in Tertiary volcanic rocks except one that monitors water levels in Paleozoic carbonate rocks. Water levels were measured using calibrated steel tapes, a multiconductor cable unit, and/or pressure transducers. Mean water-level altitudes in the Tertiary volcanic rocks ranged from about 728 to about 1,034 meters above sea level during 1995. The mean water-level altitude in the well monitoring the Paleozoic carbonate rocks was about 753 meters above sea level during 1995. Mean water level altitudes were only an average of about 0.01 meters higher than 1994 mean water level altitudes. A single-well aquifer test was conducted on well UE-25 WT number-sign 12 during August and September 1995. Well USW 0-2 was also pumped during October and November 1995, in preparation for single-well aquifer test at that well. All data were acquired in accordance with a quality-assurance program to support the reliability of the data

  9. THE PROPOSED YUCCA MOUNTAIN REPOSITORY FROM A CORROSIVE PERSPECTIVE

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    PAYER JH

    2006-01-01

    The proposed Yucca Mountain Repository presents a familiar materials performance application that is regularly encountered in energy, transportation and other industries. The widely accepted approach to dealing with materials performance is to identify the performance requirements, to determine the operating conditions to which materials will be exposed and to select materials of construction that perform well in those conditions. A special feature of the proposed Repository is the extremely long time frame of interest, i.e. 10,000's of years and longer. Thus, the time evolution of the environment in contact with waste package surfaces and the time evolution of corrosion damage that may result are of primary interest in the determination of expected performance. Researchers at Case are part of a Department of Energy Corrosion and Materials Performance Cooperative. This team of leading scientists/engineers from major universities and national laboratories is working together to further enhance the understanding of the role of engineered barriers in waste isolation. The team is organized to address important topics: (1) Long-term behavior of protective, passive films; (2) Composition and properties of moisture in contact with metal surfaces; and (3) Rate of penetration and extent of corrosion damage over extremely long times. The work will also explore technical enhancements and seek to offer improvements in materials costs and reliability

  10. Multiscale Model Simulations of Temperature and Relative Humidity for the License Application of the Proposed Yucca Mountain Repository

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buscheck, T.; Glascoe, L.; Sun, Y.; Gansemer, J.; Lee, K.

    2003-12-01

    For the proposed Yucca Mountain geologic repository for high-level nuclear waste, the planned method of disposal involves the emplacement of cylindrical packages containing the waste inside horizontal tunnels, called emplacement drifts, bored several hundred meters below the ground surface. The emplacement drifts reside in highly fractured, partially saturated volcanic tuff. An important phenomenological consideration for the licensing of the proposed repository at Yucca Mountain is the generation of decay heat by the emplaced waste and the consequences of this decay heat. Changes in temperature will affect the hydrologic and chemical environment at Yucca Mountain. A thermohydrologic-modeling tool is necessary to support the performance assessment of the Engineered Barrier System (EBS) of the proposed repository. This modeling tool must simultaneously account for processes occurring at a scale of a few tens of centimeters around individual waste packages, for processes occurring around the emplacement drifts themselves, and for processes occurring at the multi-kilometer scale of the mountain. Additionally, many other features must be considered including non-isothermal, multiphase-flow in fractured porous rock of variable liquid-phase saturation and thermal radiation and convection in open cavities. The Multiscale Thermohydrologic Model (MSTHM) calculates the following thermohydrologic (TH) variables: temperature, relative humidity, liquid-phase saturation, evaporation rate, air-mass fraction, gas-phase pressure, capillary pressure, and liquid- and gas-phase fluxes. The TH variables are determined as a function of position along each of the emplacement drifts in the repository and as a function of waste-package (WP) type. These variables are determined at various generic locations within the emplacement drifts, including the waste package and drip-shield surfaces and in the invert; they are also determined at various generic locations in the adjoining host rock

  11. Preliminary study of lead isotopes in the carbonate-silica veins of Trench 14, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Zartman, R.E.; Kwak, L.M.

    1993-01-01

    The sub-vertical carbonate-silica veins filling the Bow Ridge Fault, where exposed in Trench 14 on the east side of Yucca Mountain, carry a lead isotopic signature that can be explained in terms of local sources. Two isotopically distinguishable--silicate and carbonate--fractions of lead are recognized within the vein system as well as in overlying surficial calcrete deposits. The acid-insoluble silicate fraction is contributed largely from the decomposing Miocene volcanic tuff, which forms the wall rock of the fault zone and is a ubiquitous component of the overlying soil. Lead contained in the silicate fraction approaches in isotopic composition that of the Miocene volcanic rocks of Yucca Mountain, but diverges from it in some samples by being more enriched in uranogenic isotopes. The carbonate fraction of lead in both vein and calcrete samples resides dominantly in the HCl- and CH 3 COOH-soluble calcite. HCl evidently also attacks and removes lead from silicate phases, but the milder CH 3 COOH dissolution procedure oftentimes identifies a significantly more radiogenic lead in the calcite. Wind-blown particulate matter brought to the area from Paleozoic and Late Proterozoic limestones in surrounding mountains may be the ultimate source of the calcite. Isotopically more uniform samples suggest that locally the basaltic ash and other volcanic rock have contributed most of the lead to both fractions of the vein system. An important finding of this study is that the data does not require the more exotic mechanisms or origins that have been proposed for the veins. Instead, the remarkably similar lead isotopic properties of the veins to those of the soil calcretes support their interpretation as a surficial, pedogenic phenomenon