WorldWideScience

Sample records for unsaturated-zone flow yucca

  1. Conceptual hydrologic model of flow in the unsaturated zone, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Montazer, P.; Wilson, W.E.

    1984-01-01

    The purpose of this report is to propose a conceptual hydrologic model that reasonably describes the flow of fluids through the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, for use as a basis for preliminary site-performance assessment and as a guide to further investigations. Scott and others (1983) presented an initial conceptual hydrogeologic model for the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, based on detailed geologic, but very limited hydrologic, information. In this report, some of their concepts are examined and either supported or modified, and new concepts are developed. The model describes the manner in which flow probably occurs at Yucca Mountain and is based on: (1) current understanding of the hydrogeologic framework; (2) application of the principles of unsaturated flow; and (3) interpretation of some preliminary data from ongoing field and laboratory investigations. Included are extensive geologic information but relatively few hydrologic data that currently exist from the unsaturated zone in the Yucca Mountain area. Many uncertainties remain to be resolved concerning hydrologic conditions and processes. As a result, most of the concepts presented are intentionally descriptive and conjectural, with little quantitative basis provided. However, for the sake of directness and simplicity of expression, the model is presented as if it were a true expression of the facts. The authors recognize, and the reader should be aware, that the proposed model probably is not the only reasonable description that could be made at this point, and it certainly is subject to revision and quantification as more data become available. Although various alternative models probably could be developed, the one described in this report seems to fit current understanding of the unsaturated flow through a section of layered, fractured-rock formations with contrasting hydrologic properties, such as occurs at Yucca Mountain. 41 refs., 14 figs., 1 tab

  2. Parallel computing simulation of fluid flow in the unsaturated zone of Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2001-01-01

    This paper presents the application of parallel computing techniques to large-scale modeling of fluid flow in the unsaturated zone (UZ) at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. In this study, parallel computing techniques, as implemented into the TOUGH2 code, are applied in large-scale numerical simulations on a distributed-memory parallel computer. The modeling study has been conducted using an over-one-million-cell three-dimensional numerical model, which incorporates a wide variety of field data for the highly heterogeneous fractured formation at Yucca Mountain. The objective of this study is to analyze the impact of various surface infiltration scenarios (under current and possible future climates) on flow through the UZ system, using various hydrogeological conceptual models with refined grids. The results indicate that the one-million-cell models produce better resolution results and reveal some flow patterns that cannot be obtained using coarse-grid modeling models

  3. 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

  4. Calibration of Yucca Mountain unsaturated zone flow and transport model using porewater chloride data

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Liu, Jianchun; Sonnenthal, Eric L.; Bodvarsson, Gudmundur S.

    2002-01-01

    In this study, porewater chloride data from Yucca Mountain, Nevada, are analyzed and modeled by 3-D chemical transport simulations and analytical methods. The simulation modeling approach is based on a continuum formulation of coupled multiphase fluid flow and tracer transport processes through fractured porous rock, using a dual-continuum concept. Infiltration-rate calibrations were using the pore water chloride data. Model results of chloride distributions were improved in matching the observed data with the calibrated infiltration rates. Statistical analyses of the frequency distribution for overall percolation fluxes and chloride concentration in the unsaturated zone system demonstrate that the use of the calibrated infiltration rates had insignificant effect on the distribution of simulated percolation fluxes but significantly changed the predicated distribution of simulated chloride concentrations. An analytical method was also applied to model transient chloride transport. The method was verified by 3-D simulation results as able to capture major chemical transient behavior and trends. Effects of lateral flow in the Paintbrush nonwelded unit on percolation fluxes and chloride distribution were studied by 3-D simulations with increased horizontal permeability. The combined results from these model calibrations furnish important information for the UZ model studies, contributing to performance assessment of the potential repository

  5. 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

  6. A site-scale model for fluid and heat flow in the unsaturated zone of Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, Yu-Shu; Haukwa, Charles; Bodvarsson, G. S.

    1999-05-01

    A three-dimensional unsaturated-zone numerical model has been developed to simulate flow and distribution of moisture, gas and heat at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, a potential repository site for high-level radioactive waste. The model takes into account the simultaneous flow dynamics of liquid water, vapor, air and heat in the highly heterogeneous, fractured porous rock in the unsaturated zone (UZ). This model is intended for use in the prediction of the current and future conditions in the UZ so as to aid in the assessment of the system performance of the proposed repository. The modeling approach is based on a mathematical formulation of coupled multiphase, multicomponent fluid and heat flow through porous and fractured rock. Fracture and matrix flow is treated using both dual-permeability and effective-continuum modeling approaches. The model domain covers a total area of approximately 43 km 2, and uses the land surface and the water table as its top and bottom boundaries. In addition, site-specific data, representative surface infiltration, and geothermal conditions are incorporated into the model. The reliability and accuracy of the model have been the subject of a comprehensive model calibration study, in which the model was calibrated against measured data, including liquid saturation, water potential and temperature. It has been found that the model is generally able to reproduce the overall system behavior at Yucca Mountain with respect to moisture profiles, pneumatic pressure variations in different geological units, and ambient geothermal conditions.

  7. Geostatistical and Stochastic Study of Flow and Tracer Transport in the Unsaturated Zone at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ye, Ming; Pan, Feng; Hu, Xiaolong; Zhu, Jianting

    2007-01-01

    Yucca Mountain has been proposed by the U.S. Department of Energy as the nation's long-term, permanent geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel or high-level radioactive waste. The potential repository would be located in Yucca Mountain's unsaturated zone (UZ), which acts as a critical natural barrier delaying arrival of radionuclides to the water table. Since radionuclide transport in groundwater can pose serious threats to human health and the environment, it is important to understand how much and how fast water and radionuclides travel through the UZ to groundwater. The UZ system consists of multiple hydrogeologic units whose hydraulic and geochemical properties exhibit systematic and random spatial variation, or heterogeneity, at multiple scales. Predictions of radionuclide transport under such complicated conditions are uncertain, and the uncertainty complicates decision making and risk analysis. This project aims at using geostatistical and stochastic methods to assess uncertainty of unsaturated flow and radionuclide transport in the UZ at Yucca Mountain. Focus of this study is parameter uncertainty of hydraulic and transport properties of the UZ. The parametric uncertainty arises since limited parameter measurements are unable to deterministically describe spatial variability of the parameters. In this project, matrix porosity, permeability and sorption coefficient of the reactive tracer (neptunium) of the UZ are treated as random variables. Corresponding propagation of parametric uncertainty is quantitatively measured using mean, variance, 5th and 95th percentiles of simulated state variables (e.g., saturation, capillary pressure, percolation flux, and travel time). These statistics are evaluated using a Monte Carlo method, in which a three-dimensional flow and transport model implemented using the TOUGH2 code is executed with multiple parameter realizations of the random model parameters. The project specifically studies uncertainty of unsaturated flow

  8. Unsaturated-zone fast-path flow calculations for Yucca Mountain groundwater travel time analyses (GWTT-94)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Arnold, B.W.; Altman, S.J.; Robey, T.H.

    1995-08-01

    Evaluation of groundwater travel time (GWTT) is required as part of the investigation of the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a potential high-level nuclear-waste repository site. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's GWTT regulation is considered to be a measure of the intrinsic ability of the site to contain radionuclide releases from the repository. The work reported here is the first step in a program to provide an estimate of GWTT at the Yucca Mountain site in support of the DOE's Technical Site Suitability and as a component of a license application. Preliminary estimation of the GWTT distribution in the unsaturated zone was accomplished using a numerical model of the physical processes of groundwater flow in the fractured, porous medium of the bedrock. Based on prior investigations of groundwater flow at the site, fractures are thought to provide the fastest paths for groundwater flow; conditions that lead to flow in fractures were investigated and simulated. Uncertainty in the geologic interpretation of Yucca Mountain was incorporated through the use of geostatistical simulations, while variability of hydrogeologic parameters within each unit was accounted for by the random sampling of parameter probability density functions. The composite-porosity formulation of groundwater flow was employed to simulate flow in both the matrix and fracture domains. In this conceptualization, the occurrence of locally saturated conditions within the unsaturated zone is responsible for the initiation of fast-path flow through fractures. The results of the GWTT-94 study show that heterogeneity in the hydraulic properties of the model domain is an important factor in simulating local regions of high groundwater saturation. Capillary-pressure conditions at the surface boundary influence the extent of the local saturation simulated

  9. THE INFLUENCE OF REPOSITORY THERMAL LOAD ON MULTIPHASE FLOW AND HEAT TRANSFER IN THE UNSATURATED ZONE OF YUCCA MOUNTAIN

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Yu-Shu Wu; Sumit Mukhopadhyay; Keni Zhang; G.S. Bodvarsson

    2006-01-01

    This paper investigates the impact of proposed repository thermal-loading on mountain-scale flow and heat transfer in the unsaturated fractured rock of Yucca Mountain, Nevada. In this context, a model has been developed to study the coupled thermal-hydrological (TH) processes at the scale of the entire Yucca Mountain. This mountain-scale TH model implements the current geological framework and hydrogeological conceptual models, and incorporates the latest rock thermal and hydrological properties. The TH model consists of a two-dimensional north-south vertical cross section across the entire unsaturated zone model domain and uses refined meshes near and around the proposed repository block, based on the current repository design, drift layout, thermal loading scenario, and estimated current and future climatic conditions. The model simulations provide insights into thermally affected liquid saturation, gas- and liquid-phase fluxes, and elevated water and rock temperature, which in turn allow modelers to predict the changes in water flux driven by evaporation/condensation processes, and drainage between drifts

  10. The Influence of Proposed Repository Thermal Load on Multiphase Flow and Heat Transfer in the Unsaturated Zone of Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wu, Y.-S.; Mukhopadhyay, Sumit; Zhang, Keni; Bodvarsson, G.S.

    2006-01-01

    This paper investigates the impact of proposed repository thermal-loading on mountain-scale flow and heat transfer in the unsaturated fractured rock of Yucca Mountain, Nevada. In this context, a model has been developed to study the coupled thermal-hydrological (TH)processes at the scale of the entire Yucca Mountain. This mountain-scale TH model implements the current geological framework and hydrogeological conceptual models, and incorporates the latest rock thermal and hydrological properties. The TH model consists of a two-dimensional north-south vertical cross section across the entire unsaturated zone model domain and uses refined meshes near and around the proposed repository block, based on the current repository design, drift layout, thermal loading scenario, and estimated current and future climatic conditions. The model simulations provide insights into thermally affected liquid saturation, gas- and liquid-phase fluxes, and elevated water and rock temperature, which in turn allow modelers to predict the changes in water flux driven by evaporation/condensation processes, and drainage between drifts

  11. Simulation of flow in the unsaturated zone beneath Pagany Wash, Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kwicklis, E.M.; Healy, R.W.; Flint, A.L.

    1994-01-01

    A one-dimensional numerical model was created to simulate water movement beneath Pagany Wash, Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Model stratigraphy and properties were based on data obtained from boreholes UE-25 UZ No. 4 and UE-25 UZ No. 5, which was drilled in the alluvial channel and bedrock sideslope of Pagany Wash. Although unable to account for multidimensional or preferential flowpaths beneath the wash, the model proved a useful conceptual tool with which to develop hypotheses and, in some cases, provide bounding calculations. The model indicated that liquid flux decreases with depth in the upper 120 m beneath the wash, with fluxes of several tens mm/yr in the nonwelded base of the Tiva Canyon Member and fluxes on the order of a tenth mm/yr in the upper Topopah Spring Member. Capillary barrier effects were indicated by the model to significantly delay the entry of large fluxes into the potential repository horizon during periods of increasing net infiltration, and to inhibit rapid drainage of water from the nonwelded and bedded intervals into the potential repository horizon during periods of moisture redistribution. Lateral moisture redistribution can be expected to be promoted by these effects

  12. 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

  13. 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

  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. 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

  16. Unsaturated Zone Flow Patterns and Analysis

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    C. Ahlers

    2001-10-17

    This Analysis/Model Report (AMR) documents the development of an expected-case model for unsaturated zone (UZ) flow and transport that will be described in terms of the representativeness of models of the natural system. The expected-case model will provide an evaluation of the effectiveness of the natural barriers, assess the impact of conservatism in the Total System Performance Assessment (TSPA), and support the development of further models and analyses for public confidence building. The present models used in ''Total System Performance Assessment for the Site Recommendation'' (Civilian Radioactive Waste Management System Management and Operating Contractor (CRWMS M&O) 2000 [1532461]) underestimate the natural-barrier performance because of conservative assumptions and parameters and do not adequately address uncertainty and alternative models. The development of an expected case model for the UZ natural barrier addresses issues regarding flow-pattern analysis and modeling that had previously been treated conservatively. This is in line with the Repository Safety Strategy (RSS) philosophy of treating conservatively those aspects of the UZ flow and transport system that are not important for achieving regulatory dose (CRWMS M&O 2000 [153246], Section 1.1.1). The development of an expected case model for the UZ also provides defense-in-depth in areas requiring further analysis of uncertainty and alternative models. In general, the value of the conservative case is to provide a more easily defensible TSPA for behavior of UZ flow and transport processes at Yucca Mountain. This AMR has been prepared in accordance with the ''Technical Work Plan for Unsaturated Zone (UZ) Flow and Transport Process Model Report'' (Bechtel SAIC Company (BSC) 2001 [155051], Section 1.3 - Work Package 4301213UMG). The work scope is to examine the data and current models of flow and transport in the Yucca Mountain UZ to identify models and analyses

  17. Unsaturated Zone Flow Patterns and Analysis

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ahlers, C.

    2001-01-01

    This Analysis/Model Report (AMR) documents the development of an expected-case model for unsaturated zone (UZ) flow and transport that will be described in terms of the representativeness of models of the natural system. The expected-case model will provide an evaluation of the effectiveness of the natural barriers, assess the impact of conservatism in the Total System Performance Assessment (TSPA), and support the development of further models and analyses for public confidence building. The present models used in ''Total System Performance Assessment for the Site Recommendation'' (Civilian Radioactive Waste Management System Management and Operating Contractor (CRWMS M and O) 2000 [1532461]) underestimate the natural-barrier performance because of conservative assumptions and parameters and do not adequately address uncertainty and alternative models. The development of an expected case model for the UZ natural barrier addresses issues regarding flow-pattern analysis and modeling that had previously been treated conservatively. This is in line with the Repository Safety Strategy (RSS) philosophy of treating conservatively those aspects of the UZ flow and transport system that are not important for achieving regulatory dose (CRWMS M and O 2000 [153246], Section 1.1.1). The development of an expected case model for the UZ also provides defense-in-depth in areas requiring further analysis of uncertainty and alternative models. In general, the value of the conservative case is to provide a more easily defensible TSPA for behavior of UZ flow and transport processes at Yucca Mountain. This AMR has been prepared in accordance with the ''Technical Work Plan for Unsaturated Zone (UZ) Flow and Transport Process Model Report'' (Bechtel SAIC Company (BSC) 2001 [155051], Section 1.3 - Work Package 4301213UMG). The work scope is to examine the data and current models of flow and transport in the Yucca Mountain UZ to identify models and analyses where conservatism may be

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    1995-03-01

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

  19. 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

  20. 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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Rousseau, J.P.; Kwicklis, E.M.; Gillies, D.C. [eds.

    1999-03-01

    Yucca Mountain, in southern Nevada, is being investigated by the US 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 US 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. Shallow infiltration is not discussed in detail in this report because the focus in on three major aspects of the deep unsaturated-zone system: geologic framework, the gaseous-phase system, and the aqueous-phase system. However, because the relation between shallow infiltration and deep percolation is important to an overall understanding of the unsaturated-zone flow system, a summary of infiltration studies conducted to date at Yucca Mountain is provided in the section titled Shallow Infiltration. This report describes results of several Site Characterization Plan studies that were ongoing at the time excavation of the ESF North Ramp began and that continued as excavation proceeded.

  2. Particle tracking for unsaturated-zone groundwater travel time analysis at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Arnold, B.W.; Skinner, L.H.; Zieman, N.B.

    1995-01-01

    A particle tracking code developed to link numerical modeling of groundwater flow in the unsaturated zone to the analysis of groundwater travel times was used to produce preliminary estimates of the distribution of groundwater-travel time from a potential repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada to the water table. Compliance with 10CFR960 requires the demonstration that pre-waste-emplacement groundwater travel time from the disturbed zone to the accessible environment is expected to exceed 1,000 years along any path of likely and significant radionuclide travel. The use of multiple particles and multiple realizations of the geology and parameter distributions in the unsaturated zone allows a probabilistic analysis of groundwater travel times that may be applied for evaluating compliance

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. Hydrochemical investigations in characterizing the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Yang, I.C.; Rattray, G.W.; Ferarese, J.S.; Yu, P.; Ryan, J.N.

    1998-01-01

    Hydrochemical and isotopic investigations of ground water at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, site of a potential permanent national nuclear-waste repository, demonstrate that younger rocks are dominated by calcium-sulfate or calcium-chloride water and that older rocks contain sodium-carbonate or sodium-bicarbonate water. Furthermore, unsaturated-zone pore water has significantly larger concentrations of major ions and dissolved solids than does the saturated-zone water. Recharge of perched or saturated-zone water, therefore, requires rapid flow through fractures or permeable regions in the unsaturated zone to avoid mixing with the chemically concentrated water in the unsaturated zone. This conceptual model is consistent with observations of rapidly moved post-bomb (post-1954) tritium and chlorine-36 in the deep unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain. Presence of post-bomb tritium in matrix water away from fracture zones further indicates that parts of the fast-flow water that moves through fractures have been diverted laterally into nonwelded units. Experimental data show that different lithologic units require specific water-extraction methods for stable-isotope analyses of hydrogen and oxygen to ensure accurate characterization. Vacuum-distillation and compression-extraction methods both can yield accurate data but must be used with specific lithologies. Column experiments demonstrate that percolating water can exchange with pore water of the core as well as water held in zeolite minerals in the core. Exchange rates range from days to months. Pore-water samples from core, therefore, reflect the most recently infiltrated water but do not reflect percolating water of the distant past

  6. Thermal history of the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, USA

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Whelan, Joseph F.; Neymark, Leonid A.; Moscati, Richard J.; Marshall, Brian D.; Roedder, Edwin

    2008-01-01

    (24-26 deg. C at a depth of 250 m) by 2-4 Ma. The evidence of elevated temperatures persisting in ash flow tuffs adjacent to parent calderas for as much as ∼8 Ma is a new finding, but consistent with thermal modeling. Simulations using the HEAT code demonstrate that prolonged cooling of the unsaturated zone is consistent with magmatic heat inputs and deep-seated (sub-water table) hydrothermal activity generated by the large magma body ∼8 km to the north that produced the 15-11 Ma ash flows and ash falls that make up Yucca Mountain. The evidence discussed in this and preceding papers strongly supports unsaturated zone deposition of the secondary minerals from descending meteoric waters. Although depositional temperatures reflect conductive (and possibly vapor-phase convective) heating of the unsaturated zone related to regional magmatic sources until perhaps 6 Ma, depositional conditions similar to the present-day unsaturated zone have prevailed for at least the past 2-4 Ma

  7. Thermal history of the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, USA

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Whelan, Joseph F. [U.S. Geological Survey, Box 25046, M.S. 963, Denver Federal Center, Denver, CO 80225 (United States)], E-mail: jfwhelan@usgs.gov; Neymark, Leonid A.; Moscati, Richard J.; Marshall, Brian D. [U.S. Geological Survey, Box 25046, M.S. 963, Denver Federal Center, Denver, CO 80225 (United States); Roedder, Edwin [Department of Earth and Planetary Science, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138 (United States)

    2008-05-15

    that maximum unsaturated zone temperatures probably predate {approx}10 Ma and that the unsaturated zone had cooled to near-present-day temperatures (24-26 deg. C at a depth of 250 m) by 2-4 Ma. The evidence of elevated temperatures persisting in ash flow tuffs adjacent to parent calderas for as much as {approx}8 Ma is a new finding, but consistent with thermal modeling. Simulations using the HEAT code demonstrate that prolonged cooling of the unsaturated zone is consistent with magmatic heat inputs and deep-seated (sub-water table) hydrothermal activity generated by the large magma body {approx}8 km to the north that produced the 15-11 Ma ash flows and ash falls that make up Yucca Mountain. The evidence discussed in this and preceding papers strongly supports unsaturated zone deposition of the secondary minerals from descending meteoric waters. Although depositional temperatures reflect conductive (and possibly vapor-phase convective) heating of the unsaturated zone related to regional magmatic sources until perhaps 6 Ma, depositional conditions similar to the present-day unsaturated zone have prevailed for at least the past 2-4 Ma.

  8. Unsaturated zone flow modeling for GWTT-95

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ho, C.K.; Altman, S.J.; McKenna, S.A.; Arnold, B.W.

    1995-01-01

    In accordance with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulation regarding groundwater travel times at geologic repositories, various models of unsaturated flow in fractured tuff have been developed and implemented to assess groundwater travel times at the potential repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Kaplan used one-dimensional models to describe the uncertainty and sensitivity of travel times to various processes at Yucca Mountain. Robey and Arnold et al. used a two-dimensional equivalent continuum model (ECM) with inter- and intra-unit heterogeneity in an attempt to assess fast-flow paths through the unsaturated, fractured tuff at Yucca Mountain (GWTT-94). However, significant flow through the fractures in previous models was not simulated due to the characteristics of the ECM, which requires the matrix to be nearly saturated before flow through the fractures is initiated. In the current study (GWTT-95), four two-dimensional cross-sections at Yucca Mountain are simulated using both the ECM and dual-permeability (DK) models. The properties of both the fracture and matrix domains are geostatistically simulated, yielding completely heterogeneous continua. Then, simulations of flow through the four cross-sections are performed using spatially nonuniform infiltration boundary conditions. Steady-state groundwater travel times from the potential repository to the water table are calculated

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. Design of a three-dimensional site-scale model for the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wittwer, C.S.; Bodvarsson, G.S.; Chornack, M.P.; Flint, A.L.; Lewis, B.D.; Spengler, R.W.; Flint, L.E.; Rautman, C.A.

    1992-01-01

    A three-dimensional model of moisture flow within the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain is being developed. This site-scale model covers an area of about 30 km 2 and is bounded by major faults to the east and west. A detailed numerical grid has been developed based on location of boreholes, different infiltration zones, hydrogeological units and their outcrops, major faults, and water level data. Different maps, such as contour maps and isopachs maps, are presented for the different infiltration zones, and for the base of the Tiva Canyon, the Paintbrush, and the Topopah Spring hydrogeological units

  14. 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

  15. Simulating the Thermal History of the Unsaturated Zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    B.D. Marshal; J.F. Whelan

    2001-01-01

    Heat transfer within Earth's upper crust is primarily by conduction, and conductive thermal models adequately explain the cooling history of deep, batholith-scale intrusions and surrounding wall rocks, as confirmed by numerous thermochronometric studies. However, caldera magmatic systems require consideration of the small and localized component of hydrothermal convection and numerical models to simulate additional boundary conditions, irregular magma chamber shapes, and complex intrusive histories. At Yucca Mountain, Nevada, the site of a potential high-level nuclear waste repository, simulating the detailed thermal history at any location in the unsaturated zone requires knowledge of the shape of the magma chamber and its proximity to Yucca Mountain (the southern margin of the Timber Mountain caldera complex is approximately 8 km north of the potential repository site), the temporal and spatial extent of hydrothermal convection, the erosional history of the area, and past levels of the water table

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. Conceptual Model and Numerical Approaches for Unsaturated Zone Flow and Transport

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    H.H. Liu

    2004-01-01

    The purpose of this model report is to document the conceptual and numerical models used for modeling unsaturated zone (UZ) fluid (water and air) flow and solute transport processes. This work was planned in ''Technical Work Plan for: Unsaturated Zone Flow Model and Analysis Report Integration'' (BSC 2004 [DIRS 169654], Sections 1.2.5, 2.1.1, 2.1.2 and 2.2.1). The conceptual and numerical modeling approaches described in this report are mainly used for models of UZ flow and transport in fractured, unsaturated rock under ambient conditions. Developments of these models are documented in the following model reports: (1) UZ Flow Model and Submodels; (2) Radionuclide Transport Models under Ambient Conditions. Conceptual models for flow and transport in unsaturated, fractured media are discussed in terms of their applicability to the UZ at Yucca Mountain. The rationale for selecting the conceptual models used for modeling of UZ flow and transport is documented. Numerical approaches for incorporating these conceptual models are evaluated in terms of their representation of the selected conceptual models and computational efficiency; and the rationales for selecting the numerical approaches used for modeling of UZ flow and transport are discussed. This report also documents activities to validate the active fracture model (AFM) based on experimental observations and theoretical developments. The AFM is a conceptual model that describes the fracture-matrix interaction in the UZ of Yucca Mountain. These validation activities are documented in Section 7 of this report regarding use of an independent line of evidence to provide additional confidence in the use of the AFM in the UZ models. The AFM has been used in UZ flow and transport models under both ambient and thermally disturbed conditions. Developments of these models are documented

  19. Distribution of Minor Elements in Calcite From the Unsaturated Zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marshall, B. D.; Whelan, J. F.

    2001-12-01

    Calcite is sporadically distributed in fractures and cavities in the volcanic rocks that form the 500- to 700-m-thick unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain. Previous work has shown that the calcite precipitated from water moving downward through the unsaturated zone since the volcanic rocks were emplaced approximately 13 Ma. Calcite thus serves as a proxy for the chemistry and amounts of past percolation, two parameters that are important in predictions of the future behavior of the potential radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain. Latest calcite, which began forming between approximately 5 and 2 Ma, typically displays fine-scale growth zoning defined by distributions of Mn (inferred from cathodoluminescence), Mg, and Sr. Electron microprobe (EPMA) mapping of outermost calcite reveals Mg growth zoning1 and higher overall concentrations of Mg in late calcite than in older calcite. Micro X-ray fluorescence (micro-XRF) maps were obtained by slow rastering of the samples over a 100-watt X-ray source collimated through a final aperture of 100 μ m. Although the spatial resolution of the micro-XRF mapping is much less than that of EPMA, this technique reveals distributions of some elements to which EPMA is less sensitive. Micro-XRF maps show that Sr is spatially correlated with Mg; Sr concentrations range to 500 μ g/g at the resolution of the 100-μ m collimator. Because both Mg and Sr have similar calcite-water distribution coefficients much less than one, the Mg/Sr in calcite reflects the Mg/Sr of the water that precipitated the calcite. The distribution coefficient for Mn is greater than one and variations in Mn are not correlated with Mg and Sr. Covariation of Mg and Sr in the percolating water may be explained by reactions that affect the rate of uptake of chemical constituents from the overlying rock and soil, and/or evaporation. Late calcite has lower δ 13C values, probably due to a regional change from wetter to drier climate conditions. The higher Mg and

  20. Modelling flow through unsaturated zones: Sensitivity to unsaturated ...

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    M. Senthilkumar (Newgen Imaging) 1461 1996 Oct 15 13:05:22

    soil properties are studied by varying the unsaturated parameters α and n over a wide range. ... Keywords. Unsaturated zone; capillary fringe; finite element method. ... and radioactive wastes. Several .... The length (L) of the soil sample is 1 m.

  1. Effects from Unsaturated Zone Flow during Oscillatory Hydraulic Testing

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lim, D.; Zhou, Y.; Cardiff, M. A.; Barrash, W.

    2014-12-01

    In analyzing pumping tests on unconfined aquifers, the impact of the unsaturated zone is often neglected. Instead, desaturation at the water table is often treated as a free-surface boundary, which is simple and allows for relatively fast computation. Richards' equation models, which account for unsaturated flow, can be compared with saturated flow models to validate the use of Darcy's Law. In this presentation, we examine the appropriateness of using fast linear steady-periodic models based on linearized water table conditions in order to simulate oscillatory pumping tests in phreatic aquifers. We compare oscillatory pumping test models including: 1) a 2-D radially-symmetric phreatic aquifer model with a partially penetrating well, simulated using both Darcy's Law and Richards' Equation in COMSOL; and 2) a linear phase-domain numerical model developed in MATLAB. Both COMSOL and MATLAB models are calibrated to match oscillatory pumping test data collected in the summer of 2013 at the Boise Hydrogeophysical Research Site (BHRS), and we examine the effect of model type on the associated parameter estimates. The results of this research will aid unconfined aquifer characterization efforts and help to constrain the impact of the simplifying physical assumptions often employed during test analysis.

  2. 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

  3. Unsaturated zone waters from the Nopal I natural analog, Chihuahua, Mexico -- Implications for radionuclide mobility at Yucca Mountain

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Pickett, D.A.; Murphy, W.M.

    1999-07-01

    Chemical and U-Th isotopic data on unsaturated zone waters from the Nopal I natural analog reveal effects of water-rock interaction and help constrain models of radionuclide release and transport at the site and, by analogy, at the proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. Geochemical reaction-path modeling indicates that, under oxidizing conditions, dissolution of uraninite (spent fuel analog) by these waters will lead to eventual schoepite precipitation regardless of initial silica concentration provided that groundwater is not continuously replenished. Thus, less soluble uranyl silicates may not dominate the initial alteration assemblage and keep dissolved U concentrations low. Uranium-series activity ratios are consistent with models of U transport at the site and display varying degrees of leaching versus recoil mobilization. Thorium concentrations may reflect the importance of colloidal transport of low-solubility radionuclides in the unsaturated zone.

  4. Unsaturated zone waters from the Nopal I natural analog, Chihuahua, Mexico -- Implications for radionuclide mobility at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Pickett, D.A.; Murphy, W.M.

    1999-01-01

    Chemical and U-Th isotopic data on unsaturated zone waters from the Nopal I natural analog reveal effects of water-rock interaction and help constrain models of radionuclide release and transport at the site and, by analogy, at the proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. Geochemical reaction-path modeling indicates that, under oxidizing conditions, dissolution of uraninite (spent fuel analog) by these waters will lead to eventual schoepite precipitation regardless of initial silica concentration provided that groundwater is not continuously replenished. Thus, less soluble uranyl silicates may not dominate the initial alteration assemblage and keep dissolved U concentrations low. Uranium-series activity ratios are consistent with models of U transport at the site and display varying degrees of leaching versus recoil mobilization. Thorium concentrations may reflect the importance of colloidal transport of low-solubility radionuclides in the unsaturated zone

  5. Hydrogeologic data and water-quality data from a thick unsaturated zone at a proposed wastewater-treatment facility site, Yucca Valley, San Bernardino County, California, 2008-11

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Leary, David; Clark, Dennis A.; Izbicki, John A.

    2015-01-01

    The Hi-Desert Water District, in the community of Yucca Valley, California, is considering constructing a wastewater-treatment facility and using the reclaimed water to recharge the aquifer system through surface spreading. The Hi-Desert Water District is concerned with possible effects of this recharge on water quality in the underlying groundwater system; therefore, an unsaturated-zone monitoring site was constructed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to characterize the unsaturated zone, monitor a pilot-scale recharge test, and, ultimately, to monitor the flow of reclaimed water to the water table once the treatment facility is constructed.

  6. Estimation of water-filled and air-filled porosity in the unsaturated zone, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nelson, P.H.

    1993-01-01

    Water content and porosity vary considerably within the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain. Measurement of these quantities has been based on core samples. A log-based approach offers the advantage of in-situ measurements, continuous throughout the borehole. This paper describes an algorithm which determines the air-filled and water-filled porosities from density and dielectric logs. The responses of density and dielectric logs are formulated in terms of the matrix properties, air-filled porosity and water-filled porosity. Porosity values obtained from logs from borehole USW G-2 are in reasonable agreement with estimates from core determinations

  7. 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

  8. Determination of water movement in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain using chloride, bromide, and chlorine isotopes as environmental tracers. Final report

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1994-01-01

    This report, prepared by Hydro Geo Chem staff for Los Alamos National Laboratory, summarizes work conducted by the company under Subcontract 9-XG1-N3993-1. 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 US 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 focussed 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 following discussion summarizes progress made on the tasks outlined in the original Scope of Work. Details of this work and all data acquired by Hydro Geo Chem for this subcontract have been systematically organized in logbooks and laboratory notebooks. 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

  9. Busted Butte Unsaturated Zone Transport Test: Fiscal Year 1998 Status Report Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Program Deliverable SPU85M4

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bussod, G.Y.; Turin, H.J.; Lowry, W.E.

    1999-01-01

    This report describes the status of the Busted Butte Unsaturated Zone Transport Test (UZTT) and documents the progress of construction activities and site and laboratory characterization activities undertaken in fiscal year 1998. Also presented are predictive flow-and-transport simulations for Test Phases 1 and 2 of testing and the preliminary results and status of these test phases. Future anticipated results obtained from unsaturated-zone (UZ) transport testing in the Calico Hills Formation at Busted Butte are also discussed in view of their importance to performance assessment (PA) needs to build confidence in and reduce the uncertainty of site-scale flow-and-transport models and their abstractions for performance for license application. The principal objectives of the test are to address uncertainties associated with flow and transport in the UZ site-process models for Yucca Mountain, as identified by the PA working group in February 1997. These include but are not restricted to: (1) The effect of heterogeneities on flow and transport in unsaturated and partially saturated conditions in the Calico Hills Formation. In particular, the test aims to address issues relevant to fracture-matrix interactions and permeability contrast boundaries; (2) The migration behavior of colloids in fractured and unfractured Calico Hills rocks; (3) The validation through field testing of laboratory sorption experiments in unsaturated Calico Hills rocks; (4) The evaluation of the 3-D site-scale flow-and-transport process model (i.e., equivalent-continuum/dual-permeability/discrete-fracture-fault representations of flow and transport) used in the PA abstractions for license application; and (5) The effect of scaling from lab scale to field scale and site scale

  10. BUILDING CONCEPTUAL AND MATHEMATICAL MODEL FOR WATER FLOW AND SOLUTE TRANSPORT IN THE UNSATURATED ZONE AT KOSNICA SITE

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stanko Ružičić

    2012-12-01

    Full Text Available Conceptual model of flow and solute transport in unsaturated zone at Kosnica site, which is the basis for modeling pollution migration through the unsaturated zone to groundwater, is set up. The main characteristics of the unsaturated zone of the Kosnica site are described. Detailed description of investigated profile of unsaturated zone, with all necessary analytical results performed and used in building of conceptual models, is presented. Experiments that are in progress and processes which are modeled are stated. Monitoring of parameters necessary for calibration of models is presented. The ultimate goal of research is risk assessment of groundwater contamination at Kosnica site that has its source in or on unsaturated zone.

  11. 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

  12. Chemistry of unsaturated zone gases sampled in open boreholes at the crest of Yucca Mountain, Nevada: Data and basic concepts of chemical and physical processes in the mountain

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thorstenson, Donald C.; Weeks, Edwin P.; Haas, Herbert; Busenberg, Eurybiades; Plummer, Niel; Peters, Charles A.

    1998-01-01

    Boreholes open to the unsaturated zone at the crest of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, were variously sampled for CO2 (including 13C and 14C), CH4, N2, O2, Ar, CFC-11, CFC-12, and CFC-113 from 1986 to 1993. Air enters the mountain in outcrops, principally on the eastern slope, is enriched in CO2by mixing with soil gas, and is advected to the mountain crest, where it returns to the atmosphere. The CFC data indicate that travel times of the advecting gas in the shallow Tiva Canyon hydrogeologic unit are ≤5 years. The 14C activities are postbomb to depths of 100 m, indicating little retardation of 14CO2 in the shallow flow systems. The 14C activities from 168 to 404 m in the Topopah Spring hydrogeologic unit are 85–90 pMC at borehole USW-UZ6. The CFC data show that the drilling of USW-UZ6 in 1984 has altered the natural system by providing a conduit through the Paintbrush Nonwelded unit, allowing flow from Topopah Spring outcrops in Solitario Canyon on the west to USW-UZ6, upward in the borehole through the Paintbrush, to the shallow Tiva Canyon flow systems, and out of the mountain.

  13. NaturAnalogs for the Unsaturated Zone

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    A. Simmons; A. Unger; M. Murrell

    2000-03-08

    The purpose of this Analysis/Model Report (AMR) is to document natural and anthropogenic (human-induced) analog sites and processes that are applicable to flow and transport processes expected to occur at the potential Yucca Mountain repository in order to build increased confidence in modeling processes of Unsaturated Zone (UZ) flow and transport. This AMR was prepared in accordance with ''AMR Development Plan for U0135, Natural Analogs for the UZ'' (CRWMS 1999a). Knowledge from analog sites and processes is used as corroborating information to test and build confidence in flow and transport models of Yucca Mountain, Nevada. This AMR supports the Unsaturated Zone (UZ) Flow and Transport Process Model Report (PMR) and the Yucca Mountain Site Description. The objectives of this AMR are to test and build confidence in the representation of UZ processes in numerical models utilized in the UZ Flow and Transport Model. This is accomplished by: (1) applying data from Boxy Canyon, Idaho in simulations of UZ flow using the same methodologies incorporated in the Yucca Mountain UZ Flow and Transport Model to assess the fracture-matrix interaction conceptual model; (2) Providing a preliminary basis for analysis of radionuclide transport at Pena Blanca, Mexico as an analog of radionuclide transport at Yucca Mountain; and (3) Synthesizing existing information from natural analog studies to provide corroborating evidence for representation of ambient and thermally coupled UZ flow and transport processes in the UZ Model.

  14. Natural Analogs for the Unsaturated Zone

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Simmons, A.; Unger, A.; Murrell, M.

    2000-01-01

    The purpose of this Analysis/Model Report (AMR) is to document natural and anthropogenic (human-induced) analog sites and processes that are applicable to flow and transport processes expected to occur at the potential Yucca Mountain repository in order to build increased confidence in modeling processes of Unsaturated Zone (UZ) flow and transport. This AMR was prepared in accordance with ''AMR Development Plan for U0135, Natural Analogs for the UZ'' (CRWMS 1999a). Knowledge from analog sites and processes is used as corroborating information to test and build confidence in flow and transport models of Yucca Mountain, Nevada. This AMR supports the Unsaturated Zone (UZ) Flow and Transport Process Model Report (PMR) and the Yucca Mountain Site Description. The objectives of this AMR are to test and build confidence in the representation of UZ processes in numerical models utilized in the UZ Flow and Transport Model. This is accomplished by: (1) applying data from Boxy Canyon, Idaho in simulations of UZ flow using the same methodologies incorporated in the Yucca Mountain UZ Flow and Transport Model to assess the fracture-matrix interaction conceptual model; (2) Providing a preliminary basis for analysis of radionuclide transport at Pena Blanca, Mexico as an analog of radionuclide transport at Yucca Mountain; and (3) Synthesizing existing information from natural analog studies to provide corroborating evidence for representation of ambient and thermally coupled UZ flow and transport processes in the UZ Model

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. Slow and preferential flow in the unsaturated zone and its impact on stable isotope composition

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Seiler, K.P.

    2001-01-01

    Stable isotope methods (δ 18 O and δ 2 H) have been used investigate the importance of bypass flow in the unsaturated zone which leads to unproductive water loss during flood irrigation. Field experiments have been carried out in Jordan and Pakistan in order to determine the occurrence of bypass flow, its amount and its velocity compared to piston flow. Results show that there is not only an advective component of flow (bypass flow) but a diffusive tracer exchange between piston and bypass flow. Infiltration calculations and analysis of tracer distributions are used to show that at the research sites, bypass flow amounts to about 25% of water recharged during winter. This estimate is important as it provides an assessment of the amount of water that passes the root zone and directly recharges groundwater. (author)

  18. Unsaturated Zone Effects in Predicting Landslide and Debris-Flow Initiation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baum, R. L.; Godt, J. W.; Savage, W. Z.

    2006-12-01

    Many destructive debris flows begin as shallow landslides induced by direct infiltration of intense rainfall and storm runoff into hillside materials. Predicting the timing and location of debris-flow initiation is needed to assess the debris-flow hazard of an area. Theoretical models and real-time monitoring of rainfall infiltration into unsaturated hillside materials provide useful insights into the mechanisms and timing of rainfall-induced landslides. We modeled the infiltration process using a two-layer system that consists of an unsaturated zone above a saturated zone, and then implemented this model in a GIS framework. The model couples analytical solutions for transient, unsaturated, vertical infiltration above the water table to pressure-diffusion solutions for pressure changes below the water table. The solutions are coupled through a transient water table that rises as water accumulates at the base of the unsaturated zone. This scheme, though limited to simplified soil- water characteristics and moist initial conditions, greatly improves computational efficiency over numerical models in spatially distributed modeling applications. Pore pressures computed by these coupled models are subsequently used in slope-stability computations to estimate the timing and locations of slope failures. Preliminary model results indicate that the unsaturated layer attenuates and delays the rainfall-induced pore- pressure response at depth, consistent with observations at an instrumented hillside near Edmonds, Washington. This attenuation reduces the area of false-positive predictions (when compared with results of linear models for suction-saturated initial conditions) in distributed application of the model over an area. Modeling indicates that initial wetness of the hillside materials affects the intensity and duration of rainfall required to trigger shallow landslides and consequently the timing of their occurrence, a result that is also consistent with observations of

  19. Review of ground-water flow and transport models in the unsaturated zone

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Oster, C.A.

    1982-11-01

    Models of partially saturated flow and transport in porous media have application in the analysis of existing as well as future low-level radioactive waste facilities located above the water table. An extensive literature search along with telephone and mail correspondence with recognized leading experts in the field, was conducted to identify computer models suitable for studies of low-level radioactive waste facilities located in the unsaturated zone. Fifty-five existing models were identified as potentially useful. Ten of these models were selected for further examination. This report contains a statement of the ground-water flow-contaminant transport problem, a discussion of those methods used to reduce the physical problem to a computer model, a brief discussion about the data requirements of these models. The procedure used to select the ten codes for further discussion is given, along with a list of these models. Finally, the Appendices contain the data about the fifty-five codes examined. Specifically Appendix D contains the detailed discussion of each of the ten selected codes. Included in each discussion are such items which a potential user requires in determining whether the code is suitable for his applications. Appendix E contains brief summary information about each of the fifty-five codes. Included in the summaries are identification data, authors, pertinent references, and model type.

  20. Review of ground-water flow and transport models in the unsaturated zone

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Oster, C.A.

    1982-11-01

    Models of partially saturated flow and transport in porous media have application in the analysis of existing as well as future low-level radioactive waste facilities located above the water table. An extensive literature search along with telephone and mail correspondence with recognized leading experts in the field, was conducted to identify computer models suitable for studies of low-level radioactive waste facilities located in the unsaturated zone. Fifty-five existing models were identified as potentially useful. Ten of these models were selected for further examination. This report contains a statement of the ground-water flow-contaminant transport problem, a discussion of those methods used to reduce the physical problem to a computer model, a brief discussion about the data requirements of these models. The procedure used to select the ten codes for further discussion is given, along with a list of these models. Finally, the Appendices contain the data about the fifty-five codes examined. Specifically Appendix D contains the detailed discussion of each of the ten selected codes. Included in each discussion are such items which a potential user requires in determining whether the code is suitable for his applications. Appendix E contains brief summary information about each of the fifty-five codes. Included in the summaries are identification data, authors, pertinent references, and model type

  1. CAPTURING UNCERTAINTY IN UNSATURATED-ZONE FLOW USING DIFFERENT CONCEPTUAL MODELS OF FRACTURE-MATRIX INTERACTION

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    SUSAN J. ALTMAN, MICHAEL L. WILSON, GUMUNDUR S. BODVARSSON

    1998-01-01

    Preliminary calculations show that the two different conceptual models of fracture-matrix interaction presented here yield different results pertinent to the performance of the potential repository at Yucca Mountain. Namely, each model produces different ranges of flow in the fractures, where radionuclide transport is thought to be most important. This method of using different flow models to capture both conceptual model and parameter uncertainty ensures that flow fields used in TSPA calculations will be reasonably calibrated to the available data while still capturing this uncertainty. This method also allows for the use of three-dimensional flow fields for the TSPA-VA calculations

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2005-12-01

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

  3. Balancing practicality and hydrologic realism: a parsimonious approach for simulating rapid groundwater recharge via unsaturated-zone preferential flow

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mirus, Benjamin B.; Nimmo, J.R.

    2013-01-01

    The impact of preferential flow on recharge and contaminant transport poses a considerable challenge to water-resources management. Typical hydrologic models require extensive site characterization, but can underestimate fluxes when preferential flow is significant. A recently developed source-responsive model incorporates film-flow theory with conservation of mass to estimate unsaturated-zone preferential fluxes with readily available data. The term source-responsive describes the sensitivity of preferential flow in response to water availability at the source of input. We present the first rigorous tests of a parsimonious formulation for simulating water table fluctuations using two case studies, both in arid regions with thick unsaturated zones of fractured volcanic rock. Diffuse flow theory cannot adequately capture the observed water table responses at both sites; the source-responsive model is a viable alternative. We treat the active area fraction of preferential flow paths as a scaled function of water inputs at the land surface then calibrate the macropore density to fit observed water table rises. Unlike previous applications, we allow the characteristic film-flow velocity to vary, reflecting the lag time between source and deep water table responses. Analysis of model performance and parameter sensitivity for the two case studies underscores the importance of identifying thresholds for initiation of film flow in unsaturated rocks, and suggests that this parsimonious approach is potentially of great practical value.

  4. Drilling and coring methods that minimize the disturbance of cuttings, core, and rock formation in the unsaturated zone, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hammermeister, D.P.; Blout, D.O.; McDaniel, J.C.

    1985-01-01

    A drilling-and-casing method (Odex 115 system) utilizing air as a drilling fluid was used successfully to drill through various rock types within the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. This paper describes this method and the equipment used to rapidly penetrate bouldery alluvial-colluvial deposits, poorly consolidated bedded and nonwelded tuff, and fractured, densely welded tuff to depths of about 130 meters. A comparison of water-content and water-potential data from drill cuttings with similar measurements on rock cores indicates that drill cuttings were only slightly disturbed for several of the rock types penetrated. Coring, sampling, and handling methods were devised to obtain minimally disturbed drive core from bouldery alluvial-colluvial deposits. Bulk-density values obtained from bulk samples dug from nearby trenches were compared to bulk-density values obtained from drive core to determine the effects of drive coring on the porosity of the core. Rotary coring methods utilizing a triple-tube core barrel and air as the drilling fluid were used to obtain core from welded and nonwelded tuff. Results indicate that the disturbance of the water content of the core was minimal. Water-content distributions in alluvium-colluvium were determined before drilling occurred by drive-core methods. After drilling, water-content distributions were determined by nuclear-logging methods. A comparison of the water-content distributions made before and after drilling indicates that Odex 115 drilling minimally disturbs the water content of the formation rock. 10 refs., 12 figs., 4 tabs

  5. Unsaturated Zone and Saturated Zone Transport Properties (U0100)

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    J. Conca

    2000-12-20

    This Analysis/Model Report (AMR) summarizes transport properties for the lower unsaturated zone hydrogeologic units and the saturated zone at Yucca Mountain and provides a summary of data from the Busted Butte Unsaturated Zone Transport Test (UZTT). The purpose of this report is to summarize the sorption and transport knowledge relevant to flow and transport in the units below Yucca Mountain and to provide backup documentation for the sorption parameters decided upon for each rock type. Because of the complexity of processes such as sorption, and because of the lack of direct data for many conditions that may be relevant for Yucca Mountain, data from systems outside of Yucca Mountain are also included. The data reported in this AMR will be used in Total System Performance Assessment (TSPA) calculations and as general scientific support for various Process Model Reports (PMRs) requiring knowledge of the transport properties of different materials. This report provides, but is not limited to, sorption coefficients and other relevant thermodynamic and transport properties for the radioisotopes of concern, especially neptunium (Np), plutonium (Pu), Uranium (U), technetium (Tc), iodine (I), and selenium (Se). The unsaturated-zone (UZ) transport properties in the vitric Calico Hills (CHv) are discussed, as are colloidal transport data based on the Busted Butte UZTT, the saturated tuff, and alluvium. These values were determined through expert elicitation, direct measurements, and data analysis. The transport parameters include information on interactions of the fractures and matrix. In addition, core matrix permeability data from the Busted Butte UZTT are summarized by both percent alteration and dispersion.

  6. Unsaturated Zone and Saturated Zone Transport Properties (U0100)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Conca, J.

    2000-01-01

    This Analysis/Model Report (AMR) summarizes transport properties for the lower unsaturated zone hydrogeologic units and the saturated zone at Yucca Mountain and provides a summary of data from the Busted Butte Unsaturated Zone Transport Test (UZTT). The purpose of this report is to summarize the sorption and transport knowledge relevant to flow and transport in the units below Yucca Mountain and to provide backup documentation for the sorption parameters decided upon for each rock type. Because of the complexity of processes such as sorption, and because of the lack of direct data for many conditions that may be relevant for Yucca Mountain, data from systems outside of Yucca Mountain are also included. The data reported in this AMR will be used in Total System Performance Assessment (TSPA) calculations and as general scientific support for various Process Model Reports (PMRs) requiring knowledge of the transport properties of different materials. This report provides, but is not limited to, sorption coefficients and other relevant thermodynamic and transport properties for the radioisotopes of concern, especially neptunium (Np), plutonium (Pu), Uranium (U), technetium (Tc), iodine (I), and selenium (Se). The unsaturated-zone (UZ) transport properties in the vitric Calico Hills (CHv) are discussed, as are colloidal transport data based on the Busted Butte UZTT, the saturated tuff, and alluvium. These values were determined through expert elicitation, direct measurements, and data analysis. The transport parameters include information on interactions of the fractures and matrix. In addition, core matrix permeability data from the Busted Butte UZTT are summarized by both percent alteration and dispersion

  7. Field tracer investigation of unsaturated zone flow paths and mechanisms in agricultural soils of northwestern Mississippi, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perkins, K.S.; Nimmo, J.R.; Rose, C.E.; Coupe, R.H.

    2011-01-01

    In many farmed areas, intensive application of agricultural chemicals and withdrawal of groundwater for irrigation have led to water quality and supply issues. Unsaturated-zone processes, including preferential flow, play a major role in these effects but are not well understood. In the Bogue Phalia basin, an intensely agricultural area in the Delta region of northwestern Mississippi, the fine-textured soils often exhibit surface ponding and runoff after irrigation and rainfall as well as extensive surface cracking during prolonged dry periods. Fields are typically land-formed to promote surface flow into drainage ditches and streams that feed into larger river ecosystems. Downward flow of water below the root zone is considered minimal; regional groundwater models predict only 5% or less of precipitation recharges the heavily used alluvial aquifer. In this study transport mechanisms within and below the root zone of a fallow soybean field were assessed by performing a 2-m ring infiltration test with tracers and subsurface monitoring instruments. Seven months after tracer application, 48 continuous cores were collected for tracer extraction to define the extent of water movement and quantify preferential flow using a mass-balance approach. Vertical water movement was rapid below the pond indicating the importance of vertical preferential flow paths in the shallow unsaturated zone, especially to depths where agricultural disturbance occurs. Lateral flow of water at shallow depths was extensive and spatially non-uniform, reaching up to 10. m from the pond within 2. months. Within 1. month, the wetting front reached a textural boundary at 4-5. m between the fine-textured soil and sandy alluvium, now a potential capillary barrier which, prior to extensive irrigation withdrawals, was below the water table. Within 10. weeks, tracer was detectable at the water table which is presently about 12. m below land surface. Results indicate that 43% of percolation may be through

  8. Estimation of unsaturated zone traveltimes for Rainier Mesa and Shoshone Mountain, Nevada Test Site, Nevada, using a source-responsive preferential-flow model

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Brian A. Ebel; John R. Nimmo

    2009-09-11

    Traveltimes for contaminant transport by water from a point in the unsaturated zone to the saturated zone are a concern at Rainier Mesa and Shoshone Mountain in the Nevada Test Site, Nevada. Where nuclear tests were conducted in the unsaturated zone, contaminants must traverse hundreds of meters of variably saturated rock before they enter the saturated zone in the carbonate rock, where the regional groundwater system has the potential to carry them substantial distances to a location of concern. The unsaturated-zone portion of the contaminant transport path may cause a significant delay, in addition to the time required to travel within the saturated zone, and thus may be important in the overall evaluation of the potential hazard from contamination. Downward contaminant transport through the unsaturated zone occurs through various processes and pathways; this can lead to a broad distribution of contaminant traveltimes, including exceedingly slow and unexpectedly fast extremes. Though the bulk of mobile contaminant arrives between the time-scale end members, the fastest contaminant transport speed, in other words the speed determined by the combination of possible processes and pathways that would bring a measureable quantity of contaminant to the aquifer in the shortest time, carries particular regulatory significance because of its relevance in formulating the most conservative hazard-prevention scenarios. Unsaturated-zone flow is usually modeled as a diffusive process responding to gravity and pressure gradients as mediated by the unsaturated hydraulic properties of the materials traversed. The mathematical formulation of the diffuse-flow concept is known as Richards' equation, which when coupled to a solute transport equation, such as the advection-dispersion equation, provides a framework to simulate contaminant migration in the unsaturated zone. In recent decades awareness has increased that much fluid flow and contaminant transport within the

  9. Estimation of Unsaturated Zone Traveltimes for Rainier Mesa and Shoshone Mountain, Nevada Test Site, Nevada, Using a Source-Responsive Preferential-Flow Model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ebel, Brian A.; Nimmo, John R.

    2009-01-01

    Traveltimes for contaminant transport by water from a point in the unsaturated zone to the saturated zone are a concern at Rainier Mesa and Shoshone Mountain in the Nevada Test Site, Nevada. Where nuclear tests were conducted in the unsaturated zone, contaminants must traverse hundreds of meters of variably saturated rock before they enter the saturated zone in the carbonate rock, where the regional groundwater system has the potential to carry them substantial distances to a location of concern. The unsaturated-zone portion of the contaminant transport path may cause a significant delay, in addition to the time required to travel within the saturated zone, and thus may be important in the overall evaluation of the potential hazard from contamination. Downward contaminant transport through the unsaturated zone occurs through various processes and pathways; this can lead to a broad distribution of contaminant traveltimes, including exceedingly slow and unexpectedly fast extremes. Though the bulk of mobile contaminant arrives between the time-scale end members, the fastest contaminant transport speed, in other words the speed determined by the combination of possible processes and pathways that would bring a measureable quantity of contaminant to the aquifer in the shortest time, carries particular regulatory significance because of its relevance in formulating the most conservative hazard-prevention scenarios. Unsaturated-zone flow is usually modeled as a diffusive process responding to gravity and pressure gradients as mediated by the unsaturated hydraulic properties of the materials traversed. The mathematical formulation of the diffuse-flow concept is known as Richards' equation, which when coupled to a solute transport equation, such as the advection-dispersion equation, provides a framework to simulate contaminant migration in the unsaturated zone. In recent decades awareness has increased that much fluid flow and contaminant transport within the unsaturated

  10. Fingering in unsaturated zone flow: a qualitative review with laboratory experiments on heterogeneous systems

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Sililo, OTN

    2000-11-01

    Full Text Available of flow will be greatest where the fine-grained layer is thinnest; (5) surface depressions in an upper fine-grained layer will concentrate flow, with fingers forming below such areas; and (6) in systems where an upper fine-grained layer has macro pores...

  11. Modeling flow and transport pathways to the potential repository horizon at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wolfsberg, A.V.; Roemer, G.J.C.; Fabryka-Martin, J.T.; Robinson, B.A.

    1998-01-01

    The isotopic ratios of 36 Cl/Cl are used in conjunction with geologic interpretation and numerical modeling to evaluate flow and transport pathways, processes, and model parameters in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain. By synthesizing geochemical and geologic data, the numerical model results provide insight into the validity of alternative hydrologic parameter sets, flow and transport processes in and away from fault zones, and the applicability of 36 Cl/Cl ratios for evaluating alternative conceptual models

  12. Modeling water flow and solute transport in unsaturated zone inside NSRAWD project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Constantin, A.; Diaconu, D.; Bucur, C.; Genty, A.

    2015-01-01

    The NSRAWD project (2010-2013) - Numerical Simulations for Radioactive Waste Disposal was initiated under a collaboration agreement between the Institute for Nuclear Research and the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA). The context of the project was favorable to combine the modeling activities with an experimental part in order to improve and validate the numerical models used so far to simulate water flow and solute transport at Saligny site, Romania. The numerical models developed in the project were refined and validated on new hydrological data gathered between 2010-2012 by a monitoring station existent on site which performs automatic determination of soil water content and matrix potential, as well as several climate parameters (wind, temperature and precipitations). Water flow and solute transport was modeled in transient conditions, by taking into consideration, as well as neglecting the evapotranspiration phenomenon, on the basis of a tracer test launched on site. The determination of dispersivities for solute transport was targeted from the solute plume. The paper presents the main results achieved in the NSRAWD project related to water flow and solute transport in the unsaturated area of the Saligny site. The results indicated satisfactory predictions for the simulation of water flow in the unsaturated area, in steady state and transient conditions. In the case of tracer transport modeling, dispersivity coefficients could not be finally well fitted for the data measured on site and in order to obtain a realistic preview over the values of these parameters, further investigations are recommended. The article is followed by the slides of the presentation

  13. A steady state solution for ditch drainage problem with special reference to seepage face and unsaturated zone flow contribution: Derivation of a new drainage spacing eqaution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yousfi, Ammar; Mechergui, Mohammed

    2016-04-01

    The seepage face is an important feature of the drainage process when recharge occurs to a permeable region with lateral outlets. Examples of the formation of a seepage face above the downstream water level include agricultural land drained by ditches. Flow problem to these drains has been investigated extensively by many researchers (e.g. Rubin, 1968; Hornberger et al. 1969; Verma and Brutsaert, 1970; Gureghian and Youngs, 1975; Vauclin et al., 1975; Skaggs and Tang, 1976; Youngs, 1990; Gureghian, 1981; Dere, 2000; Rushton and Youngs, 2010; Youngs, 2012; Castro-Orgaz et al., 2012) and may be tackled either using variably saturated flow models, or the complete 2-D solution of Laplace equation, or using the Dupuit-Forchheimer approximation; the most widely accepted methods to obtain analytical solutions for unconfined drainage problems. However, the investigation reported by Clement et al. (1996) suggest that accounting for the seepage face alone, as in the fully saturated flow model, does not improve the discharge estimate because of disregarding flow the unsaturated zone flow contribution. This assumption can induce errors in the location of the water table surface and results in an underestimation of the seepage face and the net discharge (e.g. Skaggs and Tang, 1976; Vauclin et al., 1979; Clement et al., 1996). The importance of the flow in the unsaturated zone has been highlighted by many authors on the basis of laboratory experiments and/or numerical experimentations (e.g. Rubin, 1968; Verma and Brutsaert, 1970; Todsen, 1973; Vauclin et al., 1979; Ahmad et al., 1993; Anguela, 2004; Luthin and Day, 1955; Shamsai and Narasimhan, 1991; Wise et al., 1994; Clement et al., 1996; Boufadel et al., 1999; Romano et al., 1999; Kao et al., 2001; Kao, 2002). These studies demonstrate the failure of fully saturated flow models and suggested that the error made when using these models not only depends on soil properties but also on the infiltration rate as reported by Kao et

  14. 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

  15. Simulation of heat transfer in the unsaturated zone

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Zyvoloski, G.

    1990-01-01

    Heat transfer can play an important role in fluid flow near the emplacement site of high-level nuclear waste. The effects on far- field flow can be important in understanding net moisture fluxes above the repository zone. The convection in the unsaturated zone at the Yucca Mountain site was responsible for this movement. If this is so, then the convection could provide a mechanism for drying the rock above the repository zone and thus provide a buffer for heavy rainfall events. In addition, the convection would increase the movement of gaseous radionuclides such as 14 CO 2 , tritiated water vapor, and 129 I (Weeks, 1987). Because of the complexity of the problem, numerical models were required to calculate gas flow and vapor transport at the site. Kipp previously modeled this problem using the code HST3D. This code represents the flow of a single-phase fluid with both heat- and mass-transfer effects included. Water density and partial pressure effects are accounted for by the virtual temperature method. In this paper, the problem was simulated using the code FEHMN, a finite-element heat- and mass-transfer code being developed for the Yucca Mountain Project. The work described in this paper was done in preparation of the upcoming problem to be formulated for the Performance Assessment Calculation Exercise. 5 refs., 9 figs., 1 tab

  16. 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

  17. Borehole-calibration methods used in cased and uncased test holes to determine moisture profiles in the unsaturated zone, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hammermeister, D.P.; Kneiblher, C.R.; Klenke, J.

    1985-01-01

    The use of drilling and coring methods that minimize the disturbance of formation rock and core has permitted field calibration of neutron-moisture tools in relatively large diameter cased and uncased boreholes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. For 5.5-inch diameter cased holes, there was reasonable agreement between a field calibration in alluvium-colluvium and a laboratory calibration in a chamber containing silica sand. There was little difference between moisture-content profiles obtained in a neutron-access hole with a hand-held neutron-moisture meter and an automated borehole-logging tool using laboratory-generated calibration curves. Field calibrations utilizing linear regression analyses and as many as 119 data pairs show a good correlation between neutron-moisture counts and volumetric water content for sections of uncased 6-inch diameter boreholes in nonwelded and bedded tuff. Regression coefficients ranged from 0.80 to 0.94. There were only small differences between calibration curves in 4.25- and 6-inch uncased sections of boreholes. Results of analyzing field calibration data to determine the effects of formation density on calibration curves were inconclusive. Further experimental and theoretical work is outlined

  18. 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

  19. A borehole instrumentation program for characterization of unsaturated-zone percolation

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kume, J.; Rousseau, J.P.

    1994-01-01

    A borehole instrumentation and monitoring program has been designed by the US Geological Survey to support site characterization of unsaturated-zone percolation at Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada. This program provides a means of defining the unsaturated-zone fluid flow (liquid and gas) potential field in a setting that incorporates large-scale stratigraphic and structural features, and the influences of geothermal heat flow and atmospheric pressure changes. Data derived from this program will be used to evaluate the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a mined geologic-repository for the storage of high-level, radioactive waste. These data include in-situ temperature, pneumatic pressure, and water potential. In addition, the instrumentation program provides facilities for gas-sampling, gas-tracer diffusion testing, water-injection testing, water-level monitoring, neutron moisture-meter monitoring, temperature profiling, and in-situ recalibration of the downhole sensors. The program included testing and development of: (1) precision sensors for measurement; (2) a downhole instrumentation-station-apparatus to house the sensors, recalibrate sensors in-situ, and allow access to instrument stations for other testing purposes; and (3) surface-based support and instrumentation facilities

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1999-01-01

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

  1. Unsaturated zone investigation at the radioactive waste storage facility site

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Skuratovic, Zana; Mazeika, Jonas; Petrosius, Rimantas; Jakimaviciute-Maseliene, Vaidote [Nature Research Centre, Akademijos St. 2, LT-08412, Vilnius (Lithuania); Klizas, Petras; Mokrik, Robert [Vilnius University, M.K. Ciurlionio St. 21/27, LT-03101 Vilnius (Lithuania)

    2014-07-01

    Unsaturated zone is an important part of water circulation cycle and an integral part of many hydrological and hydrogeological factors and processes. The soils of unsaturated zone are regarded as the first natural barrier to a large extent able to limit the spread of contaminants. Nuclear waste disposal site (Maisiagala radioactive waste storage facility site) was analysed in terms of the moisture movement through the unsaturated zone. Extensive data sets of the hydraulic properties, water content and isotope composition have been collected and summarized. The main experimental and observational tasks included the collection of soil samples; determination of the physical properties and the hydraulic conductivity values of soil samples, moisture extraction from the soil sample for isotopic studies; observation of the groundwater dynamics at the Maisiagala piezometer; groundwater sampling for isotopic analysis ({sup 3}H, {sup 18}O/{sup 16}O, {sup 2}H/{sup 1}H ); and monthly precipitation isotopic analysis. Distribution features of globally widespread radionuclide tritium ({sup 3}H) and the water molecule tracer isotopes in precipitation, unsaturated zone soil moisture profiles and groundwater were determined. It was used the well-known unsaturated flow and transport model of HYDRUS-1D (Simunek et al., 2008). In this study, van Genuchten equations for the retention and conductivity estimations have been used. The retention characteristics and van Genuchten model parameters were estimated internally by HYDRUS based on the empirical equations involved in the program. Basic inputs of the tritium transport simulation are the tritium input function and meteorological variables (precipitation and potential evapotranspiration). In order to validate the representativeness of the hydraulic parameters, the model has been used to estimate the tritium distribution in the unsaturated zone, which properly represents the dynamics of the unsaturated zone. The uniformity of the daily

  2. Numerical simulation of gas flow through unsaturated fractured rock at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Cooper, C.A.

    1990-01-01

    Numerical analysis is used to identify the physical phenomena associated with barometrically driven gas (air and water vapor) flow through unsaturated fractured rock at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Results from simple finite difference simulations indicate that for a fractured rock scenario, the maximum velocity of air out of an uncased 10 cm borehole is 0.002 m s -1 . An equivalent porous medium (EPM) model was incorporated into a multiphase, multicomponent simulator to test more complex conceptual models. Results indicate that for a typical June day, a diurnal pressure wave propagates about 160 m into the surrounding Tiva Canyon hydrogeologic unit. Dry air that enters the formation evaporates water around the borehole which reduces capillary pressure. Multiphase countercurrent flow develops in the vicinity of the hole; the gas phase flows into the formation while the liquid phase flows toward the borehole. The effect occurs within 0.5 m of the borehole. The amount of water vapor leaving the formation during 1 day is 900 cm 3 . This is less than 0.1% of the total recharge into the formation, suggesting that the barometric effect may be insignificant in drying the unsaturated zone. However, gas phase velocities out of the borehole (3 m s -1 ), indicating that observed flow rates from wells along the east flank of Yucca Mountain were able to be simulated with a barometric model

  3. [Characterization of historical infiltration in the unsaturated zone at the Nevada Test Site using chloride, bromide, and chlorine-36 as environmental tracers]. [Final subcontract report

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1991-01-01

    This document is an end-of-contract report, prepared by Hydro Geo Chem for Los Alamos National Laboratory under contract number 9-XDD-6329F-1. The ultimate goal of this work is to characterize historical infiltration and unsaturated flow in the Yucca Mountain area of the Nevada Test Site. Work on this contract has focused on using chloride, bromide, stable chlorine isotopes, and chlorine-36 distributions to evaluate the depth of infiltration in the unsaturated zone. Effort in support of this work has included developing analytical procedures, exploring ways in which to separate the. meteoric component from the rock component, and meeting quality assurance requirements

  4. Isotope Investigations of Groundwater Movement in a Coarse Gravel Unsaturated Zone

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Mali, N. [Geological Survey of Slovenia, Department of Hydrogeology, Ljubljana (Slovenia); Kozar-Logar, J. [Jozef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana (Slovenia); Leis, A. [Institute of Water Resources Management, Hydrogeology and Geophysics, Joanneum Research Forschungsgesellschaft mbH, Graz (Austria)

    2013-07-15

    The unsaturated zone above an aquifer serves as a water reservoir which discharges water and possible pollution to the saturated zone. This paper presents the application of oxygen-18 and tritium isotope methods in the study of groundwater transport processes in the unsaturated zone of Selniska Dobrava coarse gravel aquifer. The Selniska Dobrava gravel aquifer is an important water resource for Maribor and its surroundings, therefore the determination of transport processes in the unsaturated zone is important regarding its protection. Groundwater flow characteristics were estimated using isotopes and based on experimental work in a lysimeter. Tritium investigation results were compared with the results of long term oxygen-18 isotope investigation. In this paper the analytical approach, results and interpretation of {delta}{sup 18}O and tritium measurements in the unsaturated zone are presented. (author)

  5. Flow in the unsaturated zone around a shallow subsurface radioactive waste trench: Interpretation of an infiltration–drainage test at the Chernobyl Pilot Site

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Van Meir, N.; Gaudet, J.P.; Phrommavanh, V.; Laurent, J.P.; Bugai, D.; Biron, R.

    2012-01-01

    This article describes an infiltration–drainage test carried out in the unsaturated zone (UZ) at the Chernobyl Pilot Site during October 2008; this is an international radioecology study site and is the subject of several papers in this special issue. The test has to be seen in the larger context of radionuclide transport from a waste trench. The conducted experiment consisted of infiltrating a layer of 9.5 cm of water in a circular area of 5.51 m 2 over 5 h. Its main objective was to create a larger range of water content values (and hence suction pressure values), not only at the top of the soil profile but also at greater depths, in this case up to 1.50 m. Observations of water content and suction pressure were carried out continuously at seven different depths during infiltration, drainage and during the return to natural conditions over a period of several months. This allowed deriving UZ parameter values with greater confidence than those derived from monitoring small natural water content changes over periods of years. The experiment also shows that a 1D model was incapable of correctly reproducing the observed water balance established on the central axis. A 2D axi-symmetric model was needed showing that lateral boundary effects have to be accounted for. This implies that small scale infiltrometer tests should be analysed in more than one dimension. It further became clear from the drainage curves that soil layering played a significant role and that in the present case hysteresis did not play a major role; i.e. the infiltration and drainage event can be reproduced with the same set of parameters and subsequent natural rain events can be reproduced well enough with two numerical models used for test interpretation, one is module oriented for reactive transfer, and the second with an automatic optimisation procedure. The robustness of the estimated parameter values, of the model discretisation and layer identification was tested over a 2-month period with

  6. Investigating Unsaturated Zone Travel Times with Tritium and Stable Isotopes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Visser, A.; Thaw, M.; Van der Velde, Y.

    2017-12-01

    Travel times in the unsaturated zone are notoriously difficult to assess. Travel time tracers relying on the conservative transport of dissolved (noble) gases (tritium-helium, CFCs or SF6) are not applicable. Large water volume requirements of other cosmogenic radioactive isotopes (sulfur-35, sodium-22) preclude application in the unsaturated zone. Prior investigations have relied on models, introduced tracers, profiles of stable isotopes or tritium, or a combination of these techniques. Significant unsaturated zone travel times (UZTT) complicate the interpretation of stream water travel time tracers by ranked StorAge Selection (rSAS) functions. Close examination of rSAS functions in a sloping soil lysimeter[1] show the effect of the UZTT on the shape of the rSAS cumulative distribution function. We studied the UZTT at the Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory (SS-CZO) using profiles of tritium and stable isotopes (18O and 2H) in the unsaturated zone, supported by soil water content data. Tritium analyses require 100-500 mL of soil water and therefore large soil samples (1-5L), and elaborate laboratory procedures (oven drying, degassing and noble gas mass spectrometry). The high seasonal and interannual variability in precipitation of the Mediterranean climate, variable snow pack and high annual ET/P ratios lead to a dynamic hydrology in the deep unsaturated soils and regolith and highly variable travel time distributions. Variability of the tritium concentration in precipitation further complicates direct age estimates. Observed tritium profiles (>3 m deep) are interpreted in terms of advective and dispersive vertical transport of the input variability and radioactive decay of tritium. Significant unsaturated zone travel times corroborate previously observed low activities of short-lived cosmogenic radioactive nuclides in stream water. Under these conditions, incorporating the UZTT is critical to adequately reconstruct stream water travel time distributions. 1

  7. Reactive Transport Modeling of the Yucca Mountain Site, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    G. Bodvarsson

    2004-01-01

    The Yucca Mountain site has a dry climate and deep water table, with the repository located in the middle of an unsaturated zone approximately 600 m thick. Radionuclide transport processes from the repository to the water table are sensitive to the unsaturated zone flow field, as well as to sorption, matrix diffusion, radioactive decay, and colloid transport mechanisms. The unsaturated zone flow and transport models are calibrated against both physical and chemical data, including pneumatic pressure, liquid saturation, water potential, temperature, chloride, and calcite. The transport model predictions are further compared with testing specific to unsaturated zone transport: at Alcove 1 in the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF), at Alcove 8 and Niche 3 of the ESF, and at the Busted Butte site. The models are applied to predict the breakthroughs at the water table for nonsorbing and sorbing radionuclides, with faults shown as the important paths for radionuclide transport. Daughter products of some important radionuclides, such as 239 Pu and 241 Am, have faster transport than the parents and must be considered in the unsaturated zone transport model. Colloid transport is significantly affected by colloid size, but only negligibly affected by lunetic declogging (reverse filtering) mechanisms. Unsaturated zone model uncertainties are discussed, including the sensitivity of breakthrough to the active fracture model parameter, as an example of uncertainties related to detailed flow characteristics and fracture-matrix interaction. It is expected that additional benefits from the unsaturated zone barrier for transport can be achieved by full implementation of the shadow zone concept immediately below the radionuclide release points in the waste emplacement drifts

  8. Transient Point Infiltration In The Unsaturated Zone

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buecker-Gittel, M.; Mohrlok, U.

    The risk assessment of leaking sewer pipes gets more and more important due to urban groundwater management and environmental as well as health safety. This requires the quantification and balancing of transport and transformation processes based on the water flow in the unsaturated zone. The water flow from a single sewer leakage could be described as a point infiltration with time varying hydraulic conditions externally and internally. External variations are caused by the discharge in the sewer pipe as well as the state of the leakage itself. Internal variations are the results of microbiological clogging effects associated with the transformation processes. Technical as well as small scale laboratory experiments were conducted in order to investigate the water transport from an transient point infiltration. From the technical scale experiment there was evidence that the water flow takes place under transient conditions when sewage infiltrates into an unsaturated soil. Whereas the small scale experiments investigated the hydraulics of the water transport and the associated so- lute and particle transport in unsaturated soils in detail. The small scale experiment was a two-dimensional representation of such a point infiltration source where the distributed water transport could be measured by several tensiometers in the soil as well as by a selective measurement of the discharge at the bottom of the experimental setup. Several series of experiments were conducted varying the boundary and initial con- ditions in order to derive the important parameters controlling the infiltration of pure water from the point source. The results showed that there is a significant difference between the infiltration rate in the point source and the discharge rate at the bottom, that could be explained by storage processes due to an outflow resistance at the bottom. This effect is overlayn by a decreasing water content decreases over time correlated with a decreasing infiltration

  9. The analysis of repository-heat-driven hydrothermal flow at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1993-01-01

    To safely and permanently store high-level nuclear waste, the potential Yucca Mountain repository site must mitigate the release and transport of radionuclides for tens of thousands of years. In the failure scenario of greatest concern, water would contact the waste package (WP), accelerate its failure rate, and eventually transport radionuclides to the water table. In a concept called the ''extended-dry repository,'' decay heat arising from radioactive waste extends the time before liquid water can contact a WP. Recent modeling and theoretical advances in nonisothermal, multiphase fracture-matrix flow have demonstrated (1) the critical importance of capillary pressure disequilibrium between fracture and matrix flow, and (2) that radioactive decay heat plays a dominant role in the ability of the engineered and natural barriers to contain and isolate radionuclides. Our analyses indicate that the thermo-hydrological performance of both the unsaturated zone (UZ) and saturated zone (SZ) will be dominated by repository-heat-driven hydrothermal flow for tens of thousands of years. For thermal loads resulting in extended-dry repository conditions, UZ performance is primarily sensitive to the thermal properties and thermal loading conditions and much less sensitive to the highly spatially and temporally variable ambient hydrologic properties and conditions. The magnitude of repository-heat-driven buoyancy flow in the SZ is far more dependent on the total mass of emplaced spent nuclear fuel (SNF) than on the details of SNF emplacement, such as the Areal Power Density [(APD) expressed in kill/acre] or SNF age

  10. Investigations of the unsaturated zone at two radioactive waste disposal sites in Lithuania.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Skuratovič, Žana; Mažeika, Jonas; Petrošius, Rimantas; Martma, Tõnu

    2016-01-01

    The unsaturated zone is an important part of the water cycle, governed by many hydrological and hydrogeological factors and processes and provide water and nutrients to the terrestrial ecosystem. Besides, the soils of the unsaturated zone are regarded as the first natural barrier to a large extent and are able to limit the spread of contaminants depending on their properties. The unsaturated zone provides a linkage between atmospheric moisture, groundwater, and seepage of groundwater to streams, lakes, or other surface water bodies. The major difference between water flow in saturated and unsaturated soils is that the hydraulic conductivity, which is conventionally assumed to be a constant in saturated soils, is a function of the degree of saturation or matrix suction in the unsaturated soils. In Lithuania, low and intermediate level radioactive wastes generated from medicine, industry and research were accumulated at the Maisiagala radioactive waste repository. Short-lived low and intermediate levels radioactive waste, generated during the operation of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP) and arising after the INPP decommissioning will be disposed of in the near surface repository close to the INPP (Stabatiske site). Extensive data sets of the hydraulic properties and water content attributed to unsaturated zone soil profiles of the two radioactive waste disposal sites have been collected and summarized. Globally widespread radionuclide tritium ((3)H) and stable isotope ratio ((18)O/(16)O and (2)H/(1)H) distribution features were determined in precipitation, unsaturated zone soil moisture profiles and groundwater.

  11. Estimating the Spatial Extent of Unsaturated Zones in Heterogeneous River-Aquifer Systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schilling, Oliver S.; Irvine, Dylan J.; Hendricks Franssen, Harrie-Jan; Brunner, Philip

    2017-12-01

    The presence of unsaturated zones at the river-aquifer interface has large implications on numerous hydraulic and chemical processes. However, the hydrological and geological controls that influence the development of unsaturated zones have so far only been analyzed with simplified conceptualizations of flow processes, or homogeneous conceptualizations of the hydraulic conductivity in either the aquifer or the riverbed. We systematically investigated the influence of heterogeneous structures in both the riverbed and the aquifer on the development of unsaturated zones. A stochastic 1-D criterion that takes both riverbed and aquifer heterogeneity into account was developed using a Monte Carlo sampling technique. The approach allows the reliable estimation of the upper bound of the spatial extent of unsaturated areas underneath a riverbed. Through systematic numerical modeling experiments, we furthermore show that horizontal capillary forces can reduce the spatial extent of unsaturated zones under clogged areas. This analysis shows how the spatial structure of clogging layers and aquifers influence the propensity for unsaturated zones to develop: In riverbeds where clogged areas are made up of many small, spatially disconnected patches with a diameter in the order of 1 m, unsaturated areas are less likely to develop compared to riverbeds where large clogged areas exist adjacent to unclogged areas. A combination of the stochastic 1-D criterion with an analysis of the spatial structure of the clogging layers and the potential for resaturation can help develop an appropriate conceptual model and inform the choice of a suitable numerical simulator for river-aquifer systems.

  12. A saturated zone site-scale flow model for Yucca mountain

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Eddebbarh, Al Aziz [Los Alamos National Laboratory

    2008-01-01

    A saturated zone site-scale flow model (YMSZFM) was developed for licensing requirements for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository to incorporate recent data and analyses including recent stratigraphic and water-level data from Nye County wells, single-and multiple-well hydraulic testing data, and recent hydrochemistry data. Analyses include use of data from the 2004 transient Death Valley Regional (ground-water) Flow System (DVRFS) model, the 2003 unsaturated zone flow model, and the latest hydrogeologic framework model (HFM). This model includes: (1) the latest understanding of SZ flow, (2) enhanced model validation and uncertainty analyses, (3) improved locations and definitions of fault zones, (4) refined grid resolution (500-to 250-m grid spacing), and (5) use of new data. The flow model was completed using the three-dimensional, Finite-Element Heat and Mass Transfer computer code (FEHM). The SZ site-scale flow model was calibrated with the commercial parameter estimation code, PEST to achieve a minimum difference between observed water levels and predicted water levels, and also between volumetric/mass flow rates along specific boundary segments as supplied by the DVRFS. A total of 161 water level and head measurements with varied weights were used for calibration. A comparison between measured water-level data and the potentiometric surface yielded an RMSE of 20.7 m (weighted RMSE of 8.8 m). The calibrated model was used to generate flow paths and specific discharge predictions. Model confidence was built by comparing: (l) calculated to observed hydraulic heads, and (2) calibrated to measured permeabilities (and therefore specific discharge). In addition, flowpaths emanating from below the repository footprint are consistent with those inferred both from gradients of measured head and from independent water-chemistry data. Uncertainties in the SZ site-scale flow model were quantified because all uncertainty contributes to inaccuracy in system

  13. A saturated zone site-scale flow model for Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Eddebbarh, Al Aziz

    2008-01-01

    A saturated zone site-scale flow model (YMSZFM) was developed for licensing requirements for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository to incorporate recent data and analyses including recent stratigraphic and water-level data from Nye County wells, single-and multiple-well hydraulic testing data, and recent hydrochemistry data. Analyses include use of data from the 2004 transient Death Valley Regional (ground-water) Flow System (DVRFS) model, the 2003 unsaturated zone flow model, and the latest hydrogeologic framework model (HFM). This model includes: (1) the latest understanding of SZ flow, (2) enhanced model validation and uncertainty analyses, (3) improved locations and definitions of fault zones, (4) refined grid resolution (500-to 250-m grid spacing), and (5) use of new data. The flow model was completed using the three-dimensional, Finite-Element Heat and Mass Transfer computer code (FEHM). The SZ site-scale flow model was calibrated with the commercial parameter estimation code, PEST to achieve a minimum difference between observed water levels and predicted water levels, and also between volumetric/mass flow rates along specific boundary segments as supplied by the DVRFS. A total of 161 water level and head measurements with varied weights were used for calibration. A comparison between measured water-level data and the potentiometric surface yielded an RMSE of 20.7 m (weighted RMSE of 8.8 m). The calibrated model was used to generate flow paths and specific discharge predictions. Model confidence was built by comparing: (l) calculated to observed hydraulic heads, and (2) calibrated to measured permeabilities (and therefore specific discharge). In addition, flowpaths emanating from below the repository footprint are consistent with those inferred both from gradients of measured head and from independent water-chemistry data. Uncertainties in the SZ site-scale flow model were quantified because all uncertainty contributes to inaccuracy in system

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. Seismic response of earth dams considering dynamic properties of unsaturated zone

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ariyan M.

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available It is conventionally assumed in the analysis and design of earth dams that the soil located above the phreatic line, i.e. the uppermost seepage flow line, is completely dry. However, there is often an unsaturated flow of water through an unsaturated zone above this borderline and variation in moisture content in this zone results in variation of matric suction throughout this region. Variation of matric suction, in turn, results in variation of effective stresses in this zone. In this research, the seismic response of earth dams in terms of the displacement and acceleration at the crown of the dam as well as the stress distribution in the dam body is investigated. Taking into account the effect of unsaturated zone, a comparison is made to investigate the effect of conventional simplification in ignoring the dynamic characteristics of the unsaturated zone above the phreatic line and the more complicated analysis which includes the unsaturated zone. A function for the soil-water retention curve (SWRC was assigned to the soil in the unsaturated zone to determine the variation of matric suction in this zone and analyses were made using finite difference software (FLAC. Results are then compared to the conventional method for homogeneous dams. In these analyzes the soil shear modulus was assumed to vary with the mean effective stress both for saturated and unsaturated zones. Among various results, it was notable that the history of crest x-displacement, and acceleration show higher values in models accounting for the unsaturated region. It was attributed to the considerably lower values of damping ratio in the crest region in the unsaturated models.

  17. Quantification of groundwater recharge through application of pilot techniques in the unsaturated zone.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kallioras, Andreas; Piepenbrink, Matthias; Schuth, Christoph; Pfletschinger, Heike; Dietrich, Peter; Koeniger, Franz; Rausch, Randolf

    2010-05-01

    times as well as preferential flow paths through the unsaturated zone. The synthesis of all the aforementioned methods, is expected to result to the accurate quantification of groundwater recharge in space and time through the unsaturated zone. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The authors would like to acknowledge the cooperation between Technical University of Darmstadt (Germany), Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research-UFZ (Leipzig, Germany), GTZ-IS (Riyadh Offices, Saudi Arabia) and the Ministry of Water and Electricity-MoWE, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Funding is provided by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) through the research program IWAS (http://www.iwas-sachsen.ufz.de/).

  18. Characterization of unsaturated zone hydrogeologic units using matrix properties and depositional history in a complex volcanic environment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Flint, Lorraine E.; Buesch, David C.; Flint, Alan L.

    2006-01-01

    Characterization of the physical and unsaturated hydrologic properties of subsurface materials is necessary to calculate flow and transport for land use practices and to evaluate subsurface processes such as perched water or lateral diversion of water, which are influenced by features such as faults, fractures, and abrupt changes in lithology. Input for numerical flow models typically includes parameters that describe hydrologic properties and the initial and boundary conditions for all materials in the unsaturated zone, such as bulk density, porosity, and particle density, saturated hydraulic conductivity, moisture-retention characteristics, and field water content. We describe an approach for systematically evaluating the site features that contribute to water flow, using physical and hydraulic data collected at the laboratory scale, to provide a representative set of physical and hydraulic parameters for numerically calculating flow of water through the materials at a site. An example case study from analyses done for the heterogeneous, layered, volcanic rocks at Yucca Mountain is presented, but the general approach for parameterization could be applied at any site where depositional processes follow deterministic patterns. Hydrogeologic units at this site were defined using (i) a database developed from 5320 rock samples collected from the coring of 23 shallow (deep (500–1000 m) boreholes, (ii) lithostratigraphic boundaries and corresponding relations to porosity, (iii) transition zones with pronounced changes in properties over short vertical distances, (iv) characterization of the influence of mineral alteration on hydrologic properties such as permeability and moisture-retention characteristics, and (v) a statistical analysis to evaluate where boundaries should be adjusted to minimize the variance within layers. Model parameters developed in this study, and the relation of flow properties to porosity, can be used to produce detailed and accurate

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. Time-lapse gravity data for monitoring and modeling artificial recharge through a thick unsaturated zone

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kennedy, Jeffrey R.; Ferre, Ty P.A.; Creutzfeldt, Benjamin

    2016-01-01

    Groundwater-level measurements in monitoring wells or piezometers are the most common, and often the only, hydrologic measurements made at artificial recharge facilities. Measurements of gravity change over time provide an additional source of information about changes in groundwater storage, infiltration, and for model calibration. We demonstrate that for an artificial recharge facility with a deep groundwater table, gravity data are more sensitive to movement of water through the unsaturated zone than are groundwater levels. Groundwater levels have a delayed response to infiltration, change in a similar manner at many potential monitoring locations, and are heavily influenced by high-frequency noise induced by pumping; in contrast, gravity changes start immediately at the onset of infiltration and are sensitive to water in the unsaturated zone. Continuous gravity data can determine infiltration rate, and the estimate is only minimally affected by uncertainty in water-content change. Gravity data are also useful for constraining parameters in a coupled groundwater-unsaturated zone model (Modflow-NWT model with the Unsaturated Zone Flow (UZF) package).

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. GEOCHEMICAL AND ISOTOPIC CONSTRAINTS ON GROUND-WATER FLOW DIRECTIONS, MIXING AND RECHARGE AT YUCCA MOUNTAIN, NEVADA

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    A. Meijer; E. Kwicklis

    2000-01-01

    This analysis is governed by the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM) Analysis and Modeling Report Development Plan entitled ''Geochemical and Isotopic Constraints on Groundwater Flow Directions, Mixing and Recharge at Yucca Mountain'' (CRWMS M and O 1999a). As stated in this Development Plan, the purpose of the work is to provide an analysis of groundwater recharge rates, flow directions and velocities, and mixing proportions of water from different source areas based on groundwater geochemical and isotopic data. The analysis of hydrochemical and isotopic data is intended to provide a basis for evaluating the hydrologic system at Yucca Mountain independently of analyses based purely on hydraulic arguments. Where more than one conceptual model for flow is possible, based on existing hydraulic data, hydrochemical and isotopic data may be useful in eliminating some of these conceptual models. This report documents the use of geochemical and isotopic data to constrain rates and directions of groundwater flow near Yucca Mountain and the timing and magnitude of recharge in the Yucca Mountain vicinity. The geochemical and isotopic data are also examined with regard to the possible dilution of groundwater recharge from Yucca Mountain by mixing with groundwater downgradient from the potential repository site. Specifically, the primary tasks of this report, as listed in the AMR Development Plan (CRWMS M and O 1999a), consist of the following: (1) Compare geochemical and isotopic data for perched and pore water in the unsaturated zone with similar data from the saturated zone to determine if local recharge is present in the regional groundwater system; (2) Determine the timing of the recharge from stable isotopes such as deuterium ( 2 H) and oxygen-18 ( 18 O), which are known to vary over time as a function of climate, and from radioisotopes such as carbon-14 ( 14 C) and chlorine-36 ( 36 Cl); (3) Determine the magnitude of recharge from relatively

  5. Vertical hydrochemical profiles in the unsaturated zone of louga ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Solutions chemistry of the rainwater and the unsaturated zone interstitial water of Louga (Northern Senegal) local aquifer provide valuable ... together with chemical analysis of the interstitial water carried out through the entire unsaturated ...

  6. Characterization of Spatial Variability of Hydrogeologic Properties for Unsaturated Flow in the Fractured Rocks at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Zhou, Quanlin; Bodvarsson, Gudmundur S.; Liu, Hui-Hai; Oldenburg, Curtis M.

    2002-01-01

    The spatial variability of layer-scale hydrogeologic properties of the unsaturated zone (UZ) at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is investigated using inverse modeling. The thick UZ is grouped into five hydrostratigraphic units and further into 35 hydrogeologic layers. For each layer, lateral variability is represented by the variations in calibrated values of layer-scale properties at different individual deep boreholes. In the calibration model, matrix and fracture properties are calibrated for the one-dimensional vertical column at each individual borehole using the ITOUGH2 code. The objective function is the summation of the weighted misfits between the ambient unsaturated flow (represented by measured state variables: water saturation, water potential, and pneumatic pressure) and the simulated one in the one-dimensional flow system. The objective function also includes the weighted misfits between the calibrated properties and their prior information. Layer-scale state variables and prior rock properties are obtained from their core-scale measurements. Because of limited data, the lateral variability of three most sensitive properties (matrix permeability, matrix of the van Genuchten characterization, and fracture permeability) is calibrated, while all other properties are fixed at their calibrated layer-averaged values. Considerable lateral variability of hydrogeologic properties is obtained. For example, the lateral variability of is two to three orders of magnitude and that of and is one order of magnitude. The effect of lateral variability on site-scale flow and transport will be investigated in a future study

  7. 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

  8. Advective and diffusive contributions to reactive gas transport during pyrite oxidation in the unsaturated zone

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Binning, Philip John; Postma, Diederik Jan; Russel, T.F.

    2007-01-01

    Pyrite oxidation in unsaturated mine waste rock dumps and soils is limited by the supply of oxygen from the atmosphere. In models, oxygen transport through the subsurface is often assumed to be driven by diffusion. However, oxygen comprises 23.2% by mass of dry air, and when oxygen is consumed at...... parameters; for example, the time to approach steady state depends exponentially on the distance between the soil surface and the subsurface reactive zone. Copyright 2007 by the American Geophysical Union....... at depth in the unsaturated zone, a pressure gradient is created between the reactive zone and the ground surface, causing a substantial advective air flow into the subsurface. To determine the balance between advective and diffusive transport, a one-dimensional multicomponent unsaturated zone gas...

  9. Soil water movement in the unsaturated zone of an inland arid region: Mulched drip irrigation experiment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Han, Dongmei; Zhou, Tiantian

    2018-04-01

    Agricultural irrigation with trans-basin water diversion can effectively relieve the water paucity in arid and semi-arid regions, however, this may be accompanied by eco-environmental problems (e.g., saline soils, rising groundwater levels, water quality problems). The mechanism of soil water movement under irrigation in the unsaturated zone of arid regions is a key scientific problem that should be solved in order to evaluate agricultural water management and further improve current irrigation practices. This study investigated the impact of drip irrigation on soil water movement in the unsaturated zone of a cotton field in an inland arid region (the Karamay Agricultural Development Area), northwest China. Combining in situ observational physical data with temporal variation in stable isotopic compositions of soil water, we described the soil water flow system and mechanism in severe (Plot 1) and mild (Plot 2) saline-alkali cotton fields. The infiltration depths are 0-150 cm for both plots. Drip irrigation scheduling makes no significant contribution to local groundwater recharge, however, groundwater can move into the unsaturated zone through capillary rise during cotton flowering and boll periods. Plot 2 is less prone to having secondary soil salinization than Plot 1 due to the existence of a middle layer (approximately 100 cm thick), which elongated the distance between the root zone and aquifer. Rise in the water table (approximately 60 cm for Plot 1 and 50 cm for Plot 2) could be caused by lateral groundwater flow instead of vertical infiltration. We estimated the soil water storage changes in the unsaturated zone and proposed a conceptual model for deciphering the movement process of soil water. This study provides a scientific basis for determining the rise of groundwater levels and potential development of saline soils and improving agricultural water management in arid regions.

  10. Chemical and Isotopes study of pollutants transport through unsaturated zone in Damascus oasis (Syria)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Abou Zakhem, B.; Hafez, R.

    2011-08-01

    The primary objectives of this study were to determine the hydrochemical and isotopic characteristics of groundwater and to study vertical transport processes for trace elements through the unsaturated zone, from the surface water into the groundwater system. A third objective is to identifying the importance of the unsaturated zone in protecting groundwater from contamination. Distribution of trace elements, including Cu, Pb, Cr, Cd, Zn and As in the soil with depth were studied. Mineralogy was investigated using X-Ray diffraction techniques and granulometry in three drilled soil profile (KA, KB and KS) in Damascus Oasis, which indicated that the soil consists mainly of calcite, a mineral that has the ability to bind some of the trace elements. Measurement of nitrate concentrations in groundwater permitted an investigation of the urban, industrial and agricultural pollution in the Oasis, in particular, in the eastern part of Damascus city and in the north of Oasis where the irrigation by treated wastewater is applied. Depending on the chemical characteristics of the studied trace elements and soil conditions, these elements have high concentrations in the upper part of the soil (20-30 cm depth), due to absorption by clay minerals and organic matter. These high concentrations represent pollution by leather industries (tannery) in the area. The trace element concentrations decrease towards the east in parallel with river flow direction. The lower part of profiles show low trace element concentrations, below the international permitted limit. The low concentrations of trace elements in groundwater which are also below the international limit, indicates no pollution is presented. The isotopic composition of shallow groundwater indicates the underground recharge, originated from the Anti-Lebanon Mountain, is more significant than the direct recharge through unsaturated zone. It is concluded the unsaturated zone and the decrease of groundwater levels have played an

  11. Isotope studies of a thick unsaturated zone in a semi-arid area of Southern Africa

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Butler, M.J.; Verhagen, B.Th.

    2001-01-01

    Unsaturated zone profiles ranging in depth from 8 m to 22 m were obtained by hand augering an aeolian sand cover in the southern reaches of the semi-arid Kalahari thirstland. Moisture contents were rather low (<3 wt.%); in situ moisture chloride concentrations, measured by selective ion electrode following elutriation, are generally <500 ppm. Deuterium in the moisture was measured mass spectrometrically by direct quantitative conversion to hydrogen on zinc metal of moist soil samples. A novel technique of direct equilibration was developed for oxygen-18 analysis. Neither a thermonuclear tritium peak nor a stable isotope evaporation inversion near the surface could be observed in any of the profiles. Remarkable differences both laterally and vertically are observed in most parameters measured between profiles taken a few tens of metres apart. At greater depths, these differences become less pronounced. Recharge estimates based on chloride differ markedly from those obtained from tritium. Although the stable isotope values of the underlying saturated zone are similar to moisture in the deeper sections of the unsaturated zone profiles, the markedly lower chloride concentrations point towards preferential or bypass flow as an important mechanism of ground water recharge in the area. This can be regarded as a benchmark site on account of the wealth of unsaturated zone data as well as the detailed and ongoing rainfall record. (author)

  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. 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

  14. The impact of thermal loading on repository performance at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1992-01-01

    This paper reports that in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, liquid flow along preferential fracture pathways is the only credible mechanism capable of bringing water to waste packages and transporting radionuclides to the water table. Three categories of features or mechanisms will mitigate the impact of flow along preferential fracture pathways: discontinuity in fracture pathways, liquid-phase dispersion in fracture networks, and fracture-matrix interaction. For repository areal power densities (APDs) that are too low to result in significant boiling or rock dry-out effects, the primary mode of fracture-matrix interaction is matrix imbibition. For high APDs, boiling and enhanced matrix imbibition due to rock dry-out significantly add to the capacity of the unsaturated zone to retard fracture-dominated flow

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. Volatile organic compounds in the unsaturated zone from radioactive wastes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baker, Ronald J.; Andraski, Brian J.; Stonestrom, David A.; Luo, Wentai

    2012-01-01

    Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are often comingled with low-level radioactive wastes (LLRW), but little is known about subsurface VOC emanations from LLRW landfills. The current study systematically quantified VOCs associated with LLRW over an 11-yr period at the USGS Amargosa Desert Research Site (ADRS) in southwestern Nevada. Unsaturated-zone gas samples of VOCs were collected by adsorption on resin cartridges and analyzed by thermal desorption and GC/MS. Sixty of 87 VOC method analytes were detected in the 110-m-thick unsaturated zone surrounding a LLRW disposal facility. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were detected in 100% of samples collected. Chlorofluorocarbons are powerful greenhouse gases, deplete stratospheric ozone, and are likely released from LLRW facilities worldwide. Soil-gas samples collected from a depth of 24 m and a horizontal distance 100 m south of the nearest waste-disposal trench contained >60,000 ppbv total VOCs, including >37,000 ppbv CFCs. Extensive sampling in the shallow unsaturated zone (0–2 m deep) identified areas where total VOC concentrations exceeded 5000 ppbv at the 1.5-m depth. Volatile organic compound concentrations exceeded background levels up to 300 m from the facility. Maximum vertical diffusive fluxes of total VOCs were estimated to be 1 g m-2 yr-1. Volatile organic compound distributions were similar but not identical to those previously determined for tritium and elemental mercury. To our knowledge, this study is the first to characterize the unsaturated zone distribution of VOCs emanating from a LLRW landfill. Our results may help explain anomalous transport of radionuclides at the ADRS and elsewhere.

  18. 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

  19. Investigation of Vertical Migration of Pollutants through the Unsaturated Zone Using Stable Isotopes and Trace Elements

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ahmed, M.A.

    2012-01-01

    Vertical migration of pollutants through unsaturated zone is a complicated process and is affected by a number of factors like type of soil, its chemical properties, or organic matter content, in addition to climatic conditions and biological activity of microorganisms in soil. Soil properties that influence water movement through unsaturated zone are important for determining flow paths, reactions between soil and pollutants and the ultimate destination of these pollutants, and may improve the diagnosis of the potential pollution risk. Three soil cores were sampled to a depth up to 100 cm from cultivated clayey soil, sewage irrigated sandy soil and fertilized sandy soil. The samples were collected at intervals of 5 or 10 cm. The δ 13 C signature of the soil shifted significantly towards that of C 3 -type vegetation in soil cores. The general trend toward heavier 13 C enrichment with depth could be due to isotopic fractionation occurring during decomposition of soil organic matters. Increased δ 15 N with depth in the soil cores suggests that microbial mineralization, denitrification, or volatilization processes caused the enriched δ 15 N signatures. Decreasing nitrogen percent and nitrate values with depth also help support the idea of microbiological processes. The results indicate that concentrations of major and trace elements varied widely among the different soil types and decreased with depths in the studied soil profile. The accumulation pattern for these elements in the soil profiles follows the order: Co < Ni < Mo < Ag < Sr < V < Cu < Cr < Zn < Mn < B < Mg < Al < Fe. The relationships between element concentrations against ph and organic matter contents show antithetical relationships and suggest evidence that these elements arise from anthropogenic input. The results of this study show that there exists risk for the environment due to notable migration of pollutants through the unsaturated zone and that the migrations were also observed to be highly

  20. A set of constitutive relationships accounting for residual NAPL in the unsaturated zone.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wipfler, E L; van der Zee, S E

    2001-07-01

    Although laboratory experiments show that non-aqueous phase liquid (NAPL) is retained in the unsaturated zone, no existing multiphase flow model has been developed to account for residual NAPL after NAPL drainage in the unsaturated zone. We developed a static constitutive set of saturation-capillary pressure relationships for water, NAPL and air that accounts for both this residual NAPL and entrapped NAPL. The set of constitutive relationships is formulated similarly to the set of scaled relationships that is frequently applied in continuum models. The new set consists of three fluid-phase systems: a three-phase system and a two-phase system, that both comply with the original constitutive model, and a newly introduced residual NAPL system. The new system can be added relatively easily to the original two- and three-phase systems. Entrapment is included in the model. The constitutive relationships of the non-drainable residual NAPL system are based on qualitative fluid behavior derived from a pore scale model. The pore scale model reveals that the amount of residual NAPL depends on the spreading coefficient and the water saturation. Furthermore, residual NAPL is history-dependent. At the continuum scale, a critical NAPL pressure head defines the transition from free, mobile NAPL to residual NAPL. Although the Pc-S relationships for water and total liquid are not independent in case of residual NAPL, two two-phase Pc-S relations can represent a three-phase residual system of Pc-S relations. A newly introduced parameter, referred to as the residual oil pressure head, reflects the mutual dependency of water and oil. Example calculations show consistent behavior of the constitutive model. Entrapment and retention in the unsaturated zone cooperate to retain NAPL. Moreover, the results of our constitutive model are in agreement with experimental observations.

  1. Effects of Unsaturated Zones on Baseflow Recession: Analytical Solution and Application

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhan, H.; Liang, X.; Zhang, Y. K.

    2017-12-01

    Unsaturated flow is an important process in baseflow recessions and its effect is rarely investigated. A mathematical model for a coupled unsaturated-saturated flow in a horizontally unconfined aquifer with time-dependent infiltrations is presented. Semi-analytical solutions for hydraulic heads and discharges are derived using Laplace transform and Cosine transform. The solutions are compared with solutions of the linearized Boussinesq equation (LB solution) and the linearized Laplace equation (LL solution), respectively. The result indicates that a larger dimensionless constitutive exponent κD of the unsaturated zone leads to a smaller discharge during the infiltration period and a larger discharge after the infiltration. The lateral discharge of the unsaturated zone is significant when κD≤1, and becomes negligible when κD≥100. For late times, the power index b of the recession curve-dQ/dt aQb, is 1 and independent of κD, where Q is the baseflow and a is a constant lumped aquifer parameter. For early times, b is approximately equal to 3 but it approaches infinity when t→1. The present solution is applied to synthetic and field cases. The present solution matched the synthetic data better than both the LL and LB solutions, with a minimum relative error of 16% for estimate of hydraulic conductivity. The present solution was applied to the observed streamflow discharge in Iowa, and the estimated values of the aquifer parameters were reasonable.

  2. Modeling Raw Sewage Leakage and Transport in the Unsaturated Zone of Carbonate Aquifer Using Carbamazepine as an Indicator

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yakirevich, A.; Kuznetsov, M.; Livshitz, Y.; Gasser, G.; Pankratov, I.; Lev, O.; Adar, E.; Dvory, N. Z.

    2016-12-01

    Fast contamination of groundwater in karstic aquifers can be caused due to leaky sewers, for example, or overflow from sewer networks. When flowing through a karst system, wastewater has the potential to reach the aquifer in a relatively short time. The Western Mountain Aquifer (Yarkon-Taninim) of Israel is one of the country's major water resources. During late winter 2013, maintenance actions were performed on a central sewage pipe that caused raw sewage to leak into the creek located in the study area. The subsequent infiltration of sewage through the thick ( 100 m) fractured/karst unsaturated zone led to a sharp increase in contaminant concentrations in the groundwater, which was monitored in a well located 29 meters from the center of the creek. Carbamazepine (CBZ) was used as an indicator for the presence of untreated raw sewage and its quantification in groundwater. The ultimate research goal was to develop a mathematical model for quantifying flow and contaminant transport processes in the fractured-porous unsaturated zone and karstified groundwater system. A quasi-3D dual permeability numerical model, representing the 'vadose zone - aquifer' system, was developed by a series of 1D equations solved in variably-saturated zone and by 3D-saturated flow and transport equation in groundwater. The 1D and 3D equations were coupled at the moving phreatic surface. The model was calibrated and applied to a simulated water flow scenario and CBZ transport during and after the observed sewage leakage event. The results of simulation showed that after the leakage stopped, significant amounts of CBZ were retained in the porous matrix of the unsaturated zone below the creek. Water redistribution and slow recharge during the dry summer season contributed to elevated CBZ concentrations in the groundwater in the vicinity of the creek and tens of meters downstream. The resumption of autumn rains enhanced flushing of CBZ from the unsaturated zone and led to an increase in

  3. Environmental isotope profiles of the soil water in loess unsaturated zone in semi-arid areas of china

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lin Ruifen; Wei Keqin

    2001-01-01

    According to the IAEA Research Contract No. 9402, soil cores CHN/97 and CHN/98 were taken from loess deposits of China in Inner-Mongolia and Shanxi Province, respectively. Isotope and chemical constituents of the interstitial water from these cores, compared with data obtained from the same places before, were used for estimating the infiltration rate. Tritium profiles from the loess unsaturated zone show clearly defined peaks of 1963 fallout. It implies that piston-flow model is the dominant process for soil water movement in the highly homogeneous loess deposits. It has been shown from this study that vertical infiltration through the unsaturated zone accounts for 12%-13% of the annual precipitation and perhaps is not the main mechanism of groundwater recharge in semi-arid loess areas. (author)

  4. Numerical modeling for saturated-zone groundwater travel time analysis at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Arnold, B.W.; Barr, G.E.

    1996-01-01

    A three-dimensional, site-scale numerical model of groundwater flow in the saturated zone at Yucca Mountain was constructed and linked to particle tracking simulations to produce an estimate of the distribution of groundwater travel times from the potential repository to the boundary of the accessible environment. This effort and associated modeling of groundwater travel times in the unsaturated zone were undertaken to aid in the evaluation of compliance of the site with 10CFR960. These regulations stipulate that pre-waste-emplacement groundwater travel time to the accessible environment shall exceed 1,000 years along any path of likely and significant radionuclide travel

  5. Data Qualification Report: Precipitation Chloride Data for Use on the Yucca Mountain Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    C. Wilson

    2000-01-01

    The data covered by this qualification report have been cited in analysis/model reports (AMRs) to support the Site Recommendation in determining the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a repository for high level nuclear waste. Those analyses cited both qualified and unqualified hydrochemical data. This report evaluates unqualified precipitation chloride data based on the pedigree of the data and within the context of supporting analyses on the Yucca Mountain Project (YMP). The following AMRs use the unqualified chloride data considered in this report: (1) AMR S0040, ''Geochemical and Isotopic Constraints on Groundwater Flow Directions, Mixing and Recharge at Yucca Mountain'' (ANL-NBS-HS-000021) (Kwicklis 2000)--an analysis of groundwater recharge rates, flow directions and velocities, and mixing proportions of water from different source areas based on groundwater geochemical and isotopic data. (2) AMR U0085, ''Analysis of Geochemical Data for the Unsaturated Zone'' (ANL-NBS-HS-000017) (Fabryka-Martin 2000)--identifies fluid geochemical parameters for the unsaturated zone, local precipitation, and surface water; discusses the occurrence and origins of fracture minerals; and presents a thermal history of the unsaturated zone. These data are being evaluated for inclusion in technical products to include AMRs and Process Modeling Reports (PMRs) that support the Site Recommendation and that may also be used to support the License Application. A finding that the precipitation chloride data are qualified means that the data are adequate for generalized use and can be appropriately used in a wide variety of applications, so long as consideration is given to limitations on the accuracy, precision and representativeness of the data for an intended use in a technical product

  6. Analyzing Unsaturated Flow Patterns in Fractured Rock Using an Integrated Modeling Approach

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Y.S. Wu; G. Lu; K. Zhang; L. Pan; G.S. Bodvarsson

    2006-01-01

    Characterizing percolation patterns in unsaturated fractured rock has posed a greater challenge to modeling investigations than comparable saturated zone studies, because of the heterogeneous nature of unsaturated media and the great number of variables impacting unsaturated flow. This paper presents an integrated modeling methodology for quantitatively characterizing percolation patterns in the unsaturated zone of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, a proposed underground repository site for storing high-level radioactive waste. The modeling approach integrates a wide variety of moisture, pneumatic, thermal, and isotopic geochemical field data into a comprehensive three-dimensional numerical model for modeling analyses. It takes into account the coupled processes of fluid and heat flow and chemical isotopic transport in Yucca Mountain's highly heterogeneous, unsaturated fractured tuffs. Modeling results are examined against different types of field-measured data and then used to evaluate different hydrogeological conceptualizations and their results of flow patterns in the unsaturated zone. In particular, this model provides a much clearer understanding of percolation patterns and flow behavior through the unsaturated zone, both crucial issues in assessing repository performance. The integrated approach for quantifying Yucca Mountain's flow system is demonstrated to provide a practical modeling tool for characterizing flow and transport processes in complex subsurface systems

  7. Ground-water travel time calculations for the potential nuclear repository site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Younker, J.L.; Wilson, W.E.; Sinnock, S.

    1986-01-01

    In support of the US Department of Energy Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations Project, ground-water travel times were calculated for flow paths in both the saturated and unsaturated zones at Yucca Mountain, a potential site for a high-level radioactive waste repository in southern Nevada. The calculations were made through a combined effort by Science Applications International Corporation, Sandia National Laboratories, and the US Geological Survey. Travel times in the unsaturated zone were estimated by dividing the flow path length by the ground-water velocity, where velocities were obtained by dividing the vertical flux by the effective porosity of the rock types along assumed vertical flow paths. Saturated zone velocities were obtained by dividing the product of the bulk hydraulic conductivity and hydraulic gradient by the effective porosity. Total travel time over an EPA-established 5-km flow path was then calculated to be the sum of the travel times in the two parts of the flow path. Estimates of ground water fluxes and travel times are critical for evaluating the favorability of the Yucca Mountain site because they provide the basis for estimating the potential for radionuclides to reach the accessible environment within certain time limits

  8. Physical and chemical characteristics of topographically affected airflow in an open borehole at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Thorstenson, D.C.; Woodward, J.C.; Weeks, E.P.; Haas, H.

    1989-01-01

    Borehole UZ6S, on the crest of Yucca Mountain, Nevada Test Site, has exhaled approximately 10 6 m 3 of gas annually during winter months for three successive years. The flow arises from thermal-topographic effects. The average composition of the exhausted gas is: N 2 = 78%, O 2 = 21%, Ar = 0.94%, CO 2 = 0.125%, and CH 4 = 0.2 ppMv. The CO 2 has the following isotopic signature: 14 C = 108.5 percent modern carbon (pmc), and δ 13 C = 17.1 permil. In the thirty-month observation period, there has been a net flux to the atmosphere of approximately 40 m 3 of liquid water and 1150 kg of carbon. The gas flowing from UZ6S appears to originate in the soil and/or shallow unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain crest. 25 refs., 6 figs., 4 tabs

  9. Metamodeling and mapping of nitrate flux in the unsaturated zone and groundwater, Wisconsin, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nolan, Bernard T.; Green, Christopher T.; Juckem, Paul F.; Liao, Lixia; Reddy, James E.

    2018-01-01

    Nitrate contamination of groundwater in agricultural areas poses a major challenge to the sustainability of water resources. Aquifer vulnerability models are useful tools that can help resource managers identify areas of concern, but quantifying nitrogen (N) inputs in such models is challenging, especially at large spatial scales. We sought to improve regional nitrate (NO3−) input functions by characterizing unsaturated zone NO3− transport to groundwater through use of surrogate, machine-learning metamodels of a process-based N flux model. The metamodels used boosted regression trees (BRTs) to relate mappable landscape variables to parameters and outputs of a previous “vertical flux method” (VFM) applied at sampled wells in the Fox, Wolf, and Peshtigo (FWP) river basins in northeastern Wisconsin. In this context, the metamodels upscaled the VFM results throughout the region, and the VFM parameters and outputs are the metamodel response variables. The study area encompassed the domain of a detailed numerical model that provided additional predictor variables, including groundwater recharge, to the metamodels. We used a statistical learning framework to test a range of model complexities to identify suitable hyperparameters of the six BRT metamodels corresponding to each response variable of interest: NO3− source concentration factor (which determines the local NO3− input concentration); unsaturated zone travel time; NO3− concentration at the water table in 1980, 2000, and 2020 (three separate metamodels); and NO3− “extinction depth”, the eventual steady state depth of the NO3−front. The final metamodels were trained to 129 wells within the active numerical flow model area, and considered 58 mappable predictor variables compiled in a geographic information system (GIS). These metamodels had training and cross-validation testing R2 values of 0.52 – 0.86 and 0.22 – 0.38, respectively, and predictions were compiled as maps of the above

  10. Metamodeling and mapping of nitrate flux in the unsaturated zone and groundwater, Wisconsin, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nolan, Bernard T.; Green, Christopher T.; Juckem, Paul F.; Liao, Lixia; Reddy, James E.

    2018-04-01

    Nitrate contamination of groundwater in agricultural areas poses a major challenge to the sustainability of water resources. Aquifer vulnerability models are useful tools that can help resource managers identify areas of concern, but quantifying nitrogen (N) inputs in such models is challenging, especially at large spatial scales. We sought to improve regional nitrate (NO3-) input functions by characterizing unsaturated zone NO3- transport to groundwater through use of surrogate, machine-learning metamodels of a process-based N flux model. The metamodels used boosted regression trees (BRTs) to relate mappable landscape variables to parameters and outputs of a previous "vertical flux method" (VFM) applied at sampled wells in the Fox, Wolf, and Peshtigo (FWP) river basins in northeastern Wisconsin. In this context, the metamodels upscaled the VFM results throughout the region, and the VFM parameters and outputs are the metamodel response variables. The study area encompassed the domain of a detailed numerical model that provided additional predictor variables, including groundwater recharge, to the metamodels. We used a statistical learning framework to test a range of model complexities to identify suitable hyperparameters of the six BRT metamodels corresponding to each response variable of interest: NO3- source concentration factor (which determines the local NO3- input concentration); unsaturated zone travel time; NO3- concentration at the water table in 1980, 2000, and 2020 (three separate metamodels); and NO3- "extinction depth", the eventual steady state depth of the NO3- front. The final metamodels were trained to 129 wells within the active numerical flow model area, and considered 58 mappable predictor variables compiled in a geographic information system (GIS). These metamodels had training and cross-validation testing R2 values of 0.52 - 0.86 and 0.22 - 0.38, respectively, and predictions were compiled as maps of the above response variables. Testing

  11. US Geological Survey Committee for the Advancement of Science in the Yucca Mountain Project symposium on open-quotes Fractures, Hydrology, and Yucca Mountainclose quotes: Abstracts and summary

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gomberg, J.

    1991-01-01

    The principal objective of this symposium is to review the available information on fractured/faulted terrains in terms of a coherent hydrogeologic model of ground-water fluid flow and transport, particularly as it pertains to the Yucca Mountain region. This review addresses the influence and significance of fractures on ground-water flow and the transport of conservative-species solutes within the context of the hydrogeologic setting of the Yucca Mountain area. The relations between fluid flow and fractured or faulted host rock are examined integrally from information on geologic, seismologic, hydrologic, and geomechanical properties of the system. The development of new hydrogeologic approaches that incorporate information from this integrated database are contrasted with more standard approaches toward understanding flow in fractured reservoirs. Ground-water flow in both the unsaturated zone and the saturated zone are considered. The application of various models of flow is addressed, examples include porous-media equivalent and discontinuum fracture-network models. Data and interpretations from the Yucca Mountain area are presented to establish a context for information exchange. The symposium includes discussions relevant to technical considerations for characterizing the Yucca Mountain area hydrogeology. On the basis of these discussions, CASY has compiled this document in order to formally summarize the proceedings and communicate recommendations for future directions of research and investigation

  12. A study on in-situ measuring method and modeling technique of an unsaturated zone

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Imai, Hisashi [Hazama Corp., Tsukuba, Ibaraki (Japan). Technical Research Inst.; Amemiya, Kiyoshi; Nishida, Kaoru; Lin, Weiren; Lei, Xinglin

    1997-03-01

    It is generally considered that an unsaturated zone is generated in the vicinity of a drift after excavation. In such a zone, invasion of air containing oxygen possibly changes geochemical environment (redox condition) of the rock mass. However, no measurement technique for quantitative understanding of this unsaturated zone is currently available. This study has been started to develop the measuring method in the several years. This year, fundamental information has been obtained through analysis, laboratory experiments using homogeneous rock samples and field measurement described below. (1) experiments on the mechanism of undersaturation in rock. (2) experiments on the measuring method of the extend of unsaturated zone. (author)

  13. 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

  14. Vinasse application to sugar cane fields. Effect on the unsaturated zone and groundwater at Valle del Cauca (Colombia).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ortegón, Gloria Páez; Arboleda, Fernando Muñoz; Candela, Lucila; Tamoh, Karim; Valdes-Abellan, Javier

    2016-01-01

    Extensive application of vinasse, a subproduct from sugar cane plantations for bioethanol production, is currently taking place as a source of nutrients that forms part of agricultural management in different agroclimatic regions. Liquid vinasse composition is characterised by high variability of organic compounds and major ions, acid pH (4.7), high TDS concentration (117,416-599,400mgL(-1)) and elevated EC (14,350-64,099μScm(-1)). A large-scale sugar cane field application is taking place in Valle del Cauca (Colombia), where monitoring of soil, unsaturated zone and the aquifer underneath has been made since 2006 to evaluate possible impacts on three experimental plots. For this assessment, monitoring wells and piezometers were installed to determine groundwater flow and water samples were collected for chemical analysis. In the unsaturated zone, tensiometers were installed at different depths to determine flow patterns, while suction lysimeters were used for water sample chemical determinations. The findings show that in the sandy loam plot (Hacienda Real), the unsaturated zone is characterised by low water retention, showing a high transport capacity, while the other two plots of silty composition presented temporal saturation due to La Niña event (2010-2011). The strong La Niña effect on aquifer recharge which would dilute the infiltrated water during the monitoring period and, on the other hand dissolution of possible precipitated salts bringing them back into solution may occur. A slight increase in the concentration of major ions was observed in groundwater (~5% of TDS), which can be attributed to a combination of factors: vinasse dilution produced by water input and hydrochemical processes along with nutrient removal produced by sugar cane uptake. This fact may make the aquifer vulnerable to contamination. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. Sensitivity and uncertainty analyses of unsaturated flow travel time in the CHnz unit of Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1991-10-01

    This report documents the results of sensitivity and uncertainty analyses conducted to improve understanding of unsaturated zone ground-water travel time distribution at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The US Department of Energy (DOE) is currently performing detailed studies at Yucca Mountain to determine its suitability as a host for a geologic repository for the containment of high-level nuclear wastes. As part of these studies, DOE is conducting a series of Performance Assessment Calculational Exercises, referred to as the PACE problems. The work documented in this report represents a part of the PACE-90 problems that addresses the effects of natural barriers of the site that will stop or impede the long-term movement of radionuclides from the potential repository to the accessible environment. In particular, analyses described in this report were designed to investigate the sensitivity of the ground-water travel time distribution to different input parameters and the impact of uncertainty associated with those input parameters. Five input parameters were investigated in this study: recharge rate, saturated hydraulic conductivity, matrix porosity, and two curve-fitting parameters used for the van Genuchten relations to quantify the unsaturated moisture-retention and hydraulic characteristics of the matrix. 23 refs., 20 figs., 10 tabs

  2. 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

  3. Three-Dimensional Radionuclide Transport Through the Unsaturated Zone of the Yucca Mountain Site 3 Colloids

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    G. J. Moridis; Y. Seol

    2007-01-01

    The authors investigated colloid transport in the unsaturated fractured zone by means of three-dimensional site-scale numerical model under present-day climate infiltration, considering varying colloid diameters, kinetic declogging, and filtration. The radionuclide transport model was used to simulate continuous release of colloids into fractures throughout the proposed repository, in which any components of engineered barrier system such as waste package or drip shield were not considered. the results of the study indicate the importance of 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 simulations indicate that (1) colloid transport is not significantly affected by varying the filtration parameters, (2) travel time to the water table decreases with the colloid size, (3) larger colloids show little retardation whereas very small ones are retarded significantly, and (4) fracture filtration can have an impact on transport. Because of uncertainties in the fundamentals of colloid transport and an extremely conservative approach (based on an improbably adverse worst-case scenario), caution should be exercised in the analysis and interpretation of the 3-D simulation results. The results discussed here should be viewed as an attempt to identify and evaluate the mechanisms, processes, and geological features that control colloidal transport

  4. 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

  5. The impact of thermal loading on repository performance at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1992-01-01

    In the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, liquid flow along preferential fracture pathways is the only credible mechanism capable of bringing water to waste packages and transporting radionuclide to the water table. Three categories of features or mechanisms will mitigate the impact of flow along preferential fracture pathways: (1) discontinuity in fracture pathways, (2) liquid-phase dispersion in fracture networks, and (3) fracture-matrix interaction. For repository areal power densities (APDs) that are too low to result in significant boiling or rock dry-out effects, the primary mode of fracture-matrix interaction is matrix imbibition. For high APDs, boiling and enhanced matrix imbibition due to rock dry-out significantly add to the capacity of the unsaturated zone to retard fracture-dominated flow. With the use of V-TOUGH code, hydrothermal flow calculations are made for a range of APDs and spent fuel ages. For APD > 20 kW/acre, repository-heat-generated flow of vapor and liquid in fractures is found to dominate the ambient hydrological system. For high APDs, boiling conditions can persist for 10,000 yr or longer and rock-dry benefits for at least 100,000 yr

  6. Isotopic composition of water in a deep unsaturated zone beside a radioactive-waste disposal area near Beatty, Nevada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stonestrom, David A.; Prudic, David E.; Striegl, Robert G.; Morganwalp, David W.; Buxton, Herbert T.

    1999-01-01

    The isotopic composition of water in deep unsaturated zones is of interest because it provides information relevant to hydrologic processes and contaminant migration. Profiles of oxygen-18 (18O), deuterium (D), and tritium (3H) from a 110-meter deep unsaturated zone, together with data on the isotopic composition of ground water and modern-day precipitation, are interpreted in the context of water-content, water-potential, and pore-gas profiles. At depths greater than about three meters, water vapor and liquid water are in approximate equilibrium with respect to D and 18O. The vapor-phase concentrations of D and 18O have remained stable through repeated samplings. Vapor-phase 3H concentrations have generally increased with time, requiring synchronous sampling of liquid and vapor to assess equilibrium. Below 30 meters, concentrations of D and 18O in pore water become approximately equal to the composition of ground water, which is isotopically lighter than modern precipitation and has a carbon-14 (14C) concentration of about 26 percent modern carbon. These data indicate that net gradients driving fluxes of water, gas, and heat are directed upwards for undisturbed conditions at the Amargosa Desert Research Site (ADRS). Superimposed on the upward-directed flow field, tritium is migrating away from waste in response to gradients in tritium concentrations.

  7. Hydrologic evaluation methodology for estimating water movement through the unsaturated zone at commercial low-level radioactive waste disposal sites

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Meyer, P.D.; Rockhold, M.L.; Nichols, W.E.; Gee, G.W.

    1996-01-01

    This report identifies key technical issues related to hydrologic assessment of water flow in the unsaturated zone at low-level radioactive waste (LLW) disposal facilities. In addition, a methodology for incorporating these issues in the performance assessment of proposed LLW disposal facilities is identified and evaluated. The issues discussed fall into four areas: estimating the water balance at a site (i.e., infiltration, runoff, water storage, evapotranspiration, and recharge); analyzing the hydrologic performance of engineered components of a facility; evaluating the application of models to the prediction of facility performance; and estimating the uncertainty in predicted facility performance. To illustrate the application of the methodology, two examples are presented. The first example is of a below ground vault located in a humid environment. The second example looks at a shallow land burial facility located in an arid environment. The examples utilize actual site-specific data and realistic facility designs. The two examples illustrate the issues unique to humid and arid sites as well as the issues common to all LLW sites. Strategies for addressing the analytical difficulties arising in any complex hydrologic evaluation of the unsaturated zone are demonstrated

  8. Hydrologic evaluation methodology for estimating water movement through the unsaturated zone at commercial low-level radioactive waste disposal sites

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Meyer, P.D.; Rockhold, M.L.; Nichols, W.E.; Gee, G.W. [Pacific Northwest Lab., Richland, WA (United States)

    1996-01-01

    This report identifies key technical issues related to hydrologic assessment of water flow in the unsaturated zone at low-level radioactive waste (LLW) disposal facilities. In addition, a methodology for incorporating these issues in the performance assessment of proposed LLW disposal facilities is identified and evaluated. The issues discussed fall into four areas: estimating the water balance at a site (i.e., infiltration, runoff, water storage, evapotranspiration, and recharge); analyzing the hydrologic performance of engineered components of a facility; evaluating the application of models to the prediction of facility performance; and estimating the uncertainty in predicted facility performance. To illustrate the application of the methodology, two examples are presented. The first example is of a below ground vault located in a humid environment. The second example looks at a shallow land burial facility located in an arid environment. The examples utilize actual site-specific data and realistic facility designs. The two examples illustrate the issues unique to humid and arid sites as well as the issues common to all LLW sites. Strategies for addressing the analytical difficulties arising in any complex hydrologic evaluation of the unsaturated zone are demonstrated.

  9. 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

  10. Stochastic estimation and simulation of heterogeneities important for transport of contaminants in the unsaturated zone

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Kitteroed, Nils-Otto

    1997-12-31

    The background for this thesis was the increasing risk of contamination of water resources and the requirement of groundwater protection. Specifically, the thesis implements procedures to estimate and simulate observed heterogeneities in the unsaturated zone and evaluates what impact the heterogeneities may have on the water flow. The broad goal was to establish a reference model with high spatial resolution within a small area and to condition the model using spatially frequent field observations, and the Moreppen site at Oslo`s new major airport was used for this purpose. An approach is presented for the use of ground penetrating radar in which indicator kriging is used to estimate continuous stratigraphical architecture. Kriging is also used to obtain 3D images of soil moisture. A simulation algorithm based on the Karhunen-Loeve expansion is evaluated and a modification of the Karhunen-Loeve simulation is suggested that makes it possible to increase the size of the simulation lattice. This is obtained by kriging interpolation of the eigenfunctions. 250 refs., 40 figs., 7 tabs.

  11. Release of radon contaminants from Yucca Mountain: The role of buoyancy driven flow

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sullivan, T.M.; Pescatore, C.

    1994-02-01

    The potential for the repository heat source to promote buoyancy driven flow and thereby cause release of radon gas out of Yucca Mountain has been examined through a critical review of the theoretical and experimental studies of this process. The review indicates that steady-state buoyancy enhanced release of natural radon and other contaminant gases should not be a major concern at Yucca Mountain. Barometric pumping and wind pumping are identified as two processes that will have a potentially greater effect on surface releases of gases

  12. Water transport monitoring in an unsaturated zone – Case study: lysimeter Selniška dobrava (Slovenia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nina Mali

    2002-12-01

    Full Text Available Pollution transport in an aquifer depends on its structure, upper unsaturated zone and lower saturated zone. In order to understand processes in the unsaturated zone, several hydrogeological field measurements must be done. A field laboratory- lysimeter in Selni{kadobrava was installed for the improvement of field measurements, and explanation of the parameters and processes in the unsaturated zone. The problems, which can be solved by means of investigations in a lysimeter, are defined in this paper. Described are also:concept of investigation planning, construction and equipment of the lysimeter, measurements of unsaturated zone parameters and processes, water sampling for physical, chemical and isotope analysis.

  13. 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

  14. Oxygenated gasoline release in the unsaturated zone - Part 1: Source zone behavior.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Freitas, Juliana G; Barker, James F

    2011-11-01

    Oxygenates present in gasoline, such as ethanol and MTBE, are a concern in subsurface contamination related to accidental spills. While gasoline hydrocarbon compounds have low solubility, MTBE and ethanol are more soluble, ethanol being completely miscible with water. Consequently, their fate in the subsurface is likely to differ from that of gasoline. To evaluate the fate of gasoline containing oxygenates following a release in the unsaturated zone shielded from rainfall/recharge, a controlled field test was performed at Canadian Forces Base Borden, in Ontario. 200L of a mixture composed of gasoline with 10% ethanol and 4.5% MTBE was released in the unsaturated zone, into a trench 20cm deep, about 32cm above the water table. Based on soil cores, most of the ethanol was retained in the source, above the capillary fringe, and remained there for more than 100 days. Ethanol partitioned from the gasoline to the unsaturated pore-water and was retained, despite the thin unsaturated zone at the site (~35cm from the top of the capillary fringe to ground surface). Due to its lower solubility, most of the MTBE remained within the NAPL as it infiltrated deeper into the unsaturated zone and accumulated with the gasoline on top of the depressed capillary fringe. Only minor changes in the distribution of ethanol were noted following oscillations in the water table. Two methods to estimate the capacity of the unsaturated zone to retain ethanol are explored. It is clear that conceptual models for sites impacted by ethanol-fuels must consider the unsaturated zone. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  15. MODELING COUPLED PROCESSES OF MULTIPHASE FLOW AND HEAT TRANSFER IN UNSATURATED FRACTURED ROCK

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Y. Wu; S. Mukhopadhyay; K. Zhang; G.S. Bodvarsson

    2006-01-01

    A mountain-scale, thermal-hydrologic (TH) numerical model is developed for investigating unsaturated flow behavior in response to decay heat from the radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, USA. The TH model, consisting of three-dimensional (3-D) representations of the unsaturated zone, is based on the current repository design, drift layout, and thermal loading scenario under estimated current and future climate conditions. More specifically, the TH model implements the current geological framework and hydrogeological conceptual models, and incorporates the most updated, best-estimated input parameters. This mountain-scale TH model simulates the coupled TH processes related to mountain-scale multiphase fluid flow, and evaluates the impact of radioactive waste heat on the hydrogeological system, including thermally perturbed liquid saturation, gas- and liquid-phase fluxes, and water and rock temperature elevations, as well as the changes in water flux driven by evaporation/condensation processes and drainage between drifts. For a better description of the ambient geothermal condition of the unsaturated zone system, the TH model is first calibrated against measured borehole temperature data. The ambient temperature calibration provides the necessary surface and water table boundary as well as initial conditions. Then, the TH model is used to obtain scientific understanding of TH processes in the Yucca Mountain unsaturated zone under the designed schedule of repository thermal load

  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. Synopsis of some preliminary computational studies related to unsaturated zone transport at Area G

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Vold, E.

    1998-03-01

    Computational transport models are described with applications in three problem areas related to unsaturated zone moisture movement beneath Area G. These studies may be used to support the ongoing maintenance of the site Performance Assessment. The three areas include: a 1-D transient analysis with average tuff hydraulic properties in the near surface region with computed results compared to field data; the influence on near surface transient moisture percolation due to realistic distributions in hydraulic properties derived statistically from the observed variance in the field data; and the west to east moisture flow in a 2-D steady geometry approximation of the Pajarito Plateau. Results indicate that a simple transient model for transport of moisture volume fraction fits field data well compared to a moisture pulse observed in the active disposal unit, pit 37. Using realistic infiltration boundary conditions for summer showers and for spring snow melt conditions, the computed moisture pulses show significant propagation to less than 10-ft depth. Next, the hydraulic properties were varied on a 2-D grid using statistical distributions based on the field data means and variances for the hydraulic parameters. Near surface transient percolation in these conditions shows a qualitatively realistic percolation with a spatially variable wave front moving into the tuff; however, the flow does not channel into preferred paths and suggests there is no formation of fast paths which could enhance transportation of contaminants. Finally, moisture transport is modeled through an unsaturated 2-D slice representing the upper stratigraphic layers beneath Area G and a west-to-east cut of several miles to examine possible lateral movement from the west where percolation is assumed to be greater than at Area G. Results show some west-to-east moisture flux consistent with the assumed profile for the percolation boundary conditions

  18. Transfer of reactive solutes in the unsaturated zone of soils at several observation scales

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Limousin, G.

    2006-10-01

    The transfer of contaminants in the unsaturated zone of soils is driven by numerous mechanisms. Field studies are sometimes difficult to set up, and so the question is raised about the reliability of laboratory measurements for describing a field situation. The nuclear power plant at Brennilis (Finistere, France) has been chosen to study the transfer of strontium, cobalt and inert tracers in the soil of this industrial site. Several observation scales have been tested (batch, stirred flow-through reactor, sieved-soil column, un-repacked or repacked soil-core lysimeter, field experiments) in order to determine, at each scale, the factors that influence the transfer of these contaminants, then to verify the adequacy between the different observation scales and their field representativeness. Regarding the soil hydrodynamic properties, the porosity, the water content in the field, the pore water velocity at the water content in the field, the saturation hydraulic conductivity and the dispersion coefficient of this embanked soil are spatially less heterogeneous than those of agricultural or non-anthropic soils. The results obtained with lysimeter and field experiments suggest that hydrodynamics of this unstructured soil can be studied on a repacked sample if the volume is high compared to the rare big-size stones. Regarding the chemical soil-contaminant interactions, cobalt and strontium isotherms are non-linear at concentration higher than 10 -4 mol.L -1 , cobalt adsorption and desorption are fast and independent on pH. On the contrary, at concentration lower than 3.5 x 10 -6 mol.L -1 , cobalt and strontium isotherms are linear, cobalt desorption is markedly slower than adsorption and both cobalt partition coefficient at equilibrium and its reaction kinetics are highly pH-dependent. For both elements, the results obtained with batch, stirred flow-through reactor and sieved-soil column are in adequacy. However, strontium batch adsorption measurements at equilibrium do

  19. 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

  20. A framework for sourcing of evaporation between saturated and unsaturated zone in bare soil condition

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Balugani, E.; Lubczynski, M.W.; Metselaar, Klaas

    2016-01-01

    Sourcing subsurface evaporation (Ess) into groundwater (Eg) and unsaturated zone (Eu) components has received little scientific attention so far, despite its importance in water management and agriculture. We propose a novel sourcing framework, with its

  1. A framework for sourcing of evaporation between saturated and unsaturated zone in bare soil condition

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Balugani, E.; Lubczynski, M.; Metselaar, K.A.

    2016-01-01

    Sourcing subsurface evaporation (Ess) into groundwater (Eg) and unsaturated zone (Eu) components has received little scientific attention so far, despite its importance in water management and agriculture. We propose a novel sourcing framework, with its implementation in dedicated post-processing

  2. Design and testing of a chamber device to measure organic vapor fluxes from the unsaturated zone under natural conditions

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tillman, F.D.; Choi, J-W.; Smith, J.A.

    2002-01-01

    As the difficulty and expense of achieving water quality standards at contaminated sites becomes more apparent, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is taking a closer look at natural attenuation processes for selected sites. To determine if a site has potential for natural attenuation, all natural processes affecting the fate and transport of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the subsurface must be identified and quantified. This research addresses the quantification of air-phase VOCs leaving the subsurface and entering the atmosphere, both through diffusion and soil-gas advection caused by barometric pumping. A simple, easy-to-use, and inexpensive device for measuring VOC flux under natural conditions was designed, constructed and tested both in a controlled laboratory environment and in a natural field setting. Design parameters for the chamber were selected using continuously stirred tank reactor (CSTR)-equation based modeling under several flux inputs. The final chamber design performs at greater than 95% efficiency for the simulated cases. Laboratory testing of the flux chamber under both diffusion and advection transport conditions was performed in a device constructed to simulate the unsaturated zone. Results indicate an average flux measurement accuracy of 83% over 3 orders of magnitude for diffusion-only fluxes and 94% for combined advection-diffusion fluxes. A field test of the chamber was performed and results compared with predictions made by a 1-dimensional unsaturated zone flow and transport model whose calibration and parameters were obtained from data collected at the site. Fluxes measured directly by the chamber were generally in good agreement with the fluxes calculated from the calibrated flow-and-transport model. (author)

  3. Water movement through a shallow unsaturated zone in an inland arid region: Field drip irrigation experiment under matrix potential control

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhou, T.; Han, D.; Song, X.

    2017-12-01

    It is vital to study soil water movement in unsaturated zone for evaluating and improving current irrigation mode for prevention and control of soil secondary salinization, especially in inland arid area, where is characterized by strong evaporation, poor drainage system and shallow water table depth. In this study, we investigated the applicability of drip irrigation under matrix potential control during cotton growth seasons in an inland arid region of northwest China. Combined physical observation with stable isotopes tracing method, we studied soil water flow system and recharge sources of shallow groundwater in heavy (Pilot 1) and light (Pilot 2) saline-alkali cotton fields. Evaporation depths (about 50-60 cm) are about the same for both pilots, but infiltration depths (about 60 cm for Pilot 1 and 150 cm for Pilot 2) are very different due to different soil texture, soil structure and soil salt content. Middle layer (about 100 cm thick) is a critical barrier for water exchange between surface and deep layer. Irrigation water is the major source (about 79.6% for Pilot 1 and 81.6% for Pilot 2), while evapotranspiration is the major sink (about 80.7% for Pilot 1 and 83.1% for Pilot 2) of unsaturated zone. The increase of soil water storage is not enough to make up the water shortage of middle layer and thus drip irrigation water doesn't recharge into groundwater for both pilots. Water table rise (about 60 cm for Pilot 1 and 50 cm for Pilot 2) could be caused by lateral groundwater flow instead of vertical infiltration. This irrigation mode could retard the water table rise in this region. However, improving horizontal drainage system may be indispensable for sustainable agriculture development. The study can provide important basis for soil secondary salinization prevention and agricultural water management in inland arid areas.

  4. UZ Flow Models and Submodels

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Y. Wu

    2004-01-01

    The purpose of this report is to document the unsaturated zone (UZ) flow models and submodels, as well as the flow fields that have been generated using the UZ flow model(s) of Yucca Mountain, Nevada. In this report, the term ''UZ model'' refers to the UZ flow model and the several submodels, which include tracer transport, temperature or ambient geothermal, pneumatic or gas flow, and geochemistry (chloride, calcite, and strontium) submodels. The term UZ flow model refers to the three-dimensional models used for calibration and simulation of UZ flow fields. This work was planned in the ''Technical Work Plan (TWP) for: Unsaturated Zone Flow Analysis and Model Report Integration'' (BSC 2004 [DIRS 169654], Section 1.2.7). The table of included Features, Events, and Processes (FEPs), Table 6.2-11, is different from the list of included FEPs assigned to this report in the ''Technical Work Plan for: Unsaturated Zone Flow Analysis and Model Report Integration'' (BSC 2004 [DIRS 169654], Table 2.1.5-1), as discussed in Section 6.2.6. The UZ model has revised, updated, and enhanced the previous UZ model (BSC 2001 [DIRS 158726]) by incorporating the repository design with new grids, recalibration of property sets, and more comprehensive validation effort. The flow fields describe fracture-fracture, matrix-matrix, and fracture-matrix liquid flow rates, and their spatial distributions as well as moisture conditions in the UZ system. These three-dimensional UZ flow fields are used directly by Total System Performance Assessment (TSPA). The model and submodels evaluate important hydrogeologic processes in the UZ as well as geochemistry and geothermal conditions. These provide the necessary framework to test hypotheses of flow and transport at different scales, and predict flow and transport behavior under a variety of climatic conditions. In addition, the limitations of the UZ model are discussed in Section 8.11

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. Occurrence of Agricultural Chemicals in Shallow Ground Water and the Unsaturated Zone, Northeast Nebraska Glacial Till, 2002-04

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stanton, Jennifer S.; Steele, Gregory V.; Vogel, Jason R.

    2007-01-01

    Agricultural chemicals applied at the land surface in northeast Nebraska can move downward, past the crop root zone, to ground water. Because agricultural chemicals applied at the land surface are more likely to be observed in the shallowest part of an aquifer, an assessment of shallow ground-water and unsaturated zone quality in the northeast Nebraska glacial till was completed between 2002 and 2004. Ground-water samples were collected at the first occurrence of ground water or just below the water table at 32 sites located in areas likely affected by agriculture. Four of the 32 sites were situated along a ground-water flow path with its downgradient end next to Maple Creek. Twenty-eight sites were installed immediately adjacent to agricultural fields throughout the glacial-till area. In addition to those 32 sites, two sites were installed in pastures to represent ground-water conditions in a non-cropland setting. Ground-water samples were analyzed for physical properties and concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus compounds, selected pesticides and pesticide degradates, dissolved solids, major ions, trace elements, and dissolved organic carbon. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) or sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) concentrations were analyzed at about 70 percent of the monitoring wells to estimate the residence time of ground water. Borehole-core samples were collected from 28 of the well boreholes. Sediment in the unsaturated zone was analyzed for nitrate, chloride, and ammonia concentrations. Analytical results indicated that the agricultural chemicals most often detected during this study were nitrates and herbicides. Nitrate as nitrogen (nitrate-N) concentrations (2003 median 9.53 milligrams per liter) indicated that human activity has affected the water quality of recently recharged ground water in approximately two-thirds of the wells near corn and soybean fields. The principal pesticide compounds that were detected reflect the most-used pesticides in the area and

  8. 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.

  9. Scenarios constructed for nominal flow in the presence of a repository at Yucca Mountain and vicinity

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Barr, G.E.; Hunter, R.L.; Dunn, E.; Flint, A.

    1995-03-01

    Scenario development for the system performance assessment of the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project defines a scenario as a well-posed problem connecting an initiating event with radionuclide release to the accessible environment by a logical and physically possible combination or sequence of features, events, and processes. Drawing on the advice and assistance of the Project's principal investigators (PIs), a collection of release scenarios initiated by the nominal ground-water flow occurring in the vicinity of the potential Yucca Mountain high-level-waste repository is developed and described in pictorial form. This collection of scenarios is intended to provide a framework to assist PIs in recognizing essential field and calculational analyses, to assist performance assessment in providing guidance to site characterization, and to continue the effort to exhaustively identify all features, events, and processes important to releases. It represents a step in the iterative process of identifying what details of the potential site are important for safe disposal. 67 refs

  10. The importance of thermal loading conditions to waste package performance at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1994-10-01

    Temperature and relative humidity are primary environmental factors affecting waste package corrosion rates for the potential repository in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Under ambient conditions, the repository environment is quite humid. If relative humidity is low enough (<70%), corrosion will be minimal. Under humid conditions, corrosion is reduced if the temperature is low (<60 C). Using the V-TOUGH code, the authors model thermo-hydrological flow to investigate the effect of repository heat on temperature and relative humidity in the repository for a wide range of thermal loads. These calculations indicate that repository heat may substantially reduce relative humidity on the waste package, over hundreds of years for low thermal loads and over tens of thousands of year for high thermal loads. Temperatures associated with a given relative humidity decrease with increasing thermal load. Thermal load distributions can be optimized to yield a more uniform reduction in relative humidity during the boiling period

  11. Radionuclide migration in the unsaturated zone with a variable hydrology

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Elert, M.; Collin, M.; Andersson, Birgitta; Lindgren, M.

    1990-01-01

    Radionuclide transport from contaminated ground water to the root zone of a soil has been modelled considering a variable hydrology. Hydrological calculations have been coupled with radionuclide transport calculations in order to study the influence of variations in flow rate and saturation, dispersion, and sorption. For non-sorbing radionuclides important seasonal variations in the root zone concentration were found. The dispersivity parameter proved to be very important for both sorbing and non-sorbing nuclides. In addition, some comparison calculations were made with a simple steady-state compartment model. (au)

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    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 relationships 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

  13. Field testing plan for unsaturated zone monitoring and field studies

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Young, M.H.; Wierenga, P.J.; Warrick, A.W.

    1996-10-01

    The University of Arizona, in cooperation with the Bureau of Economic Geology at The University of Texas at Austin, and Stephens and Associates in Albuquerque, New Mexico has developed a field testing plan for evaluating subsurface monitoring systems. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has requested development of these testing plans for low-level radioactive waste disposal sites (LLW) and for monitoring at decommissioned facilities designated under the open-quotes Site Decommissioning Management Planclose quotes (SDMP). The tests are conducted on a 50 m by 50 m plot on the University of Arizona's Maricopa Agricultural Center. Within the 50 m by 50 m plot one finds: (1) an instrumented buried trench, (2) monitoring islands similar to those proposed for the Ward Valley, California LLW Facility, (3) deep borehole monitoring sites, (4) gaseous transport monitoring, and (5) locations for testing non-invasive geophysical measurement techniques. The various subplot areas are instrumented with commercially available instruments such as neutron probes, time domain reflectometry probes, tensiometers, psychrometers, heat dissipation sensors, thermocouples, solution samplers, and cross-hole geophysics electrodes. Measurement depths vary from ground surface to 15 m. The data from the controlled flow and transport experiments, conducted over the plot, will be used to develop an integrated approach to long-term monitoring of the vadose zone at waste disposal sites. The data will also be used to test field-scale flow and transport models. This report describes in detail the design of the experiment and the methodology proposed for evaluating the data

  14. Role of the unsaturated zone in radioactive and hazardous waste disposal

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Mercer, J.W.; Marine, I.W.; Rao, P.S.C.

    1983-01-01

    The problems of hazardous and low-level radioactive waste disposal caused by the physical and chemical processes active in the unsaturated zone are explored in this book. The focus is on the use of laboratory analyses, field observations, and numerical and analytical calculations to create a clear picture of both problems and potential solutions. Topics include policy modeling, statistical techniques, liners, and field applications. Contents include: Modeling of Moisture Movement through Layered Trench Covers; Role of Partially Saturated Soil in Liner Design for Hazardous Waste Disposal Sites; Field Experiments to Determine Saturated Hydraulic Conductivity in the Vadose Zone; Role of Desaturation on Transport through Fractured Rock; Nuclear Waste Isolation in the Unsaturated Zone of Arid Regions

  15. Effects of thermal vapor diffusion on seasonal dynamics of water in the unsaturated zone

    Science.gov (United States)

    Milly, Paul C.D.

    1996-01-01

    The response of water in the unsaturated zone to seasonal changes of temperature (T) is determined analytically using the theory of nonisothermal water transport in porous media, and the solutions are tested against field observations of moisture potential and bomb fallout isotopic (36Cl and 3H) concentrations. Seasonally varying land surface temperatures and the resulting subsurface temperature gradients induce thermal vapor diffusion. The annual mean vertical temperature gradient is close to zero; however, the annual mean thermal vapor flux is downward, because the temperature‐dependent vapor diffusion coefficient is larger, on average, during downward diffusion (occurring at high T) than during upward diffusion (low T). The annual mean thermal vapor flux is shown to decay exponentially with depth; the depth (about 1 m) at which it decays to e−1of its surface value is one half of the corresponding decay depth for the amplitude of seasonal temperature changes. This depth‐dependent annual mean flux is effectively a source of water, which must be balanced by a flux divergence associated with other transport processes. In a relatively humid environment the liquid fluxes greatly exceed the thermal vapor fluxes, so such a balance is readily achieved without measurable effect on the dynamics of water in the unsaturated zone. However, if the mean vertical water flux through the unsaturated zone is very small (theoretical prediction is supported by long‐term field measurements in the Chihuahuan Desert. The analysis also makes predictions, confirmed by the field observations, regarding the seasonal variations of matric potential at a given depth. The conceptual model of unsaturated zone water transport developed here implies the possibility of near‐surface trapping of any aqueous constituent introduced at the surface.

  16. Consequences of varied soil hydraulic and meteorological complexity on unsaturated zone time lag estimates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vero, S E; Ibrahim, T G; Creamer, R E; Grant, J; Healy, M G; Henry, T; Kramers, G; Richards, K G; Fenton, O

    2014-12-01

    The true efficacy of a programme of agricultural mitigation measures within a catchment to improve water quality can be determined only after a certain hydrologic time lag period (subsequent to implementation) has elapsed. As the biophysical response to policy is not synchronous, accurate estimates of total time lag (unsaturated and saturated) become critical to manage the expectations of policy makers. The estimation of the vertical unsaturated zone component of time lag is vital as it indicates early trends (initial breakthrough), bulk (centre of mass) and total (Exit) travel times. Typically, estimation of time lag through the unsaturated zone is poor, due to the lack of site specific soil physical data, or by assuming saturated conditions. Numerical models (e.g. Hydrus 1D) enable estimates of time lag with varied levels of input data. The current study examines the consequences of varied soil hydraulic and meteorological complexity on unsaturated zone time lag estimates using simulated and actual soil profiles. Results indicated that: greater temporal resolution (from daily to hourly) of meteorological data was more critical as the saturated hydraulic conductivity of the soil decreased; high clay content soils failed to converge reflecting prevalence of lateral component as a contaminant pathway; elucidation of soil hydraulic properties was influenced by the complexity of soil physical data employed (textural menu, ROSETTA, full and partial soil water characteristic curves), which consequently affected time lag ranges; as the importance of the unsaturated zone increases with respect to total travel times the requirements for high complexity/resolution input data become greater. The methodology presented herein demonstrates that decisions made regarding input data and landscape position will have consequences for the estimated range of vertical travel times. Insufficiencies or inaccuracies regarding such input data can therefore mislead policy makers regarding

  17. A framework for sourcing of evaporation between saturated and unsaturated zone in bare soil condition

    OpenAIRE

    Balugani, E.; Lubczynski, M.W.; Metselaar, Klaas

    2016-01-01

    Sourcing subsurface evaporation (Ess) into groundwater (Eg) and unsaturated zone (Eu) components has received little scientific attention so far, despite its importance in water management and agriculture. We propose a novel sourcing framework, with its implementation in dedicated post-processing software called SOURCE (used along with the HYDRUS1D model), to study evaporation sourcing dynamics, define quantitatively “shallow” and “deep” water table conditions and test the applicability of wa...

  18. Lithological Effects on Evaporation and Direct Infiltration Through the Unsaturated Zone in Damascus Oasis (Syria)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Abou zakhem, B.

    2004-01-01

    Soil water movement is directly affected by the lithology and texture of soil profile. The objective of this study is to determine water movement mechanism through the unsaturated zone, by estimating the direct infiltration rate and evaporation process in Damascus Oasis, using isotope techniques. Two soil profiles were drilled using a hand-auger. Soil samples were subjected to granulometry, mineralogy, chemical and isotopic analysis. Isotopic measurements indicate that the evaporation front is located at shallow depth between 0 and 2 m. Variations in isotopic content indicate to the alternation of wet and dry periods corresponding to infiltration and evaporation processes respectively. Results show considerable difference in isotopic content between the unsaturated zone and the groundwater, which is mainly attributed to limited recharge of the aquifer through the unsaturated. Whereas the indirect groundwater recharge is considered to be more predominant. Chloride concentration correspond to stable isotopes in the unsaturated zone, it increases proportionally with the evaporation rate. Using chemical balance of Chloride, it was possible to estimate the effective recharge average rate which is ranging between 1.8 mm/y and 0.45 mm/y. The calculated mean evaporation rate according to Barnes and Allison model is 18.1 mm/y at water table level of 3 m depth. This rate decreases to 2.4 mm/y at 6 m depth. (author)

  19. Multimodel analysis of anisotropic diffusive tracer-gas transport in a deep arid unsaturated zone

    Science.gov (United States)

    Green, Christopher T.; Walvoord, Michelle Ann; Andraski, Brian J.; Striegl, Robert G.; Stonestrom, David A.

    2015-01-01

    Gas transport in the unsaturated zone affects contaminant flux and remediation, interpretation of groundwater travel times from atmospheric tracers, and mass budgets of environmentally important gases. Although unsaturated zone transport of gases is commonly treated as dominated by diffusion, the characteristics of transport in deep layered sediments remain uncertain. In this study, we use a multimodel approach to analyze results of a gas-tracer (SF6) test to clarify characteristics of gas transport in deep unsaturated alluvium. Thirty-five separate models with distinct diffusivity structures were calibrated to the tracer-test data and were compared on the basis of Akaike Information Criteria estimates of posterior model probability. Models included analytical and numerical solutions. Analytical models provided estimates of bulk-scale apparent diffusivities at the scale of tens of meters. Numerical models provided information on local-scale diffusivities and feasible lithological features producing the observed tracer breakthrough curves. The combined approaches indicate significant anisotropy of bulk-scale diffusivity, likely associated with high-diffusivity layers. Both approaches indicated that diffusivities in some intervals were greater than expected from standard models relating porosity to diffusivity. High apparent diffusivities and anisotropic diffusivity structures were consistent with previous observations at the study site of rapid lateral transport and limited vertical spreading of gas-phase contaminants. Additional processes such as advective oscillations may be involved. These results indicate that gases in deep, layered unsaturated zone sediments can spread laterally more quickly, and produce higher peak concentrations, than predicted by homogeneous, isotropic diffusion models.

  20. UZ Flow Models and Submodels

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dixon, P.

    2004-01-01

    The purpose of this Model Report is to document the unsaturated zone (UZ) fluid flow and tracer transport models and submodels as well as the flow fields generated utilizing the UZ Flow and Transport Model of Yucca Mountain (UZ Model), Nevada. This work was planned in ''Technical Work Plan (TWP) for: Performance Assessment Unsaturated Zone'' (BSC 2002 [160819], Section 1.10, Work Package AUZM06). The UZ Model has revised, updated, and enhanced the previous UZ Flow Model REV 00 ICN 01 (BSC 2001 [158726]) by incorporation of the conceptual repository design with new grids, recalibration of property sets, and more comprehensive validation effort. The flow fields describe fracture-fracture, matrix-matrix, and fracture-matrix liquid flow rates and their spatial distributions as well as moisture conditions in the UZ system. These 3-D UZ flow fields are used directly by Performance Assessment (PA). The model and submodels evaluate important hydrogeologic processes in the UZ as well as geochemistry and geothermal conditions. These provide the necessary framework to test conceptual hypotheses of flow and transport at different scales and predict flow and transport behavior under a variety of climatic conditions. In addition, this Model Report supports several PA activities, including abstractions, particle-tracking transport simulations, and the UZ Radionuclide Transport Model

  1. UZ Flow Models and Submodels

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    P. Dixon

    2004-02-11

    The purpose of this Model Report is to document the unsaturated zone (UZ) fluid flow and tracer transport models and submodels as well as the flow fields generated utilizing the UZ Flow and Transport Model of Yucca Mountain (UZ Model), Nevada. This work was planned in ''Technical Work Plan (TWP) for: Performance Assessment Unsaturated Zone'' (BSC 2002 [160819], Section 1.10, Work Package AUZM06). The UZ Model has revised, updated, and enhanced the previous UZ Flow Model REV 00 ICN 01 (BSC 2001 [158726]) by incorporation of the conceptual repository design with new grids, recalibration of property sets, and more comprehensive validation effort. The flow fields describe fracture-fracture, matrix-matrix, and fracture-matrix liquid flow rates and their spatial distributions as well as moisture conditions in the UZ system. These 3-D UZ flow fields are used directly by Performance Assessment (PA). The model and submodels evaluate important hydrogeologic processes in the UZ as well as geochemistry and geothermal conditions. These provide the necessary framework to test conceptual hypotheses of flow and transport at different scales and predict flow and transport behavior under a variety of climatic conditions. In addition, this Model Report supports several PA activities, including abstractions, particle-tracking transport simulations, and the UZ Radionuclide Transport Model.

  2. A statistical approach for water movement in the unsaturated zone

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tielin Zang.

    1991-01-01

    This thesis presents a statistical approach for estimating and analyzing the downward transport pattern and distribution of soil water by the use of pattern analysis of space-time correlation structures. This approach, called the Space-time-Correlation Field, is mainly based on the analyses of correlation functions simultaneously in the space and time domain. The overall purpose of this work is to derive an alternative statistical procedure in soil moisture analysis without involving detailed information on hydraulic parameters and to visualize the dynamics of soil water variability in the space and time domains. A numerical model using method of characteristics is employed to provide hypothetical time series to use in the statistical method, which is, after the verification and calibration, applied to the field measured time series. The results of the application show that the space-time correlation fields reveal effects of soil layers with different hydraulic properties and boundaries between them. It is concluded that the approach poses special advantages when visualizing time and space dependent properties simultaneously. It can be used to investigate the hydrological response of soil water dynamics and characteristics in different dimensions (space and time) and scales. This approach can be used to identify the dominant component in unsaturated flow systems. It is possible to estimate the pattern and the propagation rate downwards of moisture movement in the soil profile. Small-scale soil heterogeneities can be identified by the correlation field. Since the correlation field technique give a statistical measure of the dependent property that varies within the space-time field, it is possible to interpolate the fields to points where observations are not available, estimating spatial or temporal averages from discrete observations. (au)

  3. Selected hydrologic data from Fortymile Wash in the Yucca Mountain area, Nevada, water years 1993--94

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Savard, C.S.

    1996-09-01

    The Yucca Mountain area is being evaluated by the US Department of Energy for its suitability to store high-level nuclear waste in a mined, underground repository. Hydrologic data are being collected by the US Geological Survey throughout a 150 Km{sup 2} study area about 15- Km northwest of Las Vegas in southern Nevada for site characterization studies. Ongoing hydrologic studies are investigating atmospheric precipitation, stream-flow, movement of water through the unsaturated zone, movement of water through the saturated zone, and paleohydrology. This study at Fortymile Wash involves some components of each of these studies. Fortymile Wash is an ephemeral stream near Yucca Mountain with tributaries draining the east side of Yucca Mountain and then forming a distributary system in the Amargosa Desert. An objective of the study is to determine the amount of recharge from Fortymile Wash to the ground-water flow system that has been proposed. Understanding the ground-water flow system is important because it is a possible mechanism for radionuclide migration from the repository to the accessible environment. An adequate understanding of the ground-water flow system is necessary for an evaluation of the safety issues involved in siting the potential repository.

  4. Development of numerical Grids for UZ Flow and Transport Modeling

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    P. Dobson

    2004-01-01

    This report describes the methods used to develop numerical grids of the unsaturated hydrogeologic system beneath Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Numerical grid generation is an integral part of the development of the unsaturated zone (UZ) flow and transport model, a complex, three-dimensional (3-D) model of Yucca Mountain. This revision contains changes made to improve the clarity of the description of grid generation. The numerical grids, developed using current geologic, hydrogeologic, and mineralogic data, provide the necessary framework to: (1) develop calibrated hydrogeologic property sets and flow fields, (2) test conceptual hypotheses of flow and transport, and (3) predict flow and transport behavior under a variety of climatic and thermal-loading conditions. The technical scope, content, and management for the current revision of this report are described in the planning document ''Technical Work Plan for: Unsaturated Zone Flow Analysis and Model Report Integration'' (BSC 2004 [DIRS 169654], Section 2). Grids generated and documented in this report supersede those documented in Revision 00 of this report, ''Development of Numerical Grids for UZ Flow and Transport Modeling'' (BSC 2001 [DIRS 159356]). The grids presented in this report are the same as those developed in Revision 01 (BSC 2003 [DIRS 160109]); however, the documentation of the development of the grids in Revision 02 has been updated to address technical inconsistencies and achieve greater transparency, readability, and traceability. The constraints, assumptions, and limitations associated with this report are discussed in the appropriate sections that follow

  5. Hydrologic evaluation methodology for estimating water movement through the unsaturated zone at commercial low-level radioactive waste disposal site

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meyer, P.D.; Rockhold, M.L.; Nichols, W.E.; Gee, G.W.

    1996-01-01

    This report identifies key technical issues related to hydrologic assessment of water flow in the unsaturated zone at low-level radioactive waste (LLW) disposal facilities. In addition, a methodology for incorporating these issues in the performance assessment of proposed LLW disposal facilities is identified and evaluated. The issues discussed fall into four areas:Estimating the water balance at a site (i.e., infiltration, runoff, water storage, evapotranspiration, and recharge);Analyzing the hydrologic performance of engineered components of a facility;Evaluating the application of models to the prediction of facility performance; andEstimating the uncertainty in predicted facility performance.An estimate of recharge at a LLW site is important since recharge is a principal factor in controlling the release of contaminants via the groundwater pathway. The most common methods for estimating recharge are discussed in Chapter 2. Many factors affect recharge; the natural recharge at an undisturbed site is not necessarily representative either of the recharge that will occur after the site has been disturbed or of the flow of water into a disposal facility at the site. Factors affecting recharge are discussed in Chapter 2.At many sites engineered components are required for a LLW facility to meet performance requirements. Chapter 3 discusses the use of engineered barriers to control the flow of water in a LLW facility, with a particular emphasis on cover systems. Design options and the potential performance and degradation mechanisms of engineered components are also discussed.Water flow in a LLW disposal facility must be evaluated before construction of the facility. In addition, hydrologic performance must be predicted over a very long time frame. For these reasons, the hydrologic evaluation relies on the use of predictive modeling. In Chapter 4, the evaluation of unsaturated water flow modeling is discussed. A checklist of items is presented to guide the evaluation

  6. Flow and transport in unsaturated fractured rock: Effects of multiscale heterogeneity of hydrogeologic properties

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Zhou, Quanlin; Liu, Hui-Hai; Bodvarsson, Gudmundur S.; Oldenburg, Curtis M.

    2002-01-01

    The heterogeneity of hydrogeologic properties at different scales may have different effects on flow and transport processes in a subsurface system. A model for the unsaturated zone of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is developed to represent complex heterogeneity at two different scales: (1) layer scale corresponding to geologic layering and (2) local scale. The layer-scale hydrogeologic properties are obtained using inverse modeling, based on the available measurements collected from the Yucca Mountain site. Calibration results show a significant lateral and vertical variability in matrix and fracture properties. Hydrogeologic property distributions in a two-dimensional, vertical cross section of the site are generated by combining the average layer-scale matrix and fracture properties with local-scale perturbations generated using a stochastic simulation method. The unsaturated water flow and conservative (nonsorbing) tracer transport through the cross section are simulated for different sets of matrix and fracture property fields. Comparison of simulation results indicates that the local-scale heterogeneity of matrix and fracture properties has a considerable effect on unsaturated flow processes, leading to fast flow paths in fractures and the matrix. These paths shorten the travel time of a conservative tracer from the source (repository) horizon in the unsaturated zone to the water table for small fractions of total released tracer mass. As a result, the local-scale heterogeneity also has a noticeable effect on global tracer transport processes, characterized by an average breakthrough curve at the water table, especially at the early arrival time of tracer mass. However, the effect is not significant at the later time after 20 percent tracer mass reaches the water table. The simulation results also verify that matrix diffusion plays an important role in overall solute transport processes in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain

  7. An updated fracture-flow model for total-system performance assessment of Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gauthier, J.H.

    1994-01-01

    Improvements have been made to the fracture-flow model being used in the total-system performance assessment of a potential high-level radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The open-quotes weeps modelclose quotes now includes (1) weeps of varied sizes, (2) flow-pattern fluctuations caused by climate change, and (3) flow-pattern perturbations caused by repository heat generation. Comparison with the original weeps model indicates that allowing weeps of varied sizes substantially reduces the number of weeps and the number of containers contacted by weeps. However, flow-pattern perturbations caused by either climate change or repository heat generation greatly increases the number of containers contacted by weeps. In preliminary total-system calculations, using a phenomenological container-failure and radionuclide-release model, the weeps model predicts that radionuclide releases from a high-level radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain will be below the EPA standard specified in 40 CFR 191, but that the maximum radiation dose to an individual could be significant. Specific data from the site are required to determine the validity of the weep-flow mechanism and to better determine the parameters to which the dose calculation is sensitive

  8. An updated fracture-flow model for total-system performance assessment of Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gauthier, J.H.

    1994-01-01

    Improvements have been made to the fracture-flow model being used in the total-system performance assessment of a potential high-level radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The ''weeps model'' now includes (1) weeps of varied sizes, (2) flow-pattern fluctuations caused by climate change, and (3) flow-pattern perturbations caused by repository heat generation. Comparison with the original weeps model indicates that allowing weeps of varied sizes substantially reduces the number of weeps and the number of containers contacted by weeps. However, flow-pattern perturbations caused by either climate change or repository heat generation greatly increases the number of containers contacted by weeps. In preliminary total-system calculations, using a phenomenological container-failure and radionuclide-release model, the weeps model predicts that radionuclide releases from a high-level radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain will be below the EPA standard specified in 40 CFR 191, but that the maximum radiation dose to an individual could be significant. Specific data from the site are required to determine the validity of the weep-flow mechanism and to better determine the parameters to which the dose calculation is sensitive

  9. Preliminary analysis of effects of thermal loading on gas and heat flow within the framework of the LBNL/USGS site-scale model

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wu, Y.S.; Chen, G.; Bodvarsson, G.

    1995-12-01

    The US Department of Energy is performing detailed site characterization studies at Yucca Mountain to determine its suitability as a geological repository site for high level nuclear wastes. As part of these research efforts, a three-dimensional, site-scale unsaturated-zone model has been developed at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) in collaboration with the US Geological Survey (USGS). The primary objectives of developing the 3-D site-scale model are to predict the ambient hydrogeological conditions and the movement of moisture and gas within the unsaturated zone of the mountain. In addition, the model has the capability of modeling non-isothermal flow and transport phenomena at the mountain. Applications of such a site-scale model should include evaluation of effects of thermal loading on heated gas and heat flow through the mountain for long-term performance assessment of the repository. Emplacement of heat-generating, high-level nuclear wastes at Yucca Mountain would create complex multiphase fluid flow and heat transfer processes. The physical mechanisms include conductive and convective heat transfer, phase change phenomena (vaporization and condensation), flow of liquid and gas phases under variably-saturated condition, diffusion and dispersion of vapor and gas, vapor sorption, and vapor-pressure lowering effects. The heterogeneity of complicated geological setting at Yucca Mountain, such as alternating, layers of porous-fractured rocks, will significantly affect the processes of fluid and heat flow

  10. Investigation of isotopic signals in the unsaturated zone with the use of direct push technology and azaeotropic distillation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andreas Kallioras

    2012-09-01

    Full Text Available This paper contributes to the investigation of the unsaturated zone, through the application of combined field and lab techniques. The results show that direct push methods, which are considered ideal for multilevel sampling of undisturbed soil in the unsaturated zone, proved to be effective also for the consequent extraction of the pore water for further isotopic determination. This ultimate goal can be achieved thank to the application of azaetropic distillation, which has the least isotopic fractionation effects on groundwater samples.

  11. Modeling studies of unsaturated flow with long-term permeability change at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Zhang Chengyuan; Liu Xiaoyan; Liu Quansheng

    2008-01-01

    The amount of water seeping into the waste emplacement drifts is crucial for the performance of underground nuclear waste repository, since it controls the corrosion rates of waste packages and the mobilization rate of radionuclides. It is limited by water flow through drift vicinity. In the present work we study the potential rates of water flow around drifts as a function of predicted long-term change of permeability at Yucca Mountain, based on a dual-continuum model of the unsaturated flow in fractured rock mass. For stage of DECOVALEX Ⅳ, we used a simplified practical model on unsaturated flow in Yucca Mountain case simulation. These models contain main physical processes that should be considered, including thermal expansion, thermal radiation, water-rock coupling and stress-induced change of permeability. Comparative study with other DECOVALEX team's results shows that they are both good enough and flexible enough to include more physical processes. We can draw the conclusion that it is necessary to model stress-induced changes in permeability and relative processes in future studies, because there are obvious differences (in water saturation and water flux) between simulation cases with and without variable permeability, especially in areas very close to the drift. (authors)

  12. Total-system performance assessment for Yucca Mountain -- SNL second iteration (TSPA-1993); Executive summary

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wilson, M.L.; Barnard, R.W. [Sandia National Labs., Albuquerque, NM (United States); Gauthier, J.H. [Sandia National Labs., Albuquerque, NM (United States)]|[Spectra Research, Inc. (United States)] [and others

    1994-04-01

    Sandia National Laboratories has completed the second iteration of the periodic total-system performance assessments (TSPA-93) for the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project (YMP). Scenarios describing expected conditions (aqueous and gaseous transport of contaminants) and low-probability events (human-intrusion drilling and volcanic intrusion) are modeled. The hydrologic processes modeled include estimates of the perturbations to ambient conditions caused by heating of the repository resulting from radioactive decay of the waste. TSPA-93 incorporates significant new detailed process modeling, including two- and three-dimensional modeling of thermal effects, groundwater flow in the saturated-zone aquifers, and gas flow in the unsaturated zone. Probabilistic analyses are performed for aqueous and gaseous flow and transport, human intrusion, and basaltic magmatic activity. Results of the calculations lead to a number of recommendations concerning studies related to site characterization. Primary among these are the recommendations to obtain better information on percolation flux at Yucca Mountain, on the presence or absence of flowing fractures, and on physical and chemical processes influencing gaseous flow. Near-field thermal and chemical processes, and waste-container degradation are also areas where additional investigations may reduce important uncertainties. Recommendations for repository and waste-package design studies are: (1) to evaluate the performance implications of large-size containers, and (2) to investigate in more detail the implications of high repository thermal power output on the adjacent host rock and on the spent fuel.

  13. Total-system performance assessment for Yucca Mountain -- SNL second iteration (TSPA-1993)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wilson, M.L.; Barnard, R.W.; Gauthier, J.H.

    1994-04-01

    Sandia National Laboratories has completed the second iteration of the periodic total-system performance assessments (TSPA-93) for the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project (YMP). Scenarios describing expected conditions (aqueous and gaseous transport of contaminants) and low-probability events (human-intrusion drilling and volcanic intrusion) are modeled. The hydrologic processes modeled include estimates of the perturbations to ambient conditions caused by heating of the repository resulting from radioactive decay of the waste. TSPA-93 incorporates significant new detailed process modeling, including two- and three-dimensional modeling of thermal effects, groundwater flow in the saturated-zone aquifers, and gas flow in the unsaturated zone. Probabilistic analyses are performed for aqueous and gaseous flow and transport, human intrusion, and basaltic magmatic activity. Results of the calculations lead to a number of recommendations concerning studies related to site characterization. Primary among these are the recommendations to obtain better information on percolation flux at Yucca Mountain, on the presence or absence of flowing fractures, and on physical and chemical processes influencing gaseous flow. Near-field thermal and chemical processes, and waste-container degradation are also areas where additional investigations may reduce important uncertainties. Recommendations for repository and waste-package design studies are: (1) to evaluate the performance implications of large-size containers, and (2) to investigate in more detail the implications of high repository thermal power output on the adjacent host rock and on the spent fuel

  14. The impact of episodic nonequilibrium fracture-matrix flow on geological repository performance

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1991-01-01

    Adequate representation of fracture-matrix interaction during episodic infiltration events is crucial in making valid hydrological predictions of repository performance at Yucca Mountain. Various approximations have been applied to represent fracture-matrix flow interaction, including the Equivalent Continuum Model (ECM), which assumes capillary equilibrium between fractures and matrix, and the Fracture-Matrix Model (FMM), which accounts for nonequilibrium fracture-matrix flow. We analyze the relative impact of matrix imbibition on episodic nonequilibrium fracture-matrix flow for the eight major hydrostratigraphic units in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain. Comparisons are made between ECM and FMM predictions to determine the applicability of the ECM. The implications of nonequilibrium fracture-matrix flow on radionuclide transport are also discussed

  15. Nitrogen fluxes through unsaturated zones in five agricultural settings across the United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    Green, C.T.; Fisher, L.H.; Bekins, B.A.

    2008-01-01

    The main physical and chemical controls on nitrogen (N) fluxes between the root zone and the water table were determined for agricultural sites in California, Indiana, Maryland, Nebraska, and Washington from 2004 to 2005. Sites included irrigated and nonirrigated fields; soil textures ranging from clay to sand; crops including corn, soybeans, almonds, and pasture; and unsaturated zone thicknesses ranging from 1 to 22 m. Chemical analyses of water from lysimeters and shallow wells indicate that advective transport of nitrate is the dominant process affecting the flux of N below the root zone. Vertical profiles of (i) nitrogen species, (ii) stable isotopes of nitrogen and oxygen, and (iii) oxygen, N, and argon in unsaturated zone air and correlations between N and other agricultural chemicals indicate that reactions do not greatly affect N concentrations between the root zone and the capillary fringe. As a result, physical factors, such as N application rate, water inputs, and evapotranspiration, control the differences in concentrations among the sites. Concentrations of N in shallow lysimeters exhibit seasonal variation, whereas concentrations in lysimeters deeper than a few meters are relatively stable. Based on concentration and recharge estimates, fluxes of N through the deep unsaturated zone range from 7 to 99 kg ha-1 yr-1. Vertical fluxes of N in ground water are lower due to spatial and historical changes in N inputs. High N fluxes are associated with coarse sediments and high N application rates. Copyright ?? 2008 by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America. All rights reserved.

  16. 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

  17. Hydrologic characterization of faults and other potentially conductive geologic features in the unsaturated zone

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Javandel, I.; Shan, C.

    1990-01-01

    The capability of characterizing near-vertical faults and other potentially highly conductive geologic features in the vicinity of a high-level-waste repository is of great importance in site characterization of underground waste-isolation projects. The possibility of using transient air pressure data at depth for characterizing these features in the unsaturated zone are investigated. Analytical solutions for calculating the pressure response of such systems are presented. Solutions are given for two types of barometric pressure fluctuations, step function and sinusoidal. 3 refs., 9 figs

  18. An exploration of unsaturated zone during in-situ heating test in sedimentary soft rocks

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kubota, Kenji; Suzuki, Koichi; Ikenoya, Takafumi; Takakura, Nozomu; Tani, Kazuo

    2011-01-01

    In-situ heating test has been conducted to evaluate the influence of high temperature in an underground facility at a depth of 50 m. Resistivity monitoring is thought to be effective to map the extent of the high temperature and unsaturated zone. So we have conducted resistivity tomography during the heating test. As a result, the resistivity of the rock mass around the heating well was decreased and this area was gradually expanded from the heated area during the heating. This suggests that high temperature zone is detected by resistivity tomography. The results also suggested that resistivity was increased by unsaturation of rock mass around the heating well. (author)

  19. Stochastic Modeling Of Field-Scale Water And Solute Transport Through The Unsaturated Zone Of Soils

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Loll, Per

    were previously thought not to pose a leaching threat. Thus, a reevaluation of our understanding of the mechanisms governing chemical fate in the unsaturated zone of soils has been necessary, in order for us to make better decisions regarding widely different issues such as agricultural management...... of pesticides and nutrients, and risk identification and assessment at polluted (industrial) sites. One of the key factors requiring our attention when we are trying to predict field-scale chemical leaching is spatial variability of the soil and the influence it exerts on both water and chemical transport...

  20. Predicting unsaturated zone nitrogen mass balances in agricultural settings of the United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nolan, Bernard T.; Puckett, Larry J.; Ma, Liwang; Green, Christopher T.; Bayless, E. Randall; Malone, Robert W.

    2009-01-01

    Unsaturated zone N fate and transport were evaluated at four sites to identify the predominant pathways of N cycling: an almond [Prunus dulcis (Mill.) D.A. Webb] orchard and cornfield (Zea mays L.) in the lower Merced River study basin, California; and corn–soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] rotations in study basins at Maple Creek, Nebraska, and at Morgan Creek, Maryland. We used inverse modeling with a new version of the Root Zone Water Quality Model (RZWQM2) to estimate soil hydraulic and nitrogen transformation parameters throughout the unsaturated zone; previous versions were limited to 3-m depth and relied on manual calibration. The overall goal of the modeling was to derive unsaturated zone N mass balances for the four sites. RZWQM2 showed promise for deeper simulation profiles. Relative root mean square error (RRMSE) values for predicted and observed nitrate concentrations in lysimeters were 0.40 and 0.52 for California (6.5 m depth) and Nebraska (10 m), respectively, and index of agreement (d) values were 0.60 and 0.71 (d varies between 0 and 1, with higher values indicating better agreement). For the shallow simulation profile (1 m) in Maryland, RRMSE and d for nitrate were 0.22 and 0.86, respectively. Except for Nebraska, predictions of average nitrate concentration at the bottom of the simulation profile agreed reasonably well with measured concentrations in monitoring wells. The largest additions of N were predicted to come from inorganic fertilizer (153–195 kg N ha−1 yr−1 in California) and N fixation (99 and 131 kg N ha−1 yr−1 in Maryland and Nebraska, respectively). Predicted N losses occurred primarily through plant uptake (144–237 kg N ha−1 yr−1) and deep seepage out of the profile (56–102 kg N ha−1 yr−1). Large reservoirs of organic N (up to 17,500 kg N ha−1 m−1 at Nebraska) were predicted to reside in the unsaturated zone, which has implications for potential future transfer of nitrate to groundwater.

  1. Distribution of nonionic organic compounds (highly volatile chlorinated hydrocarbons) in the unsaturated zone

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Grathwohl, P.

    1988-01-01

    Nonpolar pollutants, e.g. highly volatile chlorinated hydrocarbons (HVCH) are more or less equally distributed among all three soil phases (solids, water, air) in the unsaturated zone. The sorption of HVCH on soil solids depends on the amount and type of organic matter in the soil. For wet material an additional sorption on mineral surfaces can be neglected, since all possible sites for sorption are occupied by water. Provided the partition-coefficients or sorption-constants are known the contamination of the whole system can be evaluated from the pollutant concentration in the soil air; in addition it is possible to estimate a groundwater risk.

  2. A statistical approach to evaluate hydrocarbon remediation in the unsaturated zone

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hajali, P.; Marshall, T.; Overman, S.

    1991-01-01

    This paper presents an evaluation of performance and cleanup effectiveness of a vapor extraction system (VES) in extracting chlorinated hydrocarbons and petroleum-based hydrocarbons (mineral spirits) from the unsaturated zone. The statistical analysis of soil concentration data to evaluate the VES remediation success is described. The site is a former electronics refurbishing facility in southern California; soil contamination from organic solvents was found mainly in five areas (Area A through E) beneath two buildings. The evaluation begins with a brief description of the site background, discusses the statistical approach, and presents conclusions

  3. The nitrate time bomb: a numerical way to investigate nitrate storage and lag time in the unsaturated zone.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, L; Butcher, A S; Stuart, M E; Gooddy, D C; Bloomfield, J P

    2013-10-01

    Nitrate pollution in groundwater, which is mainly from agricultural activities, remains an international problem. It threatens the environment, economics and human health. There is a rising trend in nitrate concentrations in many UK groundwater bodies. Research has shown it can take decades for leached nitrate from the soil to discharge into groundwater and surface water due to the 'store' of nitrate and its potentially long travel time in the unsaturated and saturated zones. However, this time lag is rarely considered in current water nitrate management and policy development. The aim of this study was to develop a catchment-scale integrated numerical method to investigate the nitrate lag time in the groundwater system, and the Eden Valley, UK, was selected as a case study area. The method involves three models, namely the nitrate time bomb-a process-based model to simulate the nitrate transport in the unsaturated zone (USZ), GISGroundwater--a GISGroundwater flow model, and N-FM--a model to simulate the nitrate transport in the saturated zone. This study answers the scientific questions of when the nitrate currently in the groundwater was loaded into the unsaturated zones and eventually reached the water table; is the rising groundwater nitrate concentration in the study area caused by historic nitrate load; what caused the uneven distribution of groundwater nitrate concentration in the study area; and whether the historic peak nitrate loading has reached the water table in the area. The groundwater nitrate in the area was mainly from the 1980s to 2000s, whilst the groundwater nitrate in most of the source protection zones leached into the system during 1940s-1970s; the large and spatially variable thickness of the USZ is one of the major reasons for unevenly distributed groundwater nitrate concentrations in the study area; the peak nitrate loading around 1983 has affected most of the study area. For areas around the Bowscar, Beacon Edge, Low Plains, Nord Vue

  4. Fluid flows due to earthquakes with reference to Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Davies, J.B.

    1993-01-01

    Yucca Mountain geohydrology is dominated by a deep water table in volcanic tuffa beds which are cut by numerous faults. Certain zones in these tuffas and most of the fault apertures are filled with a fine-grained calcitic cement. Earthquakes have occured in this region with the most recent being of magnitude 5.6 and at a distance of about 20 km. Earthquakes in western U.S.A. have been observed to cause fluid flows through and out of the crust of the Earth. These flows are concentrated along the faults with normal faulting producing the largest flows. An earthquake produces rapid pressure changes at and below the ground surface, thereby forcing flows of gas, water, slurries and dissolved salts. In order to examine the properties of flows produced by earthquakes, we simulate the phenomena using computer-based modeling. We investigate the effects of adults and high permeability zones on the pattern of flows induced by the earthquake. We demonstrate that faults act as conduits to the surface and that the higher the permeability of a zone, the more the flows will concentrate there. Numerical estimates of flow rates from these simulations compare favorably with data from observed flows due to earthquakes. Simple volumetric arguments demonstrate the ease with which fluids from the deep water table can reach the surface along fault conduits

  5. Field determination of vertical permeability to air in the unsaturated zone

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weeks, Edwin P.

    1978-01-01

    The vertical permeability to air of layered materials in the unsaturated zone may be determined from air pressure data obtained at depth during a period when air pressure is changing at land surface. Such data may be obtained by monitoring barometric pressure with a microbarograph or surveying altimeter and simultaneously measuring down-hole pneumatic head differences in specially constructed piezometers. These data, coupled with air-filled porosity data from other sources, may be compared with the results of electric-analog or numerical solution of the one-dimensional diffusion equation to make a trial-and-error determination of the air permeability for each layer. The permeabilities to air may in turn be converted to equivalent hydraulic conductivity values if the materials are well drained, are permeable enough that the Klinkenberg effect is small, and are structurally unaffected by wetting. The method offers potential advantages over present methods to evaluate sites for artificial recharge by spreading; to evaluate ground-water pollution hazards from feedlots, sanitary landfills , and land irrigated with sewage effluent; and to evaluate sites for temporary storage of gas in the unsaturated zone. (Woodard-USGS)

  6. Geochemical and isotopic studies of unsaturated zone moisture and recharge processes in semi-arid conditions

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Edmunds, W.

    1988-07-01

    Against the background of recent droughts in the Sahel and the overexploitation of scarce water resources, new and improved techniques for recharge estimation in arid lands are now needed. Results have been obtained from the Butana area of Sudan where rainfall is presently well below 200 mm a -1 . Profiles of the unsaturated zone moisture were analysed for solutes and oxygen (δ 18 O) and hydrogen (δD) isotope ratios to estimate the extent of current recharge. Chloride concentrations were compared with those from rainfall inputs and the ratio used to estimate long term recharge values. Direct recharge proved to be below 1 mm a -1 and the unsaturated zone (25 m approx) contained around 2000 years storage. Isotopic profiles indicated that in some areas discharge from the water table was occurring. Within the Butana region of Sudan, therefore, current recharge rates in interfluve areas are effectively zero. Lateral recharge is however occurring, based on the presence of tritium, from the wadi systems. This forms the only replenishable resource which has been successfully exploited by traditional means, although under stress in the present dry period. The River Nile can be shown from isotopic results to recharge laterally some 10 km; but the deeper resources elsewhere are palaeowaters replenished during Holocene wet periods (6000-8000 BP). 2 refs, 6 figs

  7. Selection of geohydrologic boundaries for ground-water flow models, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Downey, J.S.; Gutentag, E.D.; Kolm, K.E.

    1990-01-01

    The conceptual ground-water model of the southern Nevada/Death Valley, California region presented in this paper includes two aquifer systems: a shallow, intermontane, mostly unconfined aquifer composed of unconsolidated or poorly consolidated sediments and consolidated, layered volcanics, and a deep, regional multiple-layered, confined aquifer system composed of faulted and fractured carbonate and volcanic rocks. The potentiometric surfaces of both aquifer systems indicate that ground water leaks vertically from the deeper to the shallower geologic units, and that water in the shallower aquifer may not flow beyond the intermontane subbasin, whereas water in the deeper aquifer may indicate transbasinal flow to the playas in Death Valley. Most of the hydrologic boundaries of the regional aquifer systems in the Yucca Mountain region are geologically complex. Most of the existing numerical models simulating the ground-water flow system in the Yucca Mountain region are based on limited potentiometric-head data elevation and precipitation estimates, and simplified geology. These models are two-dimensional, and are not adequate. The alternative approach to estimating unknown boundary conditions for the regional ground-water flow system involves the following steps: (1) Incorporate known boundary-conditions data from the playas in Death Valley and the Ash Meadows spring line; (2) use estimated boundary data based on geological, pedological, geomorphological, botanical, and hydrological observations; (3) test these initial boundary conditions with three-dimensional models, both steady-state and transient; (4) back-calculate the boundary conditions for the northern, northwestern, northeastern and eastern flux boundaries; (5) compare these calculated values with known data during model calibration steps; and (6) adjust the model. 9 refs., 6 figs

  8. 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

  9. Impact of urbanization on hydrochemical evolution of groundwater and on unsaturated-zone gas composition in the coastal city of Tel Aviv, Israel

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zilberbrand, M.; Rosenthal, E.; Shachnai, E.

    2001-08-01

    The coastal city of Tel Aviv was founded at the beginning of the 20th century. The number of its inhabitants and its water consumption increased rapidly. This study analyses a 15-year record (1934-1948) of pre-industrial development of groundwater chemistry in the urban area. Archive data on concentrations of major ions, dissolved gases (CO 2 and O 2), organic matter, and pH were available for each half-year during the period of 1934-1948. The major factors causing changes in the chemistry of groundwater flowing in three sandy sub-aquifers have been seawater encroachment due to overpumping, and infiltration of effluents from pit-latrine collectors. Influence of these factors decreases with depth. Landward-penetrating seawater passed through clayey coastal sediments, interbedded among sands and calcareous sandstones, and spread into the Kurkar Group aquifer. This has led to exchange of sodium (dominant in seawater) with calcium adsorbed on clay particles, enriching groundwater with calcium. Intensity of cation exchange decreases inland and with depth. Infiltration of pit-latrine effluents has introduced large amounts of ammonium into the unsaturated zone. Its rapid oxidation in unsaturated sediments has caused massive nitrate production, accompanied by pore-water acidification. This process induces dissolution of vadose carbonate, resulting in enrichment of groundwater recharge in calcium. Anthropogenically induced dissolution of calcite in the unsaturated zone has been the major factor for the increase of Ca 2+ concentration in groundwater, accounting for about 80% of this increase. In the interface zone, an additional 20% of calcium has been supplied by cation exchange. Owing to pH increase caused by denitrification in the aquifer, Ca 2+-rich waters supersaturated with calcite could be formed, especially in the capillary fringe of the uppermost sub-aquifer, which could induce calcite precipitation and ultimately lead to the cementation of sandy aquifers. Urban

  10. Soil Gas Dynamics and Microbial Activity in the Unsaturated Zone of a Regulated River

    Science.gov (United States)

    Christensen, H.; Ferencz, S. B.; Cardenas, M. B.; Neilson, B. T.; Bennett, P. C.

    2017-12-01

    Over 60% of the world's rivers are dammed, and are therefore regulated. In some river systems, river regulation is the dominant factor governing fluid exchange and soil gas dynamics in the hyporheic region and overlying unsaturated zone of the river banks. Where this is the case, it is important to understand the effects that an artificially-induced change in river stage can have on the chemical, plant, and microbial components of the unsaturated zone. Daily releases from an upstream dam cause rapid stage fluctuations in the Lower Colorado River east of Austin, Texas. For this study, we utilized an array of water and gas wells along a transect perpendicular to the river to investigate the biogeochemical process occurring in this mixing zone. The gas wells were installed at several depths up to 1.5 meters, and facilitated the continuous monitoring of soil gases as the pulse percolated through the river bank. Water samples collected from the screened wells penetrated to depths below the water table and were analyzed for nutrients, carbon, and major ions. Additionally, two soil cores were taken at different distances from the river and analyzed for soil moisture and grain size. These cores were also analyzed for microbial activity using the total heterotroph count method and the acetylene inhibition technique, a sensitive method of measuring denitrifying activity. The results provide a detailed picture of soil gas flux and biogeochemical processes in the bank environment in a regulated river. Findings indicate that a river pulse that causes a meter-scale change in river stage causes small, centimeter-scale pulses in the water table. We propose that these conditions create an area of elevated microbial respiration at the base of the unsaturated zone that appears to be decoupled from normal diurnal fluctuations. Along the transect, CO2 concentrations increased with increasing depth down to the water table. CO2 concentrations were highest in the time following a pulse

  11. Alternative approaches to assessing the performance and suitability of Yucca Mountain for spent fuel disposal. Final report

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    McGuire, R.; Smith, G.; Klos, R.

    1998-11-01

    Significant resources and effort have been expended by EPRI over the past few years in modeling and understanding issues related to high-level radioactive waste disposal. Previous reports have documented the general model used in the EPRI work and specific inputs to that model for examination of the potential repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Modeling of the potential Yucca Mountain site is an on-going process, and new data are being collected with which to evaluate and modify models of physical processes. This report is divided into two parts. The first part presents results from specific calculational cases of repository performance, updated for the most recent data and conceptual models. The second part discusses possible alternatives for the components of the assessment context for a repository at Yucca Mountain. Part 2 also presents additional information on time frames and a interaction matrix method of documenting TSPA model interactions. The main purposes of Part of this report is to describe the subsystem and total system performance models and present results and analysis of the results. Part 1 includes presentation of new models of waste container failure that accounts for new container material, a new model of the effect of hydrothermal activity and heterogeneous groundwater flow in the unsaturated zone on temperatures and the distribution of groundwater capable of dripping into the repository drifts. Part 1 also: identifies the key technical components of the candidate spent fuel and HLW disposal facility at Yucca Mountain using IMARC Phase 4; makes recommendations regarding the prioritization of the technical development work remaining; and provides an assessment of the overall technical suitability of the candidate HLW disposal facility at Yucca Mountain

  12. Modeling tritium transport through a deep unsaturated zone in an arid environment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mayers, C.J.; Andraski, Brian J.; Cooper, C.A.; Wheatcraft, S.W.; Stonestrom, David A.; Michel, R.L.

    2005-01-01

    Understanding transport of tritium (3H) in unsaturated zones is critical to evaluating options for waste isolation. Tritium typically is a large component of low-level radioactive waste (LLRW). Studies at the U.S. Geological Survey's Amargosa Desert Research Site (ADRS) in Nevada investigate 3H transport from a closed LLRW facility. Two boreholes are 100 and 160 m from the nearest waste trench and extend to the water table at 110 m. Soil-water vapor samples from the deep boreholes show elevated levels of 3H at all depths. The objectives of this study were to (i) test source thermal and gas-advection mechanisms driving 3H transport and (ii) evaluate model sensitivity to these mechanisms and to selected physical and hydraulic properties including porosity, tortuosity, and anisotropy. A two-dimensional numerical model incorporated a non-isothermal, heterogeneous domain of the unsaturated zone and instantaneous isotopic equilibrium. The TOUGH2 code was used; however, it required modification to account for temperature dependence of both the Henry's law equilibrium constant and isotopic fractionation with respect to tritiated water. Increases in source temperature, pressure, and porosity enhanced 3H migration, but failed to match measured 3H distributions. All anisotropic simulations with a source pressure component resembled, in shape, the upper portion of the 3H distribution of the nearest borehole. Isotopic equilibrium limited migration of 3H, while effects of radioactive decay were negligible. A 500 Pa pressure increase above ambient pressure in conjunction with a high degree of anisotropy (1:100) was necessary for simulated 3H transport to reach the nearest borehole.

  13. Regional variability of nitrate fluxes in the unsaturated zone and groundwater, Wisconsin, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Green, Christopher T.; Liao, Lixia; Nolan, Bernard T.; Juckem, Paul F.; Shope, Christopher L.; Tesoriero, Anthony J.; Jurgens, Bryant

    2018-01-01

    Process-based modeling of regional NO3− fluxes to groundwater is critical for understanding and managing water quality, but the complexity of NO3− reactive transport processes make implementation a challenge. This study introduces a regional vertical flux method (VFM) for efficient estimation of reactive transport of NO3− in the vadose zone and groundwater. The regional VFM was applied to 443 well samples in central-eastern Wisconsin. Chemical measurements included O2, NO3−, N2 from denitrification, and atmospheric tracers of groundwater age including carbon-14, chlorofluorocarbons, tritium, and tritiogenic helium. VFM results were consistent with observed chemistry, and calibrated parameters were in-line with estimates from previous studies. Results indicated that (1) unsaturated zone travel times were a substantial portion of the transit time to wells and streams (2) since 1945 fractions of applied N leached to groundwater have increased for manure-N, possibly due to increased injection of liquid manure, and decreased for fertilizer-N, and (3) under current practices and conditions, approximately 60% of the shallow aquifer will eventually be affected by downward migration of NO3−, with denitrification protecting the remaining 40%. Recharge variability strongly affected the unsaturated zone lag times and the eventual depth of the NO3− front. Principal components regression demonstrated that VFM parameters and predictions were significantly correlated with hydrogeochemical landscape features. The diverse and sometimes conflicting aspects of N management (e.g. limiting N volatilization versus limiting N losses to groundwater) warrant continued development of large-scale holistic strategies to manage water quality and quantity.

  14. Regional Variability of Nitrate Fluxes in the Unsaturated Zone and Groundwater, Wisconsin, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Green, Christopher T.; Liao, Lixia; Nolan, Bernard T.; Juckem, Paul F.; Shope, Christopher L.; Tesoriero, Anthony J.; Jurgens, Bryant C.

    2018-01-01

    Process-based modeling of regional NO3- fluxes to groundwater is critical for understanding and managing water quality, but the complexity of NO3- reactive transport processes makes implementation a challenge. This study introduces a regional vertical flux method (VFM) for efficient estimation of reactive transport of NO3- in the vadose zone and groundwater. The regional VFM was applied to 443 well samples in central-eastern Wisconsin. Chemical measurements included O2, NO3-, N2 from denitrification, and atmospheric tracers of groundwater age including carbon-14, chlorofluorocarbons, tritium, and tritiogenic helium. VFM results were consistent with observed chemistry, and calibrated parameters were in-line with estimates from previous studies. Results indicated that (1) unsaturated zone travel times were a substantial portion of the transit time to wells and streams, (2) since 1945 fractions of applied N leached to groundwater have increased for manure-N, possibly due to increased injection of liquid manure, and decreased for fertilizer-N, and (3) under current practices and conditions, approximately 60% of the shallow aquifer will eventually be affected by downward migration of NO3-, with denitrification protecting the remaining 40%. Recharge variability strongly affected the unsaturated zone lag times and the eventual depth of the NO3- front. Principal components regression demonstrated that VFM parameters and predictions were significantly correlated with hydrogeochemical landscape features. The diverse and sometimes conflicting aspects of N management (e.g., limiting N volatilization versus limiting N losses to groundwater) warrant continued development of large-scale holistic strategies to manage water quality and quantity.

  15. Yucca L.: yucca

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2008-01-01

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

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. Design of an intermediate-scale experiment to validate unsaturated- zone transport models

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Siegel, M.D.; Hopkins, P.L.; Glass, R.J.; Ward, D.B.

    1991-01-01

    An intermediate-scale experiment is being carried out to evaluate instrumentation and models that might be used for transport-model validation for the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project. The experimental test bed is a 6-m high x 3-m diameter caisson filled with quartz sand with a sorbing layer at an intermediate depth. The experiment involves the detection and prediction of the migration of fluid and tracers through an unsaturated porous medium. Pre-test design requires estimation of physical properties of the porous medium such as the relative permeability, saturation/pressure relations, porosity, and saturated hydraulic conductivity as well as geochemical properties such as surface complexation constants and empircial K d 'S. The pre-test characterization data will be used as input to several computer codes to predict the fluid flow and tracer migration. These include a coupled chemical-reaction/transport model, a stochastic model, and a deterministic model using retardation factors. The calculations will be completed prior to elution of the tracers, providing a basis for validation by comparing the predictions to observed moisture and tracer behavior

  19. A simple method to assess unsaturated zone time lag in the travel time from ground surface to receptor.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sousa, Marcelo R; Jones, Jon P; Frind, Emil O; Rudolph, David L

    2013-01-01

    In contaminant travel from ground surface to groundwater receptors, the time taken in travelling through the unsaturated zone is known as the unsaturated zone time lag. Depending on the situation, this time lag may or may not be significant within the context of the overall problem. A method is presented for assessing the importance of the unsaturated zone in the travel time from source to receptor in terms of estimates of both the absolute and the relative advective times. A choice of different techniques for both unsaturated and saturated travel time estimation is provided. This method may be useful for practitioners to decide whether to incorporate unsaturated processes in conceptual and numerical models and can also be used to roughly estimate the total travel time between points near ground surface and a groundwater receptor. This method was applied to a field site located in a glacial aquifer system in Ontario, Canada. Advective travel times were estimated using techniques with different levels of sophistication. The application of the proposed method indicates that the time lag in the unsaturated zone is significant at this field site and should be taken into account. For this case, sophisticated and simplified techniques lead to similar assessments when the same knowledge of the hydraulic conductivity field is assumed. When there is significant uncertainty regarding the hydraulic conductivity, simplified calculations did not lead to a conclusive decision. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  20. Transport of elemental mercury in the unsaturated zone from a waste disposal site in an arid region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walvoord, Michelle Ann; Andraski, Brian J.; Krabbenhoft, D.P.; Striegl, Robert G.

    2008-01-01

    Mercury contained in buried landfill waste may be released via upward emission to the atmosphere or downward leaching to groundwater. Data from the US Geological Survey’s Amargosa Desert Research Site (ADRS) in arid southwestern Nevada reveal another potential pathway of Hg release: long-distance (102 m) lateral migration of elemental Hg (Hg0) through the unsaturated zone. Gas collected from multiple depths from two instrumented boreholes that sample the entire 110-m unsaturated zone thickness and are located 100 and 160 m away from the closest waste burial trench exhibit gaseous Hg concentrations of up to 33 and 11 ng m−3, respectively. The vertical distribution of gaseous Hg in the borehole closest to the disposal site shows distinct subsurface peaks in concentration at depths of 1.5 and 24 m that cannot be explained by radial diffusive transport through a heterogeneous layered unsaturated zone. The inability of current models to explain gaseous Hg distribution at the ADRS highlights the need to advance the understanding of gas-phase contaminant transport in unsaturated zones to attain a comprehensive model of landfill Hg release.

  1. Influence of faults on groundwater flow and transport at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Cohen, Andrew J.B.; Sitar, Nicholas

    1999-01-01

    Numerical simulations of groundwater flow at Yucca Mountain, Nevada are used to investigate how faults influence groundwater flow pathways and regional-scale macrodispersion. The 3-D model has a unique grid block discretization that facilitates the accurate representation of the complex geologic structure present in faulted formations. Each hydrogeologic layer is discretized into a single layer of irregular and dipping grid blocks, and faults are discretized such that they are laterally continuous and varied in displacement varies along strike. In addition, the presence of altered fault zones is explicitly modeled, as appropriate. Simulations show that upward head gradients can be readily explained by the geometry of hydrogeologic layers, the variability of layer permeabilities, and the presence of permeable fault zones or faults with displacement only, not necessarily by upwelling from a deep aquifer. Large-scale macrodispersion results from the vertical and lateral diversion of flow near the contact of high- and low-permeability layers at faults, and from upward flow within high-permeability fault zones. Conversely, large-scale channeling can occur as a result of groundwater flow into areas with minimal fault displacement. Contaminants originating at the water table can flow in a direction significantly different from that of the water table gradient, and isolated zones of contaminants can occur at the water table downgradient. By conducting both 2-D and 3-D simulations, we show that the 2-D cross-sectional models traditionally used to examine flow in faulted formations may not be appropriate. In addition, the influence of a particular type of fault cannot be generalized; depending on the location where contaminants enter the saturated zone, faults may either enhance or inhibit vertical dispersion

  2. Sensitivity studies of unsaturated groundwater flow modeling for groundwater travel time calculations at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Altman, S.J.; Ho, C.K.; Arnold, B.W.; McKenna, S.A.

    1995-01-01

    Unsaturated flow has been modeled through four cross-sections at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, for the purpose of determining groundwater particle travel times from the potential repository to the water table. This work will be combined with the results of flow modeling in the saturated zone for the purpose of evaluating the suitability of the potential repository under the criteria of 10CFR960. One criterion states, in part, that the groundwater travel time (GWTT) from the repository to the accessible environment must exceed 1,000 years along the fastest path of likely and significant radionuclide travel. Sensitivity analyses have been conducted for one geostatistical realization of one cross-section for the purpose of (1) evaluating the importance of hydrological parameters having some uncertainty and (2) examining conceptual models of flow by altering the numerical implementation of the conceptual model (dual permeability (DK) and the equivalent continuum model (ECM). Results of comparisons of the ECM and DK model are also presented in Ho et al

  3. 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

  4. Investigation of the unsaturated zone in semi-arid regions using isotopic and chemical methods and applications to water resource problems

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Edmunds, W.M.

    2001-01-01

    Isotopic techniques combined with chemistry can provide comprehensive information on groundwater recharge and recharge history, as well as on environmental and climatic change. Examples of integrated use are reviewed from studies in Senegal and Cyprus as well as Sudan. Tritium provides calibration for the wider use of Cl as a tool for larger scale recharge estimation in low rainfall areas. A recharge history is preserved in the unsaturated zone in favourable locations where homogeneous unsaturated flow predominates. Recharge variations taking place at the decadal scale tie in well with instrumental records and extrapolation indicates records may exist over centuries or millennia. Results from the CRP, from Nigeria, Tunisia, Jordan and Mexico have been modelled against local rainfall records and chemistry to give a reasonable correlation with recharge events over various timescales from 30 to 50 000 yr. (author)

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. The use of TOUGH2 for the LBL/USGS 3-dimensional site-scale model of Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bodvarsson, G.; Chen, G.; Haukwa, C.; Kwicklis, E.

    1995-01-01

    The three-dimensional site-scale numerical model o the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain is under continuous development and calibration through a collaborative effort between Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (LBL) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The site-scale model covers an area of about 30 km 2 and is bounded by major fault zones to the west (Solitario Canyon Fault), east (Bow Ridge Fault) and perhaps to the north by an unconfirmed fault (Yucca Wash Fault). The model consists of about 5,000 grid blocks (elements) with nearly 20,000 connections between them; the grid was designed to represent the most prevalent geological and hydro-geological features of the site including major faults, and layering and bedding of the hydro-geological units. Submodels are used to investigate specific hypotheses and their importance before incorporation into the three-dimensional site-scale model. The primary objectives of the three-dimensional site-scale model are to: (1) quantify moisture, gas and heat flows in the ambient conditions at Yucca Mountain, (2) help in guiding the site-characterization effort (primarily by USGS) in terms of additional data needs and to identify regions of the mountain where sufficient data have been collected, and (3) provide a reliable model of Yucca Mountain that is validated by repeated predictions of conditions in new boreboles and the ESF and has therefore the confidence of the public and scientific community. The computer code TOUGH2 developed by K. Pruess at LBL was used along with the three-dimensional site-scale model to generate these results. In this paper, we also describe the three-dimensional site-scale model emphasizing the numerical grid development, and then show some results in terms of moisture, gas and heat flow

  8. Comparison of two conceptual models of flow using the TSA

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wilson, M.L.

    1992-01-01

    As part of the performance-assessment task for the potential repository site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, Sandia National Laboratories is developing a set of programs called the Total-System Analyzer (TSA). The TSA is one of the tools being used in the current effort to provide a systematic preliminary estimate the total-system performance of the Yucca Mountain site. The purposes of this paper are twofold: (1) to describe capabilities that have been added to the TSA in the last year; and (2) to present a comparison of two conceptual models of unsaturated-zone flow and transport, in terms of the performance measure specified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 40 CFR Part 191. The conceptual-model comparison is intended to demonstrate the new TSA capabilities and at the same time shed some light on the performance implications of fracture flow at Yucca Mountain. Unsaturated fracture flow is not yet well understood, and it is of great importance in determining the performance of Yucca Mountain

  9. Annual report on monitoring of the unsaturated zone and recharge areas at INEL to the state of Idaho INLEL Oversight COmmittee

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Horn, D.; Liou, J.; Finnie, J.

    1993-03-01

    This project, begun in March 1991, was originally structured as two separate research efforts: An investigation of the recharge phenomenon and surface water-ground water interactions at the INEL; and a study of water and contaminant movement through the unsaturated zone, including a review of computer models used to described this process. During the initial months of work, it became obvious to those involved in these studies that the two topic areas were intimately related, and work since that time has proceeded with no firm boundaries between the two efforts. Much of the Phase I work (March 1991--March 1992) consisted of a detailed review of available literature pertinent to the two research topics and to the INEL site. This Annual Report summarizes the other project activities during Phase III, and is organized into three sections: Section I -- an overview of the ongoing efforts related to computer model algorithms and data requirements for modeling the transport process in the unsaturated zone (Dr. Jim Liou). Section H -- a review of ongoing work to predict the growth and decay of the ground water mound beneath the INEL spreading basins, using the computer model UNSAT-2 (Dr. John Finnie). Section M -- a final report of the completed study effort examining the recharge rates associated with stream flow in the Big Lost River, and the effects of this recharge on ground water levels at the INEL site (Dr. Dennis Horn). Phase M of the project has now begun, and will conclude in December 1993 with two final reports documenting the work that has been briefly described in Sections I and H of this report

  10. Three-dimensional modeling of unsaturated flow in the vicinity of proposed exploratory shaft facilities at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rockhold, M.L.; Sagar, B.; Connelly, M.P.

    1992-04-01

    This report describes the results of a study to investigate the influence of proposed exploratory shafts on the moisture distribution within unsaturated, fractured rock at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The long-term effects of exploratory shafts at Yucca Mountain are important in the estimation of potential waste migration and fate, while short-term effects may be important in the planning and interpretation of tests performed at the site. The PORFLO-3 computer code was used for simulation of moisture flow through the geologic units adjacent to the ESF. Rather than represent fractures as discrete elements, an equivalent continuum was stipulated, in which the fractured units were assigned equivalent or composite hydrologic properties. Explicit treatment of fractures is not feasible because of the extremely large number of fractures contained in the site-scale problem and the difficulties in characterizing and modeling the fracture geometries

  11. Application of isotopes and chemistry in unsaturated zone in arid areas of Rajasthan, India

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Navada, S.V.; Nair, A.R.; Sinha, U.K.; Kulkarni, U.P.; Joseph, T.B.

    2001-01-01

    Isotopes and chemistry of unsaturated zone soil profiles in Saraf ki Dani, Sihania and Lakrasar site in Barmer district of western Rajasthan, and precipitation samples collected at Chohtan, the nearest meteorological station, have been used to study groundwater recharge and to characterise the behaviour of contaminants in the subsurface. Soil water was extracted by vacuum distillation and analysed for 2 H and 18 O, whereas elutriation methods were used for chemistry. Based on the observed chloride profiles, groundwater recharge rates are estimated to be ∼10 to 18 mm per annum for the above sites. δ 18 O profiles at Sihania and Lakrasar (1999), reveal depleted δ 18 O values observed at a depth of ∼2 m, possibly due to an episode of heavy rains during 1998. Depthwise distribution of of F - , SO 4 -2 and NO 3 - at Sihania site II (1999) and δ 18 O signatures confirm that evaporative concentration occurs during dry periods. Enrichment of NO 3 - in the profiles may be related to fixation of nitrogen by leguminous plants. (author)

  12. Synopsis of recent moisture flux analyses relevant to the unsaturated zone at Area G

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Vold, E.

    1998-03-01

    This report summarizes selected recent analyses relevant to the assessment of the site performance for disposal facilities at Los Alamos (Area G) regarding unsaturated zone transport of moisture in liquid and vapor phases and the surface water balance. Much of the analyses methods have been reported previously but in several separate and detailed reports. These do not always reflect the overview possible with hindsight. The present report is an attempt to integrate the author's previous results into a cohesive whole. Due to project time constraints, this report is incomplete in some area. This report first reviews the basis for the Darcy flux analyses and its inherent uncertainties, as detailed in previous reports. Results from the previous works are then reviewed and discussed and in some cases, elaborated in an attempt for clarification. New results of the Darcy Flux Analyses are presented and discussed for Area G mesa top locations, nearby canyon locations and a second mesa top location (TA46 west of Area G). Select evapotranspiration and precipitation data from TA6 are presented and discussed. The conclusions section draws a picture of the hydrology which unifies the study results reported here and in previous reports for the undisturbed and disturbed site locations

  13. Evaluation of unsaturated-zone solute-transport models for studies of agricultural chemicals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nolan, Bernard T.; Bayless, E. Randall; Green, Christopher T.; Garg, Sheena; Voss, Frank D.; Lampe, David C.; Barbash, Jack E.; Capel, Paul D.; Bekins, Barbara A.

    2005-01-01

    Seven unsaturated-zone solute-transport models were tested with two data sets to select models for use by the Agricultural Chemical Team of the U.S. Geological Survey's National Water-Quality Assessment Program. The data sets were from a bromide tracer test near Merced, California, and an atrazine study in the White River Basin, Indiana. In this study the models are designated either as complex or simple based on the water flux algorithm. The complex models, HYDRUS2D, LEACHP, RZWQM, and VS2DT, use Richards' equation to simulate water flux and are well suited to process understanding. The simple models, CALF, GLEAMS, and PRZM, use a tipping-bucket algorithm and are more amenable to extrapolation because they require fewer input parameters. The purpose of this report is not to endorse a particular model, but to describe useful features, potential capabilities, and possible limitations that emerged from working with the model input data sets. More rigorous assessment of model applicability involves proper calibration, which was beyond the scope of this study.

  14. UZ Flow Models and Submodels

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Y. Wu

    2004-11-01

    The purpose of this report is to document the unsaturated zone (UZ) flow models and submodels, as well as the flow fields that have been generated using the UZ flow model(s) of Yucca Mountain, Nevada. In this report, the term ''UZ model'' refers to the UZ flow model and the several submodels, which include tracer transport, temperature or ambient geothermal, pneumatic or gas flow, and geochemistry (chloride, calcite, and strontium) submodels. The term UZ flow model refers to the three-dimensional models used for calibration and simulation of UZ flow fields. This work was planned in the ''Technical Work Plan (TWP) for: Unsaturated Zone Flow Analysis and Model Report Integration'' (BSC 2004 [DIRS 169654], Section 1.2.7). The table of included Features, Events, and Processes (FEPs), Table 6.2-11, is different from the list of included FEPs assigned to this report in the ''Technical Work Plan for: Unsaturated Zone Flow Analysis and Model Report Integration'' (BSC 2004 [DIRS 169654], Table 2.1.5-1), as discussed in Section 6.2.6. The UZ model has revised, updated, and enhanced the previous UZ model (BSC 2001 [DIRS 158726]) by incorporating the repository design with new grids, recalibration of property sets, and more comprehensive validation effort. The flow fields describe fracture-fracture, matrix-matrix, and fracture-matrix liquid flow rates, and their spatial distributions as well as moisture conditions in the UZ system. These three-dimensional UZ flow fields are used directly by Total System Performance Assessment (TSPA). The model and submodels evaluate important hydrogeologic processes in the UZ as well as geochemistry and geothermal conditions. These provide the necessary framework to test hypotheses of flow and transport at different scales, and predict flow and transport behavior under a variety of climatic conditions. In addition, the limitations of the UZ model are discussed in Section 8.11.

  15. Water movement through the unsaturated zone of the High Plains Aquifer in the Central Platte Natural Resources District, Nebraska, 2008-12

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steele, Gregory V.; Gurdak, Jason J.; Hobza, Christopher M.

    2014-01-01

    Uncertainty about the effects of land use and climate on water movement in the unsaturated zone and on groundwater recharge rates can lead to uncertainty in water budgets used for groundwater-flow models. To better understand these effects, a cooperative study between the U.S. Geological Survey and the Central Platte Natural Resources District was initiated in 2007 to determine field-based estimates of recharge rates in selected land-use areas of the Central Platte Natural Resources District in Nebraska. Measured total water potential and unsaturated-zone profiles of tritium, chloride, nitrate as nitrogen, and bromide, along with groundwater-age dates, were used to evaluate water movement in the unsaturated zone and groundwater recharge rates in the central Platte River study area. Eight study sites represented an east-west precipitation contrast across the study area—four beneath groundwater-irrigated cropland (sites 2, 5, and 6 were irrigated corn and site 7 was irrigated alfalfa/corn rotation), three beneath rangeland (sites 1, 4, and 8), and one beneath nonirrigated cropland, or dryland (site 3). Measurements of transient vertical gradients in total water potential indicated that periodic wetting fronts reached greater mean maximum depths beneath the irrigated sites than beneath the rangeland sites, in part, because of the presence of greater and constant antecedent moisture. Beneath the rangeland sites, greater temporal variation in antecedent moisture and total water potential existed and was, in part, likely a result of local precipitation and evapotranspiration. Moreover, greater variability was noticed in the total water potential profiles beneath the western sites than the corresponding eastern sites, which was attributed to less mean annual precipitation in the west. The depth of the peak post-bomb tritium concentration or the interface between the pre-bomb/post-bomb tritium, along with a tritium mass balance, within sampled soil profiles were used to

  16. Inherent mineralization of 2,6-dichlorobenzamide (BAM) in unsaturated zone and aquifers – Effect of initial concentrations and adaptation

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Janniche, Gry Sander; Clausen, Liselotte; Albrechtsen, Hans-Jørgen

    2011-01-01

    cores with known dichlobenil application were collected from topsoil to 8.5 m below surface resulting in 57 samples hereof 4 aquifer samples. Mineralization was only substantial (>10%) in the uppermost meter of the unsaturated zone. Microbial adaptation, observed as faster mineralization in pre......, in pre-exposed clay mineralization was stimulated at high concentrations. Furthermore BAM was for the first time mineralized in aerobic aquifer sediments from different BAM-contaminated groundwater locations. BAM mineralization in subsurface and groundwater was demonstrated....

  17. Hydrogeological studies in the water-saturated and unsaturated zone of the calcareous strata in the Wackersdorf region

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Heinemann, J.M.

    1987-01-01

    The investigation cerves an area of 58.5 km 2 . It is a locally important groundwater reservoir with numerous fountains and waterworks. The investigations were conducted in the unsaturated zone and in the topmost ground-water horizon in the chalky layers. Emphasis is laid on questions of infiltration and groundwater dynamics. The hydrological situation is covered in its entirety, and basic data are collected from field and laboratory tests. (DG) [de

  18. Decomposition of groundwater level fluctuations using transfer modelling in an area with shallow to deep unsaturated zones

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gehrels, J. C.; van Geer, F. C.; de Vries, J. J.

    1994-05-01

    Time series analysis of the fluctuations in shallow groundwater levels in the Netherlands lowlands have revealed a large-scale decline in head during recent decades as a result of an increase in land drainage and groundwater withdrawal. The situation is more ambiguous in large groundwater bodies located in the eastern part of the country, where the unsaturated zone increases from near zero along the edges to about 40 m in the centre of the area. As depth of the unsaturated zone increases, groundwater level reacts with an increasing delay to fluctuations in climate and influences of human activities. The aim of the present paper is to model groundwater level fluctuations in these areas using a linear stochastic transfer function model, relating groundwater levels to estimated precipitation excess, and to separate artificial components from the natural groundwater regime. In this way, the impact of groundwater withdrawal and the reclamation of a 1000 km 2 polder area on the groundwater levels in the adjoining higher ground could be assessed. It became evident that the linearity assumption of the transfer functions becomes a serious drawback in areas with the deepest groundwater levels, because of non-linear processes in the deep unsaturated zone and the non-synchronous arrival of recharge in the saturated zone. Comparison of the results from modelling the influence of reclamation with an analytical solution showed that the lowering of groundwater level is partly compensated by reduced discharge and therefore is less than expected.

  19. Phenomenological studies of two-phase flow processes for nuclear waste isolation

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Pruess, K.; Finsterle, S.; Persoff, P.; Oldenburg, C.

    1994-01-01

    The US civilian radioactive waste management program is unique in its focus on a site in the unsaturated zone, at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Two-phase flow phenomena can also play an important role in repositories beneath the water table where gas is generated by corrosion, hydrolysis, and biological degradation of the waste packages. An integrated program has been initiated to enhance our understanding of two-phase flow behavior in fractured rock masses. The studies include two-phase (gas-liquid) flow experiments in laboratory specimens of natural rock fractures, analysis and modeling of heterogeneity and instability effects in two-phase flow, and design and interpretation of field experiments by means of numerical simulation. We present results that identify important aspects of two-phase flow behavior on different space and time scales which are relevant to nuclear waste disposal in both unsaturated and saturated formations

  20. Environmental fate and transport of nitroglycerin from propellant residues at firing positions in the unsaturated zone

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bellavance-Godin, A. [Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique, Quebec, PQ (Canada). Eau, Terre et Environnement; Martel, R. [Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique, Varennes, PQ (Canada). Eau, Terre et Environnement, Earth Sciences

    2008-07-01

    In response to environmental concerns, the Canadian Forces Base (CFB) have initiated studies to better evaluate the impact of various military activities. This paper presented the results of a study in which the fate of propellant residues on large soil columns was investigated. The sites selected for the study were the antitank ranges at Garrison Valcartier, Quebec and those at the CFB Petawawa, Ontario. The shoulder rockets fired on those ranges were propelled by solid propellants based on a nitrocellulose matrix in which nitroglycerine and ammonium perchlorate were dispersed as oxidizer and energetic materials. Propellant residues accumulated in the surface soils because the combustion processes in the rockets was incomplete. This study evaluated the contaminants transport through the unsaturated zone. Sampling was conducted in 2 steps. The first involved collecting uncontaminated soil samples representative of the geological formations of the 2 sites. The second step involved collecting soils containing high levels of propellant residues behind antitank firing positions, which was later spread across the surface of the uncontaminated soil columns and which were representative of the contaminated zone. The soils were watered in the laboratory following the precipitation patterns of the respective regions and interstitial water output of the columns was also sampled. The compounds of interest were nitroglycerine and its degradation metabolites, dinitroglycerine, mononitroglycerine and nitrates as well as perchlorate and bromides. Results presented high concentrations of nitrites, nitrates and perchlorates. Both the NG and its degradation products were monitored using a newly developed analytical method that provides for a better understanding of NG degradation pathways in anaerobic conditions. 12 refs., 3 tabs., 12 figs.

  1. Understanding Fluid and Contaminant Movement in the Unsaturated Zone Using the INEEL Vadose Zone Monitoring System

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hubbell, J. M.; Mattson, E. D.; Sisson, J. B.; Magnuson, S. O.

    2002-01-01

    unsaturated zone and the sampling of the liquid and gas for subsequent chemical analysis

  2. Fluid flow and reactive transport around potential nuclear waste emplacement tunnels at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Spycher, N.F.; Sonnenthal, E.L.; Apps, J.A.

    2002-01-01

    The evolution of fluid chemistry and mineral alteration around a potential waste emplacement tunnel (drift) is evaluated using numerical modeling. The model considers the flow of water, gas, and heat, plus reactions between minerals, CO 2 gas, and aqueous species, and porosity permeability-capillary pressure coupling for a dual permeability (fractures and matrix) medium. Two possible operating temperature modes are investigated: a ''high-temperature'' case with temperatures exceeding the boiling point of water for several hundred years, and a ''loW--temperature'' case with temperatures remaining below boiling for the entire life of the repository. In both cases, possible seepage waters are characterized by dilute to moderate salinities and mildly alkaline pH values. These trends in fluid composition and mineral alteration are controlled by various coupled mechanisms. For example, upon heating and boiling, CO 2 exsolution from pore waters raises pH and causes calcite precipitation. In condensation zones, this CO 2 redissolves, resulting in a decrease in pH that causes calcite dissolution and enhances feldspar alteration to clays. Heat also enhances dissolution of wallrock minerals leading to elevated silica concentrations. Amorphous silica precipitates through evaporative concentration caused by boiling in the high-temperature case, but does not precipitate in the loW--temperature case. Some alteration of feldspars to clays and zeolites is predicted in the high-temperature case. In both cases, calcite precipitates when percolating waters are heated near the drift. The predicted porosity decrease around drifts in the high-temperature case (several percent of the fracture volume) is larger by at least one order of magnitude than in the low temperature case. Although there are important differences between the two investigated temperature modes in the predicted evolution of fluid compositions and mineral alteration around drifts, these differences are small relative to

  3. Groundwater Flow and Thermal Modeling to Support a Preferred Conceptual Model for the Large Hydraulic Gradient North of Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    McGraw, D.; Oberlander, P.

    2007-01-01

    The purpose of this study is to report on the results of a preliminary modeling framework to investigate the causes of the large hydraulic gradient north of Yucca Mountain. This study builds on the Saturated Zone Site-Scale Flow and Transport Model (referenced herein as the Site-scale model (Zyvoloski, 2004a)), which is a three-dimensional saturated zone model of the Yucca Mountain area. Groundwater flow was simulated under natural conditions. The model framework and grid design describe the geologic layering and the calibration parameters describe the hydrogeology. The Site-scale model is calibrated to hydraulic heads, fluid temperature, and groundwater flowpaths. One area of interest in the Site-scale model represents the large hydraulic gradient north of Yucca Mountain. Nearby water levels suggest over 200 meters of hydraulic head difference in less than 1,000 meters horizontal distance. Given the geologic conceptual models defined by various hydrogeologic reports (Faunt, 2000, 2001; Zyvoloski, 2004b), no definitive explanation has been found for the cause of the large hydraulic gradient. Luckey et al. (1996) presents several possible explanations for the large hydraulic gradient as provided below: The gradient is simply the result of flow through the upper volcanic confining unit, which is nearly 300 meters thick near the large gradient. The gradient represents a semi-perched system in which flow in the upper and lower aquifers is predominantly horizontal, whereas flow in the upper confining unit would be predominantly vertical. The gradient represents a drain down a buried fault from the volcanic aquifers to the lower Carbonate Aquifer. The gradient represents a spillway in which a fault marks the effective northern limit of the lower volcanic aquifer. The large gradient results from the presence at depth of the Eleana Formation, a part of the Paleozoic upper confining unit, which overlies the lower Carbonate Aquifer in much of the Death Valley region. The

  4. Secondary mineral evidence of large-scale water table fluctuations at Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1997-12-01

    At Yucca Mountain, currently under consideration as a potential permanent underground repository for high-level radioactive wastes, the present-day water table is 500 to 700 m deep. This thick unsaturated zone (UZ) is part of the natural barrier system and is regarded as a positive attribute of the potential site. The USGS has studied the stable isotopes and petrography of secondary calcite and silica minerals that coat open spaces in the UZ and form irregular veins and masses in the saturated zone (SZ). This paper reviews the findings from the several studies undertaken at Yucca Mountain on its mineralogy

  5. 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

  6. Tritium plume dynamics in the shallow unsaturated zone in an arid environment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maples, S.R.; Andraski, Brian J.; Stonestrom, David A.; Cooper, C.A.; Pohll, G.; Michel, R.L.

    2014-01-01

    The spatiotemporal variability of a tritium plume in the shallow unsaturated zone and the mechanisms controlling its transport were evaluated during a 10-yr study. Plume movement was minimal and its mass declined by 68%. Upward-directed diffusive-vapor tritium fluxes and radioactive decay accounted for most of the observed plume-mass declines.Effective isolation of tritium (3H) and other contaminants at waste-burial facilities requires improved understanding of transport processes and pathways. Previous studies documented an anomalously widespread (i.e., theoretically unexpected) distribution of 3H (>400 m from burial trenches) in a dry, sub-root-zone gravelly layer (1–2-m depth) adjacent to a low-level radioactive waste (LLRW) burial facility in the Amargosa Desert, Nevada, that closed in 1992. The objectives of this study were to: (i) characterize long-term, spatiotemporal variability of 3H plumes; and (ii) quantify the processes controlling 3H behavior in the sub-root-zone gravelly layer beneath native vegetation adjacent to the facility. Geostatistical methods, spatial moment analyses, and mass flux calculations were applied to a spatiotemporally comprehensive, 10-yr data set (2001–2011). Results showed minimal bulk-plume advancement during the study period and limited Fickian spreading of mass. Observed spreading rates were generally consistent with theoretical vapor-phase dispersion. The plume mass diminished more rapidly than would be expected from radioactive decay alone, indicating net efflux from the plume. Estimates of upward 3H efflux via diffusive-vapor movement were >10× greater than by dispersive-vapor or total-liquid movement. Total vertical fluxes were >20× greater than lateral diffusive-vapor fluxes, highlighting the importance of upward migration toward the land surface. Mass-balance calculations showed that radioactive decay and upward diffusive-vapor fluxes contributed the majority of plume loss. Results indicate that plume losses

  7. Thermal modeling for a potential high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Pruess, K.; Tsang, Y.

    1994-03-01

    Repository performance models based on numerical simulation of fluid and heat flows have recently been developed by several different groups. Model conceptualizations generally focus on large-scale average behavior. This comparison finds that current performance assessment (PA) models use generally similar approximations and parameters. Certain differences exist in some performance-relevant parameters, especially absolute permeabilities, characteristic curves, and thermal conductivities. These reflect present uncertainties about the most appropriate parameters applicable to Yucca Mountain and must be resolved through future field observations and laboratory measurements. For a highly heterogeneous fractured-porous hydrogeologic system such as Yucca Mountain, water infiltration through the unsaturated zone is expected to be dominated by highly localized phenomena. These include fast channelized flow along preferential paths in fractures, and frequent local ponding. The extended dry repository concept proposed by the Livermore group is reviewed. Predictions of large-scale drying around the repository on the average for large thermal loads cannot be taken to indicate that waste packages will not be contacted by liquid water, and that aqueous-phase transport of contaminants is not possible. Specifically, the authors find that modest water infiltration, on the order of a few millimeters per year, would be sufficient to overwhelm the vaporization capacity of the repository heat and inundate the waste packages within a time frame of a few thousand years. A preliminary analysis indicates that channelized flow of water may persist over large vertical distances. The vaporization-condensation cycle has a capacity for generating huge amounts of ponded water. A small fraction of the total condensate, if ponded and then episodically released, would be sufficient to cause liquid phase to make contact with the waste packages

  8. Significance of apparent discrepanices in water ages derived from atmospheric radionuclides at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Liu, B.; Fabryka-Martin, J.; Wolfsberg, A.; Robinson, B.; Sharma, P.

    1995-01-01

    Cosmogenic 36 Cl and 14 C produced in the atmosphere are being used to estimate water residence times in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain. Results thus far show a systematic discordance in that 14 C-based ages are generally one to two orders of magnitude younger than 36 Cl-based ages. This lack of concordance probably arises from one or more of the following reasons: (1) different transport mechanisms, e.g., vapor transport for 14 C; (2) different magnitudes and timing of bomb-pulse signals; (3) mixing of waters from different flow paths; and (4) possibly inadequate methods for correcting for the effect of sample contamination by carbon or chlorine from sources other than the infiltrating water. Preliminary numerical simulation results using the FEHMN code suggest that spatial variation in infiltration rates can enhance lateral flow and mixing that leads to discordance in apparent ages depending on the dating technique. Examples are presented to show that disparate radiometric ages are inevitable and to be expected where mixing of waters of markedly different ages occurs

  9. 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

  10. Land surface temperature as an indicator of the unsaturated zone thickness: A remote sensing approach in the Atacama Desert.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Urqueta, Harry; Jódar, Jorge; Herrera, Christian; Wilke, Hans-G; Medina, Agustín; Urrutia, Javier; Custodio, Emilio; Rodríguez, Jazna

    2018-01-15

    Land surface temperature (LST) seems to be related to the temperature of shallow aquifers and the unsaturated zone thickness (∆Z uz ). That relationship is valid when the study area fulfils certain characteristics: a) there should be no downward moisture fluxes in an unsaturated zone, b) the soil composition in terms of both, the different horizon materials and their corresponding thermal and hydraulic properties, must be as homogeneous and isotropic as possible, c) flat and regular topography, and d) steady state groundwater temperature with a spatially homogeneous temperature distribution. A night time Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) image and temperature field measurements are used to test the validity of the relationship between LST and ∆Z uz at the Pampa del Tamarugal, which is located in the Atacama Desert (Chile) and meets the above required conditions. The results indicate that there is a relation between the land surface temperature and the unsaturated zone thickness in the study area. Moreover, the field measurements of soil temperature indicate that shallow aquifers dampen both the daily and the seasonal amplitude of the temperature oscillation generated by the local climate conditions. Despite empirically observing the relationship between the LST and ∆Z uz in the study zone, such a relationship cannot be applied to directly estimate ∆Z uz using temperatures from nighttime thermal satellite images. To this end, it is necessary to consider the soil thermal properties, the soil surface roughness and the unseen water and moisture fluxes (e.g., capillarity and evaporation) that typically occur in the subsurface. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  11. Abstracts and parameter index database for reports pertaining to the unsaturated zone and surface water-ground water interactions at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bloomsburg, G.; Finnie, J.; Horn, D.; King, B.; Liou, J.

    1993-05-01

    This report is a product generated by faculty at the University of Idaho in support of research and development projects on Unsaturated Zone Contamination and Transport Processes, and on Surface Water-Groundwater Interactions and Regional Groundwater Flow at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory. These projects are managed by the State of Idaho's INEL Oversight Program under a grant from the US Department of Energy. In particular, this report meets project objectives to produce a site-wide summary of hydrological information based on a literature search and review of field, laboratory and modeling studies at INEL, including a cross-referenced index to site-specific physical, chemical, mineralogic, geologic and hydrologic parameters determined from these studies. This report includes abstracts of 149 reports with hydrological information. For reports which focus on hydrological issues, the abstracts are taken directly from those reports; for reports dealing with a variety of issues beside hydrology, the abstracts were generated by the University of Idaho authors concentrating on hydrology-related issues. Each abstract is followed by a ''Data'' section which identifies types of technical information included in a given report, such as information on parameters or chemistry, mineralogy, stream flows, water levels. The ''Data'' section does not include actual values or data

  12. General hydroisotopic study of direct infiltration and evaporation process through the unsaturated zone in Damascus oasis, Syrian Arab Republic

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Abou Zakhem, B.; Hafez, R.

    2001-01-01

    Damascus oasis plays an important economical and environmental role in the city life because it presents the surrounding green places and the groundwater is the main sources for irrigation. In this study we will focus on the unsaturated zone in Damascus oasis. Environmental isotopes as 18 O, 2 H and 3 H are considered one of the most important techniques that are used in unsaturated zone study in order to study the water movement mechanism, estimate the effective velocity, the rate and spatial variations of the direct infiltration through this zone.The Deuterium profile allow to estimate the direct evaporation rate, and it is observed that the evaporation in the eastern part of the studied area is 5-6.5 mm/y. The Tritium peak of profile that is belonging to the atmospheric nuclear tests at the beginning of the sixties indicates the effective infiltration velocity of 27.8 mm/y. The effective porosity was estimated about 6.5% and the permeability parameter is 0.6*10 -10 m/s. The direct infiltration rate was estimated by the chemical Chloride balance in the studied profiles in addition to their spatial distribution where it was distinguished between the eastern area where the direct infiltration is less than 2 mm/y characterized by very fine clay soils and western area where the direct infiltration rate is more than 2 mm/y with sandy soils. It is thought that the lower part of the unsaturated zone indicated the direct infiltration rate about 3.5 mm/y, under more wet climatic conditions where the rainfall was about 423 mm/y, this wet period was extended from about 432 y to more than 760y ago.The Nitrate concentration variation with depth indicated that unsaturated zone play important role as purification zone, and the groundwater which has more than 5 m depth is prevented from pollution, whereas the groundwater that has less than 5 m depth is more prone to pollution by high concentration of Nitrates. (author)

  13. Assessing acid rain and climate effects on the temporal variation of dissolved organic matter in the unsaturated zone of a karstic system from southern China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liao, Jin; Hu, Chaoyong; Wang, Miao; Li, Xiuli; Ruan, Jiaoyang; Zhu, Ying; Fairchild, Ian J.; Hartland, Adam

    2018-01-01

    Acid rain has the potential to significantly impact the quantity and quality of dissolved organic matter (DOM) leached from soil to groundwater. Yet, to date, the effects of acid rain have not been investigated in karstic systems, which are expected to strongly buffer the pH of atmospheric rainfall. This study presents a nine-year DOM fluorescence dataset from a karst unsaturated zone collected from two drip sites (HS4, HS6) in Heshang Cave, southern China between 2005 and 2014. Cross-correlograms show that fluorescence intensity of both dripwaters lagged behind rainfall by ∼1 year (∼11 months lag for HS4, and ∼13 months for HS6), whereas drip rates responded quite quickly to rainfall (0 months lag for HS4, and ∼3 months for HS6), based on optimal correlation coefficients. The rapid response of drip rates to rainfall is related to the change of reservoir head pressure in summer, associated with higher rainfall. In winter, low rainfall has a limited effect on head pressure, and drip rates gradually slow to a constant value associated with base flow from the overlying reservoir- this effect being most evident on inter-annual timescales (R2 = 0.80 for HS4 and R2 = 0.86 for HS6, n = 9, p process on delaying water and solute transport. After eliminating the one year lag, the congruent seasonal pacing and amplitude between fluorescence intensity and rainfall observed suggests that the seasonality of fluorescence intensity was mainly controlled by the monsoonal rains which can govern the output of DOM from the soil, as well as the residence time of water in the unsaturated zone. On inter-annual timescales, a robust linear relationship between fluorescence intensity and annual (effective) precipitation amount (R2 = 0.86 for HS4 and R2 = 0.77 for HS6, n = 9, p < 0.01) was identified, implying that annual (effective) precipitation is the main determinant of DOM concentration in the aquifer. Conversely, the insensitivity of fluorescence intensity and fluorescence

  14. An integrated methodology for characterizing flow and transport processes in fractured rock

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wu, Yu-Shu

    2007-01-01

    To investigate the coupled processes involved in fluid and heat flow and chemical transport in the highly heterogeneous, unsaturated-zone (UZ) fractured rock of Yucca Mountain, we present an integrated modeling methodology. This approach integrates a wide variety of moisture, pneumatic, thermal, and geochemical isotopic field data into a comprehensive three-dimensional numerical model for modeling analyses. The results of field applications of the methodology show that moisture data, such as water potential and liquid saturation, are not sufficient to determine in situ percolation flux, whereas temperature and geochemical isotopic data provide better constraints to net infiltration rates and flow patterns. In addition, pneumatic data are found to be extremely valuable in estimating large-scale fracture permeability. The integration of hydrologic, pneumatic, temperature, and geochemical data into modeling analyses is thereby demonstrated to provide a practical modeling approach for characterizing flow and transport processes in complex fractured formations

  15. Total-system performance assessment for Yucca Mountain - SNL second iteration (TSPA-1993); Volume 1

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wilson, M.L.; Gauthier, J.H.; Barnard, R.W.; Barr, G.E.; Dockery, H.A.; Dunn, E.; Eaton, R.R.; Guerin, D.C.; Lu, N.; Martinez, M.J. [and others

    1994-04-01

    Sandia National Laboratories has completed the second iteration of the periodic total-system performance assessments (TSPA-93) for the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project (YMP). These analyses estimate the future behavior of a potential repository for high-level nuclear waste at the Yucca Mountain, Nevada, site under consideration by the Department of Energy. TSPA-93 builds upon previous efforts by emphasizing YMP concerns relating to site characterization, design, and regulatory compliance. Scenarios describing expected conditions (aqueous and gaseous transport of contaminants) and low-probability events (human-intrusion drilling and volcanic intrusion) are modeled. The hydrologic processes modeled include estimates of the perturbations to ambient conditions caused by heating of the repository resulting from radioactive decay of the waste. Hydrologic parameters and parameter probability distributions have been derived from available site data. Possible future climate changes are modeled by considering two separate groundwater infiltration conditions: {open_quotes}wet{close_quotes} with a mean flux of 10 mm/yr, and {open_quotes}dry{close_quotes} with a mean flux of 0.5 mm/yr. Two alternative waste-package designs and two alternative repository areal thermal power densities are investigated. One waste package is a thin-wall container emplaced in a vertical borehole, and the second is a container designed with corrosion-resistant and corrosion-allowance walls emplaced horizontally in the drift. Thermal power loadings of 57 kW/acre (the loading specified in the original repository conceptual design) and 114 kW/acre (a loading chosen to investigate effects of a {open_quotes}hot repository{close_quotes}) are considered. TSPA-93 incorporates significant new detailed process modeling, including two- and three-dimensional modeling of thermal effects, groundwater flow in the saturated-zone aquifers, and gas flow in the unsaturated zone.

  16. Total-system performance assessment for Yucca Mountain - SNL second iteration (TSPA-1993); Volume 2

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wilson, M.L.; Barnard, R.W.; Barr, G.E.; Dockery, H.A.; Dunn, E.; Eaton, R.R.; Martinez, M.J. [Sandia National Labs., Albuquerque, NM (United States); Gauthier, J.H.; Guerin, D.C.; Lu, N. [and others

    1994-04-01

    Sandia National Laboratories has completed the second iteration of the periodic total-system performance assessments (TSPA-93) for the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project (YMP). These analyses estimate the future behavior of a potential repository for high-level nuclear waste at the Yucca Mountain, Nevada, site under consideration by the Department of Energy. TSPA-93 builds upon previous efforts by emphasizing YMP concerns relating to site characterization, design, and regulatory compliance. Scenarios describing expected conditions (aqueous and gaseous transport of contaminants) and low-probability events (human-intrusion drilling and volcanic intrusion) are modeled. The hydrologic processes modeled include estimates of the perturbations to ambient conditions caused by heating of the repository resulting from radioactive decay of the waste. Hydrologic parameters and parameter probability distributions have been derived from available site data. Possible future climate changes are modeled by considering two separate groundwater infiltration conditions: {open_quotes}wet{close_quotes} with a mean flux of 10 mm/yr, and {open_quotes}dry{close_quotes} with a mean flux of 0.5 mm/yr. Two alternative waste-package designs and two alternative repository areal thermal power densities are investigated. One waste package is a thin-wall container emplaced in a vertical borehole, and the second is a container designed with corrosion-resistant and corrosion-allowance walls emplaced horizontally in the drift. Thermal power loadings of 57 kW/acre (the loading specified in the original repository conceptual design) and 114 kW/acre (a loading chosen to investigate effects of a {open_quotes}hot repository{close_quotes}) are considered. TSPA-93 incorporates significant new detailed process modeling, including two- and three-dimensional modeling of thermal effects, groundwater flow in the saturated-zone aquifers, and gas flow in the unsaturated zone.

  17. Total-system performance assessment for Yucca Mountain - SNL second iteration (TSPA-1993)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wilson, M.L.; Gauthier, J.H.; Barnard, R.W.; Barr, G.E.; Dockery, H.A.; Dunn, E.; Eaton, R.R.; Guerin, D.C.; Lu, N.; Martinez, M.J.

    1994-04-01

    Sandia National Laboratories has completed the second iteration of the periodic total-system performance assessments (TSPA-93) for the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project (YMP). These analyses estimate the future behavior of a potential repository for high-level nuclear waste at the Yucca Mountain, Nevada, site under consideration by the Department of Energy. TSPA-93 builds upon previous efforts by emphasizing YMP concerns relating to site characterization, design, and regulatory compliance. Scenarios describing expected conditions (aqueous and gaseous transport of contaminants) and low-probability events (human-intrusion drilling and volcanic intrusion) are modeled. The hydrologic processes modeled include estimates of the perturbations to ambient conditions caused by heating of the repository resulting from radioactive decay of the waste. Hydrologic parameters and parameter probability distributions have been derived from available site data. Possible future climate changes are modeled by considering two separate groundwater infiltration conditions: open-quotes wetclose quotes with a mean flux of 10 mm/yr, and open-quotes dryclose quotes with a mean flux of 0.5 mm/yr. Two alternative waste-package designs and two alternative repository areal thermal power densities are investigated. One waste package is a thin-wall container emplaced in a vertical borehole, and the second is a container designed with corrosion-resistant and corrosion-allowance walls emplaced horizontally in the drift. Thermal power loadings of 57 kW/acre (the loading specified in the original repository conceptual design) and 114 kW/acre (a loading chosen to investigate effects of a open-quotes hot repositoryclose quotes) are considered. TSPA-93 incorporates significant new detailed process modeling, including two- and three-dimensional modeling of thermal effects, groundwater flow in the saturated-zone aquifers, and gas flow in the unsaturated zone

  18. Use of chlorine-36 and other geochemical data to test a groundwater flow model for Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wolfsberg, A.V.; Fabryka-Martin, J.T.; Levy, S.S.

    1998-01-01

    Defining the spatial distribution and timing of subsurface fluid percolation is one of the most important factors determining long term performance of the potential high-level radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The nonwelded interval of the Paintbrush Group (PTn), which overlies most of the potential repository, has high matrix porosities and permeabilities and is mostly unfractured. The Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF) is a 8-km long, 7.6-m diameter, tunnel excavated beneath Yucca Mountain to the level of the potential repository horizon in order to provide access for characterization of these rocks. Several samples collected within the ESF have measured 36 Cl/Cl ratios that record anthropogenic 36 Cl (bomb-pulse 36 Cl), indicating that at least some fraction of the water has traversed the overlying PTn in 40 years or less and that flow is not confined to the matrix of that unit. The presence of a fast path transmitting bomb-pulse 36 Cl to depth appears to require the simultaneous presence of a structure (such as a fault) cutting the PTn and sufficiently high magnitude to surface infiltration to initiate and sustain at least a small component of fracture flow along the connected fracture path associated with the structure. The 36 Cl data have been simulated using the flow and transport model FEHM in order to establish bounds on infiltration rates at the site and to provide greater confidence in the understanding of unsaturated flow processes at the site by showing consistency between the observed and simulated data sets. An analogous effort simulating the distribution of porewater chloride concentrations is providing an independent means for confirming the conceptual model

  19. Analysis of Alcove 8/Niche 3 Flow and Transport Tests

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    H.H. Liu

    2006-01-01

    The purpose of this report is to document analyses of the Alcove 8/Niche 3 flow and transport tests, with a focus on the large-infiltration-plot tests and compare pre-test model predictions with the actual test observations. The tests involved infiltration that originated from the floor of Alcove 8 (located in the Enhanced Characterization of Repository Block (ECRB) Cross Drift) and observations of seepage and tracer transport at Niche 3 (located in the Main Drift of the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF)). The test results are relevant to drift seepage and solute transport in the unsaturated zone (UZ) of Yucca Mountain. The main objective of this analysis was to evaluate the modeling approaches used and the importance of the matrix diffusion process by comparing simulation and actual test observations. The pre-test predictions for the large plot test were found to differ from the observations and the reasons for the differences were documented in this report to partly address CR 6783, which concerns unexpected test results. These unexpected results are discussed and assessed with respect to the current baseline unsaturated zone radionuclide transport model in Sections 6.2.4, 6.3.2, and 6.4

  20. Distribution of gases in the unsaturated zone at a low-level radioactive-waste disposal site near Sheffield, Illinois

    Science.gov (United States)

    Striegl, Robert G.

    1988-01-01

    The unsaturated zone is a medium that provides pneumatic communication for the movement of gases from wastes buried in landfills to the atmosphere, biota, and groundwater. Gases in unsaturated glacial and eolian deposits near a waste-disposal trench at the low-level radioactive-waste disposal site near Sheffield, Bureau County, Illinois, were identified, and the spatial and temporal distributions of the partial pressures of those gases were determined for the period January 1984 through January 1986. Methods for the collection and analyses of the gases are described, as are geologic and hydrologic characteristics of the unsaturated zone that affect gas transport. The identified gases, which are of natural and of waste origin, include nitrogen, oxygen, and argon, carbon dioxide, methane, propane, butane, tritiated water vapor, 14carbon dioxide, and 222 radon. Concentrations of methane and 14carbon dioxide originated at the waste, as shown by partial-pressure gradients of the gases; 14carbon dioxide partial pressures exceeded natural background partial pressures by factors greater than 1 million at some locations. Variations in partial pressures of oxygen and carbon dioxide were seasonal among piezometers because of increased root and soil-microbe respiration during summer. Variations in methane and 14carbon dioxide partial pressures were apparently related to discrete releases from waste sources at unpredictable intervals of time. No greater than background partial pressures for tritiated water vapor or 222 radon were measured. (USGS)

  1. Disposal of high-level radioactive wastes in the unsaturated zone: technical considerations and response to comments. Final report

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hackbarth, C.J.; Nicholson, T.J.; Evans, D.D.

    1985-10-01

    On July 22, 1985, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) promulgated amendments to 10 CFR Part 60 concerning disposal of high-level radioactive waste (HLW) in geologic repositories in the unsaturated zone (50 FR 29641). This report contains a discussion of the principal technical issues considered by the NRC staff during the development of these amendments. It expands or revises certain technical discussions originally presented in draft NUREG-1046 (February 1984) based on public comment letters and an increasing understanding of the physical, geochemical, and hydrogeologic processes operative in unsaturated geologic media. The following issues related to disposal of HLW within the unsaturated zone are discussed: hydrogeologic properties and conditions, heat dissipation and temperature, geochemisty, retrievability, potential for exhumation of the radioactive waste by natural causes and by human intrusion, the effects of future climatic changes on the level of the regional water table, and transport of radionuclides in the gaseous state. The changes to 10 CFR Part 60 in definitions, siting criteria, and design criteria for the geologic repository operations area are discussed. Other criteria examined by the NRC staff but which were not changed in rule are the minimum 300-meter depth for waste emplacement, limitations on exploratory boreholes, backfill requirements, waste package design criteria, and provisions for ventilation

  2. Water movements in the unsaturated zone and recharge of the aquifer in the Champagne Chalk (France): Isotopic and chemical approaches

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Vachier, P.; Dever, L.; Fontes, J.C.

    1987-01-01

    Water from the unsaturated zone in the chalk, obtained from porous plugs, was subjected to chemical and isotope analyses over a three-year period. Tensiometric and volumetric water content measurements were carried out at the same time. The results obtained make it possible to establish an outline of the hydrodynamics of this porous, fissured chalk medium. Matrix porosity was 0.42 while fissure porosity was in the region of 0.01. The tritium and nitrate concentrations in the water fix the mean residence time in the 20-metre unsaturated zone at about 30 years. The isotope profiles ( 18 O and 3 H) and their downward displacements make it possible to estimate the mean annual recharge into the unconfined groundwater in the chalk (200 to 300 mm, depending on plant cover). The vertical movement of the solution in the porous matrix is dominated by the piston effect. Variations in 18 O concentration can be correlated with local climatic fluctuations. The recharge period runs from November to March, with summer rainfall playing no part. A comparison of 2 H and 18 O concentrations shows that even winter rainfall is partially removed by evaporation. (author). 17 refs, 11 figs, 1 tab

  3. Potential for ground-water contamination from movement of wastewater through the unsaturated zone, upper Mojave River Basin, California

    Science.gov (United States)

    Umari, A.M.; Martin, P.M.; Schroeder, R.A.; Duell, L.F.; Fay, R.G.

    1993-01-01

    Septic-tank wastewater disposed in 30-foot-deep seepage pits (dry wells) at 46,000 residences is estimated to equal 18 percent of the natural recharge to the sole-source aquifer in the rapidly developing upper Mojave River Basin (Victor Valley) in the high desert northeast of Los Angeles. Vertical rates of movement of the wastewater wetting front through the unsaturated zone at three newly occupied residences ranged from 0.07 to 1.0 foot per day. These rates translate to traveltimes of several months to several years for the wastewater wetting front to reach the water table and imply that wastewater from many disposal systems already has reached the water table, which averages about 150 feet below land surface in the Victor Valley. As wastewater percolates from seepage pits into the adjacent unsaturated zone, the nitrogen present in reduced form is rapidly converted to nitrate. Analyses on soil-core extracts and soil moisturefrom suction lysimeters installed beneath the seepage pits at eight residences showed that nitrate concentrations and nitrate/ chloride ratios generally become lower with increasing depth. The intervals of greatest decline seemed to coincide with finer soil texture or were near the water table. Nitrate-reducing bacteria were tested for and found to be present in soil cores from two residences. Sparse nitrogen-15 data from suction lysimeters at one of these residences, where thenitrate concentration decreased by about one-half at a depth of 200 feet, indicate that the nitrate decline was accompanied by nitrogen-15 enrichment in the residual nitrate with an isotope-separation factor of about -10 permil. Despite the potential input of abundant nitrogen with the domestic wastewater recharge, nitrate concentrations in the area's ground water are generally low. The absence of high nitrate concentrations in the ground water is consistent with the existence of denitrification, a microbial nitrogen-removal mechanism, as wastewater moves through the

  4. 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

  5. Unclassified Sources Term and Radionuclide Data for Corrective Action Unit 97: Yucca Flat/Climax Mine, Nevada Test Site, Nevada, Revision 2

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Peter Martian

    2009-08-01

    This report documents the evaluation of the information and data available on the unclassified source term and radionuclide contamination for CAU 97: Yucca Flat/Climax Mine. The total residual inventory of radionuclides associated with one or more tests is known as the radiologic source term (RST). The RST is comprised of radionuclides in water, glass, or other phases or mineralogic forms. The hydrologic source term (HST) of an underground nuclear test is the portion of the total RST that is released into the groundwater over time following the test. In this report, the HST represents radionuclide release some time after the explosion and does not include the rapidly evolving mechanical, thermal, and chemical processes during the explosion. The CAU 97: Yucca Flat/Climax Mine has many more detonations and a wider variety of settings to consider compared to other CAUs. For instance, the source term analysis and evaluation performed for CAUs 101 and 102: Central and Western Pahute Mesa and CAU 98: Frenchman Flat did not consider vadose zone attenuation because many detonations were located near or below the water table. However, the large number of Yucca Flat/Climax Mine tests and the location of many tests above the water table warrant a more robust analysis of the unsaturated zone. The purpose of this report is to develop and document conceptual models of the Yucca Flat/Climax Mine HST for use in implementing source terms for the Yucca Flat/Climax Mine models. This document presents future plans to incorporate the radionuclide attenuation mechanisms due to unsaturated/multiphase flow and transport within the Yucca Flat CAU scale modeling. The important processes that influence radionuclide migration for the unsaturated and saturated tests in alluvial, volcanic, and carbonate settings are identified. Many different flow and transport models developed by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), including original

  6. Features, Events and Processes in UZ Flow and Transport

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    P. Persoff

    2005-01-01

    The purpose of this report is to evaluate and document the inclusion or exclusion of the unsaturated zone (UZ) features, events, and processes (FEPs) with respect to modeling that supports the total system performance assessment (TSPA) for license application (LA) for a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. A screening decision, either Included or Excluded, is given for each FEP, along with the technical basis for the screening decision. This information is required by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in 10 CFR 63.114 (d, e, and f) [DIRS 173273]. The FEPs deal with UZ flow and radionuclide transport, including climate, surface water infiltration, percolation, drift seepage, and thermally coupled processes. This analysis summarizes the implementation of each FEP in TSPA-LA (that is, how the FEP is included) and also provides the technical basis for exclusion from TSPA-LA (that is, why the FEP is excluded). This report supports TSPA-LA

  7. Features, Events, and Processes in UZ Flow and Transport

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Persoff, P.

    2004-01-01

    The purpose of this report is to evaluate and document the inclusion or exclusion of the unsaturated zone (UZ) features, events, and processes (FEPs) with respect to modeling that supports the total system performance assessment (TSPA) for license application (LA) for a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. A screening decision, either ''Included'' or ''Excluded'', is given for each FEP, along with the technical basis for the screening decision. This information is required by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in 10 CFR 63.114 (d, e, and f) [DIRS 156605]. The FEPs deal with UZ flow and radionuclide transport, including climate, surface water infiltration, percolation, drift seepage, and thermally coupled processes. This analysis summarizes the implementation of each FEP in TSPA-LA (that is, how the FEP is included) and also provides the technical basis for exclusion from TSPA-LA (that is, why the FEP is excluded). This report supports TSPA-LA

  8. Features, Events and Processes in UZ Flow and Transport

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    P. Persoff

    2005-08-04

    The purpose of this report is to evaluate and document the inclusion or exclusion of the unsaturated zone (UZ) features, events, and processes (FEPs) with respect to modeling that supports the total system performance assessment (TSPA) for license application (LA) for a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. A screening decision, either Included or Excluded, is given for each FEP, along with the technical basis for the screening decision. This information is required by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in 10 CFR 63.114 (d, e, and f) [DIRS 173273]. The FEPs deal with UZ flow and radionuclide transport, including climate, surface water infiltration, percolation, drift seepage, and thermally coupled processes. This analysis summarizes the implementation of each FEP in TSPA-LA (that is, how the FEP is included) and also provides the technical basis for exclusion from TSPA-LA (that is, why the FEP is excluded). This report supports TSPA-LA.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. Does localized recharge occur at a discharge area within the ground-water flow system of Yucca Mountain, Nevada?

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Czarnecki, J.B.; Kroitoru, L.; Ronen, D.; Magaritz, M.

    1992-01-01

    Studies done in 1984, at a central site on Franklin Lake playa (also known as Alkali Flat, a major discharge area of the ground-water flow system that includes Yucca Mountain, Nevada, the potential site of a high-level nuclear-waste repository) yield limited hydraulic-head and hydrochemical data from a 3-piezometer nest which indicated a slightly downward hydraulic gradient (-0.02) and decreasing concentration of dissolved solids with increasing depth. Hydraulic-head measurements in June, 1989 made at the piezometer nest showed a substantially larger downward gradient (-0.10) and a 0. 83-meter higher water level in the shallowest piezometer (3.29 meters deep), indicating the possibility of localized recharge. during the period of September-November, 1989, a multilevel sampler was used to obtain detailed hydrochemical profiles of the uppermost 1. 5 m of the saturated zone

  14. Chemical (Cl) and isotopic (18O, 2H, 3H) study of the unsaturated zone in the arid region of Nefta (South Tunisia)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Zouari, K.; Maliki, My.A.; Moumni, L.; Aranyossy, J.F.

    2001-01-01

    A chemical and isotopic study of the unsaturated zone in Nefta, southwestern Tunisia was initiated to gain an improved understanding of the recharge and evaporation processes in the shallow 'Continental Terminal' (CT) sandy aquifer outcropping in the region of Nefta, which constitutes the most important water resource for agriculture and domestic uses in the region. A single 13.5-m core was extracted and subsampled from the unsaturated zone at the end of the 'rainy season' (23-24 April 1998) using a hand auger to avoid fluid contamination. Estimated recharge rates based on isotope and chemical profiles, uncertainties, and recommendations for future research are discussed. (author)

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. Progression of performance assessment modeling for the Yucca Mountain disposal system for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rechard, Rob P.; Wilson, Michael L.; Sevougian, S. David

    2014-01-01

    This paper summarizes the evolution of consequence modeling for a repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain in southern Nevada. The discussion includes four early performance assessments (PAs) conducted between 1982 and 1995 to support selection and to evaluate feasibility and three major PAs conducted between 1998 and 2008 to evaluate viability, recommend the site, and assess compliance. Modeling efforts in 1982 estimated dose to individuals 18 km from the site caused by volcanic eruption through the repository. Modeling in 1984 estimated releases via the groundwater pathway because of container corrosion. In combination, this early analysis supported the first environmental assessment. Analysts in 1991 evaluated cumulative release, as specified in the 1985 US radiation protection standards, via the groundwater pathway over 10 4 yr at a 5-km boundary by modeling waste degradation and flow/transport in the saturated and unsaturated zones. By 1992, however, the US Congress mandated a change to a dose measure. Thus, the 1993 and 1995 performance assessments improved modeling of waste container degradation to provide better estimates of radionuclide release rates out to 10 6 yr. The 1998 viability assessment was a major step in modeling complexity. Dose at a 20-km boundary from the repository was evaluated through 10 6 yr for undisturbed conditions using more elaborate modeling of flow and the addition of modules for modeling infiltration, drift seepage, the chemical environment, and biosphere transport. The 2000 assessment for the site recommendation refined the analysis. Seepage modeling was greatly improved and waste form degradation modeling included more chemical dependence. The 2008 compliance assessment for the license application incorporated the influence of the seismicity on waste package performance to evaluate dose at an ∼18-km boundary. - Highlights: • Evolution of the consequence models to simulate physical

  18. Viability Assessment of a Repository at Yucca Mountain. Volume 3: Total System Performance Assessment

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    None

    1998-12-01

    This volume reports the development of TSPA for the VA. This first section defines the general process involved in developing any TSPA, it describes the overall TSPA process as implemented by programs in the US and elsewhere in the world, and discusses the acceptability of TSPA as a process or tool for analyzing a nuclear waste repository system. Section 2 discusses the more specific use of the TSPA process for the TSPA-VA for Yucca Mountain, including goals, approach, and methods. It also includes a very brief synopsis of TSPA-VA results. Section 3 briefly discusses each of the component models that comprise the TSPA-VA. Each TSPA component model represents a discrete set of processes. The TSPA-VA components are: unsaturated zone flow, thermal hydrology, near- field geochemical environment, waste package degradation, waste form alteration and mobilization, unsaturated zone transport, saturated zone flow and transport, and biosphere. For each of these components, this section introduces the conceptualization of each individual process, describes the data sources, and discusses model parameter development and computer methods used to simulate each component. Section 4 explains the mechanics of how the individual TSPA components were combined into a ''base case'' and then provides the ''expected value'' results of a deterministic base case analysis. Section 4 also contains a description of the probabilistic analyses and results that help determine the relative importance of the various TSPA components and the data used to describe the components. Section 5 addresses sensitivity studies run for each of the TSPA components to understand how uncertainty in various parameters within a component change the TSPA results. Section 6 presents the findings of the sensitivity studies run on the various components in Section 5, and prioritizes the findings of the entire set of uncertainty and sensitivity studies of the components relative

  19. Geochemical controls on the composition of soil pore waters beneath a mixed waste disposal site in the unsaturated zone

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rawson, S.A.; Hubbell, J.M.

    1989-01-01

    Soil pore waters are collected routinely to monitor a thick unsaturated zone that separates a mixed waste disposal site containing transuranic and low-level radioactive wastes from the Snake River Plain aquifer. The chemistry of the soil pore waters has been studied to evaluate the possible control on the water composition by mineral equilibria and determine the extent, if any, of migration of radionuclides from the disposal site. Geochemical codes were used to perform speciation calculations for the waters. The results of speciation calculations suggest that the installation of the lysimeters affects the observed silica contents of the soil pore waters. The results also establish those chemical parameters that are controlled by secondary mineral precipitation. 15 refs., 6 figs., 1 tab

  20. The Vertical Flux Method (VFM) for regional estimates of temporally and spatially varying nitrate fluxes in unsaturated zone and groundwater

    Science.gov (United States)

    Green, C. T.; Liao, L.; Nolan, B. T.; Juckem, P. F.; Ransom, K.; Harter, T.

    2017-12-01

    Process-based modeling of regional NO3- fluxes to groundwater is critical for understanding and managing water quality. Measurements of atmospheric tracers of groundwater age and dissolved-gas indicators of denitrification progress have potential to improve estimates of NO3- reactive transport processes. This presentation introduces a regionalized version of a vertical flux method (VFM) that uses simple mathematical estimates of advective-dispersive reactive transport with regularization procedures to calibrate estimated tracer concentrations to observed equivalents. The calibrated VFM provides estimates of chemical, hydrologic and reaction parameters (source concentration time series, recharge, effective porosity, dispersivity, reaction rate coefficients) and derived values (e.g. mean unsaturated zone travel time, eventual depth of the NO3- front) for individual wells. Statistical learning methods are used to extrapolate parameters and predictions from wells to continuous areas. The regional VFM was applied to 473 well samples in central-eastern Wisconsin. Chemical measurements included O2, NO3-, N2 from denitrification, and atmospheric tracers of groundwater age including carbon-14, chlorofluorocarbons, tritium, and triogiogenic helium. VFM results were consistent with observed chemistry, and calibrated parameters were in-line with independent estimates. Results indicated that (1) unsaturated zone travel times were a substantial portion of the transit time to wells and streams (2) fractions of N leached to groundwater have changed over time, with increasing fractions from manure and decreasing fractions from fertilizer, and (3) under current practices and conditions, 60% of the shallow aquifer will eventually be affected by NO3- contamination. Based on GIS coverages of variables related to soils, land use and hydrology, the VFM results at individual wells were extrapolated regionally using boosted regression trees, a statistical learning approach, that related

  1. Briefing package for the Yucca Flat pre-emptive review, including overview, UZ model, SZ volcanics model and summary and conclusions sections

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Kwicklis, Edward Michael [Los Alamos National Laboratory; Keating, Elizabeth H [Los Alamos National Laboratory

    2010-12-02

    Much progress has been made in the last several years in modeling radionuclide transport from tests conducted both in the unsaturated zone and saturated volcanic rocks of Yucca Flat, Nevada. The presentations to the DOE NNSA pre-emptive review panel contained herein document the progress to date, and discuss preliminary conclusions regarding the present and future extents of contamination resulting from past nuclear tests. The presentations also discuss possible strategies for addressing uncertainty in the model results.

  2. Steam stripping of the unsaturated zone of contaminated sub-soils: the effect of diffusion/dispersion in the start-up phase

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Brouwers, Jos; Gilding, B.H.

    2006-01-01

    The unsteady process of steam stripping of the unsaturated zone of soils contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is addressed. A model is presented. It accounts for the effects of water and contaminants remaining in vapour phase, as well as diffusion and dispersion of contaminants in

  3. Annual report on monitoring of the unsaturated zone and recharge areas at INEL to the state of Idaho INEL Oversight Committee

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    King, B.; Bloomsburg, G.; Horn, D.; Liou, J.; Finnie, J.

    1992-01-01

    During the early years of the INEL, the USGS conducted extensive studies (sitewide drilling program) of the geology and hydrology of the area collecting varied data over the years. The unsaturated zone has not received much attention until recently. The studies that have been done are a result of problems or concerns arising from liquid radioactive waste disposal. The TRA facility has the most information published about its waste disposal activities. The ICPP has less data about the unsaturated zone due to the fact that most waste water disposal has been to a well. Little is known about the effect of waste water disposal at the NRF on the unsaturated zone. Essentially no information was found about waste disposal activities at other facilities, primarily because there does not appear to be any reported problems associated with waste water disposal at these locations. The RWMC has received much attention in the last few years as the result of being priority No. 1 in the superfund clean up of the INEL. A considerable amount of data are available describing the unsaturated zone at the RWMC. These data have been collected to field calibrate a radionuclide migration model for the RWMC

  4. Scoping analysis of in situ thermal-hydrological testing at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1996-01-01

    In situ thermal tests, which are to be conducted in the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF) in the unsaturated zone (UZ) at Yucca Mountain, are required to test coupled thermal-hydrological-geomechanical-geochemical (T-H-M-C) process models that support total system performance assessment. The ESF thermal tests must provide an understanding of coupled T-H-M-C processes that are relevant to expected repository conditions. Current planning includes the possibility of two large-scale tests: (1) the first ESF (drift-scale) thermal test, which will be conducted under an accelerated heatup and cooldown schedule, and (2) a second ESF (multi-drift) test, which will be larger-scale, longer-duration test, conducted under a less accelerated heatup and cooldown schedule. With the V-TOUGH (vectorized transport of unsaturated groundwater and heat) code, the authors modeled and evaluated a range of heater test sizes, heating rates, and heating durations under a range of plausible hydrological conditions to develop a test design that provides sufficient (and timely) information to determine the following: the dominant mode(s) of heat flow; the major T-H regime(s) and the T-H-M-C processes that determine the magnitude and direction of vapor and condensate flow; and the influence of heterogeneous conditions on the flow of heat, vapor, and condensate. A major purpose of the ESF thermal tests is to determine which major decay-heat-driven T-H flow regime(s) will govern the magnitude and direction of vapor and condensate flow in the UZ. Another major purpose of the thermal tests is to determine the degree of vapor diffusion enhancement

  5. Application of isotopes to the assessment of pollutant behaviour in the unsaturated zone for groundwater protection. Final report of a coordinated research project 2004-2005

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    2009-05-01

    A coordinated research project (CRP) was conducted by the IAEA with the purpose of studying what isotopic and other ancillary data are required to help understand migration of potential contaminants through the unsaturated zone (UZ) into the underlying groundwater. To this end, research projects were conducted in ten countries to study recharge and infiltration processes, as well as contaminant migration in a wide variety of UZ environments. This publication contains the reports of these ten projects and a summary of the accomplishments of the individual projects. The IAEA-TECDOC reviews the usefulness and current status of application of the combined use of isotope and other hydrogeochemical tools for the assessment of flow and transport processes in the UZ. A number of isotope and hydrochemical tools have been used to simultaneously study groundwater recharge and transport of pollutants in the UZ. This information is relevant for assessing the vulnerability of groundwater to contamination. The ten projects covered climates ranging from humid to arid, and water table depths from the near surface to over 600 m. The studies included measuring movement of water, solutes, and gases through the UZ using an assortment of isotope and geochemical tracers and approaches. Contaminant issues have been studied at most of the ten sites and the UZ was found to be very effective in protecting groundwater from most heavy metal contaminants. The publication is expected to be of interest to hydrologists, hydrogeologists and soil scientists dealing with pollution aspects and protection of groundwater resources, as well as counterparts of TC projects in Member States

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. Laboratory research program to aid in developing and testing the validity of conceptual models for flow and transport through unsaturated porous media

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Glass, R.J.

    1991-01-01

    As part of the Yucca Mountain Project, a laboratory research program is being developed at Sandia National Laboratories that will integrate fundamental physical experimentation with conceptual model formulation and mathematical modeling and aid in subsequent model validation for unsaturated zone water and contaminant transport. Experimental systems are being developed to explore flow and transport processes and assumptions of fundamental importance to various conceptual models. Experimentation will run concurrently in two types of systems: fractured and nonfractured tuffaceous systems; and analogue systems having specific characteristics of the tuff systems but designed to maximize experimental control and resolution of data measurement. Areas in which experimentation currently is directed include infiltration flow instability, water and solute movement in unsaturated fractures, fracture-matrix interaction, and scaling laws to define effective large-scale properties for heterogeneous, fractured media. 16 refs

  9. Laboratory research program to aid in developing and testing the validity of conceptual models for flow and transport through unsaturated porous media

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Glass, R.J.

    1990-01-01

    As part of the Yucca Mountain Project, a laboratory research program is being developed at Sandia National Laboratories that will integrate fundamental physical experimentation with conceptual formulation and mathematical modeling and aid in subsequent model validation for unsaturated zone water and contaminant transport. Experimental systems are being developed to explore flow and transport processes and assumptions of fundamental importance to various conceptual models. Experimentation will run concurrently in two types of systems: fractured and nonfractured tuffaceous systems; and analogue systems having specific characteristics of the tuff systems but designed to maximize experimental control and resolution of data measurement. Questions to which experimentation currently is directed include infiltration flow instability, water and solute movement in unsaturated fractures, fracture-matrix interaction, and the definition of effective large-scale properties for heterogeneous, fractured media. 16 refs

  10. Localized dryout: An approach for managing the thermal hydrologi-cal effects of decay heat at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Buscheck, T. A.; Nitao, J.J.; Ramspott, L.D.

    1995-11-01

    For a nuclear waste repository in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, there are two thermal loading approaches to using decay heat constructively -- that is, to substantially reduce relative humidity and liquid flow near waste packages for a considerable time, and thereby limit waste package degradation and radionuclide dissolution and release. ''Extended dryout'' achieves these effects with a thermal load high enough to generate large-scale (coalesced) rock dryout. ''Localized dryout''(which uses wide drift spacing and a thermal load too low for coalesced dryout) achieves them by maintaining a large temperature difference between the waste package and drift wall; this is done with close waste package spacing (generating a high line-heat load) and/or low-thermal-conductivity backfill in the drift. Backfill can greatly reduce relative humidity on the waste package in both the localized and extended dryout approaches. Besides using decay heat constructively, localized dryout reduces the possibility that far-field temperature rise and condensate buildup above the drifts might adversely affect waste isolation

  11. 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

  12. Origins of secondary silica within Yucca Mountain, Nye County, southwestern Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Moscati, R.J.; Whelan, J.F.

    1996-01-01

    The accuracy of predictions of the hydrologic response of Yucca Mountain to future climate depends largely on how well relations between past climate and hydrology can be resolved. To advance this reconstruction, secondary minerals in and near Yucca Mountain, deposited by ground waters that originated both as surficial recharge at Yucca Mountain and from regional aquifers, are being studied to determine past ground-water sources and chemistries. Preliminary data on stable oxygen isotopes indicate that, although silica (opal, quartz, and chalcedony) and calcite and have formed in similar settings and from somewhat similar fluids, the authors have found no compelling evidence of coprecipitation or formation from identical fluids. If verified by further analyses, this precludes the use of silica-calcite mineral pairs for precise geothermometry. The preliminary data also indicate that opal and calcite occurrences in pedogenic and unsaturated-zone settings are invariably compatible with formation under modern ambient surface or subsurface temperatures. Silica and calcite stable-isotope studies are being integrated with soil geochemical modeling. This modeling will define the soil geochemical condition (climate) leading to opal or calcite deposition and to the transfer functions that may apply at the meteorologic soil unsaturated-zone interfaces. Additional study of pedogenic and unsaturated-zone silica is needed to support these models. The hypothesis that the transformation of vapor-phase tridymite to quartz requires saturated conditions is being tested through stable oxygen-isotope studies of lithophysal tridymite/quartz mixtures. Should this hypothesis be verified, mineralogic analysis by X-ray diffraction theoretically would permit reconstruction of past maximum water-table elevations

  13. 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

  14. Long term variations of chlorine-36 input signal to groundwater as recorded in deep unsaturated zones, south-east Australia

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Le Gal La Salle, C.; Herczeg, A.L.; Leaney, F.W.; Fifield, L.K.; Cresswell, R.G.; Kellet, J.

    1997-01-01

    The use of chlorine-36 is increasing in hydrology as its long half-life (3x10 5 a), allows useful long-term investigations into groundwater systems. Because chloride is very hydrophillic, the chlorine-36 signal should not be affected by geochemical processes in most aquatic systems. Nevertheless, over long periods of time, the chlorine-36 input to groundwater systems may vary due to factors such as: changes of production of chlorine-36 and/or changes of its distribution in the atmosphere. For instance the production of chlorine-36 might be governed by long-term terrestrial magnetic dipole strength variations as suggested for other radiogenic isotopes. Variations of the input signal of chlorine-36 should be recorded in pore waters of deep unsaturated zones. In this system, the time scale is approximated by the cumulative chloride content with depth assuming a constant input of chloride. Long-term records of chloride and chlorine-36 in two deep unsaturated-zone profiles, situated in the semi-arid Murray Basin in Australia, are presented. The two profiles record periods of approximately 20±1 to 27±2 ka and 100±5 to 220±10 ka respectively. The range of variation of the recorded time at each site is related to the estimated range of chloride deposition rate. The recharge rates are constant in both profiles with values approximating 0.4 and less than 0.1 mm.a -1 respectively. The linear relationship between chlorine-36 and stable chloride indicates that variations of chlorine-36 are governed by evapotranspiration, with a concentration factor of up to 2. Therefore the chlorine-36 is normalised to chloride to take account of the evapotranspiration process. In the soil profile at Kaniva, Western Victoria, 36 Cl/Cl'- ratio shows an increase of approximately 20% down profile. The second profile at Boree Plains, Wester, NSW, shows variations of 36 Cl/Cl'- ratio of 40% with a decreasing trend down profile. The input signal of chlorine-36/chloride is calculated by correction

  15. Compilation of field-scale caisson data on solute transport in the unsaturated zone

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Polzer, W.L.; Essington, E.H.; Fuentes, H.R.; Nyhan, J.W.

    1986-11-01

    Los Alamos National Laboratory has conducted technical support studies to assess siting requirements mandated by Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 10 CFR Part 61. Field-scale transport studies were conducted under unsaturated moisture conditions and under steady and unsteady flow conditions in large caissons located and operated in a natural (field) environment. Moisture content, temperature, flow rate, base-line chemical, tracer influent, and tracer breakthrough data collected during tracer migration studies in the caisson are compiled in tables and graphs. Data suggest that the imposition of a period of drainage (influent solution flow was stopped) may cause an increase in tracer concentration in the soil solution at various sampling points in the caisson. Evaporation during drainage and diffusion of the tracers from immobile to mobile water are two phenomena that could explain the increase. Data also suggest that heterogeneity of sorption sites may increase the variability in transport of sorbing tracers compared with nonsorbing tracers

  16. Characterizing the proposed geologic repository for high-level radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain, Nevada: hydrology and geochemistry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stuckless, John S.; Levich, Robert A.

    2012-01-01

    This hydrology and geochemistry volume is a companion volume to the 2007 Geological Society of America Memoir 199, The Geology and Climatology of Yucca Mountain and Vicinity, Southern Nevada and California, edited by Stuckless and Levich. The work in both volumes was originally reported in the U.S. Department of Energy regulatory document Yucca Mountain Site Description, for the site characterization study of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, as the proposed U.S. geologic repository for high-level radioactive waste. The selection of Yucca Mountain resulted from a nationwide search and numerous committee studies during a period of more than 40 yr. The waste, largely from commercial nuclear power reactors and the government's nuclear weapons programs, is characterized by intense penetrating radiation and high heat production, and, therefore, it must be isolated from the biosphere for tens of thousands of years. The extensive, unique, and often innovative geoscience investigations conducted at Yucca Mountain for more than 20 yr make it one of the most thoroughly studied geologic features on Earth. The results of these investigations contribute extensive knowledge to the hydrologic and geochemical aspects of radioactive waste disposal in the unsaturated zone. The science, analyses, and interpretations are important not only to Yucca Mountain, but also to the assessment of other sites or alternative processes that may be considered for waste disposal in the future. Groundwater conditions, processes, and geochemistry, especially in combination with the heat from radionuclide decay, are integral to the ability of a repository to isolate waste. Hydrology and geochemistry are discussed here in chapters on unsaturated zone hydrology, saturated zone hydrology, paleohydrology, hydrochemistry, radionuclide transport, and thermally driven coupled processes affecting long-term waste isolation. This introductory chapter reviews some of the reasons for choosing to study Yucca Mountain as a

  17. Characterizing the proposed geologic repository for high-level radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain, Nevada--hydrology and geochemistry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stuckless, John S.; Levich, Robert A.

    2012-01-01

    This hydrology and geochemistry volume is a companion volume to the 2007 Geological Society of America Memoir 199, The Geology and Climatology of Yucca Mountain and Vicinity, Southern Nevada and California, edited by Stuckless and Levich. The work in both volumes was originally reported in the U.S. Department of Energy regulatory document Yucca Mountain Site Description, for the site characterization study of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, as the proposed U.S. geologic repository for high-level radioactive waste. The selection of Yucca Mountain resulted from a nationwide search and numerous committee studies during a period of more than 40 yr. The waste, largely from commercial nuclear power reactors and the government's nuclear weapons programs, is characterized by intense penetrating radiation and high heat production, and, therefore, it must be isolated from the biosphere for tens of thousands of years. The extensive, unique, and often innovative geoscience investigations conducted at Yucca Mountain for more than 20 yr make it one of the most thoroughly studied geologic features on Earth. The results of these investigations contribute extensive knowledge to the hydrologic and geochemical aspects of radioactive waste disposal in the unsaturated zone. The science, analyses, and interpretations are important not only to Yucca Mountain, but also to the assessment of other sites or alternative processes that may be considered for waste disposal in the future. Groundwater conditions, processes, and geochemistry, especially in combination with the heat from radionuclide decay, are integral to the ability of a repository to isolate waste. Hydrology and geochemistry are discussed here in chapters on unsaturated zone hydrology, saturated zone hydrology, paleohydrology, hydrochemistry, radionuclide transport, and thermally driven coupled processes affecting long-term waste isolation. This introductory chapter reviews some of the reasons for choosing to study Yucca Mountain as a

  18. Inherent mineralization of 2,6-dichlorobenzamide (BAM) in unsaturated zone and aquifers - Effect of initial concentrations and adaptation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Janniche, Gry Sander, E-mail: gsja@env.dtu.dk [DTU Environment, Technical University of Denmark, Building 113, DK-2800 Kgs. Lyngby (Denmark); Clausen, Liselotte; Albrechtsen, Hans-Jorgen [DTU Environment, Technical University of Denmark, Building 113, DK-2800 Kgs. Lyngby (Denmark)

    2011-10-15

    The dichlobenil metabolite BAM (2,6-dichlorobenzamide) is frequently detected in aquifers e.g. in Denmark despite the mother compound dichlobenil was banned here since 1997. BAM mineralization was investigated at environmentally relevant concentrations in sediment samples. Undisturbed sediment cores with known dichlobenil application were collected from topsoil to 8.5 m below surface resulting in 57 samples hereof 4 aquifer samples. Mineralization was only substantial (>10%) in the uppermost meter of the unsaturated zone. Microbial adaptation, observed as faster mineralization in pre-exposed than in pristine sediments from the same location, was only evident in sandy sediment where dichlobenil was still present, but not in clayey sediments. Higher initial concentrations (1-5000 {mu}g/kg) did not stimulate mineralization in pristine clayey or sandy sediments, or in pre-exposed sand. However, in pre-exposed clay mineralization was stimulated at high concentrations. Furthermore BAM was for the first time mineralized in aerobic aquifer sediments from different BAM-contaminated groundwater locations. - Highlights: > BAM mineralized in BAM-contaminated aerobic aquifer sediments. > In subsurface, fastest BAM mineralization in pre-exposed sandy sediments. > Increased mineralization (adaptation) only observed in contaminated sandy sediment. > In pristine sediments mineralization ratio increased with decreasing concentrations. - BAM mineralization in subsurface and groundwater was demonstrated.

  19. Field investigation of preferential fissure flow paths with hydrochemical analysis of small-scale sprinkling experiments

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Krzeminska, D.M.; Bogaard, T.A.; Debieche, T.H.; Cervi, F.; Marc, V.; Malet, J.P.

    2014-01-01

    The unsaturated zone largely controls groundwater recharge by buffering precipitation while at the same time providing preferential flow paths for infiltration. The importance of preferential flow on landslide hydrology is recognised in the literature; however, its monitoring and quantification

  20. 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

  1. Field studies and modeling of chemical processes in the unsaturated zone

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1985-01-01

    Technical assistance is being provided to Nuclear Materials Safety and Safeguards of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to evaluate the validity of several guidelines listed in 10 CFR Part 61 for the future burial of low-level radioactive waste. Those guidelines include the requirement that the burial site shall be capable of being modeled. Both laboratory- and field-scale studies are being conducted under unsaturated moisture conditions and under steady-state and unsteady-state flow conditions. This paper reviews the kinds of present experiments in low-level radioactive waste disposal in development at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Major emphasis is on some of the initial analyses of data for laboratory sorption experiments and for field transport tests. Brief reference is made to leaching and transport studies. Laboratory batch equilibrium sorption studies suggest that adsorption of nonconservative tracers can be described in terms of two empirical constants; one gives an indication of the average K/sub d/ for all adsorption sites and the other gives an indication of the spread of individual K/sub d/'s about the average K/sub d/. This information can be translated into a ''chemical dispersion'' under dynamic flow and equilibrium sorption conditions that is in addition to the traditionally accepted physical dispersion. Laboratory nonequilibrium sorption studies suggest that nonequilibrium models may be needed to model the transport of the nonconservative tracers cobalt and cesium; equilibrium models should be suitable to model strontium transport. Analyses from field-scale studies indicate that conservative tracers can reasonably be modeled with a one-dimensional advective-dispersive equation for steady flow. 12 figs., 1 tab

  2. Three-dimensional numerical modeling of the influence of faults on groundwater flow at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Cohen, Andrew J.B. [Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States)

    1999-06-01

    Numerical simulations of groundwater flow at Yucca Mountain, Nevada are used to investigate how the faulted hydrogeologic structure influences groundwater flow from a proposed high-level nuclear waste repository. Simulations are performed using a 3-D model that has a unique grid block discretization to accurately represent the faulted geologic units, which have variable thicknesses and orientations. Irregular grid blocks enable explicit representation of these features. Each hydrogeologic layer is discretized into a single layer of irregular and dipping grid blocks, and faults are discretized such that they are laterally continuous and displacement varies along strike. In addition, the presence of altered fault zones is explicitly modeled, as appropriate. The model has 23 layers and 11 faults, and approximately 57,000 grid blocks and 200,000 grid block connections. In the past, field measurement of upward vertical head gradients and high water table temperatures near faults were interpreted as indicators of upwelling from a deep carbonate aquifer. Simulations show, however, that these features can be readily explained by the geometry of hydrogeologic layers, the variability of layer permeabilities and thermal conductivities, and by the presence of permeable fault zones or faults with displacement only. In addition, a moderate water table gradient can result from fault displacement or a laterally continuous low permeability fault zone, but not from a high permeability fault zone, as others postulated earlier. Large-scale macrodispersion results from the vertical and lateral diversion of flow near the contact of high and low permeability layers at faults, and from upward flow within high permeability fault zones. Conversely, large-scale channeling can occur due to groundwater flow into areas with minimal fault displacement. Contaminants originating at the water table can flow in a direction significantly different than that of the water table gradient, and isolated

  3. Three-dimensional numerical modeling of the influence of faults on groundwater flow at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Cohen, Andrew J.B.

    1999-01-01

    Numerical simulations of groundwater flow at Yucca Mountain, Nevada are used to investigate how the faulted hydrogeologic structure influences groundwater flow from a proposed high-level nuclear waste repository. Simulations are performed using a 3-D model that has a unique grid block discretization to accurately represent the faulted geologic units, which have variable thicknesses and orientations. Irregular grid blocks enable explicit representation of these features. Each hydrogeologic layer is discretized into a single layer of irregular and dipping grid blocks, and faults are discretized such that they are laterally continuous and displacement varies along strike. In addition, the presence of altered fault zones is explicitly modeled, as appropriate. The model has 23 layers and 11 faults, and approximately 57,000 grid blocks and 200,000 grid block connections. In the past, field measurement of upward vertical head gradients and high water table temperatures near faults were interpreted as indicators of upwelling from a deep carbonate aquifer. Simulations show, however, that these features can be readily explained by the geometry of hydrogeologic layers, the variability of layer permeabilities and thermal conductivities, and by the presence of permeable fault zones or faults with displacement only. In addition, a moderate water table gradient can result from fault displacement or a laterally continuous low permeability fault zone, but not from a high permeability fault zone, as others postulated earlier. Large-scale macrodispersion results from the vertical and lateral diversion of flow near the contact of high and low permeability layers at faults, and from upward flow within high permeability fault zones. Conversely, large-scale channeling can occur due to groundwater flow into areas with minimal fault displacement. Contaminants originating at the water table can flow in a direction significantly different than that of the water table gradient, and isolated

  4. Modeling study of solute transport in the unsaturated zone: Workshop proceedings

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Springer, E.P.; Fuentes, H.R.

    1987-04-01

    Issues addressed were the adequacy of the data for the various models, effectiveness of the models to represent the data, particular information provided by the models, the role of caisson experiments in providing fundamental knowledge of porous-media water flow and solute transport, and the importance of geochemistry to the transport of nonconservative tracers. These proceedings include the presentations made by each of the modelers; the summary document written by the panel; and a transcript of the discussions, both the discussions that followed individual presentations and the general discussion held on the second day. This publication completes the series on the workshop. Volume I in the series (NUREG/CR-4615, Vol. I) contains background information and the data sets provided each modeler

  5. Joint DOE/NRC field study of tracer migration in the unsaturated zone

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nyhan, J.; Polzer, W.; Essington, E.; Cokal, E.; Lane, L.; Lopez, E.; Stallings, E.; Walker, R.

    1986-03-01

    The results of a joint DOE/NRC field experiment to evaluate leaching and transport of solutes in a sandy silt backfill used for shallow land burial operations at Los Alamos are presented for steady-state and unsteady-state flow conditions. The migration of iodide, bromide, and lithium through the backfill material is studied as functions of depth and time and they are compared with one another. The bromide and iodide tracer data are used to estimate the diffusion coefficient, the tortuosity factor, and dispersivity. These values are used to calculate effective dispersion coefficients for subsequent analyses of the retardation factor and the distribution coefficient for lithium using least squares procedures. The results of the tracer migration study are discussed relative to challenges facing the waste management community, and chemical transport modeling opportunities are presented for a modeling workshop to be held in FY86

  6. An Approach Using Gas Monitoring to Find the Residual TCE Location in the Unsaturated Zone of Woosan Industrial Complex (WIC), Korea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Koh, Y.; Lee, S.; Yang, J.; Lee, K.

    2012-12-01

    An area accommodating various industrial facilities has fairly high probability of groundwater contamination with multiple chlorinated solvents such as trichloroethene (TCE), carbon tetrachloride (CT), and chloroform (CF). Source tracing of chlorinated solvents in the unsaturated zone is an essential procedure for the management and remediation of contaminated area. From the previous study on seasonal variations in hydrological stresses and spatial variations in geologic conditions on a TCE plume, the existence of residual DNAPLs at or above the water table has proved. Since TCE is one of the frequently detected VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) in groundwater, residual TCE can be detected by gas monitoring. Therefore, monitoring of temporal and spatial variations in the gas phase TCE contaminant at an industrial complex in Wonju, Korea, were used to find the residual TCE locations. As pilot tests, TCE gas samples collected in the unsaturated zone at 4 different wells were analyzed using SPME (Solid Phase MicroExtraction) fiber and Gas Chromatography (GC). The results indicated that detecting TCE in gas phase was successful from these wells and TCE analysis on gas samples, collected from the unsaturated zone, will be useful for source area characterization. However, some values were too high to doubt the accuracy of the current method, which needs a preliminary lab test with known concentrations. The modified experiment setups using packer at different depths are in process to find residual TCE locations in the unsaturated zone. Meanwhile, several PVD (polyethylene-membrane Passive Vapor Diffusion) samplers were placed under water table to detect VOCs by equilibrium between air in the vial and VOCs in pore water.

  7. User's Guide: Database of literature pertaining to the unsaturated zone and surface water-ground water interactions at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hall, L.F.

    1993-05-01

    Since its beginnings in 1949, hydrogeologic investigations at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL) have resulted in an extensive collection of technical publications providing information concerning ground water hydraulics and contaminant transport within the unsaturated zone. Funding has been provided by the Department of Energy through the Department of Energy Idaho Field Office in a grant to compile an INEL-wide summary of unsaturated zone studies based on a literature search. University of Idaho researchers are conducting a review of technical documents produced at or pertaining to the INEL, which present or discuss processes in the unsaturated zone and surface water-ground water interactions. Results of this review are being compiled as an electronic database. Fields are available in this database for document title and associated identification number, author, source, abstract, and summary of information (including types of data and parameters). AskSam reg-sign, a text-based database system, was chosen. WordPerfect 5.1 copyright is being used as a text-editor to input data records into askSam

  8. 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.

  9. The influence of the unsaturated zone on the upward transport of radionuclides in soils

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Elert, M.; Lindgren, M.

    1993-07-01

    The transport of radionuclides from the deep soil to the surface soil is an important part of biosphere modelling. In this study the effect of transient hydrological conditions on the upward transport of radionuclides through soils has been studied. The effect of varying soil properties, climate conditions have been considered as well as the effect of a fluctuating groundwater level. It was shown that the soil characteristics influences the radionuclide concentration; an increased hydraulic conductivity leads to increase in the concentration in the root zone. The climate conditions were shown to be of major importance. A dispersion dependent on both velocity and saturation leads to a more effective upward transport of radionuclides to the root zone than if dispersion is assumed to be dependent only on the saturation. The boundary condition used in the case with varying groundwater level may be more realistic than the boundary condition applied for the case with a constant groundwater level. All calculations with varying groundwater level gave lower radionuclide concentration in the root zone. Sorption is redox sensitive for many radionuclides and the redox potential in the soil will be affected by the degree of water saturation. The performed calculations did, however, not result in any significant change in the radionuclide concentration in the root zone due to variation in sorption. A comparison between the results of the two models show that the compartment model in all studied cases predicts a higher annual average radionuclide concentration in the root zone than the numerical model. Annual variation in soil water flow were not included in the compartment model. During the summer the concentration in the root zone may be several times higher than the annual average. This may be important for plant uptake, since this increased concentrations coincides with the plant growing season. The calculations made with the simple compartment model also show that these

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. Geohydrology of the unsaturated zone at the burial site for low-level radioactive waste near Beatty, Nye County, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nichols, W.D.

    1987-01-01

    Low-level radioactive solid waste has been buried in trenches at a site near Beatty, NV, since 1962. In 1976, as part of a national program, the US Geological Survey began a study of the geohydrology of the waste burial site to provide a basis for estimating the potential for radionuclide migration in the unsaturated zone beneath the waste burial trenches. The waste burial facility is in the northern Amargosa Desert about 170 kilometers (km) northwest of Las Vegas, NV. The site is underlain by poorly stratified deposits of gravelly or silty sand and sandy gravel, and thick beds of clayey sediments. A numerical analysis demonstrated that a potential exists for deep percolation despite high annual evaporation demands, and provided predictions of the time of year and the antecedent conditions that enhance the probability of deep percolation. Soil moisture profiles obtained monthly over an 18-month period demonstrate that deep percolation does occur. Calculation of downward moisture movement through the waste trench backfill material, on the basis of simplified assumptions, suggests that moisture could have penetrated as much as 6 m below land surface from 1963, when the oldest trenches were closed, to 1980, but that the moisture requirement for such penetration far exceeded the amount of moisture actually available. Steady-state downward movement of moisture at depths greater than 10 m and beneath the waste burial trenches would be on the order of 4 cu m/1,000 yr, assuming a steady flux rate of 0.1 microcentimeter/day. 37 refs., 32 figs., 17 tab

  14. The influence of the unsaturated zone on the high fluoride contents in groundwater in the middle voltaian aquifers-the Gusghegu District, Northern Region

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Salifu, M.

    2012-01-01

    Elevated levels of fluoride have been reported to occur in some groundwater in the Gushegu district of the Northern region of Ghana leading to the closure of some boreholes in the area. Hydrochemical data from 21 water, soil and some rock samples were used to evaluate water quality, water types and to identify whether the unsaturated zone has influence on the elevated fluoride levels in groundwater as well as the processes that control fluoride level in the groundwater. Water samples were extracted from soil sample for flouride analysis using the cryogenic vacuum extraction set-up. Results of the water quality analysis showed that the groundwater in the study area were generally potable. A plot of Gibbs diagram revealed that rock weathering and rainfall were the major hydrogeochemical processes regulating the water chemistry of the study area. Two different water types were identified in the study area, namely: Na-HCO 3 - , which happened to be the major water type in the study area and Na-Ca-Mg-HCO 3 - water type. The fluoride concentration in the groundwater varied from 0.0 to 1.97 mg/L while that of the unsaturated zone ranged from 0.0 to 2.08 mg/L. The elevated fluoride levels in the groundwater strongly correlated with that of fluoride levels in the unsaturated zone (r 2 =0.76). Petrographic analysis of rock samples (siltstones) identified the minerals present to be muscovite, plagioclase feldspars, quartz, sericite and iron oxide. Other clay minerals such as montmorillonite, illite and chloride were identified. The elevated fluoride levels recorded in the groundwater may be due to leaching, as a result of the weathering and dissolution of muscovite, sericite as well as the presence of other clay minerals in the unsaturated zone. Application of phosphate fertilizers may also account for the the elevated fluoride concentrations recorded in the study area. Stable isotopic composition of the waters revealed that most of the groundwater were of meteoric origin

  15. 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

  16. Effects of perched water on thermally driven moisture flow at the proposed Yucca Mountain repository for high-level waste

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ofoegbu, G.I.; Bagtzoglou, A.C.; Green, R.T.; Muller, M.A.

    1999-01-01

    Numerical modeling was conducted to identify potential perched-water sites and examine the effects of perched water on thermally driven moisture flow at the proposed Yucca Mountain repository for high-level nuclear waste. It is demonstrated that perched-water zones may occur at two horizons on the up-dip side of faults such as the Ghost Dance Fault (GDF): in nonwelded volcanic strata [such as the Paintbrush Tuff nonwelded (PTn) stratigraphic unit], where juxtaposition of welded strata against nonwelded may constitute a barrier to lateral flow within the nonwelded strata; and in fractured horizons of underlying welded units [such as the Topopah Spring welded (TSw) unit] because of focused infiltration fed by overlying perched zones. The potential perched zones (PPZs) may contain perched water (which would flow freely into a well or opening) if infiltration rates are high enough. At lower infiltration rates, the PPZs contain only capillary-held water at relatively high saturations. Areas of the proposed repository that lie below PPZs are likely to experience relatively high percolation flux even if the PPZ contains only capillary-held water at high saturation. As a result, PPZs that contain only capillary-held water may be as important to repository performance as those that contain perched water. Thermal loading from emplaced waste in the repository is not likely to have an effect on PPZs located on adequate distance above the repository (such as in the PTn). As a result, such PPZs may be considered as permanent features of the environment. On the other hand, PPZs close to the repository depth (such as those that may occur in the TSw rock unit) would experience an initial period of spatial growth and increased saturation following waste emplacement. Thereafter, drying would begin at the repository horizon with perched-zone growth simultaneously above and below the repository. As a result, after the initial period of expansion, PPZs close to the repository horizon

  17. Conceptualization of the predevelopment groundwater flow system and transient water-level responses in Yucca Flat, Nevada National Security Site, Nevada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fenelon, Joseph M.; Sweetkind, Donald S.; Elliott, Peggy E.; Laczniak, Randell J.

    2012-01-01

    Contaminants introduced into the subsurface of Yucca Flat, Nevada National Security Site, by underground nuclear testing are of concern to the U.S. Department of Energy and regulators responsible for protecting human health and safety. The potential for contaminant movement away from the underground test areas and into the accessible environment is greatest by groundwater transport. The primary hydrologic control on this transport is evaluated and examined through a set of contour maps developed to represent the hydraulic-head distribution within the two major aquifer systems underlying the area. Aquifers and confining units within these systems were identified and their extents delineated by merging and analyzing hydrostratigraphic framework models developed by other investigators from existing geologic information. Maps of the hydraulic-head distributions in the major aquifer systems were developed from a detailed evaluation and assessment of available water-level measurements. The maps, in conjunction with regional and detailed hydrogeologic cross sections, were used to conceptualize flow within and between aquifer systems. Aquifers and confining units are mapped and discussed in general terms as being one of two aquifer systems: alluvial-volcanic or carbonate. The carbonate aquifers are subdivided and mapped as independent regional and local aquifers, based on the continuity of their component rock. Groundwater flow directions, approximated from potentiometric contours, are indicated on the maps and sections and discussed for the alluvial-volcanic and regional carbonate aquifers. Flow in the alluvial-volcanic aquifer generally is constrained by the bounding volcanic confining unit, whereas flow in the regional carbonate aquifer is constrained by the siliceous confining unit. Hydraulic heads in the alluvial-volcanic aquifer typically range from 2,400 to 2,530 feet and commonly are elevated about 20-100 feet above heads in the underlying regional carbonate

  18. 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

  19. FORMATION OF CALCITE AND SILICA FROM PERCOLATION IN A HYDROLOGICALLY UNSATURATED SETTING, YUCCA MOUNTAIN, NEVADA

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Paces, J.B.; Whelan, J.F.; Peterman, Z.E.; Marshall, B.D.

    2000-01-01

    Geological, mineralogical, chemical, and isotopic evidence from coatings of calcite and silica on open fractures and lithophysal cavities within welded tuffs at Yucca Mountain indicate an origin from meteoric water percolating through a thick (500 to 700 m) unsaturated zone (UZ) rather than from pulses of ascending ground water. Geologic evidence for a UZ setting includes the presence of coatings in only a small percentage of cavities, the restriction of coatings to fracture footwalls and cavity floors, and an absence of mineral high-water marks indicative of water ponding. Systematic mineral sequences (early calcite, followed by chalcedony with minor quartz and fluorite, and finally calcite with intercalated opal forming the bulk of the coatings) indicate progressive changes in UZ conditions through time, rather than repeated saturation by flooding. Percolation under the influence of gravity also results in mineral textures that vary between steeply dipping sites (thinner coatings of blocky calcite) and shallowly dipping sites (thicker coatings of coarse, commonly bladed calcite, with globules and sheets of opal). Micrometer-scale growth banding in both calcite and opal reflects slow average growth rates (scale of mm/m.y.) over millions of years rather than only a few rapidly deposited growth episodes. Isotopic compositions of C, O, Sr, and U from calcite and opal indicate a percolation-modified meteoric water source, and collectively refute a deeper ground-water source. Chemical and isotopic variations in coatings also indicate long-term evolution of water compositions. Although some compositional changes are related to shifts in climate, growth rates in the deeper UZ are buffered from large changes in meteoric input. Coatings most likely formed from films of water flowing down connected fracture pathways. Mineral precipitation is consistent with water vapor and carbon dioxide loss from films at very slow rates. Data collectively indicate that mineral coatings

  20. Development of Numerical Grids for UZ Flow and Transport Modeling

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hinds, J.

    2001-01-01

    This Analysis/Model Report (AMR) describes the methods used to develop numerical grids of the unsaturated hydrogeologic system beneath Yucca Mountain. Numerical grid generation is an integral part of the development of a complex, three-dimensional (3-D) model, such as the Unsaturated-Zone Flow and Transport Model (UZ Model) of Yucca Mountain. The resulting numerical grids, developed using current geologic, hydrogeologic, and mineralogic data, provide the necessary framework to: (1) develop calibrated hydrogeologic property sets and flow fields, (2) test conceptual hypotheses of flow and transport, and (3) predict flow and transport behavior under a variety of climatic and thermal loading conditions. Revision 00 of the work described herein follows the planning and work direction outlined in the ''Development of Numerical Grids for UZ Flow and Transport Modeling'' (CRWMS M and O 1999c). The technical scope, content, and management of ICN 01 of this AMR is currently controlled by the planning document, ''Technical Work Plan for Unsaturated Zone (UZ) Flow and Transport Process Model Report'' (BSC 2001a). The scope for the TBV resolution actions in this ICN is described in the ''Technical Work Plan for: Integrated Management of Technical Product Input Department'' (BSC 2001 b, Addendum B, Section 4.1). The steps involved in numerical grid development include: (1) defining the location of important calibration features, (2) determining model grid layers and fault geometry based on the Geologic Framework Model (GFM), the Integrated Site Model (ISM), and definition of hydrogeologic units (HGUs), (3) analyzing and extracting GFM and ISM data pertaining to layer contacts and property distributions, (4) discretizing and refining the two-dimensional (2-D), plan-view numerical grid, (5) generating the 3-D grid with finer resolution at the repository horizon and within the Calico Hills nonwelded (CHn) hydrogeologic unit, and (6) formulating the dual-permeability mesh. The

  1. Water and tritium movement through the unsaturated zone at a low-level radioactive-waste disposal site near Sheffield, Illinois, 1981-85

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mills, Patrick C.; Healy, Richard W.

    1993-01-01

    The movement of water and tritium through the unsaturated zone was studied at a low-level radioactive-waste disposal site near Sheffield, Bureau County, Illinois, from 1981 to 1985. Water and tritium movement occurred in an annual, seasonally timed cycle; recharge to the saturated zone generally occurred in the spring and early summer. Mean annual precipitation (1982-85) was 871 mm (millimeters); mean annual recharge to the disposal trenches (July 1982 through June 1984) was estimated to be 107 mm. Average annual tritium flux below the study trenches was estimated to be 3.4 mCi/yr (millicuries per year). Site geology, climate, and waste-disposal practices influenced the spatial and temporal variability of water and tritium movement. Of the components of the water budget, evapotranspiration contributed most to the temporal variability of water and tritium movement. Disposal trenches are constructed in complexly layered glacial and postglacial deposits that average 17 m (meters) in thickness and overlie a thick sequence of Pennsylvanian shale. The horizontal saturated hydraulic conductivity of the clayey-silt to sand-sized glacial and postglacial deposits ranges from 4.8x10 -1 to 3.4x10 4 mm/d (millimeters per day). A 120-m-long horizontal tunnel provided access for hydrologic measurements and collection of sediment and water samples from the unsaturated and saturated geologic deposits below four disposal trenches. Trench-cover and subtrench deposits were monitored with soil-moisture tensiometers, vacuum and gravity lysimeters, piezometers, and a nuclear soil-moisture gage. A cross-sectional, numerical ground-water-flow model was used to simulate water movement in the variably saturated geologic deposits in the tunnel area. Concurrent studies at the site provided water-budget data for estimating recharge to the disposal trenches. Vertical water movement directly above the trenches was impeded by a zone of compaction within the clayey-silt trench covers. Water entered

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. Response to"Analysis of the Treatment, by the U.S. Department of Energy, of the FEP Hydrothermal Activity in the Yucca Mountain Performance Assessment" by Yuri Dublyansky

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Houseworth, J.E.; Hardin, E.

    2008-11-17

    This paper presents a rebuttal to Dublyansky (2007), which misrepresents technical issues associated with hydrothermal activity at the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository and their importance to the long-term performance of the repository. In this paper, questions associated with hydrothermal activity are reviewed and the justification for exclusion of hydrothermal activity from performance assessment is presented. The hypothesis that hydrothermal upwelling into the present-day unsaturated zone has occurred at Yucca Mountain is refuted by the unambiguous evidence that secondary minerals and fluid inclusions in the unsaturated zone formed in an unsaturated environment from downward percolating meteoric waters. The thermal history at Yucca Mountain, inferred from fluid inclusion and isotopic data, is explained in terms of the tectonic extensional environment and associated silicic magmatism. The waning of tectonic extension over millions of years has led to the present-day heat flux in the Yucca Mountain region that is below average for the Great Basin. The long time scales of tectonic processes are such that any effects of a resumption of extension or silicic magmatism on hydrothermal activity at Yucca Mountain over the 10,000-year regulatory period would be negligible. The conclusion that hydrothermal activity was incorrectly excluded from performance assessment as asserted in Dublyansky (2007) is contradicted by the available technical and regulatory information.

  5. Response to 'Analysis of the Treatment, by the U.S. Department of Energy, of the FEP Hydrothermal Activity in the Yucca Mountain Performance Assessment' by Yuri Dublyansky (Risk Analysis, Volume 27, Issue 6, Pages 1455-1468, December 2007)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Houseworth, J.E.; Hardin, E.

    2008-01-01

    This paper presents a rebuttal to Dublyansky (2007), which misrepresents technical issues associated with hydrothermal activity at the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository and their importance to the long-term performance of the repository. In this paper, questions associated with hydrothermal activity are reviewed and the justification for exclusion of hydrothermal activity from performance assessment is presented. The hypothesis that hydrothermal upwelling into the present-day unsaturated zone has occurred at Yucca Mountain is refuted by the unambiguous evidence that secondary minerals and fluid inclusions in the unsaturated zone formed in an unsaturated environment from downward percolating meteoric waters. The thermal history at Yucca Mountain, inferred from fluid inclusion and isotopic data, is explained in terms of the tectonic extensional environment and associated silicic magmatism. The waning of tectonic extension over millions of years has led to the present-day heat flux in the Yucca Mountain region that is below average for the Great Basin. The long time scales of tectonic processes are such that any effects of a resumption of extension or silicic magmatism on hydrothermal activity at Yucca Mountain over the 10,000-year regulatory period would be negligible. The conclusion that hydrothermal activity was incorrectly excluded from performance assessment as asserted in Dublyansky (2007) is contradicted by the available technical and regulatory information.

  6. 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

    Surface, unsaturated-zone, and saturated-zone hydrologic conditions at Yucca Mountain responded to past climate variations and are at least partly preserved by sediment, fossil, and mineral records. Characterizing past hydrologic conditions in surface and subsurface environments helps to constrain hydrologic responses expected under future climate conditions and improve predictions of repository performance. Furthermore, these records provide a better understanding of hydrologic processes that operate at time scales not readily measured by other means. Pleistocene climates in southern Nevada were predominantly wetter and colder than the current interglacial period. Cyclic episodes of aggradation and incision in Fortymile Wash, which drains the eastern slope of Yucca Mountain, are closely linked to Pleistocene climate cycles. Formation of pedogenic cement is favored under wetter Pleistocene climates, consistent with increased soil moisture and vegetation, higher chemical solubility, and greater evapotranspiration relative to Holocene soil conditions. The distribution and geochemistry of secondary minerals in subsurface fractures and cavities reflect unsaturated-zone hydrologic conditions and the response of the hydrogeologic system to changes in temperature and percolation flux over the last 12.8 m.y. Physical and fluid-inclusion evidence indicates that secondary calcite and opal formed in air-filled cavities from fluids percolating downward through connected fracture pathways in the unsaturated zone. Oxygen, strontium, and carbon isotope data from calcite are consistent with a descending meteoric water source but also indicate that water compositions and temperatures evolved through time. Geochronological data indicate that secondary mineral growth rates are less than 1–5 mm/m.y., and have remained approximately uniform over the last 10 m.y. or longer. These data are interpreted as evidence for hydrological stability despite large differences in surface moisture

  7. Effects of low-level radioactive-waste disposal on water chemistry in the unsaturated zone at a site near Sheffield, Illinois, 1982-84

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peters, C.A.; Striegl, Robert G.; Mills, P.C.; Healy, R.W.

    1992-01-01

    A 1982-84 field study defined the chemistry of water collected from the unsaturated zone at a low-level radioactive-waste disposal site near Sheffield, Bureau County, Illinois. Chemical data were evaluated to determine the principal naturally occurring geochemical reactions in the unsaturated zone and to evaluate waste-induced effects on pore-water chemistry. Samples of precipitation, unsaturated-zone pore water, and saturated-zone water were analyzed for specific conductance, pH, alkalinity, major cations and anions, dissolved organic carbon, gross alpha and beta radiation, and tritium. Little change in concentration of most major constituents in the unsaturated-zone water was observed with respect to depth or distance from disposal trenches. Tritium and dissolved organic carbon concentrations were, however, dependent on proximity to trenches. The primary reactions, both on- site and off-site, were carbonate and clay dissolution, cation exchange, and the oxidation of pyrite. The major difference between on-site and off-site inorganic water chemistry resulted from the removal of the Roxana Silt and the Radnor Till Member of the Glasford Formation from on-site. Off-site, the Roxana Silt contributed substantial quantities of sodium to solution from montmorillonite dissolution and associated cation-exchange reactions. The Radnor Till Member provided exchange surfaces for magnesium. Precipitation at the site had an ionic composition of calcium zinc sulfate and an average pH of 4.6. Within 0.3 meter of the land surface, infiltrating rain water or snowmelt changed to an ionic canposition of calcium sulfate off-site and calcium bicarbonate on-site and had an average pH of 7.9; below that depth, pH averaged 7.5 and the ionic composition generally was calcium magnesium bicarbonate. Alkalinity and specific conductance differed primarily according to composition of geologic materials. Tritium concentrations ranged from 0.2 (detection limit) to 1,380 nanocuries per liter. The

  8. Modeling of Groundwater Flow and Radionuclide Transport at the Climax Mine sub-CAU, Nevada Test Site

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    K. Pohlmann; M. Ye; D. Reeves; M. Zavarin; D. Decker; J. Chapman

    2007-01-01

    The Yucca Flat-Climax Mine Corrective Action Unit (CAU) on the Nevada Test Site comprises 747 underground nuclear detonations, all but three of which were conducted in alluvial, volcanic, and carbonate rocks in Yucca Flat. The remaining three tests were conducted in the very different hydrogeologic setting of the Climax Mine granite stock located in Area 15 at the northern end of Yucca Flat. As part of the Corrective Action Investigation (CAI) for the Yucca Flat-Climax Mine CAU, models of groundwater flow and radionuclide transport will be developed for Yucca Flat. However, two aspects of these CAU-scale models require focused modeling at the northern end of Yucca Flat beyond the capability of these large models. First, boundary conditions and boundary flows along the northern reaches of the Yucca Flat-Climax Mine CAU require evaluation to a higher level of detail than the CAU-scale Yucca Flat model can efficiently provide. Second, radionuclide fluxes from the Climax tests require analysis of flow and transport in fractured granite, a unique hydrologic environment as compared to Yucca Flat proper. This report describes the Climax Mine sub-CAU modeling studies conducted to address these issues, with the results providing a direct feed into the CAI for the Yucca Flat-Climax Mine CAU. Three underground nuclear detonations were conducted for weapons effects testing in the Climax stock between 1962 and 1966: Hard Hat, Pile Driver, and Tiny Tot. Though there is uncertainty regarding the position of the water table in the stock, it is likely that all three tests were conducted in the unsaturated zone. In the early 1980s, the Spent Fuel Test-Climax (SFT-C) was constructed to evaluate the feasibility of retrievable, deep geologic storage of commercial nuclear reactor wastes. Detailed mapping of fractures and faults carried out for the SFT-C studies greatly expanded earlier data sets collected in association with the nuclear tests and provided invaluable information for

  9. Modeling of Groundwater Flow and Radionuclide Transport at the Climax Mine sub-CAU, Nevada Test Site

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    K. Pohlmann; M. Ye; D. Reeves; M. Zavarin; D. Decker; J. Chapman

    2007-09-28

    The Yucca Flat-Climax Mine Corrective Action Unit (CAU) on the Nevada Test Site comprises 747 underground nuclear detonations, all but three of which were conducted in alluvial, volcanic, and carbonate rocks in Yucca Flat. The remaining three tests were conducted in the very different hydrogeologic setting of the Climax Mine granite stock located in Area 15 at the northern end of Yucca Flat. As part of the Corrective Action Investigation (CAI) for the Yucca Flat-Climax Mine CAU, models of groundwater flow and radionuclide transport will be developed for Yucca Flat. However, two aspects of these CAU-scale models require focused modeling at the northern end of Yucca Flat beyond the capability of these large models. First, boundary conditions and boundary flows along the northern reaches of the Yucca Flat-Climax Mine CAU require evaluation to a higher level of detail than the CAU-scale Yucca Flat model can efficiently provide. Second, radionuclide fluxes from the Climax tests require analysis of flow and transport in fractured granite, a unique hydrologic environment as compared to Yucca Flat proper. This report describes the Climax Mine sub-CAU modeling studies conducted to address these issues, with the results providing a direct feed into the CAI for the Yucca Flat-Climax Mine CAU. Three underground nuclear detonations were conducted for weapons effects testing in the Climax stock between 1962 and 1966: Hard Hat, Pile Driver, and Tiny Tot. Though there is uncertainty regarding the position of the water table in the stock, it is likely that all three tests were conducted in the unsaturated zone. In the early 1980s, the Spent Fuel Test-Climax (SFT-C) was constructed to evaluate the feasibility of retrievable, deep geologic storage of commercial nuclear reactor wastes. Detailed mapping of fractures and faults carried out for the SFT-C studies greatly expanded earlier data sets collected in association with the nuclear tests and provided invaluable information for

  10. Measuring and Modeling Flow in Welded Fractured Tuffs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2001-01-01

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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. The use of TOUGH2 for the LBL/USGS 3-dimensional site-scale model of Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bodvarsson, G.; Chen, G.; Haukwa, C. [Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, CA (United States)] [and others

    1995-03-01

    The three-dimensional site-scale numerical model of the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain is under continuous development and calibration through a collaborative effort between Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (LBL) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The site-scale model covers an area of about 30 km{sup 2} and is bounded by major fault zones to the west (Solitario Canyon Fault), east (Bow Ridge Fault) and perhaps to the north by an unconfirmed fault (Yucca Wash Fault). The model consists of about 5,000 grid blocks (elements) with nearly 20,000 connections between them the grid was designed to represent the most prevalent geological and hydro-geological features of the site including major faults, and layering and bedding of the hydro-geological units. Further information about the three-dimensional site-scale model is given by Wittwer et al. and Bodvarsson et al.

  14. Measurements of HFC-134a and HCFC-22 in groundwater and unsaturated-zone air: implications for HFCs and HCFCs as dating tracers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haase, Karl B.; Busenberg, Eurybiades; Plummer, Niel; Casile, Gerolamo; Sanford, Ward E.

    2014-01-01

    A new analytical method using gas chromatography with an atomic emission detector (GC–AED) was developed for measurement of ambient concentrations of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in soil, air, and groundwater, with the goal of determining their utility as groundwater age tracers. The analytical detection limits of HCFC-22 (difluorochloromethane, CHClF2) and HFC-134a (1,2,2,2-tetrafluoroethane, C2H2F4) in 1 L groundwater samples are 4.3 × 10− 1 and 2.1 × 10− 1 pmol kg− 1, respectively, corresponding to equilibrium gas-phase mixing ratios of approximately 5–6 parts per trillion by volume (pptv). Under optimal conditions, post-1960 (HCFC-22) and post-1995 (HFC-134a) recharge could be identified using these tracers in stable, unmixed groundwater samples. Ambient concentrations of HCFC-22 and HFC-134a were measured in 50 groundwater samples from 27 locations in northern and western parts of Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina (USA), and 3 unsaturated-zone profiles were collected in northern Virginia. Mixing ratios of both HCFC-22 and HFC-134a decrease with depth in unsaturated-zone gas profiles with an accompanying increase in CO2 and loss of O2. Apparently, ambient concentrations of HCFC-22 and HFC-134a are readily consumed by methanotrophic bacteria under aerobic conditions in the unsaturated zone. The results of this study indicate that soils are a sink for these two greenhouse gases. These observations contradict the previously reported results from microcosm experiments that found that degradation was limited above-ambient HFC-134a. The groundwater HFC and HCFC concentrations were compared with concentrations of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs, CFC-11, CFC-12, CFC-113) and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). Nearly all samples had measured HCFC-22 or HFC-134a that were below concentrations predicted by the CFCs and SF6, with many samples showing a complete loss of HCFC-22 and HFC-134a. This study indicates that HCFC-22 and HFC-134

  15. 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

  16. Inventories and mobilization of unsaturated zone sulfate, fluoride, and chloride related to land use change in semiarid regions, southwestern United States and Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scanlon, Bridget R.; Stonestrom, David A.; Reedy, Robert C.; Leaney, Fred W.; Gates, John; Cresswell, Richard G.

    2009-01-01

    Unsaturated zone salt reservoirs are potentially mobilized by increased groundwater recharge as semiarid lands are cultivated. This study explores the amounts of pore water sulfate and fluoride relative to chloride in unsaturated zone profiles, evaluates their sources, estimates mobilization due to past land use change, and assesses the impacts on groundwater quality. Inventories of water‐extractable chloride, sulfate, and fluoride were determined from borehole samples of soils and sediments collected beneath natural ecosystems (N = 4), nonirrigated (“rain‐fed”) croplands (N = 18), and irrigated croplands (N = 6) in the southwestern United States and in the Murray Basin, Australia. Natural ecosystems contain generally large sulfate inventories (7800–120,000 kg/ha) and lower fluoride inventories (630–3900 kg/ha) relative to chloride inventories (6600–41,000 kg/ha). Order‐of‐magnitude higher chloride concentrations in precipitation and generally longer accumulation times result in much larger chloride inventories in the Murray Basin than in the southwestern United States. Atmospheric deposition during the current dry interglacial climatic regime accounts for most of the measured sulfate in both U.S. and Australian regions. Fluoride inventories are greater than can be accounted for by atmospheric deposition in most cases, suggesting that fluoride may accumulate across glacial/interglacial climatic cycles. Chemical modeling indicates that fluorite controls fluoride mobility and suggests that water‐extractable fluoride may include some fluoride from mineral dissolution. Increased groundwater drainage/recharge following land use change readily mobilized chloride. Sulfate displacement fronts matched or lagged chloride fronts by up to 4 m. In contrast, fluoride mobilization was minimal in all regions. Understanding linkages between salt inventories, increased recharge, and groundwater quality is important for quantifying impacts of anthropogenic

  17. The use of unsaturated zone solutes and deuterium profiles in the study of groundwater recharge in the semi-arid zone of Nigeria

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Goni, I.B.; Edmunds, W.M.

    2001-01-01

    Two unsaturated zone profiles (MF and MG) in NE Nigeria have been sampled for inert tracers (Cl, Br, NO 3 and δ 2 H to investigate recharge rates and processes. The upper MF and MG profiles have sandy lithology, lower moisture content ( 2 H around -30 per mille. All these indicate that present day recharge is taking place. The lower section of the MF profile shows a distinct contrast with high moisture content (up to 27%), very high chloride (average 2892 mg/L) and relatively enriched deuterium (-12 per mille), indicating the effect of evaporative enrichment. This lower section corresponds to low permeability lacustrine deposits probably representing the former bed of Lake Chad where little or no infiltration has been occurring since the mid-Holocene when the lake extended over this area. The sand-covered areas of the Sahel of the NE Nigeria provide an important phreatic aquifer. An estimation of the amount of recharge using the unsaturated zone chloride mass balance gives significant rates of 14 mm/a and 22 mm/a for the upper MF and MG profiles respectively. These rates mainly span the period of the recent Sahel drought and even higher recharge rates may occur during wetter periods. These rates fall within the 14 mm/a to 53 mm/a range estimated for the Manga Grasslands area in the NE Nigeria obtained in an earlier study. From the water resource point of view, the region has potential for perennially-recharged groundwater resources that can sustain the present abstraction level which is mainly via dug wells. (author)

  18. Estimating Tritium Fluxes from the Shallow Unsaturated Zone to the Atmosphere in an Arid Environment Dominated by Creosote Bush (USGS-ADRS)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garcia, C. A.; Andraski, B. J.; Wheatcraft, S. W.; Johnson, M. J.; Michel, R. L.; Stonestrom, D. A.

    2006-12-01

    Understanding the transport and fate of tritium is essential when evaluating options for low-level radioactive waste (LLRW) isolation. The magnitude and spatio-temporal variability of tritium transport from the shallow unsaturated zone to the atmosphere are being investigated adjacent to a LLRW facility at the U.S. Geological Survey's Amargosa Desert Research Site (ADRS) in Southern Nevada. Site and community-scale tritium fluxes from the subsurface to the atmosphere were quantified using a simple gas-phase diffusive loading approach combining evaporation and transpiration fluxes with mass fractions of gas-phase tritium concentrations. A Priestly-Taylor model, calibrated with quarterly bare-soil evaporation measurements, was used to estimate continuous bare-soil evaporation from measured continuous eddy-covariance evapotransporation. Continuous transpiration was computed as the difference between measured evapotranspiration and estimated bare-soil evaporation. Tritium concentrations in plant water and soil-water vapor were measured along two transects perpendicular to the LLRW using azeotropic distillation of creosote bush (Larrea tridentata) foliage and soil vapor extraction from 0.5 and 1.5 m depths below land surface. A preliminary daily tritium flux estimate at a single plant site was 1.66 × 10-11 gm-2. Spatio- temporal variability over a 75-ha area and 2-yr period will be quantified using a combination of tritium concentration maps and continuous evaporation and transpiration flux estimates. Quantifying tritium fluxes from the shallow unsaturated zone to the atmosphere on a site and community-scale will improve knowledge and understanding of vertical contaminant transport in arid environments.

  19. Modeling of strongly heat-driven flow processes at a potential high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Pruess, K.; Tsang, Y.

    1993-01-01

    Two complementary numerical models for analyzing high-level nuclear waste emplacement at Yucca Mountain have been developed. A vertical cross-sectional (X-Z) model permits a realistic representation of hydrogeologic features, such as alternating tilting layers of welded and non-welded tuffs. fault zones, and surface topography. An alternative radially symmetric (R-Z) model is more limited in its ability to describe the hydrogeology of the site, but is better suited to model heat transfer in the host rock. Our models include a comprehensive description of multiphase fluid and heat flow processes, including strong enhancements of vapor diffusion from pore-level phase change effects. The neighborhood of the repository is found to partially dry out from the waste heat. A condensation halo of large liquid saturation forms around the drying zone, from which liquid flows downward at large rates. System response to infiltration from the surface and to ventilation of mined openings is evaluated. The impact of the various flow processes on the waste isolation capabilities of the site is discussed

  20. Modeling of strongly heat-driven flow processes at a potential high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Pruess, K.; Tsang, Y.

    1993-01-01

    Two complementary numerical models for analyzing high-level nuclear waste emplacement at Yucca Mountain have been developed. A vertical cross-sectional (X-Z) model permits a realistic representation of hydrogeologic features, such as alternating tilting layers of welded and non-welded tuffs, fault zones, and surface topography. An alternative radially symmetric (R-Z) model is more limited in its ability to describe the hydrogeology of the site, but is better suited to model heat transfer in the host rock. Our models include a comprehensive description of multiphase fluid and heat flow processes, including strong enhancements of vapor diffusion from pore-level phase change effects. The neighborhood of the repository is found to partially dry out from the waste heat. A condensation halo of large liquid saturation forms around the drying zone, from which liquid flows downward at large rates. System response to infiltration from the surface and to ventilation of mined openings is evaluated. The impact of the various flow processes on the waste isolation capabilities of the site is discussed

  1. Development of Numerical Grids for UZ Flow and Transport Modeling

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    P. Dobson

    2003-01-01

    This Scientific Analysis report describes the methods used to develop numerical grids of the unsaturated hydrogeologic system beneath Yucca Mountain. Numerical grid generation is an integral part of the development of the Unsaturated Zone Flow and Transport Model (UZ Model), a complex, three-dimensional (3-D) model of Yucca Mountain. This revision incorporates changes made to both the geologic framework model and the proposed repository layout. The resulting numerical grids, developed using current geologic, hydrogeologic, and mineralogic data, provide the necessary framework to: (1) develop calibrated hydrogeologic property sets and flow fields, (2) test conceptual hypotheses of flow and transport, and (3) predict flow and transport behavior under a variety of climatic and thermal-loading conditions. The technical scope, content, and management of this Scientific Analysis report was initially controlled by the planning document, ''Technical Work Plan (TWP) for: Unsaturated Zone Sections of License Application Chapters 8 and 12'' (BSC 2002 [159051], Section 1.6.4). This TWP was later superseded by ''Technical Work Plan for: Performance Assessment Unsaturated Zone'' (BSC 2002 [160819]), which contains the Data Qualification Plan used to qualify the DTN: MO0212GWLSSPAX.000 [161271] (See Attachment IV). Grids generated and documented in this report supersede those documented in previous versions of this report (BSC 2001 [159356]). The constraints, assumptions, and limitations associated with this report are discussed in the appropriate sections that follow. There were no deviations from the TWP scope of work in this report. Two software packages not listed in Table IV-2 of the TWP (BSC 2002 [159051]), ARCINFO V7.2.1 (CRWMS M and O 2000 [157019]; USGS 2000 [148304]) and 2kgrid8.for V1.0 (LBNL 2002 [154787]), were utilized in the development of the numerical grids; the use of additional software is accounted for in the TWP (BSC 2002 [159051], Section 13). The use of

  2. On the development of a three-dimensional finite-element groundwater flow model of the saturated zone, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Czarnecki, J.B.; Faunt, C.C.; Gable, C.W.; Zyvoloski, G.A.

    1996-01-01

    Development of a preliminary three-dimensional model of the saturated zone at Yucca Mountain, the potential location for a high-level nuclear waste repository, is presented. The development of the model advances the technology of interfacing: (1)complex three-dimensional hydrogeologic framework modeling; (2) fully three-dimensional, unstructured, finite-element mesh generation; and (3) groundwater flow, heat, and transport simulation. The three-dimensional hydrogeologic framework model is developed using maps, cross sections, and well data. The framework model data are used to feed an automated mesh generator, designed to discretize irregular three-dimensional solids,a nd to assign materials properties from the hydrogeologic framework model to the tetrahedral elements. The mesh generator facilitated the addition of nodes to the finite-element mesh which correspond to the exact three-dimensional position of the potentiometric surface based on water-levels from wells. A ground water flow and heat simulator is run with the resulting finite- element mesh, within a parameter-estimation program. The application of the parameter-estimation program is designed to provide optimal values of permeability and specified fluxes over the model domain to minimize the residual between observed and simulated water levels

  3. 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

  4. 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)

  5. Improved forward and inverse analyses of saturated-unsaturated flow toward a well in a compressible unconfined aquifer

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mishra, Phoolendra Kumar; Neuman, Shlomo P.

    2010-07-01

    We present an analytical solution for flow to a partially penetrating well in a compressible unconfined aquifer that allows inferring its saturated and unsaturated hydraulic properties from drawdowns recorded in the saturated and/or unsaturated zone. We improve upon a previous such solution due to Tartakovsky and Neuman (2007) by (1) adopting a more flexible representation of unsaturated zone constitutive properties and (2) allowing the unsaturated zone to have finite thickness. Both solutions account for horizontal as well as vertical flows throughout the system. We investigate the effects of unsaturated zone constitutive parameters and thickness on drawdowns in the saturated and unsaturated zones as functions of position and time; demonstrate the development of significant horizontal hydraulic gradients in the unsaturated zone in response to pumping; validate our solution against numerical simulations of drawdown in a synthetic aquifer having unsaturated properties described by the van Genuchten-Mualem constitutive model; use our solution to analyze drawdown data from a pumping test conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey at Cape Cod, Massachusetts; and compare our estimates of van Genuchten-Mualem parameters with laboratory values obtained for similar materials in the area.

  6. 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)

  7. Radial flow towards well in leaky unconfined aquifer

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mishra, P. K.; Kuhlman, K. L.

    2012-12-01

    An analytical solution is developed for three-dimensional flow towards a partially penetrating large- diameter well in an unconfined aquifer bounded below by a leaky aquitard of finite or semi-infinite extent. The analytical solution is derived using Laplace and Hankel transforms, then inverted numerically. Existing solutions for flow in leaky unconfined aquifers neglect the unsaturated zone following an assumption of instantaneous drainage due to Neuman. We extend the theory of leakage in unconfined aquifers by (1) including water flow and storage in the unsaturated zone above the water table, and (2) allowing the finite-diameter pumping well to partially penetrate the aquifer. The investigation of model-predicted results shows that aquitard leakage leads to significant departure from the unconfined solution without leakage. The investigation of dimensionless time-drawdown relationships shows that the aquitard drawdown also depends on unsaturated zone properties and the pumping-well wellbore storage effects.

  8. Strontium Isotopes in Pore Water as an Indicator of Water Flux at the Proposed High-Level Radioactive Waste Repository, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Marshall, B.; Futa, K.

    2004-01-01

    The proposed high-level radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, would be constructed in the high-silica rhyolite (Tptp) member of the Miocene-age Topopah Spring Tuff, a mostly welded ash-flow tuff in the ∼500-m-thick unsaturated zone. Strontium isotope compositions have been measured in pore water centrifuged from preserved core samples and in leachates of pore-water salts from dried core samples, both from boreholes in the Tptp. Strontium isotope ratios ( 87 Sr/ 86 Sr) vary systematically with depth in the surface-based boreholes. Ratios in pore water near the surface (0.7114 to 0.7124) reflect the range of ratios in soil carbonate (0.7112 to 0.7125) collected near the boreholes, but ratios in the Tptp (0.7122 to 0.7127) at depths of 150 to 370 m have a narrower range and are more radiogenic due to interaction with the volcanic rocks (primarily non-welded tuffs) above the Tptp. An advection-reaction model relates the rate of strontium dissolution from the rocks with flow velocity. The model results agree with the low transport velocity (∼2 cm per year) calculated from carbon-14 data by I.C. Yang (2002, App. Geochem., v. 17, no. 6, p. 807-817). Strontium isotope ratios in pore water from Tptp samples from horizontal boreholes collared in tunnels at the proposed repository horizon have a similar range (0.7121 to 0.7127), also indicating a low transport velocity. Strontium isotope compositions of pore water below the proposed repository in core samples from boreholes drilled vertically downward from tunnel floors are more varied, ranging from 0.7112 to 0.7127. The lower ratios ( 87 Sr/ 86 Sr of 0.7115. Ratios lower than 0.7115 likely reflect interaction of construction water with concrete in the tunnel inverts, which had an 87 Sr/ 86 Sr < 0.709. These low Sr ratios indicate penetration of construction water to depths of ∼20 m below the tunnels within three years after construction, a transport velocity of ∼7 m per year. These studies show that

  9. Application of the compartmental analysis theory to the studies of the kinetics of the rainfall infiltration in the unsaturated zone in Abadia de Goias

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Poli, D. de C.R.; Mesquita, C.H. de

    1999-01-01

    The compartmental analysis was used for evaluation of kinetic parameters of the rainfall infiltration and determination of ground water recharge in Abadia-Goiania-Brazil. A model containing 13 compartments was proposed to explain the water infiltration and the kinetics of the unsaturated zone. To validate the model, tracer injections were carried out at a representative site of the region, at a depth of 50 cm, below the root zone. Soil samples were taken 4,9 and 12 months after the injection. In the first compartment, one component of the evaporation (K 4,0 ) was considered and for the last compartment, one constant of removal for the water table (k 13,0 ). Compartments 1, 2 and 3 were added to the system to consider precipitation effect. The AnaComp program, developed at IPEN, was used to determine the transfer constants k i,j ( from compartment i to compartment j)were i and j range from 0 to 13. In this program the constants k i,j were determined by the nonlinear last squares method, using eigenvalues - eigenvectors routines or alternatively, the fourth order Runge-Kutta routine. In this compartment model, the radioactive tracer was introduced as a single pulse, into the 6th compartment (50 cm depth). This permits to characterize the tracer diffusion processes in the soil studied. The adopted model showed an explanation coefficient f 2 equal to 0.78, which is satisfactory for the methodology used. (author)

  10. Hydrological, meteorological and geohydrological data for an unsaturated zone study near the Radioactive Waste Management Complex, Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, Idaho - 1987

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Davis, L.C.; Pittman, J.R.

    1990-01-01

    Since 1952, radioactive waste has been buried at the RWMC (Radioactive Waste Management Complex) at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory in southeastern Idaho. In 1985, the US Geological Survey, in cooperation with the US Department of Energy, began a study of the geohydrology of the RWMC to provide a basis for estimating the extent of and the potential for migration of radionuclides in the unsaturated zone beneath the waste burial trenches and pits. This study is being conducted to provide hydrological, meteorological and geohydrological data for the test trench area adjacent to the northern boundary of the RWMC. During 1987, data were collected from the test trench area, where several types of instrumentation were installed in the surficial sediment in 1985. Hydrological data collected from both disturbed and undisturbed soil included measurements, from 28 thermocouple psychrometers placed at selected depths to about 6m. Soil moisture content measurements were collected bi-weekly in 9 neutron-probe access holes with a neutron moisture depth gage. Meteorological data summarized daily included: (1) incoming and emitted long-wave radiation; (2) incoming and reflected short-wave radiation; (3) air temperature; (4) relative humidity; (5) wind speed; (6) wind direction; and (7) precipitation. To describe grain-size distribution with depth, 17 samples were analyzed using sieve and pipette methods. Statistical parameters, carbonate content, color, particle roundness and sphericity, and mineralogic and clastic constituents were determined for each sample. Some samples were analyzed by x-ray diffraction techniques to determine bulk and clay mineralogy

  11. Modeling interactions between saturated and un-saturated zones by Hydrus-1D in semi-arid regions (plain of Kairouan, Central Tunisia).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saâdi, Mariem; Zghibi, Adel; Kanzari, Sabri

    2018-02-24

    In semi-arid areas like the Kairouan region, salinization has become an increasing concern because of the constant irrigation with saline water and over use of groundwater resources, soils, and aquifers. In this study, a methodology has been developed to evaluate groundwater contamination risk based on the unsaturated zone hydraulic properties. Two soil profiles with different ranges of salinity, one located in the north of the plain and another one in the south of plain (each 30 m deep) and both characterized by direct recharge of the aquifer, were chosen. Simulations were conducted with Hydrus-1D code using measured precipitation data for the period 1998-2003 and calculated evapotranspiration for both chosen profiles. Four combinations of initial conditions of water content and salt concentration were used for the simulation process in order to find the best match between simulated and measured values. The success of the calibration of Hydrus-1D allowed the investigation of some scenarios in order to assess the contamination risk under different natural conditions. The aquifer risk contamination is related to the natural conditions where it increased while facing climate change and temperature increase and decreased in the presence of a clay layer. Hydrus-1D was a useful tool to predict the groundwater level and quality in the case of a direct recharge and in the absence of any information related to the soil layers except for the texture.

  12. Concepts and data-collection techniques used in a study of the unsaturated zone at a low-level radioactive-waste disposal site near Sheffield, Illinois

    Science.gov (United States)

    Healy, R.W.; DeVries, M.P.; Striegl, Robert G.

    1986-01-01

    A study of water and radionuclide movement through the unsaturated zone is being conducted at the low level radioactive waste disposal site near Sheffield, Illinois. Included in the study are detailed investigations of evapotranspiration, movement of water through waste trench covers, and movement of water and radionuclides (dissolved and gaseous) from the trenches. An energy balance/Bowen ratio approach is used to determine evapotranspiration. Precipitation, net radiation, soil-heat flux, air temperature and water vapor content gradients, wind speed, and wind direction are measured. Soil water tension is measured with tensiometers which are connected to pressure transducers. Meteorological sensors and tensiometers which are connected to pressure transducers. Meteorological sensors and tensiometers are monitored with automatic data loggers. Soil moisture contents are measured through small-diameter access tubes with neutron and gamma-ray attenuation gages. Data beneath the trenches are obtained through a 130-meter-long tunnel which extends under four of the trenches. Water samples are obtained with suction lysimeters, and samples of the geologic material are obtained with core tubes. These samples are analyzed for radiometric and inorganic chemistry. Gas samples are obtained from gas piezometers and analyzed for partial pressures of major constituents, Radon-222, tritiated water vapor, and carbon-14 dioxide. (USGS)

  13. 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

  14. Removal of NAPLs from the unsaturated zone using steam: prevention of downward migration by injecting mixtures of steam and air

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Schmidt, R.; Gudbjerg, Jacob; Sonnenborg, Torben Obel

    2002-01-01

    injection technology is presented, where a mixture of steam and air was injected. In twodimensional experiments with unsaturated porous medium contaminated with nonaqueous phase liquids, it was demonstrated how injection of pure steam lead to severe downward migration. Similar experiments, where steam......Steam injection for remediation of porous media contaminated by nonaqueous phase liquids has been shown to be a potentially efficient technology. There is, however, concern that the technique may lead to downward migration of separate phase contaminant. In this work, a modification of the steam...... and air were injected simultaneously, resulted in practically no downward migration and still rapid cleanup was achieved. The processes responsible for the prevention of downward migration when injecting steam–air mixtures were analyzed using a nonisothermal multiphase flow and transport model. Hereby...

  15. Laboratory and numerical experiments on water and energy fluxes during freezing and thawing in the unsaturated zone

    Science.gov (United States)

    Holländer, Hartmut; Montasir Islam, Md.; Šimunek, Jirka

    2017-04-01

    Frozen soil has a major effect in many hydrologic processes, and its effects are difficult to predict. A prime example is flood forecasting during spring snowmelt within the Canadian Prairies. One key driver for the extent of flooding is the antecedent soil moisture and the possibility for water to infiltrate into frozen soils. Therefore, these situations are crucial for accurate flood prediction during every spring. The main objective of this study was to evaluate the water flow and heat transport within HYDRUS-1D version 4.16 and with Hansson's model, which is a detailed freezing/thawing module (Hansson et al., 2004), to predict the impact of frozen and partly frozen soil on infiltration. We developed a standardized data set of water flow and heat transport into (partial) frozen soil by laboratory experiments using fine sand. Temperature, soil moisture, and percolated water were observed at different freezing conditions as well as at thawing conditions. Significant variation in soil moisture was found between the top and the bottom of the soil column at the starting of the thawing period. However, with increasing temperature, the lower depth of the soil column showed higher moisture as the soil became enriched with moisture due to the release of heat by soil particles during the thawing cycle. We applied vadose zone modeling using the results from the laboratory experiments. The simulated water content by HYDRUS-1D 4.16 showed large errors compared to the observed data showing by negative Nash-Sutcliffe Efficiency. Hansson's model was not able to predict soil water fluxes due to its unstable behavior (Šimunek et al., 2016). The soil temperature profile simulated using HYDRUS-1D 4.16 was not able to predict the release of latent heat during the phase change of water that was visible in Hansson's model. Hansson's model includes the energy gain/loss due to the phase change in the amount of latent energy stored in the modified heat transport equation. However, in

  16. Transfer of reactive solutes in the unsaturated zone of soils at several observation scales; Transfert de solutes reactifs dans la zone non-saturee des sols a differentes echelles d'observation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Limousin, G

    2006-10-15

    The transfer of contaminants in the unsaturated zone of soils is driven by numerous mechanisms. Field studies are sometimes difficult to set up, and so the question is raised about the reliability of laboratory measurements for describing a field situation. The nuclear power plant at Brennilis (Finistere, France) has been chosen to study the transfer of strontium, cobalt and inert tracers in the soil of this industrial site. Several observation scales have been tested (batch, stirred flow-through reactor, sieved-soil column, un-repacked or repacked soil-core lysimeter, field experiments) in order to determine, at each scale, the factors that influence the transfer of these contaminants, then to verify the adequacy between the different observation scales and their field representativeness. Regarding the soil hydrodynamic properties, the porosity, the water content in the field, the pore water velocity at the water content in the field, the saturation hydraulic conductivity and the dispersion coefficient of this embanked soil are spatially less heterogeneous than those of agricultural or non-anthropic soils. The results obtained with lysimeter and field experiments suggest that hydrodynamics of this unstructured soil can be studied on a repacked sample if the volume is high compared to the rare big-size stones. Regarding the chemical soil-contaminant interactions, cobalt and strontium isotherms are non-linear at concentration higher than 10{sup -4} mol.L{sup -1}, cobalt adsorption and desorption are fast and independent on pH. On the contrary, at concentration lower than 3.5 x 10{sup -6} mol.L{sup -1}, cobalt and strontium isotherms are linear, cobalt desorption is markedly slower than adsorption and both cobalt partition coefficient at equilibrium and its reaction kinetics are highly pH-dependent. For both elements, the results obtained with batch, stirred flow-through reactor and sieved-soil column are in adequacy. However, strontium batch adsorption measurements

  17. Transfer of reactive solutes in the unsaturated zone of soils at several observation scales; Transfert de solutes reactifs dans la zone non-saturee des sols a differentes echelles d'observation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Limousin, G

    2006-10-15

    The transfer of contaminants in the unsaturated zone of soils is driven by numerous mechanisms. Field studies are sometimes difficult to set up, and so the question is raised about the reliability of laboratory measurements for describing a field situation. The nuclear power plant at Brennilis (Finistere, France) has been chosen to study the transfer of strontium, cobalt and inert tracers in the soil of this industrial site. Several observation scales have been tested (batch, stirred flow-through reactor, sieved-soil column, un-repacked or repacked soil-core lysimeter, field experiments) in order to determine, at each scale, the factors that influence the transfer of these contaminants, then to verify the adequacy between the different observation scales and their field representativeness. Regarding the soil hydrodynamic properties, the porosity, the water content in the field, the pore water velocity at the water content in the field, the saturation hydraulic conductivity and the dispersion coefficient of this embanked soil are spatially less heterogeneous than those of agricultural or non-anthropic soils. The results obtained with lysimeter and field experiments suggest that hydrodynamics of this unstructured soil can be studied on a repacked sample if the volume is high compared to the rare big-size stones. Regarding the chemical soil-contaminant interactions, cobalt and strontium isotherms are non-linear at concentration higher than 10{sup -4} mol.L{sup -1}, cobalt adsorption and desorption are fast and independent on pH. On the contrary, at concentration lower than 3.5 x 10{sup -6} mol.L{sup -1}, cobalt and strontium isotherms are linear, cobalt desorption is markedly slower than adsorption and both cobalt partition coefficient at equilibrium and its reaction kinetics are highly pH-dependent. For both elements, the results obtained with batch, stirred flow-through reactor and sieved-soil column are in adequacy. However, strontium batch adsorption measurements

  18. 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

  19. Electrical resistivity tomography as monitoring tool for unsaturated zone transport: an example of preferential transport of deicing chemicals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wehrer, Markus; Lissner, Heidi; Bloem, Esther; French, Helen; Totsche, Kai Uwe

    2014-01-01

    Non-invasive spatially resolved monitoring techniques may hold the key to observe heterogeneous flow and transport behavior of contaminants in soils. In this study, time-lapse electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) was employed during an infiltration experiment with deicing chemical in a small field lysimeter. Deicing chemicals like potassium formate, which frequently impact soils on airport sites, were infiltrated during snow melt. Chemical composition of seepage water and the electrical response was recorded over the spring period 2010. Time-lapse electrical resistivity tomographs are able to show the infiltration of the melt water loaded with ionic constituents of deicing chemicals and their degradation product hydrogen carbonate. The tomographs indicate early breakthrough behavior in parts of the profile. Groundtruthing with pore fluid conductivity and water content variations shows disagreement between expected and observed bulk conductivity. This was attributed to the different sampling volume of traditional methods and ERT due to a considerable fraction of immobile water in the soil. The results show that ERT can be used as a soil monitoring tool on airport sites if assisted by common soil monitoring techniques.

  20. Characterization of crushed tuff for the evaluation of the fate of tracers in transport studies in the unsaturated zone

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Polzer, W.L.; Fuentes, H.R.; Raymond, R.; Bish, D.L.; Gladney, E.S.; Lopez, E.A.

    1987-03-01

    Results of field-scale (caisson) transport studies under unsaturated moisture and steady and nonsteady flow conditions indicate variability and a lack of conservation of mass in solute transport. The tuff materials used in that study were analyzed for the presence of tracers and of freshly precipitated material to help explain the variability and lack of conservation of mass. Selected tuff samples were characterized by neutron activation analysis for tracer identification, by x-ray diffraction for mineral identification, by petrographic analysis for identification of freshly precipitated material, and by x-ray fluorescence analysis for identification of major and trace elements. The results of these analyses indicate no obvious presence of freshly precipitated material that would retard tracer movement. The presence of the nonsorbing tracers (bromide and iodide) suggest the retention of these tracers in immobile water. The presence of the nonsorbing tracers (bromide and iodide) suggest the retention of these tracers in immobile water. The presence of sorbing and nonsorbing tracers on the tuff at some locations (even cesium at the 415-cm depth) and not at others suggests variability in transport. 15 refs., 14 figs., 9 tabs

  1. Review and selection of unsaturated flow models

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Reeves, M.; Baker, N.A.; Duguid, J.O. [INTERA, Inc., Las Vegas, NV (United States)

    1994-04-04

    Since the 1960`s, ground-water flow models have been used for analysis of water resources problems. In the 1970`s, emphasis began to shift to analysis of waste management problems. This shift in emphasis was largely brought about by site selection activities for geologic repositories for disposal of high-level radioactive wastes. Model development during the 1970`s and well into the 1980`s focused primarily on saturated ground-water flow because geologic repositories in salt, basalt, granite, shale, and tuff were envisioned to be below the water table. Selection of the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, for potential disposal of waste began to shift model development toward unsaturated flow models. Under the US Department of Energy (DOE), the Civilian Radioactive Waste Management System Management and Operating Contractor (CRWMS M&O) has the responsibility to review, evaluate, and document existing computer models; to conduct performance assessments; and to develop performance assessment models, where necessary. This document describes the CRWMS M&O approach to model review and evaluation (Chapter 2), and the requirements for unsaturated flow models which are the bases for selection from among the current models (Chapter 3). Chapter 4 identifies existing models, and their characteristics. Through a detailed examination of characteristics, Chapter 5 presents the selection of models for testing. Chapter 6 discusses the testing and verification of selected models. Chapters 7 and 8 give conclusions and make recommendations, respectively. Chapter 9 records the major references for each of the models reviewed. Appendix A, a collection of technical reviews for each model, contains a more complete list of references. Finally, Appendix B characterizes the problems used for model testing.

  2. Review and selection of unsaturated flow models

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Reeves, M.; Baker, N.A.; Duguid, J.O.

    1994-01-01

    Since the 1960's, ground-water flow models have been used for analysis of water resources problems. In the 1970's, emphasis began to shift to analysis of waste management problems. This shift in emphasis was largely brought about by site selection activities for geologic repositories for disposal of high-level radioactive wastes. Model development during the 1970's and well into the 1980's focused primarily on saturated ground-water flow because geologic repositories in salt, basalt, granite, shale, and tuff were envisioned to be below the water table. Selection of the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, for potential disposal of waste began to shift model development toward unsaturated flow models. Under the US Department of Energy (DOE), the Civilian Radioactive Waste Management System Management and Operating Contractor (CRWMS M ampersand O) has the responsibility to review, evaluate, and document existing computer models; to conduct performance assessments; and to develop performance assessment models, where necessary. This document describes the CRWMS M ampersand O approach to model review and evaluation (Chapter 2), and the requirements for unsaturated flow models which are the bases for selection from among the current models (Chapter 3). Chapter 4 identifies existing models, and their characteristics. Through a detailed examination of characteristics, Chapter 5 presents the selection of models for testing. Chapter 6 discusses the testing and verification of selected models. Chapters 7 and 8 give conclusions and make recommendations, respectively. Chapter 9 records the major references for each of the models reviewed. Appendix A, a collection of technical reviews for each model, contains a more complete list of references. Finally, Appendix B characterizes the problems used for model testing

  3. 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

  4. Bomb-Pulse Chlorine-36 At The Proposed Yucca Mountain Repository Horizon: An Investigation Of Previous Conflicting Results And Collection Of New Data

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    J. Cizdziel

    2006-01-01

    Previous studies by scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) found elevated ratios of chlorine-36 to total chloride ( 36 Cl/Cl) in samples of rock collected from the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF) and the Enhanced Characterization of the Repository Block (ECRB) at Yucca Mountain as the tunnels were excavated. The data were interpreted as an indication that fluids containing 'bomb-pulse' 36 Cl reached the repository horizon in the ∼50 years since the peak period of above-ground nuclear testing. Moreover, the data support the concept that so-called fast pathways for infiltration not only exist but are active, possibly through a combination of porous media, faults and/or other geologic features. Due to the significance of 36 Cl data to conceptual models of unsaturated zone flow and transport, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) was requested by the Department of Energy (DOE) to design and implement a study to validate the LANL findings. The USGS chose to drill new boreholes at select locations across zones where bomb-pulse ratios had previously been identified. The drill cores were analyzed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) for 36 Cl/Cl using both active and passive leaches, with the USGS/LLNL concluding that the active leach extracted too much rock-Cl and the passive leach did not show bomb-pulse ratios. Because consensus was not reached between the USGS/LLNL and LANL on several fundamental points, including the conceptual strategy for sampling, interpretation and use of tritium ( 3 H) data, and the importance and interpretation of blanks, in addition to the presence or absence of bomb-pulse 36 Cl, an evaluation by an independent entity, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), using new samples was initiated. This report is the result of that study. The overall objectives of the UNLV study were to investigate the source or sources of the conflicting results from the previous validation study, and to obtain additional data to

  5. Hydrologic and Meteorological Data for an Unsaturated-Zone Study Area near the Radioactive Waste Management Complex, Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory, Idaho, 1990-96

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Perkins, K. S.; Nimmo, J. R.; Pittman, J. R.

    1998-01-01

    Trenches and pits at the Radioactive Waste Management Complex (RWMC) Subsurface Disposal Area (SDA) at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (formerly known as the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory) have been used for burial of radioactive waste since 1952. In 1985, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Energy, began a multi-phase study of the geohydrology of the RWMC to provide a basis for estimating the extent of and the potential for migration of radionuclides in the unsaturated zone beneath the waste trenches and pits. This phase of the study provides hydrologic and meteorological data collected at a designated test trench area adjacent to the northern boundary of the RWMC SDA from 1990 through 1996. The test trench area was constructed by the USGS in 1985. Hydrologic data presented in this report were collected during 1990-96 in the USGS test trench area. Soil-moisture content measurement from disturbed and undisturbed soil were collected approximately monthly during 1990-96 from 11 neutron-probe access holes with a neutron moisture gage. In 1994, three additional neutron access holes were completed for monitoring. A meteorological station inside the test trench area provided data for determination of evapotranspiration rates. The soil-moisture and meteorological data are contained in files on 3-1/2 inch diskettes (disks 1 and 2) included with this report. The data are presented in simple American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) format with tab-delimited fields. The files occupy a total of 1.5 megabytes of disk space

  6. A Modeling Study of Flow Diversion and Focusing in unsaturated Fractured Rocks

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Pan, Lehua; Wu, Yu-Shu; Zhang, Keni

    2002-01-01

    This study presents a systematic approach to analyze the flow diversion and flow focusing caused by the natural flow-barrier system in the unsaturated zone (UZ) of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, under ambient steady-state flow conditions. An existing analytical solution for analyzing capillary barrier in porous media has been extended to apply to the fractured porous rock. The new analytical solutions are used to identify the critical layers and to provide the guidance for generation of a proper three-dimensional (3-D), site-scale numerical grid. A large-scale 3-D numerical model (with more than a million grid blocks) has been developed with site-specific data to analyze the major flow patterns in the mountain. Our analyses show that large-scale lateral flow could take place in the UZ under ambient conditions, as a result of capillary barriers formed at the contacts of heterogeneous rock layers. This lateral flow runs generally toward the east (in the southern part) or southeast (in the northern part), which is consistent with the dip of the layer contacts. About 90 percent of the total lateral flow is found to be conducted by only a few critical rock layers. Faults that penetrate these rock layers act as vertical capillary barriers that stop the lateral flow. The combined effect of horizontal and vertical capillary barriers resulted in reduced percolation flow through repository horizon in general but focused downward flow along those penetrating faults. The model results were found to be consistent with the field water saturation. The findings of this study are consistent with a previously published two-dimensional (2-D) analysis and recent published modeling results using field-observed Cl-data

  7. Methodology Used for Total System Performance Assessment of the Potential Nuclear Waste Repository at Yucca Mountain (USA)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    E. Devibec; S.D. Sevougian; P.D. Mattie; J.A. McNeish; S. Mishra

    2001-01-01

    The U.S. Department of Energy and its contractors are currently evaluating a site in Nevada (Yucca Mountain) for disposal of high-level radioactive waste from U.S. commercial nuclear plants and U.S. government-owned facilities. The suitability of the potential geologic repository is assessed, based on its performance in isolating the nuclear waste from the environment. Experimental data and models representing the natural and engineered barriers are combined into a Total System Performance Assessment (TSPA) model [1]. Process models included in the TSPA model are unsaturated zone flow and transport, thermal hydrology, in-drift geochemistry, waste package degradation, waste form degradation, engineered barrier system transport, saturated zone flow and transport, and biosphere transport. Because of the uncertainty in the current data and in the future evolution of the total system, simulations follow a probabilistic approach. Multiple realization simulations using Monte Carlo analysis are conducted over time periods of up to one million years, which estimates a range of possible behaviors of the repository. The environmental impact is measured primarily by the annual dose received by an average member of a critical population group residing 20 km down-gradient of the potential repository. In addition to the nominal scenario, other exposure scenarios include the possibility of disruptive events such as volcanic eruption or intrusion, or accidental human intrusion. Sensitivity to key uncertain processes is analyzed. The influence of stochastic variables on the TSPA model output is assessed by ''uncertainty importance analysis'', e.g., regression analysis and classification tree analysis. Further investigation of the impact of parameters and assumptions is conducted through ''one-off analysis'', which consists in fixing a parameter at a particular value, using an alternative conceptual model, or in making a different assumption. Finally, robustness analysis evaluates

  8. Saturated-unsaturated flow in a compressible leaky-unconfined aquifer

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mishra, Phoolendra K.; Vesselinov, Velimir V.; Kuhlman, Kristopher L.

    2012-06-01

    An analytical solution is developed for three-dimensional flow towards a partially penetrating large-diameter well in an unconfined aquifer bounded below by a leaky aquitard of finite or semi-infinite extent. The analytical solution is derived using Laplace and Hankel transforms, then inverted numerically. Existing solutions for flow in leaky unconfined aquifers neglect the unsaturated zone following an assumption of instantaneous drainage due to Neuman. We extend the theory of leakage in unconfined aquifers by (1) including water flow and storage in the unsaturated zone above the water table, and (2) allowing the finite-diameter pumping well to partially penetrate the aquifer. The investigation of model-predicted results shows that aquitard leakage leads to significant departure from the unconfined solution without leakage. The investigation of dimensionless time-drawdown relationships shows that the aquitard drawdown also depends on unsaturated zone properties and the pumping-well wellbore storage effects.

  9. A Mountain-Scale Monitoring Network for Yucca Mountain Performance Confirmation

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Freifeld, Barry; Tsang, Yvonne

    2006-01-01

    Confirmation of the performance of Yucca Mountain is required by 10 CFR Part 63.131 to indicate, where practicable, that the natural system acts as a barrier, as intended. Hence, performance confirmation monitoring and testing would provide data for continued assessment during the pre-closure period. In general, to carry out testing at a relevant scale is always important, and in the case of performance confirmation, it is particularly important to be able to test at the scale of the repository. We view the large perturbation caused by construction of the repository at Yucca Mountain as a unique opportunity to study the large-scale behavior of the natural barrier system. Repository construction would necessarily introduce traced fluids and result in the creation of leachates. A program to monitor traced fluids and construction leachates permits evaluation of transport through the unsaturated zone and potentially downgradient through the saturated zone. A robust sampling and monitoring network for continuous measurement of important parameters, and for periodic collection of agrochemical samples, is proposed to observe thermo-hydrogeochemical changes near the repository horizon and down to the water table. The sampling and monitoring network can be used to provide data to (1) assess subsurface conditions encountered and changes in those conditions during construction and waste emplacement operations; and (2) for modeling to determine that the natural system is functioning as intended

  10. 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

  11. Preferential flow in water-repellent sandy soils : model development and lysimeter experiments

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Rooij, de G.H.

    1996-01-01


    When water enters a water-repellent topsoil, preferential flow paths develop and the flow bypasses a large part of the unsaturated zone. Therefore, preferential flow caused by water- repellency is expected to accelerate solute leaching to the groundwater. In soils with water-repellent

  12. 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

  13. Phase I Hydrologic Data for the Groundwater Flow and Contaminant Transport Model of Corrective Action Unit 97: Yucca Flat/Climax Mine, Nevada Test Site, Nye County, Nevada, Rev. No.: 0

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    John McCord

    2006-06-01

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), National Nuclear Security Administration Nevada Site Office (NNSA/NSO) initiated the Underground Test Area (UGTA) Project to assess and evaluate the effects of the underground nuclear weapons tests on groundwater beneath the Nevada Test Site (NTS) and vicinity. The framework for this evaluation is provided in Appendix VI, Revision No. 1 (December 7, 2000) of the Federal Facility Agreement and Consent Order (FFACO, 1996). Section 3.0 of Appendix VI ''Corrective Action Strategy'' of the FFACO describes the process that will be used to complete corrective actions specifically for the UGTA Project. The objective of the UGTA corrective action strategy is to define contaminant boundaries for each UGTA corrective action unit (CAU) where groundwater may have become contaminated from the underground nuclear weapons tests. The contaminant boundaries are determined based on modeling of groundwater flow and contaminant transport. A summary of the FFACO corrective action process and the UGTA corrective action strategy is provided in Section 1.5. The FFACO (1996) corrective action process for the Yucca Flat/Climax Mine CAU 97 was initiated with the Corrective Action Investigation Plan (CAIP) (DOE/NV, 2000a). The CAIP included a review of existing data on the CAU and proposed a set of data collection activities to collect additional characterization data. These recommendations were based on a value of information analysis (VOIA) (IT, 1999), which evaluated the value of different possible data collection activities, with respect to reduction in uncertainty of the contaminant boundary, through simplified transport modeling. The Yucca Flat/Climax Mine CAIP identifies a three-step model development process to evaluate the impact of underground nuclear testing on groundwater to determine a contaminant boundary (DOE/NV, 2000a). The three steps are as follows: (1) Data compilation and analysis that provides the necessary modeling

  14. Non-invasive investigation of the saturated/unsaturated zone with magnetic resonance sounding - a field example at the testsite Fuhrberger Feld near Hannover, Germany

    Science.gov (United States)

    Costabel, S.; Noell, U.; Ganz, C.

    2012-04-01

    Magnetic resonance sounding (MRS) is a non-invasive geophysical method for groundwater prospection that uses the principle of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) in the Earth's magnetic field. Its unique property distinct from other hydrogeophysical methods is the direct sensitivity to the amount of water, i.e. to the amount of 1H nuclei in the subsurface. Because MRS is normally used to investigate the water content of the saturated zone and to characterize aquifer structures, the standard application is optimized for 1D-measurements in depths from several to several tens of meters. However, our investigations show that MRS has also the potential to contribute substantially to the study of groundwater recharge if the sensitivity of the method for the unsaturated zone and for the transition to the saturated zone is increased by using a modified measurement setup and adjusted interpretation schemes. We conducted MRS test measurements with the focus on the very shallow subsurface in the range of some few decimeters down to the groundwater table in a depth of 3 m. The test site is located in the area Fuhrberger Feld about 30 km north-east of Hannover, Germany, which comprises an unconfined sandy aquifer of 20 to 30-m thickness. Previous studies have discovered the soil physical characteristics of the site with tension infiltrometer measurements and tracer irrigation experiments in the field, as well as with water retention measurements in the laboratory. In addition, several infiltration experiments with dye tracer were conducted and monitored with electrical resistivity tomography (ERT), tensiometers and TDR devices. For the MRS measurements at the testsite, a serious challenge was the intense electromagnetic noise consisting of large spiky radio signals and harmonic components, respectively. A special combination of new processing techniques was developed to isolate and interpret the NMR signals with amplitudes of approximately 5 to 14 nV. The standard inversion of the

  15. 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

  16. A Hydrostratigraphic Model and Alternatives for the Groundwater Flow and Contaminant Transport Model of Corrective Action Unit 97: Yucca Flat-Climax Mine, Lincoln and Nye Counties, Nevada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Geotechnical Sciences Group Bechtel Nevada

    2006-01-01

    A new three-dimensional hydrostratigraphic framework model for the Yucca Flat-Climax Mine Corrective Action Unit was completed in 2005. The model area includes Yucca Flat and Climax Mine, former nuclear testing areas at the Nevada Test Site, and proximal areas. The model area is approximately 1,250 square kilometers in size and is geologically complex. Yucca Flat is a topographically closed basin typical of many valleys in the Basin and Range province. Faulted and tilted blocks of Tertiary-age volcanic rocks and underlying Proterozoic and Paleozoic sedimentary rocks form low ranges around the structural basin. During the Cretaceous Period a granitic intrusive was emplaced at the north end of Yucca Flat. A diverse set of geological and geophysical data collected over the past 50 years was used to develop a structural model and hydrostratigraphic system for the basin. These were integrated using EarthVision? software to develop the 3-dimensional hydrostratigraphic framework model. Fifty-six stratigraphic units in the model area were grouped into 25 hydrostratigraphic units based on each unit's propensity toward aquifer or aquitard characteristics. The authors organized the alluvial section into 3 hydrostratigraphic units including 2 aquifers and 1 confining unit. The volcanic units in the model area are organized into 13 hydrostratigraphic units that include 8 aquifers and 5 confining units. The underlying pre-Tertiary rocks are divided into 7 hydrostratigraphic units, including 3 aquifers and 4 confining units. Other units include 1 Tertiary-age sedimentary confining unit and 1 Mesozoic-age granitic confining unit. The model depicts the thickness, extent, and geometric relationships of these hydrostratigraphic units (''layers'' in the model) along with the major structural features (i.e., faults). The model incorporates 178 high-angle normal faults of Tertiary age and 2 low-angle thrust faults of Mesozoic age. The complexity of the model

  17. 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

  18. Post-test comparison of thermal-hydrologic measurements and numerical predictions for the in situ single heater test, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ballard, S.; Francis, N.D.; Sobolik, S.R.; Finley, R.E.

    1998-01-01

    The Single Heater Test (SHT) is a sixteen-month-long heating and cooling experiment begun in August, 1996, located underground within the unsaturated zone near the potential geologic repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. During the 9 month heating phase of the test, roughly 15 m 3 of rock were raised to temperatures exceeding 100 C. In this paper, temperatures measured in sealed boreholes surrounding the heater are compared to temperatures predicted by 3D thermal-hydrologic calculations performed with a finite difference code. Three separate model runs using different values of bulk rock permeability (4 microdarcy to 5.2 darcy) yielded significantly different predicted temperatures and temperature distributions. All the models differ from the data, suggesting that to accurately model the thermal-hydrologic behavior of the SHT, the Equivalent Continuum Model (ECM), the conceptual basis for dealing with the fractured porous medium in the numerical predictions, should be discarded in favor of more sophisticated approaches

  19. Unclassified Source Term and Radionuclide Data for Corrective Action Unit 97: Yucca Flat/Climax Mine, Nevada Test Site, Nevada, Revision 1

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Peter Martian

    2009-05-01

    This report documents the evaluation of the information and data available on the unclassified source term and radionuclide contamination for CAU 97: Yucca Flat/Climax Mine. The total residual inventory of radionuclides associated with one or more tests is known as the radiologic source term (RST). The RST is comprised of radionuclides in water, glass, or other phases or mineralogic forms. The hydrologic source term (HST) of an underground nuclear test is the portion of the total RST that is released into the groundwater over time following the test. In this report, the HST represents radionuclide release some time after the explosion and does not include the rapidly evolving mechanical, thermal, and chemical processes during the explosion. The CAU 97: Yucca Flat/Climax Mine has many more detonations and a wider variety of settings to consider compared to other CAUs. For instance, the source term analysis and evaluation performed for CAUs 101 and 102: Central and Western Pahute Mesa and CAU 98: Frenchman Flat did not consider vadose zone attenuation because many detonations were located near or below the water table. However, the large number of Yucca Flat/Climax Mine tests and the location of many tests above the water table warrant a more robust analysis of the unsaturated zone.

  20. Conceptual, experimental and computational approaches to support performance assessment of hydrology and chemical transport at Yucca Mountain; Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Narasimhan, T.N.; Wang, J.S.Y. [Lawrence Berkeley Lab., CA (United States)

    1992-07-01

    The authors of this report have been participating in the Sandia National Laboratory`s hydrologic performance assessment of the Yucca Mountain, Nevada, since 1983. The scope of this work is restricted to the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain and to technical questions about hydrology and chemical transport. The issues defined here are not to be confused with the elaborate hierarchy of issues that forms the framework of the US Department of Energy plans for characterizing the site (DOE, 1989). The overall task of hydrologic performance assessment involves issues related to hydrology, geochemistry, and energy transport in a highly heterogeneous natural geologic system which will be perturbed in a major way by the disposal activity. Therefore, a rational evaluation of the performance assessment issues must be based on an integrated appreciation of the aforesaid interacting processes. Accordingly, a hierarchical approach is taken in this report, proceeding from the statement of the broad features of the site that make it the site for intensive studies and the rationale for disposal strategy, through the statement of the fundamental questions that need to be answered, to the identification of the issues that need resolution. Having identified the questions and issues, the report then outlines the tasks to be undertaken to resolve the issues. The report consists essentially of two parts. The first part deals with the definition of issues summarized above. The second part summarizes the findings of the authors between 1983 and 1989 under the activities of the former Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations (NNWSI) and the current YMP.

  1. 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

  2. Conceptual, experimental and computational approaches to support performance assessment of hydrology and chemical transport at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1992-07-01

    The authors of this report have been participating in the Sandia National Laboratory's hydrologic performance assessment of the Yucca Mountain, Nevada, since 1983. The scope of this work is restricted to the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain and to technical questions about hydrology and chemical transport. The issues defined here are not to be confused with the elaborate hierarchy of issues that forms the framework of the US Department of Energy plans for characterizing the site (DOE, 1989). The overall task of hydrologic performance assessment involves issues related to hydrology, geochemistry, and energy transport in a highly heterogeneous natural geologic system which will be perturbed in a major way by the disposal activity. Therefore, a rational evaluation of the performance assessment issues must be based on an integrated appreciation of the aforesaid interacting processes. Accordingly, a hierarchical approach is taken in this report, proceeding from the statement of the broad features of the site that make it the site for intensive studies and the rationale for disposal strategy, through the statement of the fundamental questions that need to be answered, to the identification of the issues that need resolution. Having identified the questions and issues, the report then outlines the tasks to be undertaken to resolve the issues. The report consists essentially of two parts. The first part deals with the definition of issues summarized above. The second part summarizes the findings of the authors between 1983 and 1989 under the activities of the former Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations (NNWSI) and the current YMP

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. Propagação de compostos da gasolina em solos: 1. zona não saturada Propagation of the gasoline compounds in the soil: 1. unsaturated zone

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Edson Abel dos Santos Chiaramonte

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available Esse trabalho descreve o estudo da propagação de tolueno na zona não saturada do solo. Mostram-se o procedimento experimental desenvolvido em colunas de laboratório, os resultados experimentais obtidos, uma análise dos resultados aplicando-se modelagem matemática, a análise estatística aplicada ao denominado modelo de puffs de simulação da dispersão e uma discussão do prosseguimento desse trabalho.This work describes the study of the propagation of toluene in the unsaturated zone of the ground. It is shown the experimental procedure in laboratory columns. The gotten experimental results and their analysis with a mathematical modeling are shown. Also is shown an analysis statistics applied to the called the puffs' models of the dispersion simulation and a quarrel of the continuation of this work.

  6. 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

  7. CLIMATIC FORECASTING OF NET INFILTRATION AT YUCCA MOUNTAIN, USING ANALOGUE METEOROLOGICAL DATA

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    B. Faybishenko

    2005-01-01

    Net infiltration is a key hydrologic parameter that controls the rate of deep percolation through the unsaturated zone, the groundwater recharge, radionuclide transport, and seepage into the underground tunnels. Because net infiltration is largely affected by climatic conditions, future changes in climatic conditions will potentially alter net infiltration. The objectives of this presentation are to: (1) Present a conceptual model and a semi-empirical approach for regional, climatic forecasting of net infiltration, based on the precipitation and temperature data from analogue meteorological stations, and (2) Demonstrate the results of forecasting net infiltration for future climates--interglacial, monsoon and glacial--over the Yucca Mountain region for the period of 500,000 years. Calculations of the net infiltration were performed using a modified Budyko's water-balance model, for which potential evapotranspiration was evaluated from the temperature-based Thornthwaite formula. (Both Budyko's and Thornthwaite's formulae have been used broadly in hydrological studies.) The results of calculations were used for ranking net infiltration, along with the aridity and precipitation-effectiveness (P-E) indexes, for future climatic scenarios. Using this approach, we determined a general trend of increasing net infiltration from the present-day (interglacial) climate to monsoon, intermediate (glacial transition), and then to the glacial climate. Ranking of the aridity and P-E indexes is practically the same as that of net infiltration. The validation of the computed net infiltration rates yielded a good match with other field and modeling study results of groundwater recharge and net infiltration evaluation

  8. Drilling and geohydrologic data for test hole USW UZ-1, Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Whitfield, M.S.; Thordarson, W.; Hammermeister, D.P.; Warner, J.B.

    1990-01-01

    This report presents data collected to determine the hydrologic characteristics of tuffaceous rocks penetrated in test hole USW UZ-1. The borehole is the first of two deep, large-diameter, unsaturated-zone test holes dry drilled using the vacuum/reverse-air-circulation method. This test hole was drilled in and near the southwestern part of the Nevada Test Site, Nye County, Nevada, in a program conducted in cooperation with the US Department of Energy. These investigations are part of the Yucca Mountain Project (formerly the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations) to identify a potentially suitable site for the storage of high-level radioactive wastes. Data are presented for bit and casing configurations, coring methods, sample collection, drilling rate, borehole deviation, and out-of-gage borehole. Geologic data for this borehole include geophysical logs, a lithologic log of drill-bit cuttings, and strike and distribution of fractures. Hydrologic data include water-content and water-potential measurements of drill-bit cuttings, water-level measurements, and physical and chemical analyses of water. Laboratory measurements of moisture content and matric properties from the larger drill-bit cutting fragments were considered to be representative of in-situ conditions. 3 refs., 5 figs., 10 tabs

  9. 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

  10. Unsaturated flow characterization utilizing water content data collected within the capillary fringe

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baehr, Arthur; Reilly, Timothy J.

    2014-01-01

    An analysis is presented to determine unsaturated zone hydraulic parameters based on detailed water content profiles, which can be readily acquired during hydrological investigations. Core samples taken through the unsaturated zone allow for the acquisition of gravimetrically determined water content data as a function of elevation at 3 inch intervals. This dense spacing of data provides several measurements of the water content within the capillary fringe, which are utilized to determine capillary pressure function parameters via least-squares calibration. The water content data collected above the capillary fringe are used to calculate dimensionless flow as a function of elevation providing a snapshot characterization of flow through the unsaturated zone. The water content at a flow stagnation point provides an in situ estimate of specific yield. In situ determinations of capillary pressure function parameters utilizing this method, together with particle-size distributions, can provide a valuable supplement to data libraries of unsaturated zone hydraulic parameters. The method is illustrated using data collected from plots within an agricultural research facility in Wisconsin.

  11. 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

  12. Conceptual and Numerical Models for UZ Flow and Transport

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Liu, H.

    2000-01-01

    The purpose of this Analysis/Model Report (AMR) is to document the conceptual and numerical models used for modeling of unsaturated zone (UZ) fluid (water and air) flow and solute transport processes. This is in accordance with ''AMR Development Plan for U0030 Conceptual and Numerical Models for Unsaturated Zone (UZ) Flow and Transport Processes, Rev 00''. The conceptual and numerical modeling approaches described in this AMR are used for models of UZ flow and transport in fractured, unsaturated rock under ambient and thermal conditions, which are documented in separate AMRs. This AMR supports the UZ Flow and Transport Process Model Report (PMR), the Near Field Environment PMR, and the following models: Calibrated Properties Model; UZ Flow Models and Submodels; Mountain-Scale Coupled Processes Model; Thermal-Hydrologic-Chemical (THC) Seepage Model; Drift Scale Test (DST) THC Model; Seepage Model for Performance Assessment (PA); and UZ Radionuclide Transport Models

  13. The road to Yucca Mountain—Evolution of nuclear waste disposal in the United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stuckless, John S.; Levich, Robert A.

    2016-01-01

    The generation of electricity by nuclear power and the manufacturing of atomic weapons have created a large amount of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. There is a world-wide consensus that the best way to protect mankind and the environment is to dispose of this waste in a deep geologic repository. Initial efforts focused on salt as the best medium for disposal, but the heat generated by the radioactive waste led many earth scientists to examine other rock types. In 1976, the director of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) wrote to the U.S. Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA), predecessor agency of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), suggesting that there were several favorable environments at the Nevada Test Site (NTS), and that the USGS already had extensive background information on the NTS. Later, in a series of communications and one publication, the USGS espoused the favorability of the thick unsaturated zone. After the passage of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (1982), the DOE compiled a list of nine favorable sites and settled on three to be characterized. In 1987, as the costs of characterizing three sites ballooned, Congress amended the Nuclear Waste Policy Act directing the DOE to focus only on Yucca Mountain in Nevada, with the proviso that if anything unfavorable was discovered, work would stop immediately. The U.S. DOE, the U.S. DOE national laboratories, and the USGS developed more than 100 detailed plans to study various earth-science aspects of Yucca Mountain and the surrounding area, as well as materials studies and engineering projects needed for a mined geologic repository. The work, which cost more than 10 billion dollars and required hundreds of man-years of work, culminated in a license application submitted to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in 2008.

  14. 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

  15. Computation of porosity and water content from geophysical logs, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nelson, P.H.

    1996-01-01

    Neutron and density logs acquired in boreholes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada are used to determine porosity and water content as a function of depth. Computation of porosity requires an estimate of grain density, which is provided by core data, mineralogical data, or is inferred from rock type where neither core nor mineralogy are available. The porosity estimate is merged with mineralogical data acquired by X-ray diffraction to compute the volumetric fractions of major mineral groups. The resulting depth-based portrayal of bulk rock composition is equivalent to a whole rock analysis of mineralogy and porosity. Water content is computed from epithermal and thermal neutron logs. In the unsaturated zone, the density log is required along with a neutron log. Water content can also be computed from dielectric logs, which were acquired in only a fraction of the boreholes, whereas neutron logs were acquired in all boreholes. Mineralogical data are used to compute a structural (or bound) water estimate, which is subtracted from the total water estimate from the neutron-density combination. Structural water can be subtracted only from intervals where mineralogical analyses are available; otherwise only total water can be reported. The algorithms and procedures are applied to logs acquired during 1979 to 1984 at Yucca Mountain. Examples illustrate the results. Comparison between computed porosity and core measurements shows systematic differences ranging from 0.005 to 0.04. These values are consistent with a sensitivity analysis using uncertainty parameters for good logging conditions. Water content from core measurements is available in only one borehole, yielding a difference between computed and core-based water content of 0.006

  16. The Development and Application of Reactive Transport Modeling Techniques to Study Radionuclide Migration at Yucca Mountain, NV

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hari Selvi Viswanathan

    1999-01-01

    Yucca Mountain, Nevada has been chosen as a possible site for the first high level radioactive waste repository in the United States. As part of the site investigation studies, we need to make scientifically rigorous estimations of radionuclide migration in the event of a repository breach. Performance assessment models used to make these estimations are computationally intensive. We have developed two reactive transport modeling techniques to simulate radionuclide transport at Yucca Mountain: (1) the selective coupling approach applied to the convection-dispersion-reaction (CDR) model and (2) a reactive stream tube approach (RST). These models were designed to capture the important processes that influence radionuclide migration while being computationally efficient. The conventional method of modeling reactive transport models is to solve a coupled set of multi-dimensional partial differential equations for the relevant chemical components in the system. We have developed an iterative solution technique, denoted the selective coupling method, that represents a versatile alternative to traditional uncoupled iterative techniques and the filly coupled global implicit method. We show that selective coupling results in computational and memory savings relative to these approaches. We develop RST as an alternative to the CDR method for solving large two- or three-dimensional reactive transport simulations for cases in which one is interested in predicting the flux across a specific control plane. In the RST method, the multidimensional problem is reduced to a series of one-dimensional transport simulations along streamlines. The key assumption with RST is that mixing at the control plane approximates the transverse dispersion between streamlines. We compare the CDR and RST approaches for several scenarios that are relevant to the Yucca Mountain Project. For example, we apply the CDR and RST approaches to model an ongoing field experiment called the Unsaturated Zone

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. Improved solution for saturated-unsaturated flow to a partially penetrating well in a compressible unconfined aquifer

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mishra, P. K.; Neuman, S. P.

    2009-12-01

    Tartakovsky and Neuman [2007] developed an analytical solution for flow to a partially penetrating well pumping at a constant rate from a compressible unconfined aquifer considering an unsaturated zone of infinite thickness. In their solution three-dimensional, axially symmetric unsaturated flow was described by a linearized version of Richards’ equation in which both relative hydraulic conductivity and water content vary exponentially with incremental capillary pressure head relative to its air entry value. Both exponential functions were characterized by a common exponent. We present an improved solution in which relative hydraulic conductivity and water content are characterized by separate parameters and the unsaturated zone has finite thickness. Our four-parameter representation of these functions is more flexible than the three-parameter version of Mathias and Butler [2006], who consider flow in the unsaturated zone to be strictly vertical and the pumping well to be fully penetrating. We investigate the effects of unsaturated zone thickness and constitutive parameters on drawdown in the unsaturated and saturated zones as functions of position and time. We then use our new solution to analyze data from synthetic and real pumping tests.

  2. On the coupled unsaturated–saturated flow process induced by vertical, horizontal, and slant wells in unconfined aquifers

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    X. Liang

    2017-03-01

    established with special consideration of the coupled unsaturated–saturated flow process and the well orientation. Groundwater flow in the saturated zone is described by a three-dimensional governing equation and a linearized three-dimensional Richards' equation in the unsaturated zone. A solution in the Laplace domain is derived by the Laplace–finite-Fourier-transform and the method of separation of variables, and the semi-analytical solutions are obtained using a numerical inverse Laplace method. The solution is verified by a finite-element numerical model. It is found that the effects of the unsaturated zone on the drawdown of a pumping test exist at any angle of inclination of the pumping well, and this impact is more significant in the case of a horizontal well. The effects of the unsaturated zone on the drawdown are independent of the length of the horizontal well screen. The vertical well leads to the largest water volume drained from the unsaturated zone (W during the early pumping time, and the effects of the well orientation on W values become insignificant at the later time. The screen length of the horizontal well does not affect W for the whole pumping period. The proposed solutions are useful for the parameter identification of pumping tests with a general well orientation (vertical, horizontal, and slant in unconfined aquifers affected from above by the unsaturated flow process.

  3. Phase I Contaminant Transport Parameters for the Groundwater Flow and Contaminant Transport Model of Corrective Action Unit 97: Yucca Flat/Climax Mine, Nevada Test Site, Nye County, Nevada, Revision 0

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    John McCord

    2007-01-01

    This report documents transport data and data analyses for Yucca Flat/Climax Mine CAU 97. The purpose of the data compilation and related analyses is to provide the primary reference to support parameterization of the Yucca Flat/Climax Mine CAU transport model. Specific task objectives were as follows: (1) Identify and compile currently available transport parameter data and supporting information that may be relevant to the Yucca Flat/Climax Mine CAU. (2) Assess the level of quality of the data and associated documentation. (3) Analyze the data to derive expected values and estimates of the associated uncertainty and variability. The scope of this document includes the compilation and assessment of data and information relevant to transport parameters for the Yucca Flat/Climax Mine CAU subsurface within the context of unclassified source-term contamination. Data types of interest include mineralogy, aqueous chemistry, matrix and effective porosity, dispersivity, matrix diffusion, matrix and fracture sorption, and colloid-facilitated transport parameters

  4. Phase I Contaminant Transport Parameters for the Groundwater Flow and Contaminant Transport Model of Corrective Action Unit 97: Yucca Flat/Climax Mine, Nevada Test Site, Nye County, Nevada, Revision 0

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    John McCord

    2007-09-01

    This report documents transport data and data analyses for Yucca Flat/Climax Mine CAU 97. The purpose of the data compilation and related analyses is to provide the primary reference to support parameterization of the Yucca Flat/Climax Mine CAU transport model. Specific task objectives were as follows: • Identify and compile currently available transport parameter data and supporting information that may be relevant to the Yucca Flat/Climax Mine CAU. • Assess the level of quality of the data and associated documentation. • Analyze the data to derive expected values and estimates of the associated uncertainty and variability. The scope of this document includes the compilation and assessment of data and information relevant to transport parameters for the Yucca Flat/Climax Mine CAU subsurface within the context of unclassified source-term contamination. Data types of interest include mineralogy, aqueous chemistry, matrix and effective porosity, dispersivity, matrix diffusion, matrix and fracture sorption, and colloid-facilitated transport parameters.

  5. Phase I Hydrologic Data for the Groundwater Flow and Contaminant Transport Model of Corrective Action Unit 97: Yucca Flat/Climax Mine, Nevada Test Site, Nye County, Nevada, Revision 0

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    John McCord

    2007-01-01

    This document, which makes changes to Phase I Hydrologic Data for the Groundwater Flow and Contaminant Transport Model of Corrective Action Unit 97: Yucca Flat/Climax Mine, Nevada Test Site, Nye County, Nevada, S-N/99205--077, Revision 0 (June 2006), was prepared to address review comments on this final document provided by the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) in a letter dated August 4, 2006. The document includes revised pages that address NDEP review comments and comments from other document users. Change bars are included on these pages to identify where the text was revised. In addition to the revised pages, the following clarifications are made for the two plates inserted in the back of the document: Plate 4: Disregard the repeat of legend text 'Drill Hole Name' and 'Drill Hole Location' in the lower left corner of the map. Plate 6: The symbol at the ER-16-1 location (white dot on the lower left side of the map) is not color-coded because no water level has been determined. The well location is included for reference. Plate 6: The symbol at the ER-12-1 location (upper left corner of the map), a yellow dot, represents the lower water level elevation. The higher water level elevation, represented by a red dot, was overprinted

  6. Phase I Flow and Transport Model Document for Corrective Action Unit 97: Yucca Flat/Climax Mine, Nevada National Security Site, Nye County, Nevada, Revision 1 with ROTCs 1 and 2

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Andrews, Robert

    2013-09-01

    The Underground Test Area (UGTA) Corrective Action Unit (CAU) 97, Yucca Flat/Climax Mine, in the northeast part of the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) requires environmental corrective action activities to assess contamination resulting from underground nuclear testing. These activities are necessary to comply with the UGTA corrective action strategy (referred to as the UGTA strategy). The corrective action investigation phase of the UGTA strategy requires the development of groundwater flow and contaminant transport models whose purpose is to identify the lateral and vertical extent of contaminant migration over the next 1,000 years. In particular, the goal is to calculate the contaminant boundary, which is defined as a probabilistic model-forecast perimeter and a lower hydrostratigraphic unit (HSU) boundary that delineate the possible extent of radionuclide-contaminated groundwater from underground nuclear testing. Because of structural uncertainty in the contaminant boundary, a range of potential contaminant boundaries was forecast, resulting in an ensemble of contaminant boundaries. The contaminant boundary extent is determined by the volume of groundwater that has at least a 5 percent chance of exceeding the radiological standards of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) (CFR, 2012).

  7. Age dating ground water by use of chlorofluorocarbons (CCl3F and CCl2F2), and distribution of chlorofluorocarbons in the unsaturated zone, Snake River Plain aquifer, Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, Idaho

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Busenberg, E.; Weeks, E.P.; Plummer, L.N.; Bartholomay, R.C.

    1993-04-01

    Detectable concentrations of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC's) were observed in ground water and unsaturated-zone air at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL) and vicinity. The recharge ages of waters were determined to be from 4 to more than 50 years on the basis of CFC concentrations and other environmental data; most ground waters have ages of 14 to 30 years. These results indicate that young ground water was added at various locations to the older regional ground water (greater than 50 years) within and outside the INEL boundaries. The wells drilled into the Snake River Plain aquifer at INEL sampled mainly this local recharge. The Big Lost River, Birch Creek, the Little Lost River, and the Mud Lake-Terreton area appear to be major sources of recharge of the Snake River Plain aquifer at INEL. An average recharge temperature of 9.7±1.3 degrees C (degrees Celsius) was calculated from dissolved nitrogen and argon concentrations in the ground waters, a temperature that is similar to the mean annual soil temperature of 9 degrees C measured at INEL. This similarity indicates that the aquifer was recharged at INEL and not at higher elevations that would have cooler soil temperatures than INEL. Soil-gas concentrations at Test Area North (TAN) are explained by diffusion theory

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. Effect of Unsaturated Flow on Delayed Response of Unconfined Aquifiers to Pumping

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tartakovsky, G.; Neuman, S. P.

    2005-12-01

    A new analytical solution is presented for the delayed response process characterizing flow to a partially penetrating well in an unconfined aquifer. The new solution generalizes that of Neuman [1972, 1974] by accounting for unsaturated flow above the water table. Axially symmetric three-dimensional flow in the unsaturated zone is described by a linearized version of Richards' equation in which hydraulic conductivity and water content vary exponentially with incremental capillary pressure head relative to its air entry value (defining the interface between the saturated and unsaturated zones). Unsaturated soil properties are characterized by an exponent κ having the dimension of inverse length and a dimensionless exponent κD = κb where b is initial saturated thickness. Our treatment of the unsaturated zone is similar to that of Kroszynski and Dagan [1975] who however have ignored internal (artesian) aquifer storage. It has been suggested by Boulton [1954, 1963, 1970] and Neuman [1972, 1974], and is confirmed by our solution, that internal storage is required to reproduce the early increase in drawdown characterizing delayed response to pumping in typical aquifers. According to our new solution such aquifers are characterized by relatively large κ_ D values, typically 10 or larger; in the limit as κD tends to infinity (the soil unsaturated water retention capacity becomes insignificant and/or aquifer thickness become large), unsaturated flow becomes unimportant and our solution reduces to that of Neuman. In typical cases corresponding to κD larger than or equal to 10, unsaturated flow is found to have little impact on early and late dimensionless time behaviors of drawdown measured wholly or in part at some distance below the water table; unsaturated flow causes drawdown to increase slightly at intermediate dimensionless time values that represent transition from an early artesian dominated to a late water-table dominated flow regime. The increase in drawdown

  13. Total System Performance Assessment Code (TOSPAC); Volume 2, User`s guide: Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Gauthier, J.H.; Dudley, A.L; Skinner, L.H. [Spectra Research Inst., Albuquerque, NM (United States); Wilson, M.L.; Peters, R.R. [Sandia National Labs., Albuquerque, NM (United States)

    1992-07-01

    TOSPAC is a computer program that calculates partially saturated groundwater flow with the transport of water-soluble contaminants. TOSPAC Version 1 is restricted to calculations involving one-dimensional, vertical columns of one or more media. TOSPAC was developed to help answer questions surrounding the burial of toxic wastes in arid regions. Burial of wastes in arid regions is attractive because of generally low population densities and little groundwater flow, in the unsaturated zone, to disturb the waste. TOSPAC helps to quantify groundwater flow and the spread of contamination, offering an idea of what could happen in the distant future. Figure 1.1 illustrates the problem TOSPAC was designed to investigate. For groundwater flow, TOSPAC can provide saturations, velocities, and and travel tunes for water in the rock matrix or the fractures in the unsaturated zone. TOSPAC can determine how hydrologic conditions vary when the rate of infiltration changes. For contaminant transport, TOSPAC can compute how much of a contaminant is dissolved in the water and how it is distributed. TOSPAC can determine how fast the solute is moving and the shape of the concentration front. And TOSPAC can be used to investigate how much of the contaminant remains in the inventory of a repository, how much is adsorbed onto the soil or rock matrix, and how much reaches the water table. Effective use of TOSPAC requires knowledge in a number of diverse disciplines, including real groundwater flow and transport, the mathematical models of groundwater flow and transport, real-world data required for the models, and the numerical solution of differential equations. Equally important is a realization of the limitations intrinsic to a computer model of complex physical phenomena. This User`s Guide not only describes the mechanics of executing TOSPAC on a computer, but also examines these other topics.

  14. Assessment of unsaturated zone transport for shallow land burial of radioactive waste: summary report of technology needs, model verification, and measurement efforts (FY 1978 to FY 1983)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Jones, T.L.; Gee, G.W.

    1984-01-01

    Two main topics are addressed in this report. The first topic relates to the assessment process for shallow land burial site design. This overview includes basic descriptions of water balance, transport processes and technology needs for waste management at an arid (dry) site. The second topic deals with specific results of research activities at PNL related to water and radionuclide transport under arid, shallow land burial conditions. Technology needs at arid-zone (dry) sites are summarized and unique features of radionuclide disposal at dry sites are explained. The report emphasizes the need to understand the interaction between climate, soil, plants, engineered barriers, and buried waste in order to evaluate performance of a waste disposal system at a dry site. Water balance data, collected since FY 1978 at the Buried Waste Test Facility (BWTF) at Hanford, are used to illustrate the influence of climate variables (rainfall distribution patterns and evaporative conditions) on soil water storage and drainage at an arid site. For dry site conditions, with no vegetation and coarse soil, significant deep drainage was measured. Deep drainage below the root zone was also measured at a grass-covered site on the Hanford site after early spring rains, which emphasizes the need to carefully monitor site water balances even at arid (dry) sites. The monitoring technology, water balance, and radionuclide transport at arid sites are discussed, and the use of neutron probes, electrical resistance units, tensiometers, and psychrometers are explained, and examples are given on their applications in arid-site monitoring. Measurements of water flow and radionuclide transport coefficients needed to describe movement in unsaturated soils are documented. 40 references, 21 figures, 5 tables

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. Quantifying Preferential Flow and Seasonal Storage in an Unsaturated Fracture-Facial Domain

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nimmo, J. R.; Malek-Mohammadi, S.

    2012-12-01

    Preferential flow through deep unsaturated zones of fractured rock is hydrologically important to a variety of contaminant transport and water-resource issues. The unsaturated zone of the English Chalk Aquifer provides an important opportunity for a case study of unsaturated preferential flow in isolation from other flow modes. The chalk matrix has low hydraulic conductivity and stays saturated, owing to its fine uniform pores and the wet climate of the region. Therefore the substantial fluxes observed in the unsaturated chalk must be within fractures and interact minimally with matrix material. Price et al. [2000] showed that irregularities on fracture surfaces provide a significant storage capacity in the chalk unsaturated zone, likely accounting for volumes of water required to explain unexpected dry-season water-table stability during substantial continuing streamflow observed by Lewis et al. [1993] In this presentation we discuss and quantify the dynamics of replenishment and drainage of this unsaturated zone fracture-face storage domain using a modification of the source-responsive model of Nimmo [2010]. This model explains the processes in terms of two interacting flow regimes: a film or rivulet preferential flow regime on rough fracture faces, active on an individual-storm timescale, and a regime of adsorptive and surface-tension influences, resembling traditional diffuse formulations of unsaturated flow, effective mainly on a seasonal timescale. The modified model identifies hydraulic parameters for an unsaturated fracture-facial domain lining the fractures. Besides helping to quantify the unsaturated zone storage described by Price et al., these results highlight the importance of research on the topic of unsaturated-flow relations within a near-fracture-surface domain. This model can also facilitate understanding of mechanisms for reinitiation of preferential flow after temporary cessation, which is important in multi-year preferential flow through deep

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. Reply to 'Commentary: Assessment of past infiltration fluxes through Yucca Mountain on the basis of the secondary mineral record - is it a viable methodology?', by Y.V. Dublyansky and S.Z. Smirnov

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sonnenthal, Eric; Xu, Tianfu; Bodvarrson, Gudmundur

    2005-01-01

    Xu et al. (2003) presented results of a reaction-transport model for calcite deposition in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, and compared the model results to measured abundances in core from a surface-based borehole. Marshall et al. (2003) used the calcite distribution in the Topopah Spring Tuff to estimate past seepage into lithophysal cavities as an analog for seepage into the potential repository waste emplacement drifts at Yucca Mountain in southern Nevada (USA). Dublyansky and Smirnov (2005) wrote a commentary paper to Marshall et al. (2003) and Xu et al. (2003), containing two points: (1) questionable phenomenological model for the secondary mineral deposits and (2) inappropriate thermal boundary conditions. In this reply we address primarily the modeling approach by showing results of a sensitivity simulation regarding the effect of an elevated temperature history that approximates the temperature history inferred from fluid inclusions by Wilson et al. (2003). Modeled calcite abundances using the time-varying temperature history are similar to the results for the steady-state ambient temperature profile (Xu et al., 2003), and are still consistent with the measured abundances at the proposed repository horizon

  4. Saturated-unsaturated flow to a partially penetrating well with storage in a compressible aquifer

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mishra, P. K.; Neuman, S. P.

    2010-12-01

    Mishra and Neuman [2010] developed an analytical solution for flow to a partially penetrating well of zero radius in a compressible unconfined aquifer that allows inferring its saturated and unsaturated hydraulic properties from responses recorded in the saturated and/or the unsaturated zone. We extend their solution to the case of a finite diameter pumping well with storage. Both solutions account for horizontal as well as vertical flows throughout the system. We investigate the effects of storage in the pumping well and delayed piezometer response on drawdowns in the saturated and unsaturated zones as functions of position and time; validate our solution against numerical simulations of drawdown in a synthetic aquifer having unsaturated properties described by the van Genuchten - Mualem constitutive model; and use our solution to analyze drawdown data from a pumping test conducted at the Borden site in Ontario, Canada.

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1993-01-01

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

  6. The origin and history of alteration and carbonatization of the Yucca Mountain ignimbrites. Volume I

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Szymanski, J.S.

    1992-04-01

    This document contains Volume I of the report entitled The Origin and History of Alteration and Carbonatization of the Yucca Mountain Ignimbrites by Jerry S. Szymanski and a related correspondence with comments by Donald E. Livingston. In the Great Basin, the flow of terrestrial heat through the crust is affected in part by the flow of fluids. At Yucca Mountain, the role of fluids in crustal heat transport is manifested at the surface by youthful calcretes, sinters, bedrock veins, hydrothermal eruption breccias and hydrothermal alteration. This report discusses evidence for recent metasomatism high in the stratigraphic section at Yucca Mountain. Over the last several hundred years, episodes of calcite emplacement contemporaneous with local mafic volcanism have occurred at intervals that are not long in comparison with the isolation time required for a High-Level Radioactive Waste repository

  7. 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

  8. DECOVALEX-THMC Project. Task C. Hydro-mechanical response of the Tournemire argillite to the underground openings excavation: unsaturated zones and mine-by-test experiment. Final Report

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Rejeb, A.; Rouabhi, A. (Ecole des Mines de Paris (France)); Millard, A. (Commissariat d' Energie Atomique (France)); Massmann, J. (Hannover Univ. (DE)); Uehara, S. (Kyoto Univ. (Japan))

    2008-06-15

    This report describes the final results of Task C of the international DECOVALEX-THMC project devoted to Excavation Damaged Zone (EDZ) in argillaceous rock at the Tounemire site in France. Task C is aimed to develop adequate numerical models for interpretation of observed damaged zones around three openings excavated at different times. The research teams are asked to model the evolution of the EDZ with time and to compare their results with measurements that were performed at the site. The main objective is to investigate the hydro-mechanical behavior of Tounemire argillite around the three openings (1881 tunnel, 1996 gallery, 2003 gallery) of Tournemire site. The work was divided into 3 parts: 1. Modelling of the unsaturated zones around the three openings; 2. Modelling of the mine-by-test experiment around the 2003 gallery; 3. EDZ modeling around the 3 openings. Each research team has performed its own HM numerical calculations based on the principal following considerations: The hydraulic time dependent boundary condition at each opening wall was calculated by the Kelvin equation using the provided humidities and temperatures; The effective stress approach of partially saturated medium was used; The swelling-shrinkage of Tournemire argillite was taken into account; The capillary pressure curve was assumed to be given by the Van Genuchten relation and calibrated from the provided data of the two successful laboratory tests; The influence of the degree of saturation on liquid water permeability was modelled using a relative permeability function which is based also on the Van Genuchten model; The intrinsic permeability was calibrated in order to get a better fit with experimental data. To achieve the first objective, the three research teams act as follows: 2D HM coupled simulations have been undertaken by ISEB-BGR team. Hydraulic and mechanical anisotropies were considered; 2D HM coupled simulations have been also undertaken by CEA-IRSN team. Only mechanical

  9. 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

  10. Geohydrology of the near-surface unsaturated zone adjacent to the disposal site for low-level radioactive waste near Beatty, Nevada: A section in Safe disposal of radionuclides in low-level radioactive-waste repository sites; Low-level radioactive-waste disposal workshop, U.S. Geological Survey, July 11-16, 1987, Big Bear Lake, Calif., Proceedings (Circular 1036)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fisher, Jeffrey M.; Bedinger, Marion S.; Stevens, Peter R.

    1990-01-01

    Shallow-land burial in arid areas is considered the best method for isolating low-level radioactive waste from the environment (Nichols and Goode, this report; Mercer and others, 1983). A major threat to waste isolation in shallow trenches is ground-water percolation. Repository sites in arid areas are believed to minimize the risk of ground-water contamination because such sites receive minimal precipitation and are underlain by thick unsaturated zones. Unfortunately, few data are available on rates of water percolation in an arid environment.

  11. 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

  12. 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)

  13. 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

  14. Analysis of Base-Case Particle Tracking Results of the Base-Case Flow Fields (ID:U0160)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    C.K. Ho

    2000-01-01

    The purpose of this analysis is to provide insight into the unsaturated-zone (UZ) subsystem performance through particle tracking analyses of the base-case flow fields. The particle tracking analyses will not be used directly in total-system performance-assessment (TSPA) calculations per se. The objective of this activity is to evaluate the transport of radionuclides through the unsaturated zone and to determine how different system parameters such as matrix diffusion, sorption, water-table rise, and perched water influence the transport to the water table. Plots will be generated to determine normalized cumulative breakthrough curves for selected radionuclides. The scope of this work is limited to the particle tracking analyses of ''base-case'' flow fields that are to be used by the code FEHM (Finite Element Heat and Mass; Zyvoloski 1997) for particle tracking simulations in ''Total System Performance Assessment-Site Recommendation Report'' (TSPA-SR)

  15. Method of coupling 1-D unsaturated flow with 3-D saturated flow on large scale

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yan Zhu

    2011-12-01

    Full Text Available A coupled unsaturated-saturated water flow numerical model was developed. The water flow in the unsaturated zone is considered the one-dimensional vertical flow, which changes in the horizontal direction according to the groundwater table and the atmospheric boundary conditions. The groundwater flow is treated as the three-dimensional water flow. The recharge flux to groundwater from soil water is considered the bottom flux for the numerical simulation in the unsaturated zone, and the upper flux for the groundwater simulation. It connects and unites the two separated water flow systems. The soil water equation is solved based on the assumed groundwater table and the subsequent predicted recharge flux. Then, the groundwater equation is solved with the predicted recharge flux as the upper boundary condition. Iteration continues until the discrepancy between the assumed and calculated groundwater nodal heads have a certain accuracy. Illustrative examples with different water flow scenarios regarding the Dirichlet boundary condition, the Neumann boundary condition, the atmospheric boundary condition, and the source or sink term were calculated by the coupled model. The results are compared with those of other models, including Hydrus-1D, SWMS-2D, and FEFLOW, which demonstrate that the coupled model is effective and accurate and can significantly reduce the computational time for the large number of nodes in saturated-unsaturated water flow simulation.

  16. Regional groundwater modeling of the saturated zone in the vicinity of Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ahola, M.; Sagar, B.

    1992-10-01

    Results of groundwater modeling of the saturated zone in the vicinity of Yucca Mountain are presented. Both a regional (200 x 200 km) and subregional (50 x 50 km) model were used in the analyses. Simulations were conducted to determine the impact of various disruptive that might take place over the life span of a proposed Yucca Mountain geologic conditions repository on the groundwater flow field, as well as changes in the water-table elevations. These conditions included increases in precipitation and groundwater recharge within the regional model, changes in permeability of existing hydrogeologic barriers, a:nd the vertical intrusion of volcanic dikes at various orientations through the saturated zone. Based on the regional analysis, the rise in the water-table under Yucca Mountain due to various postulated conditions ranged from only a few meters to 275 meters. Results of the subregional model analysis, which was used to simulate intrusive dikes approximately 4 kilometers in length in the vicinity of Yucca Mountain, showed water-table rises ranging from a few meters to as much as 103 meters. Dikes oriented approximately north-south beneath Yucca Mountain produced the highest water-table rises. The conclusions drawn from this analysis are likely to change as more site-specific data become available and as the assumptions in the model are improved

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1994-01-01

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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. Potential Future Igneous Activity at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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