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  1. 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

  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.

    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

  3. 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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1998-01-01

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

  5. Seepage into drifts in unsaturated fractured rock at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Birkholzer, Jens; Li, Guomin; Tsang, Chin-Fu; Tsang, Yvonne

    1998-01-01

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

  6. 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

  7. Equilibrium modeling of the formation of zeolites in fractures at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1993-01-01

    Yucca Mountain, in southern Nevada, is currently being investigated to determine its suitability to host the first US high-level nuclear waste repository. One of the reasons that Yucca Mountain was chosen for study is the presence of thick sequences of zeolite-rich horizons. In as much as fractures may serve as potential pathways for aqueous transport, the minerals that line fractures are of particular interest. Zeolites are common in fractures at Yucca Mountain and consist mainly of clinoptilolite/heulandite and mordenite although sporadic occurrences of chabazite, erionite, phillipsite, and stellrite have been identified using X-ray powder diffraction. To understand better the conditions under which the observed zeolite species were formed, thermodynamic data were estimated and calculations of log a((K + ) 2 /Ca ++ ) versus log a((Na + ) 2 /Ca ++ ) were conducted at various temperatures and silica activities. Using present-day Yucca Mountain water chemistries as a lower constraint on silica activity, clinoptilolite/heulandite and mordenite are still the zeolite species that would form under present conditions

  8. Multiple-point statistical prediction on fracture networks at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Liu, X.Y; Zhang, C.Y.; Liu, Q.S.; Birkholzer, J.T.

    2009-01-01

    In many underground nuclear waste repository systems, such as at Yucca Mountain, water flow rate and amount of water seepage into the waste emplacement drifts are mainly determined by hydrological properties of fracture network in the surrounding rock mass. Natural fracture network system is not easy to describe, especially with respect to its connectivity which is critically important for simulating the water flow field. In this paper, we introduced a new method for fracture network description and prediction, termed multi-point-statistics (MPS). The process of the MPS method is to record multiple-point statistics concerning the connectivity patterns of a fracture network from a known fracture map, and to reproduce multiple-scale training fracture patterns in a stochastic manner, implicitly and directly. It is applied to fracture data to study flow field behavior at the Yucca Mountain waste repository system. First, the MPS method is used to create a fracture network with an original fracture training image from Yucca Mountain dataset. After we adopt a harmonic and arithmetic average method to upscale the permeability to a coarse grid, THM simulation is carried out to study near-field water flow in the surrounding waste emplacement drifts. Our study shows that connectivity or patterns of fracture networks can be grasped and reconstructed by MPS methods. In theory, it will lead to better prediction of fracture system characteristics and flow behavior. Meanwhile, we can obtain variance from flow field, which gives us a way to quantify model uncertainty even in complicated coupled THM simulations. It indicates that MPS can potentially characterize and reconstruct natural fracture networks in a fractured rock mass with advantages of quantifying connectivity of fracture system and its simulation uncertainty simultaneously.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2003-05-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1991-01-01

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

  11. 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

  12. 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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Carlos, B.A.

    1986-01-01

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

  14. Fractal geometry of two-dimensional fracture networks at Yucca Mountain, southwestern Nevada: proceedings

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Barton, C.C.; Larsen, E.

    1985-01-01

    Fracture traces exposed on three 214- to 260-m 2 pavements in the same Miocene ash-flow tuff at Yucca Mountain, southwestern Nevada, have been mapped at a scale of 1:50. The maps are two-dimensional sections through the three-dimensional network of strata-bound fractures. All fractures with trace lengths greater than 0.20 m were mapped. The distribution of fracture-trace lengths is log-normal. The fractures do not exhibit well-defined sets based on orientation. Since fractal characterization of such complex fracture-trace networks may prove useful for modeling fracture flow and mechanical responses of fractured rock, an analysis of each of the three maps was done to test whether such networks are fractal. These networks proved to be fractal and the fractal dimensions (D) are tightly clustered (1.12, 1.14, 1.16) for three laterally separated pavements, even though visually the fracture networks appear quite different. The fractal analysis also indicates that the network patterns are scale independent over two orders of magnitude for trace lengths ranging from 0.20 to 25 m. 7 refs., 7 figs

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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.

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1993-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1990-07-01

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

  4. Hydraulic fracturing stress measurements at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, and relationship to the regional stress field

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Stock, J.M.; Healy, J.H.; Hickman, S.H.; Zoback, M.D.

    1985-01-01

    Hydraulic fracturing stress measurements and acoustic borehole televiewer logs were run in holes USW G-1 and USW G-2 at Yucca Mountain as part of the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations for the U. S. Department of Energy. Eight tests in the saturated zone, at depths from 646 to 1288 m, yielded values of the least horizontal stress S/sub h/ that are considerably lower than the vertical principal stress S/sub v/. In tests for which the greatest horizontal principal stress S/sub H/ could be determined, it was found to be less than S/sub v/, indicating a normal faulting stress regime. The borehole televiewer logs showed the presence of long (in excess of 10 m), vertical, drilling-induced fractures in the first 300 m below the water table. These are believed to form by the propagation of small preexisting cracks under the excess downhole fluid pressures (up to 5.2 MPa) applied during drilling. The presence of these drilling-induced hydrofractures provides further confirmation of the low value of the least horizontal stresses. A least horizontal principal stress direction of N60 0 W--N65 0 W is indicated by the orientation of the drilling-induced hydrofractures (N25 0 E--N30 0 E), and the orientation of stress-induced well bore breakouts in the lower part of USW G-2 (N65 0 W). This direction is in good agreement with indicators of stress direction from elsewhere at the Nevada Test Site. The observed stress magnitudes and directions were examined for the possibility of slip on preexisting faults. Using these data, the Coulomb criterion for frictional sliding suggests that for coefficients of friction close to 0.6, movement on favorably oriented faults could be expected

  5. Coupled Analysis of Change in Fracture Permeability during the Cooling Phase of the Yucca Mountain Drift Scale Test

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rutqvist, Jonny; Rutqvist, J.; Freifeld, B.; Tsang, Y.W.; Min, K.B.; Elsworth, D.

    2008-01-01

    This paper presents results from a coupled thermal, hydrological and mechanical analysis of thermally-induced permeability changes during heating and cooling of fractured volcanic rock at the Drift Scale Test at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The analysis extends the previous analysis of the four-year heating phase to include newly available data from the subsequent four year cooling phase. The new analysis of the cooling phase shows that the measured changes in fracture permeability follows that of a thermo-hydro-elastic model on average, but at several locations the measured permeability indicates (inelastic) irreversible behavior. At the end of the cooling phase, the air-permeability had decreased at some locations (to as low as 0.2 of initial), whereas it had increased at other locations (to as high as 1.8 of initial). Our analysis shows that such irreversible changes in fracture permeability are consistent with either inelastic fracture shear dilation (where permeability increased) or inelastic fracture surface asperity shortening (where permeability decreased). These data are important for bounding model predictions of potential thermally-induced changes in rock-mass permeability at a future repository at Yucca Mountain

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. YUCCA MOUNTAIN PROJECT - A BRIEFING -

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    2003-01-01

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

  9. Time scales for dissolution of calcite fracture fillings and implications for saturated zone radionuclide transport at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Winterle, J.R.; Murphy, W.M.

    1999-01-01

    An analysis was performed to estimate time scales for dissolution of calcite fracture fillings in the fractured tuff aquifer that underlies Yucca Mountain (YM), Nevada, where groundwater is chemically undersaturated with respect to calcite. The impetus for this analysis originates from speculation that undissolved calcite in the saturated zone is evidence for limited diffusive exchange between fracture and matrix waters. Assuming that matrix diffusion is the rate-limiting process, the time scale for dissolution of calcite fracture fillings depends on the amount of calcite initially deposited, the distance between flowing fractures, the degree of chemical disequilibrium, and the rate of diffusion. Assuming geochemistry of J-13 well water in free-flowing fractures, estimated time scales for complete dissolution of matrix-entrapped calcite range from about 10 4 yr for a 2 mm-thick deposit located 1 m from a flowing fracture, to over 10 7 yr for a 2 cm-thick deposit located 100 m from a flowing fracture. The authors conclude that, given the geochemical and hydrologic characteristics observed at YM, the persistence of calcite minerals over geologic time scales in aquifers where flowing water is under-saturated with calcite does not necessarily preclude matrix diffusion as a dilution mechanism. However, the model suggests that the effective spacing between flowing fractures may be large enough to diminish the overall benefit of matrix diffusion to proposed high-level waste repository performance

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. Geology at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Anon.

    1993-01-01

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

  13. The Yucca Mountain tours

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1992-01-01

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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. The application of vertical seismic profiling and cross-hole tomographic imaging for fracture characterization at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Majer, E.L.; Peterson, J.E.; Tura, M.A.; McEvilly, T.V.

    1990-01-01

    In order to obtain the necessary characterization for the storage of nuclear waste, much higher resolution of the features likely to affect the transport of radionuclides will be required than is normally achieved in conventional surface seismic reflection used in the exploration and characterization of petroleum and geothermal resources. Because fractures represent a significant mechanical anomaly seismic methods using are being investigated as a means to image and characterize the subsurface. Because of inherent limitations in applying the seismic methods solely from the surface, state-of-the-art borehole methods are being investigated to provide high resolution definition within the repository block. Therefore, Vertical Seismic Profiling (VSP) and cross-hole methods are being developed to obtain maximum resolution of the features that will possible affect the transport of fluids. Presented here will be the methods being developed, the strategy being pursued, and the rational for using VSP and crosshole methods at Yucca Mountain. The approach is intended to be an integrated method involving improvements in data acquisition, processing, and interpretation as well as improvements in the fundamental understanding of seismic wave propagation in fractured rock. 33 refs., 4 figs

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Karasaki, K.; Galloway, D.

    1990-10-01

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

  18. 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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    1991-06-01

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

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Levy, S.S.

    1991-01-01

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

  6. Testing and modeling of seepage into underground openings in a heterogeneous fracture system at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ahlers, C.F.; Trautz, R.C.; Cook, P.J.; Finsterle, S.

    2002-01-01

    We discuss field activities designed to characterize seepage into an underground opening at the potential site for geologic storage of high-level radioactive waste (HLRW) at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, and the use of these data for development and calibration of a model for predicting seepage into planned HLRW emplacement drifts. Air-injection tests were conducted to characterize the permeability of the fractured rock, and liquid-release tests (LRTs) were conducted and seepage monitored to characterize the seepage-relevant properties of the fractured rock. Both air-injection and liquid-release tests were performed in the same borehole intervals, located above the underground openings. For modeling, three-dimensional, heterogeneous permeability fields were generated, conditioned on the air-permeability data. The initial seepage data collected were used to calibrate the model and test the appropriateness of the modeling approach. A capillary-strength parameter and porosity were the model parameters selected for estimation by data inversion. However, due to the short-term nature of the initial data, the inversion process was unable to independently determine the capillary strength and porosity of the fractured rock. Subsequent seepage data collection focused on longer-term tests, a representative selection of which was used for data inversion. Field observations also played a key role by identifying factors such as evaporation and ceiling geometry that can enhance or reduce seepage. These observations help guide future test and model development by ensuring that relevant processes that influence seepage are identified, characterized, and incorporated into the model, thus increasing confidence in the parameter estimates. It is this iterative and collaborative approach to field testing and modeling, and the feedback mechanisms of field-test-methodology and model review and revision, that has been employed to continuously improve the scientific quality of the study

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Flanigan, V.J.

    1981-01-01

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

  8. The Occurrence of Erionite at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    NA

    2004-01-01

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

  9. Mechanical properties of fractures from drillholes, UE25-NRG-4; USW-NRG-6; USW-NRG-7; USW-SD-9, at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Olsson, W.A.; Brown, S.R.

    1997-01-01

    Rock cores from drillholes UE25-NRG-4, USW-NRG-6, USW-NRG-7, and USW-SD-9 containing natural fractures were obtained from the Sample Management Facility at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. All recoverable fractures were sheared at constant normal stresses from 2.5 to 15 MPa, in the as-received condition (air-dry). Detailed profilometer data were collected from each fracture surface before testing. The tests yielded the normal closure as a function of normal stress, and the shear stress and dilation as functions of shear offset. The constitutive properties obtained from these stress-displacement relations were: normal stiffness, shear stiffness, shear strength, and dilation angle at peak shear stress. Shear strength plotted against normal stress for four thermomechanical units shows that friction angle varies from 370 to 460 and cohesion varies from 0.02 to 1.71 MPa

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. Natural analogs for Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Murphy, W.M.

    1995-01-01

    High-level radioactive waste in the US, spent fuels from commercial reactors and nuclear materials generated by defense activities, will remain potentially hazardous for thousands of years. Demonstrable long-term stability of certain geologic and geochemical systems motivates and sustains the concept that high-level waste can be safely isolated in geologic repositories for requisite periods of time. Each geologic repository is unique in its properties and performance with reguard to isolation of nuclear wastes. Studies of processes analogous to waste-form alteration and radioelement transport in environments analogous to Yucca Mountain are being conducted at two sites, described in this article to illustrate uses of natural analog data: the Nopal I uranium deposit in the Sierra Pena Blanca, Mexico, and the Akrotiri archaeological site on the island of Santorini, Greece

  13. Nuclear Waste Disposal: Alternatives to Yucca Mountain

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Holt, Mark

    2009-01-01

    Congress designated Yucca Mountain, NV, as the nation's sole candidate site for a permanent high-level nuclear waste repository in 1987, following years of controversy over the site-selection process...

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1992-08-01

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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. Scientific progress at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gertz, C.P.

    1990-01-01

    The US Department of Energy (DOE) is moving forward with studies to determine whether Yucca Mountain, Nevada, would be a suitable site for the nation's first high-level radioactive waste repository; however, the DOE's Congressionally mandated task of characterizing the site has been severely delayed by a lack of cooperation from the state of Nevada. The state has refused to issue the appropriate permits that must be obtained before surface disturbing studies can proceed; therefore, an extensive surface-based drilling and trenching program and construction of underground exploration facilities are on hold until pending litigation between the DOE and Nevada has been resolved. Despite this major impasse, significant scientific progress has been made, and the DOE is aggressively pursuing investigations that can be conducted without the state-issued permits. Additionally, the DOE is developing a high-quality technical and management structure as well as equipment, plans, and quality assurance procedures, so that the scientific investigation program can proceed without delay once the appropriate permits are obtained

  18. ADVANCES IN YUCCA MOUNTAIN DESIGN

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Harrington, P.G.; Gardiner, J.T.; Russell, P.R.Z.; Lachman, K.D.; McDaniel, P.W.; Boutin, R.J.; Brown, N.R.; Trautner, L.J.

    2003-01-01

    Since site designation of the Yucca Mountain Project by the President, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has begun the transition from the site characterization phase of the project to preparation of the license application. As part of this transition, an increased focus has been applied to the repository design. Several evolution studies were performed to evaluate the repository design and to determine if improvements in the design were possible considering advances in the technology for handling and packaging nuclear materials. The studies' main focus was to reduce and/or eliminate uncertainties in both the pre-closure and post-closure performance of the repository and to optimize operations. The scope and recommendations from these studies are the subjects of this paper and include the following topics: (1) a more phased approach for the surface facility that utilize handling and packaging of the commercial spent nuclear fuel in a dry environment rather than in pools as was presented in the site recommendation; (2) slight adjustment of the repository footprint and a phased approach for construction and emplacement of the repository subsurface; and (3) simplification of the construction, fabrication and installation of the waste package and drip shield

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1989-09-01

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

  20. Yucca Mountain biological resources monitoring program

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1993-02-01

    The US Department of Energy (DOE) is required by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (as amended in 1987) to study and characterize Yucca Mountain as a potential site for a geologic repository for high-level nuclear waste. During site characterization, the DOE will conduct a variety of geotechnical, geochemical, geological, and hydrological studies to determine the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a potential repository. To ensure that site characterization activities (SCA) do not adversely affect the environment at Yucca Mountain, an environmental program has been implemented to monitor and mitigate potential impacts and ensure activities comply with applicable environmental regulations. This report describes the activities and accomplishments of EG ampersand G Energy Measurements, Inc. (EG ampersand G/EM) during fiscal year 1992 (FY92) for six program areas within the Terrestrial Ecosystem component of the YMP environmental program. The six program areas are Site Characterization Effects, Desert Tortoises, Habitat Reclamation, Monitoring and Mitigation, Radiological Monitoring, and Biological Support

  1. Yucca Mountain Biological Resources Monitoring Program

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1992-01-01

    The US Department of Energy (DOE) is required by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (as amended in 1987) to study and characterize Yucca Mountain as a possible site for a geologic repository for high-level nuclear waste. During site characterization, the DOE will conduct a variety of geotechnical, geochemical, geological, and hydrological studies to determine the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a repository. To ensure that site characterization activities (SCA) do not adversely affect the Yucca Mountain area, an environmental program has been implemented to monitor and mitigate potential impacts and to ensure that activities comply with applicable environmental regulations. This report describes the activities and accomplishments during fiscal year 1991 (FY91) for six program areas within the Terrestrial Ecosystem component of the YMP environmental program. The six program areas are Site Characterization Activities Effects, Desert Tortoises, Habitat Reclamation, Monitoring and Mitigation, Radiological Monitoring, and Biological Support

  2. Mechanical excavator performance in Yucca Mountain tuffs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ozdemir, L.; Hansen, F.D.

    1991-01-01

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

  3. Yucca Mountain Biological resources monitoring program

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1991-01-01

    The US Department of Energy (US DOE) is required by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (as amended in 1987) to study and characterize Yucca Mountain as a possible site for a geological repository for high-level radioactive waste. To ensure site characterization activities do not adversely affect the Yucca Mountain area, an environmental program, the Yucca Mountain Biological Resources Monitoring Program, has been implemented monitor and mitigate environmental impacts and to ensure activities comply with applicable environmental laws. Potential impacts to vegetation, small mammals, and the desert tortoise (an indigenous threatened species) are addressed, as are habitat reclamation, radiological monitoring, and compilation of baseline data. This report describes the program in Fiscal Years 1989 and 1990. 12 refs., 4 figs., 17 tabs

  4. Mechanical excavator performance in Yucca Mountain tuffs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ozdemir, L.; Hansen, F.D.

    1991-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1996-01-01

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

  6. Nuclear waste disposal: Gambling on Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ginsburg, S.

    1995-01-01

    This document describes the historical aspects of nuclear energy ,nuclear weapons usage, and development of the nuclear bureaucracy in the United States, and discusses the selection and siting of Yucca Mountain, Nevada for a federal nuclear waste repository. Litigation regarding the site selection and resulting battles in the political arena and in the Nevada State Legislature are also presented. Alternative radioactive waste disposal options, risk assessments of the Yucca Mountain site, and logistics regarding the transportation and storage of nuclear waste are also presented. This document also contains an extensive bibliography

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2003-01-01

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

  8. Characterize Eruptive Processes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    D. Krier

    2004-01-01

    The purpose of this scientific analysis report, ''Characterize Eruptive Processes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada'', is to present information about natural volcanic systems and the parameters that can be used to model their behavior. This information is used to develop parameter-value distributions appropriate for analysis of the consequences of volcanic eruptions through a repository at Yucca Mountain. This scientific analysis report provides information to four other reports: ''Number of Waste Packages Hit by Igneous Intrusion'', (BSC 2004 [DIRS 170001]); ''Atmospheric Dispersal and Deposition of Tephra from Potential Volcanic Eruption at Yucca Mountain, Nevada'' (BSC 2004 [DIRS 170026]); ''Dike/Drift Interactions'' (BSC 2004 [DIRS 170028]); ''Development of Earthquake Ground Motion Input for Preclosure Seismic Design and Postclosure Performance Assessment of a Geologic Repository at Yucca Mountain, NV'' (BSC 2004 [DIRS 170027], Section 6.5). This report is organized into seven major sections. This section addresses the purpose of this document. Section 2 addresses quality assurance, Section 3 the use of software, Section 4 identifies the requirements that constrain this work, and Section 5 lists assumptions and their rationale. Section 6 presents the details of the scientific analysis and Section 7 summarizes the conclusions reached

  9. Characterize Eruptive Processes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    D. Krier

    2004-10-04

    The purpose of this scientific analysis report, ''Characterize Eruptive Processes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada'', is to present information about natural volcanic systems and the parameters that can be used to model their behavior. This information is used to develop parameter-value distributions appropriate for analysis of the consequences of volcanic eruptions through a repository at Yucca Mountain. This scientific analysis report provides information to four other reports: ''Number of Waste Packages Hit by Igneous Intrusion'', (BSC 2004 [DIRS 170001]); ''Atmospheric Dispersal and Deposition of Tephra from Potential Volcanic Eruption at Yucca Mountain, Nevada'' (BSC 2004 [DIRS 170026]); ''Dike/Drift Interactions'' (BSC 2004 [DIRS 170028]); ''Development of Earthquake Ground Motion Input for Preclosure Seismic Design and Postclosure Performance Assessment of a Geologic Repository at Yucca Mountain, NV'' (BSC 2004 [DIRS 170027], Section 6.5). This report is organized into seven major sections. This section addresses the purpose of this document. Section 2 addresses quality assurance, Section 3 the use of software, Section 4 identifies the requirements that constrain this work, and Section 5 lists assumptions and their rationale. Section 6 presents the details of the scientific analysis and Section 7 summarizes the conclusions reached.

  10. 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

  11. A thermomechanical far-field model of Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Brandshaug, T.

    1991-04-01

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

  12. 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

  13. Extreme ground motions and Yucca Mountain

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hanks, Thomas C.; Abrahamson, Norman A.; Baker, Jack W.; Boore, David M.; Board, Mark; Brune, James N.; Cornell, C. Allin; Whitney, John W.

    2013-01-01

    Yucca Mountain is the designated site of the underground repository for the United States' high-level radioactive waste (HLW), consisting of commercial and military spent nuclear fuel, HLW derived from reprocessing of uranium and plutonium, surplus plutonium, and other nuclear-weapons materials. Yucca Mountain straddles the western boundary of the Nevada Test Site, where the United States has tested nuclear devices since the 1950s, and is situated in an arid, remote, and thinly populated region of Nevada, ~100 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Yucca Mountain was originally considered as a potential underground repository of HLW because of its thick units of unsaturated rocks, with the repository horizon being not only ~300 m above the water table but also ~300 m below the Yucca Mountain crest. The fundamental rationale for a geologic (underground) repository for HLW is to securely isolate these materials from the environment and its inhabitants to the greatest extent possible and for very long periods of time. Given the present climate conditions and what is known about the current hydrologic system and conditions around and in the mountain itself, one would anticipate that the rates of infiltration, corrosion, and transport would be very low—except for the possibility that repository integrity might be compromised by low-probability disruptive events, which include earthquakes, strong ground motion, and (or) a repository-piercing volcanic intrusion/eruption. Extreme ground motions (ExGM), as we use the phrase in this report, refer to the extremely large amplitudes of earthquake ground motion that arise at extremely low probabilities of exceedance (hazard). They first came to our attention when the 1998 probabilistic seismic hazard analysis for Yucca Mountain was extended to a hazard level of 10-8/yr (a 10-4/yr probability for a 104-year repository “lifetime”). The primary purpose of this report is to summarize the principal results of the ExGM research program

  14. Vapor Transport Through Fractures and Other High-Permeability Paths: Its Role in the Drift Scale Test at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mukhopadhyay, S.; Tsang, Y. W.

    2001-12-01

    Heating unsaturated fractured tuff sets off a series of complicated thermal-hydrological (TH) processes, which result in large-scale redistribution of moisture in the host rock. Moisture redistribution arises from boiling of water near heat sources, transport of vapor away from those heat sources, condensation of that vapor in cooler rock, and subsequent gravity drainage of condensate through fractures. Vapor transport through high-permeability paths, which include both the fractures in the rock and other conduits, contributes to the evolution of these TH processes in two ways. First, the highly permeable natural fractures provide easy passage for vapor away from the heat sources. Second, these fractures and other highly permeable conduits allow vapor (and the associated energy) to escape the rock through open boundaries of the test domain. The overall impact of vapor transport on the evolution of the TH processes can be more easily understood in the context of the Drift Scale Test (DST), the largest ever in situ heater test in unsaturated fractured tuff. The DST, in which a large volume of rock has been heated for four years now, is located in the middle nonlithophysal (Tptpmn) stratigraphic unit of Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The fractured tuff in Tptpmn contains many well-connected fractures. In the DST, heating is provided by nine cannister heaters placed in a five-meter-diameter Heated Drift (HD) and fifty wing heaters installed orthogonal to the axis of the HD. The test has many instrumentation boreholes, some of which are not sealed by packers or grout and may provide passage for vapor and energy. Of these conduits, the boreholes housing the wing heaters are most important for vapor transport because of their proximity to heat sources. While part of the vapor generated by heating moves away from the heat sources through the fractures and condenses elsewhere in the rock, the rest of the vapor, under gas-pressure difference, enters the HD by way of the high

  15. Hydrologeologic characteristics of faults at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dickerson, Robert P.

    2001-01-01

    Yucca Mountain is under study as a potential site for underground storage of high-level radioactive waste, with the principle goal being the safe isolation of the waste from the accessible environment. This paper addresses the hydrogeologic characteristics of the fault zones at Yucca Mountain, focusing primarily on the central part of the mountain where the potential repository block is located

  16. Rail Access to Yucca Mountain: Critical Issues

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Halstead, R. J.; Dilger, F.; Moore, R. C.

    2003-01-01

    The proposed Yucca Mountain repository site currently lacks rail access. The nearest mainline railroad is almost 100 miles away. Absence of rail access could result in many thousands of truck shipments of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. Direct rail access to the repository could significantly reduce the number of truck shipments and total shipments. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) identified five potential rail access corridors, ranging in length from 98 miles to 323 miles, in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for Yucca Mountain. The FEIS also considers an alternative to rail spur construction, heavy-haul truck (HHT) delivery of rail casks from one of three potential intermodal transfer stations. The authors examine the feasibility and cost of the five rail corridors, and DOE's alternative proposal for HHT transport. The authors also address the potential for rail shipments through the Las Vegas metropolitan area

  17. TBM tunneling on the Yucca Mountain Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Morris, J.P.; Hansmire, W.H.

    1995-01-01

    The US Department of Energy's (DOE) Yucca Mountain Project (YMP) is a scientific endeavor to determine the suitability of Yucca Mountain for the first long-term, high-level nuclear waste repository in the United States. The current status of this long-term project from the construction perspective is described. A key element is construction of the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF) Tunnel, which is being excavated with a 7.6 m (25 ft) diameter tunnel boring machine (TBM). Development of the ESF may include the excavation of over 15 km (9.3 mi) of tunnel varying in size from 3.0 to 7.6 m (10 to 25 ft). Prior to construction, extensive constructability reviews were an interactive part of the final design. The intent was to establish a constructable design that met the long-term stability requirements for radiological safety of a future repository, while maintaining flexibility for the scientific investigations and acceptable tunneling productivity

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2008-01-01

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

  19. 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

  20. 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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1992-06-01

    Following a reorganization of the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management in 1990, the Yucca Mountain Project was renamed Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project. The title of this bibliography was also changed to Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project Bibliography. Prior to August 5, 1988, this project was called the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations. This bibliography contains information on this ongoing project that was added to the Department of Energy's Science and Technology Database from January 1, 1990, through December 31, 1991

  2. The Yucca Mountain Project Prototype Testing Program

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1989-10-01

    The Yucca Mountain Project is conducting a Prototype Testing Program to ensure that the Exploratory Shaft Facility (ESF) tests can be completed in the time available and to develop instruments, equipment, and procedures so the ESF tests can collect reliable and representative site characterization data. This report summarizes the prototype tests and their status and location and emphasizes prototype ESF and surface tests, which are required in the early stages of the ESF site characterization tests. 14 figs

  3. Predicting the Future at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wilson, J. R.

    1999-01-01

    This paper summarizes a climate-prediction model funded by the DOE for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository. Several articles in the open literature attest to the effects of the Global Ocean Conveyor upon paleoclimate, specifically entrance and exit from the ice age. The data shows that these millennial-scale effects are duplicated on the microscale of years to decades. This work also identifies how man may have influenced the Conveyor, affecting global cooling and warming for 2,000 years

  4. Predicting the Future at Yucca Mountain

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    J. R. Wilson

    1999-07-01

    This paper summarizes a climate-prediction model funded by the DOE for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository. Several articles in the open literature attest to the effects of the Global Ocean Conveyor upon paleoclimate, specifically entrance and exit from the ice age. The data shows that these millennial-scale effects are duplicated on the microscale of years to decades. This work also identifies how man may have influenced the Conveyor, affecting global cooling and warming for 2,000 years.

  5. A lineament analysis of Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Perry, J.J.

    1988-01-01

    The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 was signed into law on January 7, 1983. It specifies procedures for the Department of Energy in the selection of a high level nuclear waste repository. Federal Environmental Protection Agency standards require adequate isolation of waste from the biosphere for 10,000 years. The law considers such geologic factors as tectonic stability, igneous activity, hydrologic conditions and natural resources to be of primary concern. Yucca Mountain in southern Nevada is one of three sites selected for further consideration in the site characterization process. The Nuclear Waste Project Office (NWPO) within the Agency for Nuclear Projects of the State of Nevada is conducting an independent scientific assessment of the proposed site. The remote sensing technical assessment is one of seven task groups conducting review and research into the suitability of Yucca Mountain. The study undertaken by the Remote Sensing Group was that of a lineament analysis with regard to the site's structural relationship within a regional tectonic framework. Lineaments mapped from synoptic imagery may prove to represent structural zones of weakness. These zones may provide pathways for the infiltration of groundwater, conduits for the extrusion of magma or be reactivated as stress conditions change. This paper describes the methodology for a lineament analysis of the Yucca Mountain area

  6. Yucca Mountain Project bibliography, 1988--1989

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lorenz, J.J.

    1990-11-01

    This bibliography contains information on the Yucca Mountain Project that was added to the Department of Energy's Energy Data Base from January 1988 through December 1989. This supplement also includes a new section which provides information about publications on the Energy Data Base that were not sponsored by the project but have some relevance to it. The bibliography is categorized by principal project participating organization. Participant-sponsored subcontractor reports, papers, and articles are included in the sponsoring organization's list. Indexes are provided for Corporate Author, Personal Author, Subject, Contract Number, Report Number, Order Number Correlation, and Key Word in Context. All entries in the Yucca Mountain Project bibliographies are searchable online on the NNW database file. This file can be accessed through the Integrated Technical Information System (ITIS) of the US Department of Energy (DOE). Technical reports on the Yucca Mountain Project are on display in special open files at participating Nevada Libraries and in the Public Document Room of the US Department of Energy, Nevada Operations Office, in Las Vegas

  7. Yucca Mountain and the environmental issue

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gertz, C.P.

    1991-01-01

    The scientists and engineers who work on the Yucca Mountain Project keenly feel their responsibility - to solve an important national environmental issue. Addressing the issue of nuclear waste disposal may also help keep the nuclear option viable. Under congressional mandate, they are working to find that solution despite tough opposition from the state of Nevada. Nevada and the US Department of Energy (DOE) have been litigating the issue of environmental permits for almost 2 years now, and the court decisions have all favored DOE. The DOE's site characterization efforts are designed to determine whether Yucca Mountain can safely store spent nuclear fuel for the next 10,000 yr. DOE is studying the rocks, the climate, and the water table to make sure that the site is suitable before anything is built there. The success of the Yucca Mountain Project is vital to settling existing environmental issues as well as maintaining the viability of nuclear energy. Through efforts in Congress and outreach programs in Nevada, DOE hopes to inform the public of the mission and begin the process of site characterization

  8. Minerals in fractures of the saturated zone from drill core USW G-4, Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Carlos, B.A.

    1987-04-01

    The minerals in fractures in drill core USW G-4, from the static water level (SWL) at 1770 ft to the base of the hole at 3000 ft, were studied to determine their identity and depositional sequence and to compare them with those found above the SWL in the same drill hole. There is no change in mineralogy or mineral morphology across the SWL. The significant change in mineralogy and relationship to the host rock occurs at 1381 ft, well above the present water table. Below 1381 ft clinoptilolite appears in the fractures and rock matrix instead of heulandite, and the fracture mineralogy correlates with the host rock mineralogy. Throughout most of the saturated zone (below the SWL) in USW G-4, zeolites occur in fractures only in zeolitic tuff; however, zeolites persist in fracture below the base of the deepest zeolitic tuff interval. Nonzeolitic intervals of tuff have fewer fractures, and many of these have no coatings; a few have quartz and feldspar coatings. One interval in zeolitic tuff (2125-2140 ft) contains abundant crisobalite coatings in the fractures. Calcite occurs in fractures from 2575 to 2660 ft, usually with the manganese mineral hollandite, and from 2750 to 2765 ft, usually alone. Manganese minerals occur in several intervals. The spatial correlation of zeolites in fractures with zeolitic host rock suggests that both may have been zeolitized at the same time, possibly by water moving laterally through more permeable zones in the tuff. The continuation of zeolites in fractures below the lowest zeolitic interval in this hole suggests that vertical fracture flow may have been important in the deposition of these coatings. Core from deeper intervals in another hole will be examined to determine if that relationship continues. 17 refs., 19 figs

  9. 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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2000-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    LeCain, Gary D.; Kurzmack, Mark

    2001-01-01

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

  12. 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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Levy, S.

    2000-01-01

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

  14. Overview of the Yucca Mountain Licensing Process

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    M. Wisenburg

    2004-01-01

    This paper presents an overview of the licensing process for a Yucca Mountain repository for high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel. The paper discusses the steps in the licensing proceeding, the roles of the participants, the licensing and hearing requirements contained in the Code of Federal Regulations. A description of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff acceptance and compliance reviews of the Department of Energy (DOE) application for a construction authorization and a license to receive and possess high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel is provided. The paper also includes a detailed description of the hearing process

  15. Archaeological program for the Yucca Mountain Site

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Pippin, L.C.; Rhode, D.

    1991-01-01

    Archaeological surveys, limited surface collections and selected test excavations in the Yucca Mountain Project Area have revealed four distinct aboriginal hunting and gathering adaptive strategies and a separate historic Euroamerican occupation. The four aboriginal adaptations are marked by gradual shifts in settlement locations that reflect changing resource procurement strategies. Whereas the earliest hunters and gatherers focused their activities around the exploitation of toolstone along ephemeral drainages and the hunting of game animals in the uplands, the latest aboriginal settlements reflect intensive procurement of early spring plant resources in specific upland environments. The final Euroamerican occupation in the area is marked by limited prospecting activities and travel through the area by early immigrants

  16. Tunneling progress on the Yucca Mountain Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hansmire, W.H.; Munzer, R.J.

    1996-01-01

    The current status of tunneling progress on the Yucca Mountain Project (YMP) is presented in this paper. The Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF), a key part of the YMP, has been long in development and construction is ongoing. This is a progress report on the tunneling aspects of the ESF as of January 1, 1996. For purposes of discussion in this summary, the tunneling has progressed in four general phases. The paper describes: tunneling in jointed rock under low stress; tunneling through the Bow Ridge Fault and soft rock; tunneling through the Imbricate Fault Zone; and Tunneling into the candidate repository formation

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. Stratigraphic and structural framework of Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1988-01-01

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

  20. Restructured site characterization program at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dyer, J.R.; Vawter, R.G.

    1995-01-01

    During 1994 and the early part of 1995, the US Department of Energy's Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Office (YMSCO) and its parent organization, the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM) underwent a significant restructuring. Senior Department officials provided the leadership to reorient the management, technical, programmatic, and public interaction approach to the US High Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Program. The restructuring involved reorganizing the federal staff, conducting meaningful strategic planning, improving the management system, rationalizing contractor responsibilities, focusing upon major products, and increasing stakeholder involvement. The restructured program has prioritized technical and scientific activities toward meeting major regulatory milestones in a timely and cost-effective manner. This approach has raised concern among elements of technical, scientific, and oversight bodies that suitability and licensing decisions could be made without obtaining sufficient technical information for this first-of-its-kind endeavor. Other organizations, such as congressional committees, industrial groups, and rate payers believe characterization goals can be met in a timely manner and within the limitation of available funds. To balance these contrasting views in its decision making process, OCRWM management has made a special effort to communicate its strategy to oversight bodies, the scientific community and other stakeholders and to use external independent peer review as a key means of demonstrating scientific credibility. Site characterization of Yucca Mountain in Nevada is one of the key elements of the restructured program

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. Yucca Mountain Climate Technical Support Representative

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sharpe, Saxon E

    2007-01-01

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

  4. Seismic monitoring of the Yucca Mountain facility

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1997-01-01

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

  5. Using science soundly: The Yucca Mountain standard

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Fri, R.W.

    1995-01-01

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

  6. Yucca Mountain drift scale test progress report

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    1999-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1985-01-01

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

  8. 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

  9. Two-dimensional velocity models for paths from Pahute Mesa and Yucca Flat to Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Walck, M.C.; Phillips, J.S.

    1990-11-01

    Vertical acceleration recordings of 21 underground nuclear explosions recorded at stations at Yucca Mountain provide the data for development of three two-dimensional crystal velocity profiles for portions of the Nevada Test Site. Paths from Area 19, Area 20 (both Pahute Mesa), and Yucca Flat to Yucca Mountain have been modeled using asymptotic ray theory travel time and synthetic seismogram techniques. Significant travel time differences exist between the Yucca Flat and Pahute Mesa source areas; relative amplitude patterns at Yucca Mountain also shift with changing source azimuth. The three models, UNEPM1, UNEPM2, and UNEYF1, successfully predict the travel time and amplitude data for all three paths. 24 refs., 34 figs., 8 tabs

  10. Preparing the Yucca Mountain Multimedia Presentation

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2002-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1994-01-01

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

  12. Environmental impact of Yucca Mountain Repository

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ahn, Joonhong

    2005-01-01

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

  13. Environmental radiation protection standards for Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Clark, R.L.

    1996-01-01

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

  14. Interface management for the Yucca Mountain Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1988-12-01

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

  15. Characterize Eruptive Processes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Valentine, G.

    2001-01-01

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

  16. Characterize Eruptive Processes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    G. Valentine

    2001-12-20

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Spiegler, P.

    1996-01-01

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

  18. Use of an analog site near Raymond, California, to develop equipment and methods for characterizing a potential high-level, nuclear waste repository site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Umari, A.M.J.; Geldon, A.; Patterson, G.; Gemmell, J.; Earle, J.; Darnell, J.

    1994-01-01

    Yucca Mountain, Nevada, currently is being investigated by the U.S. Geological Survey as a potential site for a high-level nuclear waste repository. Planned hydraulic-stress and tracer tests in fractured, tuffaceous rocks below the water table at Yucca Mountain will require work at depths in excess of 1,300 feet. To facilitate prototype testing of equipment and methods to be used in aquifer tests at Yucca Mountain, an analog site was selected in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada near Raymond, California. Two of nine 250- to 300-feet deep wells drilled into fractured, granitic rocks at the Raymond site have been instrumented with packers, pressure transducers, and other equipment that will be used at Yucca Mountain. Aquifer tests conducted at the Raymond site to date have demonstrated a need to modify some of the equipment and methods conceived for use at Yucca Mountain

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1982-12-01

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

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Transportation access to Yucca Mountain: Critical issues

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1991-01-01

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

  5. BIOSPHERE MODELING AT YUCCA MOUNTAIN, NEVADA

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1998-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ramirez, A.

    2000-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rautman, C.A.

    1991-02-01

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

  8. 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

  9. Potentiometric-surface map, 1993, Yucca Mountain and vicinity, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tucci, P.; Burkhardt, D.J.

    1995-01-01

    The revised potentiometric surface map here, using mainly 1993 average water levels, updates earlier maps of this area. Water levels are contoured with 20-m intervals, with additional 0.5-m contours in the small-gradient area SE of Yucca Mountain. Water levels range from 728 m above sea level SE of Yucca to 1,034 m above sea level north of Yucca. Potentiometric levels in the deeper parts of the volcanic rock aquifer range from 730 to 785 m above sea level. The potentiometric surface can be divided into 3 regions: A small gradient area E and SE of Yucca, a moderate-gradient area on the west side of Yucca, and a large-gradient area to the N-NE of Yucca. Water levels from wells at Yucca were examined for yearly trends (1986-93) using linear least-squares regression. Of the 22 wells, three had significant positive trends. The trend in well UE-25 WT-3 may be influenced by monitoring equipment problems. Tends in USW WT-7 and USW WTS-10 are similar; both are located near a fault west of Yucca; however another well near that fault exhibited no significant trend

  10. The vegetation of Yucca Mountain: Description and ecology

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1996-01-01

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

  11. The terrestrial ecosystem program for the Yucca Mountain Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1994-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1991-09-01

    Following a reorganization of the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management in 1990, the Yucca Mountain Project was renamed Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project. The title of this bibliography was also changed to Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project Bibliography. Prior to August 5, 1988, this project was called the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations. This bibliography contains information on this ongoing project that was added to the Department of Energy's Energy Science and Technology Database from January 1991 through June 1991. The bibliography is categorized by principal project participating organization. Participant-sponsored subcontractor reports, papers, and articles are included in the sponsoring organization's list. Another section contains information about publications on the Energy Science and Technology Database that were not sponsored by the project but have some relevance to it

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    1993-02-01

    The US Department of Energy (DOE) is required by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (as amended in 1987) to study and characterize Yucca Mountain as a potential site for a geologic repository for high-level nuclear waste. During site characterization, the DOE will conduct a variety of geotechnical, geochemical, geological, and hydrological studies to determine the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a potential repository. To ensure that site characterization activities (SCA) do not adversely affect the environment at Yucca Mountain, an environmental program has been implemented to monitor and mitigate potential impacts and ensure activities comply with applicable environmental regulations. This report describes the activities and accomplishments of EG&G Energy Measurements, Inc. (EG&G/EM) during fiscal year 1992 (FY92) for six program areas within the Terrestrial Ecosystem component of the YMP environmental program. The six program areas are Site Characterization Effects, Desert Tortoises, Habitat Reclamation, Monitoring and Mitigation, Radiological Monitoring, and Biological Support.

  14. 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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Levy, S.S.

    1990-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1992-01-01

    Following a reorganization of the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management in 1990, the Yucca Mountain Project was renamed Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project. The title of this bibliography was also changed to Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project Bibliography. Prior to August 5, 1988, this project was called the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations. This bibliography contains information on this ongoing project that was added to the Department of Energy's Energy Science and Technology Database from January 1, 1993, through June 30, 1993. The bibliography is categorized by principal project participating organization. Participant-sponsored subcontractor reports, papers, and articles are included in the sponsoring organization's list. Another section contains information about publications on the Energy Science and Technology Database that were not sponsored by the project but have some relevance to it

  17. Tectonic stability and expected ground motion at Yucca Mountain

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    1984-10-02

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

  18. Tectonic stability and expected ground motion at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1984-01-01

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

  19. The vegetation of Yucca Mountain: Description and ecology

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    1996-03-29

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1990-01-01

    Following a reorganization of the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, the Yucca Mountain Project was renamed Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project. The title of this bibliography was also changed to Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project Bibliography. Prior to August 5, 1988, this project was called the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations. This bibliography contains information on this ongoing project that was added to the Department of Energy's Energy Science and Technology Database from January 1990 through June 1990. The bibliography is categorized by principal project participating organization. Participant-sponsored subcontractor reports, papers, and articles are included in the sponsoring organization's list. Another section contains information about publications on the Energy Science and Technology Database that were not sponsored by the project but have some relevance to it

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    1992-01-01

    The US Department of Energy (DOE) is required by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (as amended in 1987) to study and characterize Yucca Mountain as a possible site for a geologic repository for high-level nuclear waste. During site characterization, the DOE will conduct a variety of geotechnical, geochemical, geological, and hydrological studies to determine the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a repository. To ensure that site characterization activities (SCA) do not adversely affect the Yucca Mountain area, an environmental program has been implemented to monitor and mitigate potential impacts and to ensure that activities comply with applicable environmental regulations. This report describes the activities and accomplishments during fiscal year 1991 (FY91) for six program areas within the Terrestrial Ecosystem component of the YMP environmental program. The six program areas are Site Characterization Activities Effects, Desert Tortoises, Habitat Reclamation, Monitoring and Mitigation, Radiological Monitoring, and Biological Support.

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1991-05-01

    Following a reorganization of the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, the Yucca Mountain Project was renamed Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project. The title of this bibliography was also changed to Yucca Mountains Site Characterization Project Bibliography. Prior to August 5, 1988, this project was called the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations. This bibliography contains information on this ongoing project that was added to the Department of Energy's Energy Science and Technology Database from July 1990 through December 1990. The bibliography is categorized by principal project participating organization. Participant-sponsored subcontractor reports, papers and articles are included in the sponsoring organizations list. Another section contains information about publications on the Energy Science and Technology Database that were not sponsored by the project but have some relevance to it

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1989-11-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Levy, S.S.

    1991-01-01

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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    1989-11-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1992-09-01

    Following a reorganization of the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management in 1990, the Yucca Mountain Project was renamed Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project. The title of this bibliography was also changed to Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project Bibliography. Prior to August 5, 1988, this project was called the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations. This bibliography contains information on this ongoing project that was added to the Department of Energy's Energy Science and Technology Database from January 1, 1992, through June 30, 1992. The bibliography is categorized by principal project participating organization. Participant-sponsored subcontractor resorts, papers, and articles are included in the sponsoring organization's list. Another section contains information about publications on the Energy Science and Technology Database that were not sponsored by the project but have some relevance to it

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    DOE

    1999-01-01

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

  8. 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.

  9. Yucca Mountain Project Subsurface Facilities Design

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2002-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1998-01-01

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

  11. Cosine components in water levels at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1990-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1994-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lappin, A.R.

    1981-11-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1994-01-01

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

  15. 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

  16. The Proposed Yucca Mountain Repository From A Corrosion Perspective

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    J.H. Payer

    2005-01-01

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

  17. Basaltic volcanic episodes of the Yucca Mountain region

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Crowe, B.M.

    1990-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Whipple, C.G.

    1996-01-01

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

  19. Preparing to Submit a License Application for Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    W.J. Arthur; M.D. Voegele

    2005-01-01

    In 1982, the U.S. Congress passed the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, a Federal law that established U.S. policy for the permanent disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. Congress amended the Act in 1987, directing the Department of Energy to study only Yucca Mountain, Nevada as the site for a permanent geologic repository. As the law mandated, the Department evaluated Yucca Mountain to determine its suitability as the site for a permanent geologic repository. Decades of scientific studies demonstrated that Yucca Mountain would protect workers, the public, and the environment during the time that a repository would be operating and for tens of thousands of years after closure of the repository. A repository at this remote site would also: preserve the quality of the environment; allow the environmental cleanup of Cold War weapons facilities; provide the nation with additional protection from acts of terrorism; and support a sound energy policy. Throughout the scientific evaluation of Yucca Mountain, there has been no evidence to disqualify Yucca Mountain as a suitable site for the permanent disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. Upon completion of site characterization, the Secretary of Energy considered the results and concluded that a repository at Yucca Mountain would perform in a manner that protects public health and safety. The Secretary recommended the site to the President in February 2002; the President agreed and recommended to Congress that the site be approved. The Governor of Nevada submitted a notice of disapproval, and both houses of Congress acted to override the disapproval. In July 2002, the President's approval allowed the Department to begin the process of submittal of a license application for Yucca Mountain as the site for the nation's first repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. Yucca Mountain is located on federal land in Nye County in southern Nevada, an arid region

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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.

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    1998-12-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1996-12-01

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

  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

    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

  6. 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

  7. Dust control at Yucca Mountain project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1999-01-01

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

  8. 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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1991-01-01

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

  10. Regulatory perspective on NAS recommendations for Yucca Mountain standards

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1996-01-01

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

  11. The status of Yucca Mountain site characterization activities

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1992-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2000-01-01

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

  13. Understanding the Potential for Volcanoes at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    NA

    2002-01-01

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

  14. 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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1997-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1993-08-01

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

  17. 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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1995-05-01

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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. Potential increases in natural radon emissions due to heating of the Yucca Mountain rock mass

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Pescatore, C.; Sullivan, T.M.

    1992-01-01

    Heating of the rock mass by the spent fuel in the proposed repository at Yucca Mountain will cause extra amounts of natural radon to diffuse into the fracture system and to migrate faster to the accessible environment. Indeed, free-convection currents due to heating will act to shorten the radon travel times and will cause larger releases than would be possible under undistributed conditions. To estimate the amount of additional radon released due to heating of the Yucca Mountain rock mass, we obtain an expression for the release enhancement factor, E. This factor is defined as the ratio between the total flux of radon at the surface of the mountain before and after closure of the repository assuming the only cause of disturbance to be the heating of the rock mass. With appropriate approximations and using a heat load representative of that expected at Yucca Mountain, the present calculations indicate that the average enhancement factor over the first 10,000 years will be 4.5 as a minimum. These calculations are based on the assumption that barometric pumping does not significantly influence radon release. The latter assumption will need to be substantiated

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. Mechanical degradation of Emplacement Drifts at Yucca Mountain - A Modeling Case Study. Part I: Nonlithophysal Rock

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    M. Lin; D. Kicker; B. Damjanac; M. Board; M. Karakouzian

    2006-01-01

    This paper outlines rock mechanics investigations associated with mechanical degradation of planned emplacement drifts at Yucca Mountain, which is the designated site for the proposed U.S. high-level nuclear waste repository. The factors leading to drift degradation include stresses from the overburden, stresses induced by the heat released from the emplaced waste, stresses due to seismically related ground motions, and time-dependent strength degradation. The welded tuff emplacement horizon consists of two groups of rock with distinct engineering properties: nonlithophysal units and lithophysal units, based on the relative proportion of lithophysal cavities. The term 'lithophysal' refers to hollow, bubble like cavities in volcanic rock that are surrounded by a porous rim formed by fine-grained alkali feldspar, quartz, and other minerals. Lithophysae are typically a few centimeters to a few decimeters in diameter. Part I of the paper concentrates on the generally hard, strong, and fractured nonlithophysal rock. The degradation behavior of the tunnels in the nonlithophysal rock is controlled by the occurrence of keyblocks. A statistically equivalent fracture model was generated based on extensive underground fracture mapping data from the Exploratory Studies Facility at Yucca Mountain. Three-dimensional distinct block analyses, generated with the fracture patterns randomly selected from the fracture model, were developed with the consideration of in situ, thermal, and seismic loads. In this study, field data, laboratory data, and numerical analyses are well integrated to provide a solution for the unique problem of modeling drift degradation

  6. Pre-waste-emplacement ground-water travel time sensitivity and uncertainty analyses for Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kaplan, P.G.

    1993-01-01

    Yucca Mountain, Nevada is a potential site for a high-level radioactive-waste repository. Uncertainty and sensitivity analyses were performed to estimate critical factors in the performance of the site with respect to a criterion in terms of pre-waste-emplacement ground-water travel time. The degree of failure in the analytical model to meet the criterion is sensitive to the estimate of fracture porosity in the upper welded unit of the problem domain. Fracture porosity is derived from a number of more fundamental measurements including fracture frequency, fracture orientation, and the moisture-retention characteristic inferred for the fracture domain

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Keiser, D.D.

    1996-11-01

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

  8. Determination of import process during Yucca Mountain Site characterization

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1996-01-01

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

  9. 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

  10. TBM tunneling on the Yucca Mountain Project: Proceedings

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1995-01-01

    The US Department of Energy's (DOE) Yucca Mountain Project (YMP) is a scientific endeavor to determine the suitability of Yucca Mountain for the first long term, high level nuclear waste repository in the United States. Status of this long-term project form the construction perspective is described. A key element is construction of the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF), which is being excavated with a 7. 6 m(25 ft) diameter tunnel boring machine (TBM). Development of the ESF may include the excavation of over 15 km (9.3 mi) of tunnel varying in size from 3 to 7.6 m(10 to 25 ft). Prior to construction, extensive constructibility reviews were an interactive part of the final design. Intent was to establish a constructible design that met the long-term stability requirements for radiological safety of a future repository while maintaining flexibility for the scientific investigations and acceptable tunneling productivity

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Shepherd, John

    2017-01-01

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

  12. Shallow infiltration processes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada: Neutron logging data 1984--1993

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1995-01-01

    To determine site suitability of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, as a potential high-level radioactive waste repository, a study was devised to characterize net infiltration. This study involves a detailed data set produced from 99 neutron boreholes that consisted of volumetric water-content readings with depth from 1984 through 1993 at Yucca Mountain. Boreholes were drilled with minimal disturbance to the surrounding soil or rock in order to best represent field conditions. Boreholes were located in topographic positions representing infiltration zones identified as ridgetops, sideslopes, terraces, and active channels. Through careful field calibration, neutron moisture logs, collected on a monthly basis and representing most of the areal locations at Yucca Mountain, illustrated that the depth of penetration of seasonal moisture, important for escaping loss to evapotranspiration, was influenced by several factors. It was increased (1) by thin soil cover, especially in locations where thin soil is underlain by fractured bedrock; (2) on ridgetops; and (3) during the winter when evapotranspiration is low and runoff is less frequent. This data set helps to provide a seasonal and areal distribution of changes in volumetric water content with which to assess hydrologic processes contributing to net infiltration

  13. Shallow infiltration processes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada - neutron logging data 1984-93

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1995-01-01

    To determine site suitability of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, as a potential high-level radioactive waste repository, a study was devised to characterize net infiltration. This study involves a detailed data set produced from 99 neutron boreholes that consisted of volumetric water-content readings with depth from 1984 through 1993 at Yucca Mountain. Boreholes were drilled with minimal disturbance to the surrounding soil or rock in order to best represent field conditions. Boreholes were located in topographic positions representing infiltration zones identified as ridge-tops, sideslopes, terraces, and active channels. Through careful field calibration, neutron moisture logs, collected on a monthly basis and representing most of the areal locations at Yucca Mountain, illustrated that the depth of penetration of seasonal moisture, important for escaping loss to evapotranspiration, was influenced by several factors. It was increased (1) by thin soil cover, especially in locations where thin soil is underlain by fractured bedrock; (2) on ridgetops; and (3) during the winter when evapotranspiration is low and runoff is less frequent. This data set helps to provide a seasonal and areal distribution of changes in volumetric water content with which to assess hydrologic processes contributing to net infiltration

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Broxton, D.E.

    1987-01-01

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

  15. 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

  16. 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.

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Crowe, B.M.

    1995-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1990-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1990-03-01

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

  20. 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

  1. The Proposed Yucca Mountain Repository From A Corrosion Perspective

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    J.H. Payer

    2005-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1992-01-01

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

  3. 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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Reilly, B.; Austin, P.

    1991-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1994-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1996-01-01

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

  7. 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

  8. 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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1988-12-01

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

  10. 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

  11. A geologic scenario for catastrophic failure of the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    McMackin, M.R.

    1993-01-01

    A plausible combination of geologic factors leading to failure can be hypothesized for the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository. The scenarios is constructed using elementary fault mechanics combined with geologic observations of exhumed faults and published information describing the repository site. The proposed repository site is located in the Basin and Range Province, a region of active crustal deformation demonstrated by widespread seismicity. The Yucca Mountain area has been characterized as tectonically quiet, which in the context of active crustal deformation may indicate the accumulation of the stresses approaching the levels required for fault slip, essentially stick-slip faulting. Simultaneously, dissolution of carbonate rocks in underlying karst aquifers is lowering the bulk strength of the rock that supports the repository site. Rising levels of hydrostatic stress concurrent with a climatically-driven rise in the water table could trigger faulting by decreasing the effective normal stress that currently retards fault slip. Water expelled from collapsing caverns in the underlying carbonate aquifer could migrate upward with sufficient pressure to open existing fractures or create new fractures by hydrofracturing. Water migrating through fractures could reach the repository in sufficient volume to react with heated rock and waste perhaps creating steam explosions that would further enhance fracture permeability. Closure of conduits in the underlying carbonate aquifer could lead to the elevation of the saturated zone above the level of the repository resulting in sustained saturation of radioactive waste in the repository and contamination of through-flowing groundwater

  12. 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

  13. 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.

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1990-09-01

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

  15. Potential Future Igneous Activity at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2005-01-01

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

  16. Faulting in the Yucca Mountain region: Critical review and analyses of tectonic data from the central Basin and Range

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ferrill, D.A.; Stirewalt, G.L.; Henderson, D.B.; Stamatakos, J.; Morris, A.P.; Spivey, K.H.; Wernicke, B.P.

    1996-03-01

    Yucca Mountain, Nevada, has been proposed as the potential site for a high-level waste (HLW) repository. The tectonic setting of Yucca Mountain presents several potential hazards for a proposed repository, such as potential for earthquake seismicity, fault disruption, basaltic volcanism, magma channeling along pre-existing faults, and faults and fractures that may serve as barriers or conduits for groundwater flow. Characterization of geologic structures and tectonic processes will be necessary to assess compliance with regulatory requirements for the proposed high level waste repository. In this report, we specifically investigate fault slip, seismicity, contemporary stain, and fault-slip potential in the Yucca Mountain region with regard to Key Technical Uncertainties outlined in the License Application Review Plan (Sections 3.2.1.5 through 3.2.1.9 and 3.2.2.8). These investigations center on (i) alternative methods of determining the slip history of the Bare Mountain Fault, (ii) cluster analysis of historic earthquakes, (iii) crustal strain determinations from Global Positioning System measurements, and (iv) three-dimensional slip-tendency analysis. The goal of this work is to assess uncertainties associated with neotectonic data sets critical to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Center for Nuclear Waste Regulatory Analyses' ability to provide prelicensing guidance and perform license application review with respect to the proposed HLW repository at Yucca Mountain

  17. 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

  18. Smoothwall blasting planned for the underground research facility at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bullock, R.L.; McKenzie, J.

    1990-01-01

    This paper discusses whether or not the Exploratory Shaft Facility (ESF) at yucca Mountain, Nevada will be completely mechanically excavated, completely developed by drilling and blasting or whether both methods will be utilized on different parts of the ESF. Where drilling and blasting may be used, smoothwall blasting techniques will be used and strict controls will be placed on drill hole placement and alignment, and the correct use of limiting damage explosive, so that minimum amount of fracturing will occur beyond the perimeter of the openings. The authors discuss why this is necessary and how it is achievable

  19. 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

  20. 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.

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1985-04-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1994-12-01

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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    1995-12-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1995-12-01

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

  5. 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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Graves, R.P.

    1998-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1994-04-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2002-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dr. A. Van Luik

    2004-01-01

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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2002-11-18

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Van Luik, A.

    2005-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1995-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1997-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1996-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1995-01-01

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

  16. 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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1996-01-01

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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2005-10-13

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2005-01-01

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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. Coupled In-Rock and In-Drift Hydrothermal Model Study For Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    G. Danko; J. Birkholzer; D. Bahrami

    2006-01-01

    A thermal-hydrologic-natural-ventilation model is configured for simulating temperature, humidity, and condensate distributions in the coupled domains of the in-drift airspace and the near-field rockmass in the proposed Yucca Mountain repository. The multi-physics problem is solved with MULTIFLUX in which a lumped-parameter computational fluid dynamics model is iterated with TOUGH2. The solution includes natural convection, conduction, and radiation for heat as well as moisture convection and diffusion for moisture transport with half waste package scale details in the drift, and mountain-scale heat and moisture transport in the porous and fractured rock-mass. The method provides fast convergence on a personal computer computational platform. Numerical examples and comparison with a TOUGH2 based, integrated model are presented

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1991-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1989-01-01

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

  9. 1989 vegetation studies at Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1990-02-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1992-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gertz, C.

    1988-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1988-10-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1993-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1996-01-01

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

  15. Autotrophic and heterotrophic bacterial diversity from Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1996-01-01

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

  16. A demonstration of dose modeling at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1992-11-01

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

  17. 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

  18. Geologic framework and Cenozoic evolution of the Yucca Mountain area, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1990-01-01

    Yucca Mountain, Nevada, has been proposed as the site of a high-level nuclear waste repository. The purpose of this paper is to outline aspects of the geology and tectonics of the area which bear on its suitability as a waste repository. The repository is to be excavated from a non-lithophysal zone within the lower part of the Paintbrush Tuff. Revised estimates of the thickness of this zone indicate that the lower, down-dip extremity of the planned repository could be raised by as much as 130 m, thus reducing the grade within the repository and increasing the distance to the water table below. We note that because of the closely spaced fracturing and low in-situ stresses within the repository block, lateral support of fractured rock is likely to be poor. 30 refs., 5 figs

  19. 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.

  20. 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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    1992-01-01

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

  2. Data Qulaification Report Flowong Interval Data for Use On the Yucca Mountain Project

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    C.R. Wilson; T.A. Grant

    2000-08-03

    This data qualification report uses technical assessment and corroborating data methods according to Attachment 2 of AP-SIII.2Q, Rev. 0, ICN 2, ''Qualification of Unqualified Data and the Documentation of Rationale for Accepted Data'', to qualify flowing interval data. This report was prepared in accordance with Data Qualification Plan TDP-NBS-GS-000035, Revision 1. Flowing interval location data from borehole tracejector surveys and fracture dip data from acoustic televiewer logging are evaluated in this report. These data were collected under the direction of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The data qualification team considers the data collection protocols of the USGS during the time period of data acquisition to be state-of-the-art. The acoustic televiewer continues to be an important tool for fracture logging and the early methodology for that technique has evolved with little change into the current fracture logging procedure that supports the Yucca Mountain Project (YMP)--approved USGS Quality Assurance Program Plan (QAPP). Consequently, the data collection methods, documentation, and results are reasonable and appropriate in view of standard practice at the time the data were collected. Extensive independent corroborative evidence is available from other borehole survey and logging techniques as well as from independent hydrological pump and injection testing. This evidence supports the conclusion that the tracejector surveys adequately detected the more significant flowing intervals in the system and that the acoustic televiewer data are representative of the dips of major fracture sets at Yucca Mountain. The parallels in time, location, purpose, personnel and technique in testing the boreholes that were sources for the flowing interval data support the application of corroborative evidence to all boreholes in the series. The data qualification team has concluded that the tracejector and acoustic televiewer data are adequate for

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1995-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1993-05-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Benson, A.; Riding, Y.

    2002-01-01

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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    A. Benson; Y. Riding

    2002-11-14

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2006-01-01

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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  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)

    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

  13. Yellowstone as an Analog for Thermal-Hydrological-Chemical Processes at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dobson, P. F.; Kneafsey, T. J.; Simmons, A.; Hulen, J.

    2001-01-01

    Enhanced water-rock interaction resulting from the emplacement of heat-generating nuclear waste in the potential geologic repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, may result in changes to fluid flow (resulting from mineral dissolution and precipitation in condensation and boiling zones, respectively). Studies of water-rock interaction in active and fossil geothermal systems (natural analogs) provide evidence for changes in permeability and porosity resulting from thermal-hydrological-chemical (THC) processes. The objective of this research is to document the effects of coupled THC processes at Yellowstone and then examine how differences in scale could influence the impact that these processes may have on the Yucca Mountain system. Subsurface samples from Yellowstone National Park, one of the largest active geothermal systems in the world, contain some the best examples of hydrothermal self-sealing found in geothermal systems. We selected core samples from two USGS research drill holes from the transition zone between conductive and convective portions of the geothermal system (where sealing was reported to occur). We analyzed the core, measuring the permeability, porosity, and grain density of selected samples to evaluate how lithology, texture, and degree of hydrothermal alteration influence matrix and fracture permeability

  14. 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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1991-01-01

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

  16. 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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Jia Mingyan; Zhang Xiabin; Yang Chuncai

    2006-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bullock, R.L. Sr.

    1990-01-01

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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Knox, E.; Slothouber, L.

    2003-02-25

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1992-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1992-01-01

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

  2. 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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1991-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1987-04-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2008-01-01

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

  6. Stability of underground openings in the Yucca Mountain repository

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Blejwas, T.E.

    1989-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wilson, M.L.

    2001-01-01

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

  8. Regulatory perspective on future climates at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1996-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Knox, E.; Slothouber, L.

    2003-01-01

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

  10. Assessment of faulting and seismic hazards at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1989-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Matras, J.R.

    1993-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1996-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1989-10-01

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

  14. Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project Waste Package Plan

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1991-02-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1989-04-01

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

  16. Candidate container materials for Yucca Mountain waste package designs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1991-09-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1996-01-01

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

  18. Waste package performance assessment for the Yucca Mountain project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1989-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ross, Benjamin

    2004-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1990-01-01

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

  1. Focusing Yucca Mountain program priorities through performance assessment

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1992-01-01

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

  2. 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

  3. Combined analysis of surface reflection imaging and vertical seismic profiling at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Daley, T.M.; Majer, E.L.; Karageorgi, E.

    1994-08-01

    This report presents results from surface and borehole seismic profiling performed by the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (LBL) on Yucca Mountain. This work was performed as part of the site characterization effort for the potential high-level nuclear waste repository. Their objective was to provide seismic imaging from the near surface (200 to 300 ft. depth) to the repository horizon and below, if possible. Among the issues addressed by this seismic imaging work are location and depth of fracturing and faulting, geologic identification of reflecting horizons, and spatial continuity of reflecting horizons. The authors believe their results are generally positive, with tome specific successes. This was the first attempt at this scale using modem seismic imaging techniques to determine geologic features on Yucca Mountain. The principle purpose of this report is to present the interpretation of the seismic reflection section in a geologic context. Three surface reflection profiles were acquired and processed as part of this study. Because of environmental concerns, all three lines were on preexisting roads. Line 1 crossed the mapped surface trace of the Ghost Dance fault and it was intended to study the dip and depth extent of the fault system. Line 2 was acquired along Drill Hole wash and was intended to help the ESF north ramp design activities. Line 3 was acquired along Yucca Crest and was designed to image geologic horizons which were thought to be less faulted along the ridge. Unfortunately, line 3 proved to have poor data quality, in part because of winds, poor field conditions and limited time. Their processing and interpretation efforts were focused on lines 1 and 2 and their associated VSP studies

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    1993-03-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1993-03-01

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

  6. Constructing the Exploratory Studies Facility at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1996-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Finch, R.J.

    2005-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Flint, L.E.

    1998-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1995-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1993-01-01

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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    1993-08-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1994-05-01

    The US Department of Energy (DOE) is required by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of (as amended in 1987) to study and characterize the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a potential geologic repository for high-level nuclear waste. During site characterization, the DOE will conduct a variety of geotechnical, geochemical, geological, and hydrological studies to determine the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a potential repository. To ensure that site characterization activities do not adversely affect the environment at Yucca Mountain, a program has been implemented to monitor and mitigate potential impacts and ensure activities comply with applicable environmental regulations. This report describes the activities and accomplishments of EG ampersand G Energy Measurements, Inc. (EG ampersand G/EM) from October 1992 through December 1993 for six program areas within the Terrestrial Ecosystem component of the environmental program for the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project (YMP): Site Characterization Effects, Desert Tortoises (Gopherus agassizii), Habitat Reclamation, Monitoring and Mitigation, Radiological Monitoring, and Biological Support

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Malone, C.R.

    1995-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1986-05-01

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

  15. 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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1992-10-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1992-04-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1995-01-01

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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    1992-06-01

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

  20. 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.

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Russell, C.E.

    1988-09-01

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

  2. 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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1995-01-01

    Ground magnetic data collected along several traverses across the central block of Yucca Mountain in southwest Nevada are interpreted. These data were collected as part of an effort to evaluate faulting in the vicinity of a potential nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. Magnetic data and models along traverses across the central block of Yucca Mountain reveal anomalies associated with known faults and indicate a number of possible concealed faults beneath the eastern flank of Yucca Mountain. The central part of the eastern flank of Yucca Mountain is characterized by numerous small-amplitude anomalies that probably reflect small-scale faulting. Magnetic modeling of the terrain along the eastern flank of Yucca Mountain indicates that terrain induced magnetic anomalies of about 100 to 150 nT are present along some profiles where steep terrain exists above the magnetometer

  4. Interpretation of hole-to-surface resistivity measurements at Yucca Mountain, Nevada Test Site

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Daniels, J.J.; Scott, J.H.

    1981-01-01

    Hole-to-surface resistivity measurements at Yucca Mountain indicate the presence of many near-surface geologic inhomogeneities, with no definite indication of deep structural features. A resistive anomaly near drill hole UE25a-6 is interpreted as a thin, vertical, resistive body that nearly intersects the surface, and may be caused by a silicified, or calcified, fracture zone. A resistive anomaly near hole UE25a-7 is probably caused by a near surface, horizontal, lens-shaped body that may represent a devitrified zone in the Tiva Canyon Member. Many conductive anomalies were detected to the southwest of hole UE25a-4. However, these anomalies are interpreted to be caused by variations in the thickness of the surface alluvium

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1994-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1994-01-01

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

  7. Impacts of seismic activity on long-term repository performance at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gauthier, J.H.; Wilson, M.L.; Borns, D.J.; Arnold, B.W.

    1995-01-01

    Several effects of seismic activity on the release of radionuclides from a potential repository at Yucca Mountain are quantified. Future seismic events are predicted using data from the seismic hazard analysis conducted for the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF). Phenomenological models are developed, including rockfall (thermal-mechanical and seismic) in unbackfilled emplacement drifts, container damage caused by fault displacement within the repository, and flow-path chance caused by changes in strain. Using the composite-porosity flow model (relatively large-scale, regular percolation), seismic events show little effect on total-system releases; using the weeps flow model (episodic pulses of flow in locally saturated fractures), container damage and flow-path changes cause over an order of magnitude increase in releases. In separate calculations using, more realistic representations of faulting, water-table rise caused by seismically induced changes in strain are seen to be higher than previously estimated by others, but not sufficient to reach a potential repository

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1993-06-01

    Rock mass mechanical properties are important in the design of drifts and ramps. These properties are used in evaluations of the impacts of thermomechanical loading of potential host rock within the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project. Representative intact rock and joint mechanical properties were selected for welded and nonwelded tuffs from the currently available data sources. Rock mass qualities were then estimated using both the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (Q) and Geomechanics Rating (RMR) systems. Rock mass mechanical properties were developed based on estimates of rock mass quality, the current knowledge of intact properties, and fracture/joint characteristics. Empirical relationships developed to correlate the rock mass quality indices and the rock mass mechanical properties were then used to estimate the range of rock mass mechanical properties

  9. 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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Simmons, Ardyth M.

    2003-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ponce, D.A.

    1996-01-01

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

  12. 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

  13. 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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1998-01-01

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

  15. Preliminary analysis of geophysical logs from drill hole UE-25p No. 1, Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Muller, D.C.; Kibler, J.E.

    1984-01-01

    Geophysical logs from drill hole UE-25p No. 1 correlate well with logs through the same geologic units from other drill holes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The in-situ physical properties of the rocks as determined from well logs are consistent with laboratory-measured physical properties of core from other drill holes. The density, neutron and caliper logs are very spiky through most of the Topopah Spring Member. This spikiness occurs on the same logs in cored holes where the Topopah Spring Member is highly fractured and lithophysal. The uranium channel of the spectral gamma-ray log through the Topopah Spring Member correlates with uranium logs from cored holes where most of the fractures have not been healed or filled with materials that concentrate uranium. Therefore, fracture porosity and permeability of the Topopah Spring Member are expected to be high and consistent with fracture analysis from other drill holes on Yucca Mountain, and hydrologic tests from well J-13. The Paleozoic dolomites which underlie the Tertiary tuffs are intensely brecciated, and the uranium count rate is much higher than normal for dolomites because uranium has been concentrated in the recementing material. 19 references, 1 figure, 2 tables

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Vaniman, D.T.

    1994-04-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Freeze, G.

    2005-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Perry, F.; Youngs, B.

    2000-01-01

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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    F. Perry; B. Youngs

    2000-11-06

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hill, C.A.

    1993-03-01

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

  1. 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

  2. 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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    1994-03-31

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hirschfelder, J.

    1992-01-01

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

  5. Waste package performance assessment for the Yucca Mountain Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1989-02-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1993-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wilems, R.E.

    1994-01-01

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

  8. Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project Technical Data Catalog

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1992-01-01

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

  9. Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project technical data catalog

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1992-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2004-01-01

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

  11. Volcanic hazard studies for the Yucca Mountain project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1989-01-01

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

  12. Corrosion of candidate container materials by Yucca Mountain bacteria

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1999-01-01

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

  13. Stability of underground openings in the Yucca Mountain repository

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Blejwas, T.E.

    1989-01-01

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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    1994-12-31

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

  15. Distributional equity problems at the proposed Yucca Mountain facility

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kasperson, R.E.; Abdollahzadeh, S.

    1988-07-01

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

  16. The reclamation program for the Yucca Mountain Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1991-01-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1989-02-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1998-01-01

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

  19. THE PROPOSED YUCCA MOUNTAIN REPOSITORY FROM A CORROSIVE PERSPECTIVE

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    PAYER JH

    2006-01-01

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

  20. 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.

  1. Concept for waste package environment tests in the Yucca Mountain exploratory shaft

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Yow, J.L. Jr.

    1985-05-01

    The Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations (NNWSI) project is studying a tuffaceous rock unit located at Yucca Mountain on the western boundary of the Nevada Test Site, Nye County, Nevada. The objective is to evaluate the suitability of the volcanic rocks located above the water table at Yucca Mountain as a potential location for a repository for high level radioactive waste. As part of the NNWSI project, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is responsible for the design of the waste package and for determining the expected performance of the waste package in the repository environment. To design an optimal waste package system for the unsaturated emplacement environment, the mechanisms by which liquid water can return to contact the metal canister after peaking of the thermal load must be established. Definition of these flux and flow mechanisms is essential for estimating canister corrosion modes and rates. Therefore, three waste package environment tests are being designed for the in situ phase of exploratory shaft testing. These tests emphasize measurement techniques that offer the possibility of characterizing the movement of water into and through the pores and fractures of the densely welded Topopah Spring Member. Other measurement techniques will be used to examine the interactions between moisture migration and the thermomechanical rock mass behavior. Three reduced-scale heater tests will use electrical resistive heaters in a horizontal configuration. All three tests are designed to investigate moisture conditions in the rock during heating and cooling phases of a thermal cycle so that the effects of these moisture conditions on the performance of the waste package system may be established. 28 refs., 4 figs., 3 tabs

  2. 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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Peterman, Zell E.; Cloke, Paul

    2001-01-01

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

  4. Yucca Mountain program summary of research, site monitoring and technical review activities (January 1987--June 1988)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1988-12-01

    Although studies of orbital mechanics provide speculative notions of future climatic trends, they cannot predict how these trends will manifest themselves in the immediate area around Yucca Mountain. The generally accepted approach to this question is to consider the climatic variations that have occurred during the last 10,000 years, and use these as a guide to the likely range of future variation in climate. However, because climatic studies around the world indicate that we are potentially on the verge of another ice age, we should also consider the conditions that predominated during the Pleistocene. The specific aim of this project is to derive the climatic history of Yucca Mountain during the last 20,000 years from the vegetation history. By integrating data obtained from pollen records, woodrat dens (middens), and tree-ring sequences from the Nevada Test Site (NTS) area, a regional climatic record is being generated that can be correlated to data obtained at Yucca Mountain to formulate a local climatic sequence there. This will then be used to determine the magnitude and frequency of climatic variation that have occurred during that time at Yucca Mountain. These data can then be used by other researchers to provide estimates of rainfall, recharge and soil chemical changes for modeling the past hydrology of Yucca Mountain

  5. THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE YUCCA MOUNTAIN PROJECT FEATURE, EVENT, AND PROCESS (FEP) DATABASE

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Freeze, G.; Swift, P.; Brodsky, N.

    2000-01-01

    A Total System Performance Assessment for Site Recommendation (TSPA-SR) has recently been completed (CRWMS M andO, 2000b) for the potential high-level waste repository at the Yucca Mountain site. The TSPA-SR is an integrated model of scenarios and processes relevant to the postclosure performance of the potential repository. The TSPA-SR scenarios and model components in turn include representations of all features, events, and processes (FEPs) identified as being relevant (i.e., screened in) for analysis. The process of identifying, classifying, and screening potentially relevant FEPs thus provides a critical foundation for scenario development and TSPA analyses for the Yucca Mountain site (Swift et al., 1999). The objectives of this paper are to describe (a) the identification and classification of the comprehensive list of FEPs potentially relevant to the postclosure performance of the potential Yucca Mountain repository, and (b) the development, structure, and use of an electronic database for storing and retrieving screening information about the inclusion and/or exclusion of these Yucca Mountain FEPs in TSPA-SR. The FEPs approach to scenario development is not unique to the Yucca Mountain Project (YMP). General systematic approaches are summarized in NEA (1992). The application of the FEPs approach in several other international radioactive waste disposal programs is summarized in NEA ( 1999)

  6. 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

  7. Major results of geophysical investigations at Yucca Mountain and vicinity, southern Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Oliver, H.W.; Ponce, D.A.; Hunter, W.C.

    1995-01-01

    In the consideration of Yucca Mountain as a possible site for storing high level nuclear waste, a number of geologic concerns have been suggested for study by the National Academy of Sciences which include: (1) natural geologic and geochemical barriers, (2) possible future fluctuations in the water table that might flood a mined underground repository, (3) tectonic stability, and (4) considerations of shaking such as might be caused by nearby earthquakes or possible volcanic eruptions. This volume represents the third part of an overall plan of geophysical investigation of Yucca Mountain, preceded by the Site Characterization Plan (SCP; dated 1988) and the report referred to as the Geophysical White Paper, Phase 1, entitled Status of Data, Major Results, and Plans for Geophysical Activities, Yucca Mountain Project (Oliver and others, 1990). The SCP necessarily contained uncertainty about applicability and accuracy of methods then untried in the Yucca Mountain volcano-tectonic setting, and the White Paper, Phase 1, focused on summarization of survey coverage, data quality, and applicability of results. For the most part, it did not present data or interpretation. The important distinction of the current volume lies in presentation of data, results, and interpretations of selected geophysical methods used in characterization activities at Yucca Mountain. Chapters are included on the following: gravity investigations; magnetic investigations; regional magnetotelluric investigations; seismic refraction investigations; seismic reflection investigations; teleseismic investigations; regional thermal setting; stress measurements; and integration of methods and conclusions. 8 refs., 60 figs., 2 tabs

  8. Sequential evaluation of the potential geologic repository site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, USA

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bjerstedt, T.W.

    1996-01-01

    This paper discusses the changes that are planned for the characterization program at Yucca Mountain due to budget changes. Yucca Mountain is the only site being studied in the US for a geologic repository. Funding for the site characterization program at Yucca Mountain program was cut by roughly one half from the 1994 projected budget to complete three major milestones. These project milestones included: (1) a time-phased determination of site suitability, and if a positive finding, (2) completion of an Environmental Impact Statement, and (3) preparation of a License Application to the US NRC to authorize repository construction. In reaction, Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project has shifted from parallel development of these milestones to a sequenced approach with the site suitability evaluation being replaced with a management assessment. Changes to the regulatory structure for the disposal program are under consideration by DOE and the NRC. The possibility for NRC and Doe to develop a site-specific regulatory structure follows from the National Energy Policy Act of 1992 that authorized the US EPA to develop a site specific environmental standard for Yucca Mountain

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1991-01-01

    About 4000 gravity stations have been obtained at Yucca Mountain and vicinity since the beginning of radioactive-waste studies there in 1978. These data have been integrated with data from about 29,000 stations previously obtained in the surrounding region to produce a series of Bouguer and isostatic-residual-gravity maps of the Nevada Test Site and southeastern Nevada. Yucca Mountain is characterized by a WNW-dipping gravity gradient whereby residual values of -10 mGal along the east edge of Yucca Mountain decrease to about -38 mGal over Crater Flat. Using these gravity data, two-dimensional modeling predicted the depth to pre-Cenozoic rocks near the proposed repository to be about 1220 ± 150 m, an estimate that was subsequently confirmed by drilling to be 1244 m. Three-dimensional modeling of the gravity low over Crater Flat indicates the thickness of Cenozoic volcanic rocks and alluvial cover to be about 3000 m. Considerable aeromagnetic coverage of southwestern Nevada was obtained in 1978--1979 to help characterize Yucca Mountain and vicinity. One significant result is the discovery of a series of circular magnetic anomalies in Crater Flat and the northern Amargosa Desert that suggest the presence of buried volcanic centers there. Elongate magnetic highs and associated lows over Yucca Mountain correlate with mapped faults, some of which are only partially exposed. Thus, the data provide inforamtion on the extent and continuity of these faults. 31 refs., 3 figs

  10. Bedrock geologic map of the central block area, Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1998-01-01

    Bedrock geologic maps form the foundation for investigations that characterize and assess the viability of the potential high-level radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. This study was funded by the US Department of Energy Yucca Mountain Project to provide a detailed (1:6,000-scale) bedrock geologic map for the area within and adjacent to the potential repository area at Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada. Prior to this study, the 1:12,000-scale map of Scott and Bon, (1984) was the primary source of bedrock geologic data for the Yucca Mountain Project. However, targeted detailed mapping within the central block at Yucca Mountain revealed structural complexities along some of the intrablock faults that were not evident at 1:12,000 (Scott and Bonk, 1984). As a result, this study was undertaken to define the character and extent of the dominant structural features in the vicinity of the potential repository. In addition to structural considerations, ongoing subsurface excavation and geologic mapping within the exploratory Studies Facility (ESF), development of a three-dimensional-framework geologic model, and borehole investigations required use of a constituent stratigraphic system to facilitate surface to underground comparisons. The map units depicted in this report correspond as closely as possible to the proposed stratigraphic nomenclature by Buesch and others (1996), as described here

  11. Preclosure seismic hazards and their impact on site suitability of Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gibson, J.D.

    1992-01-01

    This paper presents an overview of the preclosure seismic hazards and the influence of these hazards on determining the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a national high-level nuclear-waste repository. Geologic data, engineering analyses, and regulatory guidelines must be examined collectively to assess this suitability. An environmental assessment for Yucca Mountain, written in 1986, compiled and evaluated the existing tectonic data and presented arguments to satisfy, in part, the regulatory requirements that must be met if the Yucca Mountain site is to become a national waste repository. Analyses have been performed in the past five years that better quantify the local seismic hazards and the possibility that these hazards could lead to release of radionuclides to the environment. The results from these analyses increase the confidence in the ability of Yucca Mountain and the facilities that may be built there to function satisfactorily in their role as a waste repository. Uncertainties remain, however, primarily in the input parameters and boundary conditions for the models that were used to complete the analyses. These models must be validated and uncertainties reduced before Yucca Mountain can qualify as a viable high-level nuclear waste repository

  12. Environmental program overview for a high-level radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1988-12-01

    The United States plans to begin operating the first repository for the permanent disposal of high-level nuclear waste early in the next century. In February 1983, the US Department of Energy (DOE) identified Yucca Mountain, in Nevada, as one of nine potentially acceptable sites for a repository. To determine its suitability, the DOE evaluated the Yucca Mountain site, along with eight other potentially acceptable sites, in accordance with the DOE's General Guidelines for the Recommendation of Sites for the Nuclear Waste Repositories. The purpose of the Environmental Program Overview (EPO) for the Yucca Mountain site is to provide an overview of the overall, comprehensive approach being used to satisfy the environmental requirements applicable to sitting a repository at Yucca Mountain. The EPO states how the DOE will address the following environmental areas: aesthetics, air quality, cultural resources (archaeological and Native American components), noise, radiological studies, soils, terrestrial ecosystems, and water resources. This EPO describes the environmental program being developed for the sitting of a repository at Yucca Mountain. 1 fig., 3 tabs

  13. Management and research of desert tortoises for the Yucca Mountain Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rautenstrauch, K.R.; Cox, M.K.; Doerr, T.B.; Green, R.A.; Mueller, J.M.; O'Farrell, T.P.; Rakestraw, D.L.

    1991-01-01

    A program has been developed for the Yucca Mountain Project (YMP) to manage and study the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizi), a threatened species that occurs at low densities at Yucca Mountain. The goals of this program are to better understand the biology and status of the desert tortoise population at Yucca Mountain, assess impacts on tortoises of site characterization (SC) activities, and minimize those impacts. The first steps we took to develop this program were to compile the available information on tortoise biology at Yucca Mountain, ascertain what information was lacking, and identify the potential impacts on tortoises of SC. We then developed a technical design for identifying and mitigating direct and cumulative impacts and providing information on tortoise biology. Interrelated studies were developed to achieve these objectives. The primary sampling unit for the impact monitoring studies is radiomarked tortoises. Three populations of tortoises will be sampled: individuals isolated from disturbances (control), individuals near major SC activities (direct effects treatment and worst-case cumulative effects treatment), and individuals from throughout Yucca Mountain (cumulative effects treatment). Impacts will be studied by measuring and comparing survival, reproduction, movements, habitat use, health, and diet of these tortoises. A habitat quality model also will be developed and the efficacy of mitigation techniques, such as relocating tortoises, will be evaluated. 29 refs

  14. Expert judgment in assessing radwaste risks: What Nevadans should know about Yucca Mountain; [Final report

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Shrader-Frechette, K. [University of South Florida, Tampa, FL (United States)

    1992-06-01

    For phenomena characterized by accurate and largely complete data, quantitative risk assessment (QRA) provides extraordinarily valuable and objective information. However, with phenomena for which the data, models, or probabilities are incomplete or uncertain, QRA may be less useful and more questionable, because its conclusions are typically empirically and theoretically underdetermined. In the face of empirical or theoretical underdetermination, scientists often are forced to make a number of methodological value judgments and inferences about how to estimate and evaluate the associated risks. The purpose of this project is to evaluate instances of methodological value judgments and invalid or imprecise inferences that have occurred in the QRA done for the proposed Yucca Mountain high-level radioactive waste facility. We shall show (1) that questionable methodological value judgments and inferences have occurred in some Yucca Mountain QRA`S; (2) that questionable judgments and inferences, similar to those in the Yucca Mountain studies, have occurred in previous QRA`s done for other radiation-related facilities and have likely caused earlier QRA`s to err in specific ways; and (3) that, because the value judgments and problems associated with some Yucca Mountain QRA`s include repetitions of similar difficulties in earlier studies, therefore the QRA conclusions of some Yucca Mountain analyses are, at best, uncertain.

  15. Expert judgment in assessing radwaste risks: What Nevadans should know about Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Shrader-Frechette, K.

    1992-06-01

    For phenomena characterized by accurate and largely complete data, quantitative risk assessment (QRA) provides extraordinarily valuable and objective information. However, with phenomena for which the data, models, or probabilities are incomplete or uncertain, QRA may be less useful and more questionable, because its conclusions are typically empirically and theoretically underdetermined. In the face of empirical or theoretical underdetermination, scientists often are forced to make a number of methodological value judgments and inferences about how to estimate and evaluate the associated risks. The purpose of this project is to evaluate instances of methodological value judgments and invalid or imprecise inferences that have occurred in the QRA done for the proposed Yucca Mountain high-level radioactive waste facility. We shall show (1) that questionable methodological value judgments and inferences have occurred in some Yucca Mountain QRA'S; (2) that questionable judgments and inferences, similar to those in the Yucca Mountain studies, have occurred in previous QRA's done for other radiation-related facilities and have likely caused earlier QRA's to err in specific ways; and (3) that, because the value judgments and problems associated with some Yucca Mountain QRA's include repetitions of similar difficulties in earlier studies, therefore the QRA conclusions of some Yucca Mountain analyses are, at best, uncertain

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. Progress report on colloid-facilitated transport at Yucca Mountain: Yucca Mountain site characterization program milestone 3383

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Triay, I.R.; Degueldre, C.; Wistrom, A.O.; Cotter, C.R.; Lemons, W.W.

    1996-06-01

    To assess colloid-facilitated radionuclide transport in groundwaters at the potential nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, it is very important to understand the generation and stability of colloids, including naturally occurring colloids. To this end, we measured the colloid concentration in waters from Well J-13, which is on the order of 106 particles per milliliter (for particle sizes larger than 100 manometers). At this low particle loading, the sorption of radionuclides to colloids would have to be extremely high before the colloids could carry a significant amount of radionuclides from the repository to the accessible environment. We also performed aggregation experiments to evaluate the stability of silica (particle diameter: 85 nm) and clay colloids (particle diameter: 140 nm) as a function of ionic strength in a carbonate-rich synthetic groundwater. When the concentration of electrolyte is increased to induce aggregation, the aggregation is irreversible and the rate of aggregation increases with increasing electrolyte strength. We used autocorrelation photon spectroscopy to estimate the rate of particle aggregation for both types of colloids. By relating the measured aggregation rate to the Smoluchowski rate expression, we determined the stability ratio, W. Aggregation of silica particles and kaolinite clay particles decreased dramatically for an electrolyte concentration, C NaCl , below 300 mM and 200 mM, respectively

  20. TSPA 1991: An initial total-system performance assessment for Yucca Mountain; Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Barnard, R.W.; Wilson, M.L.; Dockery, H.A.; Kaplan, P.G.; Eaton, R.R.; Bingham, F.W. [Sandia National Labs., Albuquerque, NM (United States); Gauthier, J.H.; Robey, T.H. [Spectra Research Inst., Albuquerque, NM (United States)

    1992-07-01

    This report describes an assessment of the long-term performance of a repository system that contains deeply buried highly radioactive waste; the system is assumed to be located at the potential site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The study includes an identification of features, events, and processes that might affect the potential repository, a construction of scenarios based on this identification, a selection of models describing these scenarios (including abstraction of appropriate models from detailed models), a selection of probability distributions for the parameters in the models, a stochastic calculation of radionuclide releases for the scenarios, and a derivation of complementary cumulative distribution functions (CCDFs) for the releases. Releases and CCDFs are calculated for four categories of scenarios: aqueous flow (modeling primarily the existing conditions at the site, with allowances for climate change), gaseous flow, basaltic igneous activity, and human intrusion. The study shows that models of complex processes can be abstracted into more simplified representations that preserve the understanding of the processes and produce results consistent with those of more complex models.

  1. Unsaturated flow modeling in performance assessments for the Yucca Mountain disposal system for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rechard, Rob P.; Birkholzer, Jens T.; Wu, Yu-Shu; Stein, Joshua S.; Houseworth, James E.

    2014-01-01

    This paper summarizes the progression of modeling efforts of infiltration, percolation, and seepage conducted between 1984 and 2008 to evaluate feasibility, viability, and assess compliance of a repository in the unsaturated zone for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Scientific understanding of infiltration in a desert environment, unsaturated percolation flux in fractures and matrix of the volcanic tuff, and seepage into an open drift in a thermally perturbed environment was initially lacking in 1984. As understanding of the Yucca Mountain disposal system increased through site characterization and in situ testing, modeling of infiltration, percolation, and seepage evolved from simple assumptions in a single model in 1984 to three modeling modules each based on several detailed process models in 2008. Uncertainty in percolation flux through Yucca Mountain was usually important in explaining the observed uncertainty in performance measures:cumulative release in assessments prior to 1995 and individual dose, thereafter. - Highlights: • Progression of modeling of infiltration, percolation, and seepage conducted is described for a geological repository at Yucca Mountain. • Progression from 1-D in single equivalent to 3-D model of percolation in dual permeability continuum is described. • Introduction of an infiltration boundary condition in 1998 and the refinement for evaluating uncertainty for the license application is described. • Introduction of a seepage module that included calibration to in-site measurements and separating uncertainty and variability is described

  2. Status of data, major results, and plans for geophysical activities, Yucca Mountain Project

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Oliver, H.W. [Geological Survey, Menlo Park, CA (USA); Hardin, E.L. [Science Applications International Corp., Las Vegas, NV (USA); Nelson, P.H. [Geological Survey, Denver, CO (USA)] [eds.

    1990-07-01

    This report describes past and planned geophysical activities associated with the Yucca Mountain Project and is intended to serve as a starting point for integration of geophysical activities. This report relates past results to site characterization plans, as presented in the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Plan (SCP). This report discusses seismic exploration, potential field methods, geoelectrical methods, teleseismic data collection and velocity structural modeling, and remote sensing. This report discusses surface-based, airborne, borehole, surface-to-borehole, crosshole, and Exploratory Shaft Facility-related activities. The data described in this paper, and the publications discussed, have been selected based on several considerations; location with respect to Yucca Mountain, whether the success or failure of geophysical data is important to future activities, elucidation of features of interest, and judgment as to the likelihood that the method will produce information that is important for site characterization. 65 refs., 19 figs., 12 tabs.

  3. 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

  4. Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project bibliography, January--June 1995. Supplement 4, Add.3: An update

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Stephan, P.M. [ed.

    1996-01-01

    Following a reorganization of the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management in 1990, the Yucca Mountain Project was renamed Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project. The title of this bibliography was also changed to Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project Bibliography. Prior to August 5, 1988, this project was called the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations. This bibliography contains information on this ongoing project that was added to the Department of Energy`s Energy Science and Technology Database from January 1, 1995, through June 30, 1995. The bibliography is categorized by principal project participating organization. Participant-sponsored subcontractor reports, papers, and articles are included in the sponsoring organization`s list. Another section contains information about publications on the Energy Science and Technology Database that were not sponsored by the project but have some relevance to it.

  5. Yucca Mountain site characteriztion project bibliography. Progress Report, 1994--1995

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1996-08-01

    Following a reorganization of the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management in 1990, the Yucca Mountain Project was renamed Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project. The title of this bibliography was also changed to Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project Bibliography. Prior to August 5, 1988, this project was called the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations. This bibliography contains information on this ongoing project which was added to the Department of Energy's Energy Science and Technology Database from January 1, 1994, through December 31, 1995. The bibliography is categorized by principal project participating organization. Participant-sponsored subcontractor reports, papers, and articles are included in the sponsoring organization's list. Another section contains information about publications on the Energy Science and Technology database which were not sponsored by the project but have some relevance to it

  6. Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project bibliography, July--December 1992: An update, Supplement 3, Addendum 2

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1993-04-01

    Following a reorganization of the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management in 1990, the Yucca Mountain Project was renamed Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project. The title of this bibliography was also changed to Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project Bibliography. Prior to August 5, 1988, this project was called the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations. This bibliography contains information on this ongoing project that was added to the Department of Energy's Energy Science and Technology Database from July 1, 1992, through December 31, 1992. The bibliography is categorized by principal project participating organization. Participant-sponsored subcontractor reports, papers, and articles are included in the sponsoring organization's list. Another section contains information about publications on the Energy Science and Technology Database that were not sponsored by the project but have some relevance to it

  7. Three dimensional visualization in support of Yucca Mountain Site characterization activities

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Brickey, D.W.

    1992-01-01

    An understanding of the geologic and hydrologic environment for the proposed high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, NV is a critical component of site characterization activities. Conventional methods allow visualization of geologic data in only two or two and a half dimensions. Recent advances in computer workstation hardware and software now make it possible to create interactive three dimensional visualizations. Visualization software has been used to create preliminary two-, two-and-a-half-, and three-dimensional visualizations of Yucca Mountain structure and stratigraphy. The three dimensional models can also display lithologically dependent or independent parametric data. Yucca Mountain site characterization studies that will be supported by this capability include structural, lithologic, and hydrologic modeling, and repository design

  8. Status of data, major results, and plans for geophysical activities, Yucca Mountain Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Oliver, H.W.; Hardin, E.L.; Nelson, P.H.

    1990-07-01

    This report describes past and planned geophysical activities associated with the Yucca Mountain Project and is intended to serve as a starting point for integration of geophysical activities. This report relates past results to site characterization plans, as presented in the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Plan (SCP). This report discusses seismic exploration, potential field methods, geoelectrical methods, teleseismic data collection and velocity structural modeling, and remote sensing. This report discusses surface-based, airborne, borehole, surface-to-borehole, crosshole, and Exploratory Shaft Facility-related activities. The data described in this paper, and the publications discussed, have been selected based on several considerations; location with respect to Yucca Mountain, whether the success or failure of geophysical data is important to future activities, elucidation of features of interest, and judgment as to the likelihood that the method will produce information that is important for site characterization. 65 refs., 19 figs., 12 tabs

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    WoldeGabriel, G.

    1993-01-01

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

  10. Workshop on development of radionuclide getters for the Yucca Mountain waste repository: proceedings.

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Moore, Robert Charles; Lukens, Wayne W. (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

    2006-03-01

    The proposed Yucca Mountain repository, located in southern Nevada, is to be the first facility for permanent disposal of spent reactor fuel and high-level radioactive waste in the United States. Total Systems Performance Assessment (TSPA) analysis has indicated that among the major radionuclides contributing to dose are technetium, iodine, and neptunium, all of which are highly mobile in the environment. Containment of these radionuclides within the repository is a priority for the Yucca Mountain Project (YMP). These proceedings review current research and technology efforts for sequestration of the radionuclides with a focus on technetium, iodine, and neptunium. This workshop also covered issues concerning the Yucca Mountain environment and getter characteristics required for potential placement into the repository.

  11. Site characterization progress report: Yucca Mountain, Nevada, April 1, 1993--September 30, 1993, No. 9

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1994-02-01

    In accordance with requirements of Section 113(b)(3) of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, as amended, and 10 CFR 60.18(g), the U.S. Department of Energy has prepared this report on the progress of site characterization activities at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, for the period April 1, 1993, through September 30, 1993. This report is the ninth in a series issued at intervals of approximately six months during site characterization of Yucca Mountain as a possible site for a geologic repository for the permanent disposal of high-level radioactive waste. Also included in this report are activities such as public outreach and international programs that are not formally part of the site characterization process. Information on these activities is provided to report on all aspects of the Yucca Mountain studies

  12. Strontium isotope geochemistry of soil and playa deposits near Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Marshall, B.D.; Mahan, S.A.

    1994-01-01

    The isotopic composition of strontium contained in the carbonate fractions of soils provides an excellent tracer which can be used to test models for their origin. This paper reports data on surface coatings and cements, eolian sediments, playas and alluvial fan soils which help to constrain a model for formation of the extensive calcretes and fault infillings in the Yucca Mountain region. The playas contain carbonate with a wide range of strontium compositions; further work will be required to fully understand their possible contributions to the pedogenic carbonate system. Soils from an alluvial fan to the west of Yucca Mountain show that only small amounts of strontium are derived from a fan draining a carbonate terrane have strontium component. Although much evidence points to an eolian source for at least some of the strontium in the pedogenic carbonates near Yucca Mountain, an additional component or past variation of strontium composition in the eolian source is required to model the pedogenic carbonate system

  13. Yucca Mountain site characteriztion project bibliography. Progress Report, 1994--1995

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    1996-08-01

    Following a reorganization of the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management in 1990, the Yucca Mountain Project was renamed Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project. The title of this bibliography was also changed to Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project Bibliography. Prior to August 5, 1988, this project was called the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations. This bibliography contains information on this ongoing project which was added to the Department of Energy`s Energy Science and Technology Database from January 1, 1994, through December 31, 1995. The bibliography is categorized by principal project participating organization. Participant-sponsored subcontractor reports, papers, and articles are included in the sponsoring organization`s list. Another section contains information about publications on the Energy Science and Technology database which were not sponsored by the project but have some relevance to it.

  14. Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project Bibliography, July--December 1994: An update

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    1995-03-01

    Following a reorganization of the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management in 1990, the Yucca Mountain Project was renamed Yucca Mountain Site Charactrization Project. The title of this bibliography was also changed to Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project Bibliography. Prior to August 5, 1988, this project was called the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations. This bibliography contains information on this ongoing project that was added to the Department of Energy`s Science and Technology Database from July 1, 1994 through December 31, 1994. The bibliography is categorized by principal project participating organization. Participant-sponsored subcontractor reports, papers, and articles are included in the sponsoring organization`s list. Another section contains information about publications on the Energy Science and Technology Database that were not sponsored by the project but have some relevance to it.

  15. Making the post-closure safety case for the proposed yucca mountain repository

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Swift, P.; Van Luik, A.

    2008-01-01

    This presentation provided an overview of the Yucca Mountain repository post-closure safety case. The safety case concept is being integrated into the license application being prepared for Yucca Mountain, by giving particularly close attention to the treatment of uncertainties, thereby bringing available lines of evidence into the supporting information, as appropriate, to build a comprehensive argument for safety and regulatory compliance. For Yucca Mountain, it is expected that there will be open questions in the safety case to be presented to the regulator and a programme will be outlined on what information is to be gathered (and how) prior to the next iteration in the licensing process to address such open issues. A one-hundred year operational phase is foreseen and planned, and the changes in knowledge and approaches that occur over time will have to be accommodated through the formal licensing process. (authors)

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. Site characterization progress report: Yucca Mountain, Nevada, October 1, 1992--March 31, 1993, No. 8

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    1993-08-01

    In accordance with requirements of Section 113(b)(3) of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, as amended, and 10 CFR 60.18(g), the US Department of Energy has prepared this report on the progress of site characterization activities at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, for the period October 1, 1992, through March 31, 1993. This report is the eighth in a series issued at intervals of approximately six months during site characterization of Yucca Mountain as a possible site for a geologic repository for the permanent disposal of high-level radioactive waste. Also included in this report are activities such as public outreach and international programs that are not formally part of the site characterization process. Information on these activities is provided to report on all aspects of the Yucca Mountain studies.

  19. Site characterization progress report: Yucca Mountain, Nevada, April 1, 1993--September 30, 1993, No. 9

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    1994-02-01

    In accordance with requirements of Section 113(b)(3) of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, as amended, and 10 CFR 60.18(g), the U.S. Department of Energy has prepared this report on the progress of site characterization activities at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, for the period April 1, 1993, through September 30, 1993. This report is the ninth in a series issued at intervals of approximately six months during site characterization of Yucca Mountain as a possible site for a geologic repository for the permanent disposal of high-level radioactive waste. Also included in this report are activities such as public outreach and international programs that are not formally part of the site characterization process. Information on these activities is provided to report on all aspects of the Yucca Mountain studies.

  20. Department of Energy perspective on high-level waste standards for Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Brocoum, S.J.; Gil, A.V.; Van Luik, A.E.; Lugo, M.A.

    1996-01-01

    This paper provides a regulatory perspective from the viewpoint of the potential licensee, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), on the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report on Yucca Mountain standards issued in August 1995, and on how the recommendations in that report should be considered in the development of high-level radioactive waste standards applicable to Yucca Mountain. The paper first provides an overview of the DOE perspective and then discusses several of the issues that are of most importance in the development of the regulatory framework for Yucca Mountain, including both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standard and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) implementing regulation. These issues include: the regulatory time frame, the risk/dose limit, the definition of the reference biosphere, human intrusion, and natural processes and events

  1. Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project Bibliography, July, December 194: An update

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1995-03-01

    Following a reorganization of the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management in 1990, the Yucca Mountain Project was renamed Yucca Mountain Site Charactrization Project. The title of this bibliography was also changed to Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project Bibliography. Prior to August 5, 1988, this project was called the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations. This bibliography contains information on this ongoing project that was added to the Department of Energy's Science and Technology Database from July 1, 1994 through December 31, 1994. The bibliography is categorized by principal project participating organization. Participant-sponsored subcontractor reports, papers, and articles are included in the sponsoring organization's list. Another section contains information about publications on the Energy Science and Technology Database that were not sponsored by the project but have some relevance to it

  2. Effect of variations in the geologic data base on mining at Yucca Mountain for NNWSI

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1984-12-01

    This study was conducted to assess the impact of the known geologic factors and their variations at Yucca Mountain on the mining of the underground repository. The repository horizon host rock was classified according to the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute Tunneling Quality Index, which, in turn, qualified the range of ground support for the geologic and hydrologic conditions in the proposed repository area. The CSIR Classification System was used to verify the results of the NGI System. The expected range of requirements are well within normal mining industry standards and unusual or expensive ground support requirements are not expected to be required at Yucca Mountain. The amount of subsurface geologic information on Yucca Mountain is limited to data from a few drill holes. Variations in the existing data base are probable and should be provided for in the conceptual designs

  3. Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project Bibliography, January--June 1993. An update: Supplement 4, Addendum 1

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Stephan, P.M. [ed.

    1995-01-01

    Following a reorganization of the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management in 1990, the Yucca Mountain Project was renamed Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project. The title of this bibliography was also changed to Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project Bibliography. Prior to August 5, 1988, this project was called the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations. This bibliography contains information on this ongoing project that was added to the Department of Energy`s Energy Science and Technology Database from January 1, 1994 through June 30, 1994. The bibliography is categorized by principal project participating organization. Participant-sponsored subcontractor reports, papers,and articles are included in the sponsoring organization`s list. Another section contains information about publications on the Energy Science and Technology Database that were not sponsored by the project but have some relevance to it.

  4. Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project Bibliography, January--June 1993. An update: Supplement 4, Addendum 1

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Stephan, P.M.

    1995-01-01

    Following a reorganization of the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management in 1990, the Yucca Mountain Project was renamed Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project. The title of this bibliography was also changed to Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project Bibliography. Prior to August 5, 1988, this project was called the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations. This bibliography contains information on this ongoing project that was added to the Department of Energy's Energy Science and Technology Database from January 1, 1994 through June 30, 1994. The bibliography is categorized by principal project participating organization. Participant-sponsored subcontractor reports, papers,and articles are included in the sponsoring organization's list. Another section contains information about publications on the Energy Science and Technology Database that were not sponsored by the project but have some relevance to it

  5. Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project bibliography, January--June 1995. Supplement 4, Add.3: An update

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Stephan, P.M.

    1996-01-01

    Following a reorganization of the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management in 1990, the Yucca Mountain Project was renamed Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project. The title of this bibliography was also changed to Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project Bibliography. Prior to August 5, 1988, this project was called the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations. This bibliography contains information on this ongoing project that was added to the Department of Energy's Energy Science and Technology Database from January 1, 1995, through June 30, 1995. The bibliography is categorized by principal project participating organization. Participant-sponsored subcontractor reports, papers, and articles are included in the sponsoring organization's list. Another section contains information about publications on the Energy Science and Technology Database that were not sponsored by the project but have some relevance to it

  6. Evaluation of the geologic relations and seismotectonic stability of the Yucca Mountain Area, Nevada Nuclear Waste Site Investigation (NNWSI)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Peppin, W.A.

    1988-01-01

    This document describes activities for the year ending 30 June 1988 by staff members of the Seismological Laboratory in support of the Yucca Mountain site assessment program. Activities during the year centered largely around acquisition of equipment to be used for site assessment and around a review of the draft site characterization plan for Yucca Mountain. Due to modifications in the scheduling and level of funding, this work has not progressed as originally anticipated. The report describes progress in seven areas, listed in approximate order of significance to the Yucca Mountain project. These are: (1) equipment acquisition, (2) review of the draft site characterization plan, (3) studies of earthquake sequence related to the tectonic problems at Yucca Mountain, (4) a review of the work of Szymanski in relation to Task 4 concerns, (5) coordination meetings with USGS, DOE, and NRC personnel, (6) studies related to Yucca Mountain, and (7) other studies

  7. Evaluation of the geologic relations and seismotectonic stability of the Yucca Mountain area, Nevada Nuclear Waste Site Investigation (NNWSI)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1988-10-01

    This document describes activities for the year ending 30 June 1988 by staff members of the Seismological Laboratory in support of the Yucca Mountain site assessment program. Participants include James N. Brune, Director, John Anderson, William Peppin, Keith Priestley, Martha Savage, and Ute Vetter. Activities during the year centered largely around acquisition of equipment to be used for site characterization plan for Yucca Mountain. Due to modifications in the scheduling and level of funding, this work has not progressed as originally anticipated. The report describes progress in seven areas, listed in approximate order of significance to the Yucca Mountain project. These are: (1) equipment acquisition, (2) review of the draft site characterization plan, (3) studies of earthquake sequence related to the tectonic problems at Yucca Mountain, (4) a review of the work of Szymanski in relation to Task 4 concerns, (5) coordination meetings with USGS, DOE and NRC personnel, (6) studies related to Yucca Mountain and (7) other studies

  8. 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

  9. Construction features of the exploratory shaft at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Adair, G.W.; Fiore, J.N.

    1984-01-01

    The Exploratory Shaft (ES) at Yucca Mountain is planned to be constructed during 1985 and 1986 as part of the detailed site characterization for one of three sites which may be selected as candidates for location of a high-level radioactive waste repository. Conventional mining methods will be used for the shaft sinking phase of the ES project. The ES will be comprised of surface support facilities, a 1480-ft-deep circular shaft lined with concrete to a finished inside diameter of 12 ft, lateral excavations and test installations extending up to 200 ft from the shaft, and long lateral borings extending up to 2300 ft from the shaft. The estimated time for sinking the shaft to a total depth of about 1480 ft and completing the lateral excavations and borings is about two years. The major underground development planned for the primary test level at a depth of 1200 ft consists of the equivalent of 1150 ft of 15- by 15-ft drift. The total volume of rock to be removed from the shaft proper and the lateral excavations totals about 1/2 million cubic feet. Construction equipment for the shaft and underground excavation phases consists of conventional mine hoisting equipment, shot hole and rock bolt drilling jumbos, mucking machines, and hauling machines. The desire to maintain relatively uniform and even walls in selected shaft and drift intervals will require that controlled blasting techniques be employed. Certain lateral boring operations associated with tests to be conducted in the underground development may pose some unusual problems or require specialized equipment. One of the operations is boring and lining a 30-in.-diam by 600-ft-long horizontal hole with a boring machine being developed under the direction of Sandia National Laboratories. Another special operation is coring long lateral holes (500 to 2000 ft) with minimum use of liquid circulating fluids. 8 figures

  10. Construction features of the Exploratory Shaft at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Adair, G.W.; Fiore, J.N.

    1984-01-01

    The Exploratory Shaft (ES) at Yucca Mountain is planned to be constructed during 1985 and 1986 as part of the detailed site characterization for one of three sites which may be selected as candidates for location of a high-level radioactive waste repository. Conventional mining methods will be used for the shaft sinking phase of the ES project. The ES will be comprised of surface support facilities, a 1,480-foot-deep circular shaft lined with concrete to a finished inside diameter of 12 feet, lateral excavations and test installations extending up to 200 feet from the shaft, and long lateral borings extending up to 2,300 feet from the shaft. The estimated time for sinking the shaft to a total depth of about 1,480 feet and completing the lateral excavations and borings is about two years. The major underground development planned for the primary test level at a depth of 1,200 feet consists of the equivalent of 1,150 feet of 15- by 15-foot drift. The total volume of rock to be removed from the shaft proper and the lateral excavations totals about 1/2 million cubic feet. Construction equipment for the shaft and underground excavation phases consists of conventional mine hoisting equipment, shot hole and rock bolt drilling jumbos, mucking machines, and hauling machines. The desire to maintain relatively uniform and even walls in selected shaft and drift intervals will require that controlled blasting techniques be employed. Such techniques generally classified as ''smooth blasting'' are commonly used for excavation in the construction industry

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    F. Perry; R. Youngs

    2004-10-14

    The purpose of this scientific analysis report is threefold: (1) Present a conceptual framework of igneous activity in the Yucca Mountain region (YMR) consistent with the volcanic and tectonic history of this region and the assessment of this history by experts who participated in the probabilistic volcanic hazard analysis (PVHA) (CRWMS M&O 1996 [DIRS 100116]). Conceptual models presented in the PVHA are summarized and applied in areas in which new information has been presented. Alternative conceptual models are discussed, as well as their impact on probability models. The relationship between volcanic source zones defined in the PVHA and structural features of the YMR are described based on discussions in the PVHA and studies presented since the PVHA. (2) Present revised probability calculations based on PVHA outputs for a repository footprint proposed in 2003 (BSC 2003 [DIRS 162289]), rather than the footprint used at the time of the PVHA. This analysis report also calculates the probability of an eruptive center(s) forming within the repository footprint using information developed in the PVHA. Probability distributions are presented for the length and orientation of volcanic dikes located within the repository footprint and for the number of eruptive centers (conditional on a dike intersecting the repository) located within the repository footprint. (3) Document sensitivity studies that analyze how the presence of potentially buried basaltic volcanoes may affect the computed frequency of intersection of the repository footprint by a basaltic dike. These sensitivity studies are prompted by aeromagnetic data collected in 1999, indicating the possible presence of previously unrecognized buried volcanoes in the YMR (Blakely et al. 2000 [DIRS 151881]; O'Leary et al. 2002 [DIRS 158468]). The results of the sensitivity studies are for informational purposes only and are not to be used for purposes of assessing repository performance.

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    F. Perry; R. Youngs

    2004-01-01

    The purpose of this scientific analysis report is threefold: (1) Present a conceptual framework of igneous activity in the Yucca Mountain region (YMR) consistent with the volcanic and tectonic history of this region and the assessment of this history by experts who participated in the probabilistic volcanic hazard analysis (PVHA) (CRWMS M and O 1996 [DIRS 100116]). Conceptual models presented in the PVHA are summarized and applied in areas in which new information has been presented. Alternative conceptual models are discussed, as well as their impact on probability models. The relationship between volcanic source zones defined in the PVHA and structural features of the YMR are described based on discussions in the PVHA and studies presented since the PVHA. (2) Present revised probability calculations based on PVHA outputs for a repository footprint proposed in 2003 (BSC 2003 [DIRS 162289]), rather than the footprint used at the time of the PVHA. This analysis report also calculates the probability of an eruptive center(s) forming within the repository footprint using information developed in the PVHA. Probability distributions are presented for the length and orientation of volcanic dikes located within the repository footprint and for the number of eruptive centers (conditional on a dike intersecting the repository) located within the repository footprint. (3) Document sensitivity studies that analyze how the presence of potentially buried basaltic volcanoes may affect the computed frequency of intersection of the repository footprint by a basaltic dike. These sensitivity studies are prompted by aeromagnetic data collected in 1999, indicating the possible presence of previously unrecognized buried volcanoes in the YMR (Blakely et al. 2000 [DIRS 151881]; O'Leary et al. 2002 [DIRS 158468]). The results of the sensitivity studies are for informational purposes only and are not to be used for purposes of assessing repository performance

  13. 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

  14. Significance of geochemical characterization to performance at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Simmons, A.M.

    1993-01-01

    The U.S. concept for permanent disposal of high-level radioactive waste resembles those of other countries in that it relies upon burial in a deep geologic medium. This concept relies upon multiple barriers to retard transport of radionuclides to the accessible environment; those barriers consist of the waste form, waste container, engineered barrier system (including possible backfill) and retardant properties of the host rock. Because mobilization of radionuclides is fundamentally a geochemical problem, an understanding of past, present, and future geochemical processes is a requisite part of site characterization studies conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Geochemical information is needed for evaluating three favorable conditions (the rates of geochemical processes, conditions that promote precipitation or sorption of radionuclides or prohibit formation of colloids, and stable mineral assemblages) and four potentially adverse conditions of the site (groundwater conditions that could increase the chemical reactivity of the engineered barried system or reduce sorption, potential for gaseous radionuclide movement, and oxidizing groundwaters) for key issues of radionuclide release, groundwater quality, and stability of the geochemical environment. Preliminary results of long-term heating experiments indicate that although zeolites can be modified by long-term, low temperature reactions, their beneficial sorptive properties will not be adversely affected. Mineral reactions will be controlled by the aqueous activity of silica in groundwater with which the minerals are in contact. Geochemical barriers alone may satisfy release requirements to the accessible environment for many radionuclides; however, additional site specific geochemical and mineralogical data are needed to test existing and future radionuclide transport models

  15. Ventilation design for Yucca Mountain Exploratory Studies Facility

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Jurani, R.S.

    1995-01-01

    Yucca Mountain, located in Southern Nevada approximately 160 km northwest of Las Vegas, is currently the site of intensive surface-based and underground investigations. The investigations are required to determine if the site is suitable for long term isolation of the Nation's high level nuclear waste inventory. A major component of the program is the Exploratory Studies Facility, or ESF. The ESF, when completed, will consist of approximately 25,600 meters of tunnels and drifts. The network of tunnels and drifts will house and support a wide array of testing programs conceived to provide physical information about the site. Information on geologic, geomechanical, and hydrologic data will be used in the repository design if the site is found suitable. Besides a few special requirements, the general ESF ventilation criteria during construction are similar to that of commercial tunneling and mining operations. The minimum air velocity at the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) and other active mining faces is 0.51 meter per second (m/s) (100 feet per minute [fpm]). Airways, estimated leakages and ventilation controls are converted into equivalent resistances for input to mine ventilation network computer simulations. VNETPC Version 3.1 computer software is used to generate the ventilation models for optimized system design and component selection. Subsequently, actual performance of the ventilation system will be verified and validated to comply with applicable nuclear regulatory quality assurance requirements. Dust control in the ESF is dependent on effective dust collection, enclosure, and airflow dilution. Minimum use of water, as feasible, is necessary to avoid adding moisture to the potential repository horizon. The limitation of water use for test drilling and TBM operation, and the rigid compliance with applicable federal and state regulations, make the ESF a ventilation design challenge

  16. Secondary plant succession on disturbed sites at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Angerer, J.P.; Ostler, W.K.; Gabbert, W.D.; Schultz, B.W.

    1994-12-01

    This report presents the results of a study of secondary plant succession on disturbed sites created during initial site investigations in the late 1970s and early 1980s at Yucca Mountain, NV. Specific study objectives were to determine the rate and success of secondary plant succession, identify plant species found in disturbances that may be suitable for site-specific reclamation, and to identify environmental variables that influence succession on disturbed sites. During 1991 and 1992, fifty seven disturbed sites were located. Vegetation parameters, disturbance characteristics and environmental variables were measured at each site. Disturbed site vegetation parameters were compared to that of undisturbed sites to determine the status of disturbed site plant succession. Vegetation on disturbed sites, after an average of ten years, was different from undisturbed areas. Ambrosia dumosa, Chrysothamnus teretifolius, Hymenoclea salsola, Gutierrezia sarothrae, Atriplex confertifolia, Atriplex canescens, and Stephanomeria pauciflora were the most dominant species across all disturbed sites. With the exception of A. dumosa, these species were generally minor components of the undisturbed vegetation. Elevation, soil compaction, soil potassium, and amounts of sand and gravel in the soil were found to be significant environmental variables influencing the species composition and abundance of perennial plants on disturbed sites. The recovery rate for disturbed site secondary succession was estimated. Using a linear function (which would represent optimal conditions), the recovery rate for perennial plant cover, regardless of which species comprised the cover, was estimated to be 20 years. However, when a logarithmic function (which would represent probable conditions) was used, the recovery rate was estimated to be 845 years. Recommendations for future studies and site-specific reclamation of disturbances are presented

  17. Secondary plant succession on disturbed sites at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Angerer, J.P.; Ostler, W.K.; Gabbert, W.D.; Schultz, B.W.

    1994-12-01

    This report presents the results of a study of secondary plant succession on disturbed sites created during initial site investigations in the late 1970s and early 1980s at Yucca Mountain, NV. Specific study objectives were to determine the rate and success of secondary plant succession, identify plant species found in disturbances that may be suitable for site-specific reclamation, and to identify environmental variables that influence succession on disturbed sites. During 1991 and 1992, fifty seven disturbed sites were located. Vegetation parameters, disturbance characteristics and environmental variables were measured at each site. Disturbed site vegetation parameters were compared to that of undisturbed sites to determine the status of disturbed site plant succession. Vegetation on disturbed sites, after an average of ten years, was different from undisturbed areas. Ambrosia dumosa, Chrysothamnus teretifolius, Hymenoclea salsola, Gutierrezia sarothrae, Atriplex confertifolia, Atriplex canescens, and Stephanomeria pauciflora were the most dominant species across all disturbed sites. With the exception of A. dumosa, these species were generally minor components of the undisturbed vegetation. Elevation, soil compaction, soil potassium, and amounts of sand and gravel in the soil were found to be significant environmental variables influencing the species composition and abundance of perennial plants on disturbed sites. The recovery rate for disturbed site secondary succession was estimated. Using a linear function (which would represent optimal conditions), the recovery rate for perennial plant cover, regardless of which species comprised the cover, was estimated to be 20 years. However, when a logarithmic function (which would represent probable conditions) was used, the recovery rate was estimated to be 845 years. Recommendations for future studies and site-specific reclamation of disturbances are presented.

  18. Calcite/opal deposits at Yucca Mountain, Nevada: Pedogenic or hypogene?

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hill, C.A.; Schluter, C.M.; Harmon, R.S.

    1994-01-01

    This study is part of the research program of the Yucca Mountain Project intended to provide the State of Nevada with a detailed assessment of the geology and geochemistry of Yucca Mountain and adjacent regions. The purpose of this paper is to consider all of the geological and geochemical data available for the calcite/opal deposits at Yucca Mountain and to ascertain whether this data favors a pedogenic or hyogene origin for these deposits. Far from being of esoteric concern, this subject is of paramount importance to the debate which rages around the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a high-level radioactive waste repository site. It is also the purpose of this paper to serve as a foundation for a lengthy feature article to be submitted for publication in 1994. In addition, a stand has been taken by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences against the upwelling-water model (a vote of 17 to 0 against), and this same panel report has concluded that open-quotes there is no compelling evidence for the repetitive flooding of the environment by expulsion of groundwaterclose quotes and that open-quotes instead, the evidence strongly supports the idea that the near-surface mineral deposits resulted from percolating rainwater, which carried soil minerals down into rock fracturesclose quotes. Based on such information the Department of Energy has stated that it open-quotes finds no basis to continue to study the origin of these specific depositsclose quotes. This study, based upon many different independent lines of evidence, reaches the opposite conclusion and instead favors a hypogene spring-travertine origin for the controversial calcite/opal deposits at Yucca Mountain. This study recognizes a pedogenic carbonate component at Yucca Mountain, but argues that this component is distinct from, and sometimes intermixed with, the calcite/opal deposits

  19. Independent management and financial review, Yucca Mountain Project, Nevada. Final report

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1995-01-01

    The Yucca Mountain Project is one part of the Department of Energy's Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management Program (the Program) which was established by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, and as amended in 1987. The Program's goal is to site the nation's first geologic repository for the permanent disposal of high-level nuclear waste, in the form of spent fuel rod assemblies, generated by the nuclear power industry and a smaller quantity of Government radioactive waste. The Program, which also encompasses the transportation system and the multipurpose canister system was not the subject of this Report. The subject of this Review was only the Yucca Mountain Project in Nevada. While the Review was directed toward the Yucca Mountain Project rather than the Program as a whole, there are certain elements of the Project which cannot be addressed except through discussion of some Program issues. An example is the Total System Life Cycle Cost addressed in Section 7 of this report. Where Program issues are discussed in this Report, the reader is reminded of the scope limitations of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) contract to review only the Yucca Mountain Project. The primary scope of the Review was to respond to the specific criteria contained in the NARUC scope of work. In responding to these criteria, the Review Team understood that some interested parties have expressed concern over the requirements of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act relative to the Yucca Mountain Project and the nature of activities currently being carried out by the Department of Energy at the Yucca Mountain Project site. The Review Team has attempted to analyze relevant portions of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act as Amended, but has not conducted a thorough analysis of this legislation that could lead to any specific legal conclusions about all aspects of it

  20. Independent management and financial review, Yucca Mountain Project, Nevada. Final report

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    1995-07-15

    The Yucca Mountain Project is one part of the Department of Energy`s Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management Program (the Program) which was established by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, and as amended in 1987. The Program`s goal is to site the nation`s first geologic repository for the permanent disposal of high-level nuclear waste, in the form of spent fuel rod assemblies, generated by the nuclear power industry and a smaller quantity of Government radioactive waste. The Program, which also encompasses the transportation system and the multipurpose canister system was not the subject of this Report. The subject of this Review was only the Yucca Mountain Project in Nevada. While the Review was directed toward the Yucca Mountain Project rather than the Program as a whole, there are certain elements of the Project which cannot be addressed except through discussion of some Program issues. An example is the Total System Life Cycle Cost addressed in Section 7 of this report. Where Program issues are discussed in this Report, the reader is reminded of the scope limitations of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) contract to review only the Yucca Mountain Project. The primary scope of the Review was to respond to the specific criteria contained in the NARUC scope of work. In responding to these criteria, the Review Team understood that some interested parties have expressed concern over the requirements of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act relative to the Yucca Mountain Project and the nature of activities currently being carried out by the Department of Energy at the Yucca Mountain Project site. The Review Team has attempted to analyze relevant portions of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act as Amended, but has not conducted a thorough analysis of this legislation that could lead to any specific legal conclusions about all aspects of it.

  1. Numerical analysis of thermal-hydrological conditions in the single heater test at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Birkholzer, Jens T.; Tsang, Yvonne W.

    1998-01-01

    The Single Heater Test (SHT) is one of two in-situ thermal tests included in the site characterization program for the potential underground nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. The heating phase of the SHT started in August 1996, and was completed in May 1997 after 9 months of heating. The coupled processes in the unsaturated fractured rock mass around the heater were monitored by numerous sensors for thermal, hydrological, mechanical and chemical data. In addition to passive monitoring, active testing of the rock mass moisture content was performed using geophysical methods and air injection testing. The extensive data set available from this test gives a unique opportunity to improve the understanding of the thermal-hydrological situation in the natural setting of the repository rocks. The present paper focuses on the 3-D numerical simulation of the thermal-hydrological processes in the SHT using TOUGH2. In the comparative analysis, they are particularly interested in the accuracy of different fracture-matrix-interaction concepts such as the Effective Continuum (ECM), the Dual Continuum (DKM), and the Multiple Interacting Continua (MINC) method

  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. Natural convection in tunnels at Yucca Mountain and impact on drift seepage

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Halecky, N.; Birkholzer, J.T.; Peterson, P.

    2010-04-15

    The decay heat from radioactive waste that is to be disposed in the once proposed geologic repository at Yucca Mountain (YM) will significantly influence the moisture conditions in the fractured rock near emplacement tunnels (drifts). Additionally, large-scale convective cells will form in the open-air drifts and will serve as an important mechanism for the transport of vaporized pore water from the fractured rock in the drift center to the drift end. Such convective processes would also impact drift seepage, as evaporation could reduce the build up of liquid water at the tunnel wall. Characterizing and understanding these liquid water and vapor transport processes is critical for evaluating the performance of the repository, in terms of water-induced canister corrosion and subsequent radionuclide containment. To study such processes, we previously developed and applied an enhanced version of TOUGH2 that solves for natural convection in the drift. We then used the results from this previous study as a time-dependent boundary condition in a high-resolution seepage model, allowing for a computationally efficient means for simulating these processes. The results from the seepage model show that cases with strong natural convection effects are expected to improve the performance of the repository, since smaller relative humidity values, with reduced local seepage, form a more desirable waste package environment.

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    1995-06-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1995-06-01

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

  6. Structure in continuously cored, deep drill holes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, with notes on calcite occurrence

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Carr, W.J.

    1992-12-01

    A study of more than 22,000 feet of core from five deep drill holes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, provided data on the attitude and vertical distribution of faults and fractures, the sense of fault displacement, and the occurrence of calcite. The study was done mainly to look for evidence of fault flattening at depth, but no consistent downward decrease in dip of faults was found, and no increase in strata rotation was evident with increasing depth. In the two drill holes located near prominent faults that dip toward the holes (USW G-3 and G-2), an apparent increase in the frequency of faults occurs below the tuffs and lavas of Calico Hills. Some of this increase occurs in brittle lavas and flow breccias in the lower part of the volcanic section. In the two holes presumed to be relatively removed from the influence of important faults at depth, the vertical distribution of faults is relatively uniform. Calcite occurs mainly in two general zones, voids in welded portions of the Paintbrush Tuff, and in a deeper zone, mostly below 3,500 feet. Calcite is least abundant in USW G-4, which may reflect the fewer faults and fractures encountered in that drill hole

  7. 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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2011-02-01

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

  9. Today's Yucca mountain project and a new concept of multi-barrier system

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Xu Guoqing

    2008-01-01

    This paper mainly deals with the current status of Yucca Mountain project and the progress in study on engineering barrier in Belgium and introduces the future plan for Yucca Mountain project, two reports on draft supplemental environmental impact statement, and the view of New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama during the 2008 president elections related to the building a nuclear waste repository in Nevada. In order to enhance the security of geological disposal of high-level radioactive waste, a new concept about multi-barrier system is given by Belgium and is concisely described here. (authors)

  10. 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

  11. Applications of in situ cosmogenic nuclides in the geologic site characterization of Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gosse, J.C.; Harrington, C.D.

    1995-01-01

    The gradual buildup of rare isotopes from interactions between cosmic rays and atoms in an exposed rock provides a new method of directly determining the exposure age of rock surfaces. The cosmogenic nuclide method can also provide constraints on erosion rates and the length of time surface exposure was interrupted by burial. Numerous successful applications of the technique have been imperative to the complete surface geologic characterization of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, a potential high level nuclear waste repository. In this short paper, we summarize the cosmogenic nuclide method and describe with examples some the utility of the technique in geologic site characterization. We report preliminary results from our ongoing work at Yucca Mountain

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    2011-02-15

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

  13. Yucca Mountain, Nevada - A Proposed Geologic Repository for High-Level Radioactive Waste (Volume 1) Introduction

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    R.A. Levich; J.S. Stuckless

    2006-01-01

    Yucca Mountain in Nevada represents the proposed solution to what has been a lengthy national effort to dispose of high-level radioactive waste, waste which must be isolated from the biosphere for tens of thousands of years. This chapter reviews the background of that national effort and includes some discussion of international work in order to provide a more complete framework for the problem of waste disposal. Other chapters provide the regional geologic setting, the geology of the Yucca Mountain site, the tectonics, and climate (past, present, and future). These last two chapters are integral to prediction of long-term waste isolation

  14. Site environmental report for calendar year 1996: Yucca Mountain site, Nye County, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1997-11-01

    The environmental program established by the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Office (YMSCO) has been designed and implemented to protect, maintain, and restore environmental quality, minimize potential threats to the environment and the public, and comply with environmental policies and US Department of Energy (DOE) Orders. In accordance with DOE Order 5400.1, General Environmental Protection Program (DOE, 1990a), to be superseded by DOE Order 231.1 (under review), the status of the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project (YMP) environmental program has been summarized in this annual Site Environmental Report (SER) to characterize performance, document compliance with environmental requirements, and highlight significant programs and efforts during calendar year 1996

  15. Los Alamos National Laboratory Yucca Mountain Project Publications (1979-1996)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ruhala, E.R.; Klein, S.H.

    1997-06-01

    This over-350 title publication list reflects the accomplishments of Los Alamos Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project researchers, who, since 1979, have been conducting multidisciplinary research to help determine if Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is a suitable site for a high-level waste repository. The titles can be accessed in two ways: by year, beginning with 1996 and working back to 1979, and by subject area: mineralogy/petrology/geology, volcanism, radionuclide solubility/ground-water chemistry; radionuclide sorption and transport; modeling/validation/field studies; summary/status reports, and quality assurance

  16. Los Alamos National Laboratory Yucca Mountain Project publications (1979--1994)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bowker, L.M.; Espinosa, M.L.; Klein, S.H.

    1995-11-01

    This over-300 title publication list reflects the accomplishments of Los Alamos Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project researchers, who, since 1979, have been conducting multidisciplinary research to help determine if Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is a suitable site for a high-level waste repository. The titles can be accessed in two ways: by year, beginning with 1994 and working back to 1979, and by subject area: mineralogy/petrology/geology, volcanism, radionuclide solubility/groundwater chemistry; radionuclide sorption and transport; modeling/validation/field studies; summary/status reports, and quality assurance

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1989-01-01

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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. Yucca Mountain, Nevada - A Proposed Geologic Repository for High-Level Radioactive Waste (Volume 1) Introduction

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    R.A. Levich; J.S. Stuckless

    2006-09-25

    Yucca Mountain in Nevada represents the proposed solution to what has been a lengthy national effort to dispose of high-level radioactive waste, waste which must be isolated from the biosphere for tens of thousands of years. This chapter reviews the background of that national effort and includes some discussion of international work in order to provide a more complete framework for the problem of waste disposal. Other chapters provide the regional geologic setting, the geology of the Yucca Mountain site, the tectonics, and climate (past, present, and future). These last two chapters are integral to prediction of long-term waste isolation.

  1. Evaluation of copper, aluminum bronze, and copper-nickel for YMP [Yucca Mountain Project] container material

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kass, J.N.

    1989-05-01

    In this presentation, I will discuss our evaluation of the materials copper, 7% aluminum bronze, and 70/30 copper-nickel. These are three of the six materials currently under consideration as potential waste-packaging materials. I should mention that we are also considering alternatives to these six materials. This work is part of the Yucca Mountain Project (YMP), formerly known as the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations (NNWSI) Project. The expected-case environment in our proposed vault is quite different from that encountered at the WIPP site or that expected in a Canadian vault. Our proposed site is under a desert mountain, Yucca Mountain, in southern Nevada. The repository itself will be located approximately 700 feet above the water table and 300 to 1200 feet below the surface of the mountain. The variations in these numbers are due to the variations in mountain topography

  2. Stochastic hydrogeologic units and hydrogeologic properties development for total-system performance assessments. Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Schenker, A.R.; Guerin, D.C.; Robey, T.H.; Rautman, C.A.; Barnard, R.W.

    1995-09-01

    A stochastic representation of the lithologic units and associated hydrogeologic parameters of the potential high-level nuclear waste repository are developed for use in performance-assessment calculations, including the Total-System Performance Assessment for Yucca Mountain-SNL Second Iteration (TSPA-1993). A simplified lithologic model has been developed based on the physical characteristics of the welded and nonwelded units at Yucca Mountain. Ten hydrogeologic units are developed from site-specific data (lithologic and geophysical logs and core photographs) obtained from the unsaturated and saturated zones. The three-dimensional geostatistical model of the ten hydrogeologic units is based on indicator-coding techniques and improves on the two-dimensional model developed for TSPA91. The hydrogeologic properties (statistics and probability distribution functions) are developed from the results of laboratory tests and in-situ aquifer tests or are derived through fundamental relationships. Hydrogeologic properties for matrix properties, bulk conductivities, and fractures are developed from existing site specific data. Extensive data are available for matrix porosity, bulk density, and matrix saturated conductivity. For other hydrogeologic properties, the data are minimal or nonexistent. Parameters for the properties are developed as beta probability distribution functions. For the model units without enough data for analysis, parameters are developed as analogs to existing units. A relational, analytic approach coupled with bulk conductivity parameters is used to develop fracture parameters based on the smooth-wall-parallel-plate theory. An analytic method is introduced for scaling small-core matrix properties to the hydrogeologic unit scales

  3. 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

  4. Examination of the use of continuum versus discontinuum models for design and performance assessment for the Yucca Mountain site

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Board, M.

    1989-08-01

    This report examines the use of continuum and discontinuum numerical methods for analysis of the thermomechanical response of the rock mass at Yucca Mountain. Continuum numerical methods consider the rock to be a solid, unfractured body, whereas the discontinuum method is formulated specifically to account for the effects of discrete fractures. The fractures within the rock introduce overall non-linear material response due to slip and separation of rock blocks. Continuum models attempt to simulate this response through the use of non-linear constitutive laws. Discontinuum methods attempt to simulate the true response of the rock mass by correctly modeling the behavior of the joints as well as the deformability of the intact rock blocks. It is shown that, as the joint spacing, s, becomes small with respect to the size of the excavations, the behavior of the jointed rock approaches that of a solid with a form of elasto-plastic constitutive behavior. It is concluded that a continuum model with a form of ''ubiquitous'' or ''compliant joint'' plasticity law is probably sufficient for analysis of the thermomechanical response of excavations in welded tuff. However, one of the questions concerning Yucca Mountain which remains is the effect of fault structures on the stability performance of the repository, particularly under thermal and dynamic loads. Here, a true discontinuum approach seems necessary. 45 refs., 42 figs., 4 tabs

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2006-01-01

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

  6. 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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1994-01-01

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

  8. The impact of repository heat on thermo-hydrological performance at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1993-09-01

    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 a waste package (WP), accelerate its failure rate, and eventually transport radionuclides to the water table. These analyses have demonstrated that the only significant source of liquid water is nonequilibrium fracture flow from: (1) meteoric sources, (2) condensate drainage generated under boiling conditions, and (3) condensate drainage generated under sub-boiling conditions. The first source of liquid water arises from the ambient system; the second and third sources are generated by repository heat. Buoyant vapor flow, occurring either on a sub-repository scale or on a mountain scale, may play an important role in the generation of the second and third sources of liquid water. By considering a wide range in bulk permeability, k b , the authors identify the threshold k b (called k b hyd ) at which buoyant, vapor convection begins to dominate hydrological behavior, and the threshold k b (called k b th ) at which this convection begins to dominate thermal behavior. They find that k b th is generally an order of magnitude larger than k b hyd and that the development of a large above-boiling zone suppresses the effects of buoyant vapor flow. Of particular concern are conditions that promote the focusing of vapor flow and condensate drainage, which could result in persistent two-phase conditions (often referred to as the heat-pipe effect) in the vicinity of WPs. The results of this study underscore the need for in situ heater tests to help diagnose the potential for the major repository-heat-driven sources of fracture flow

  9. 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

    One-dimensional and two-dimensional radial flow numerical models were used to evaluate the results for a 60.5 h ponded infiltration experiment done around a 24 m deep, 0.15 m diameter, cased borehole at Yucca Mountain, NV. Nine distinct morphological horizons in the soil profile has been identified; physical and hydraulic properties had been measured for each horizon; and a porosity profile at the borehole had been measured. During the infiltration experiment, 10 cm of water was ponded in a 3.5 m diameter infiltrometer around the borehole, the volume of water applied was measured, and water content profiles were measured with a neutron moisture meter. The infiltrometer applied 86.9 cm of water during the first 60.5 h of infiltration, but only 52.8 cm of additional water was measured in the borehole profiles. Assuming a linear relationship between cumulative infiltration (I) and the square root of time (t 0.5 ), an experimental sorptivity of 11.5 cm h -1 was estimated for the first 4.5 h of infiltration. An assumed washout zone around the borehole casing accounted for the discrepancy between the measured water content profiles and the applied water. A uniform property, 1-D model with an applied flux upper boundary described by the sorptivity confirmed the probable washout zone, and indicated that significant lateral flow into the dry soil around the infiltrometer could occur. A 2-D radial flow model with the same properties and upper boundary demonstrated that significant lateral flow occurred. The upper boundary in this model caused the upper portion of the profile to drain. This suggested using a saturated upper boundary to keep the upper portion of the profile saturated. When the saturated upper boundary was used, the permeability of the soil was decreased from the measured value of 3.28 E-11 m 2 to 1.5E-12 m 2 so that the simulated wetting front at a similar depth as the observed wetting front after 60.5 h

  10. ASH REDISTRIBUTION FOLLOWING A POTENTIAL VOLCANIC ERUPTION AT YUCCA MOUNTAIN

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    J. Pelletier; S. deLong; M.L. Cline; C. Harrington; G. Keating

    2005-01-01

    The redistribution of contaminated tephra by hillslope, fluvial, and pedologic processes is a poorly-constrained but important aspect of evaluating the radiological dose from an unlikely volcanic eruption at Yucca Mountain (YM). To better evaluate this hazard, we developed a spatially distributed, numerical model of tephra redistribution that integrates contaminated tephra from hill slopes and active channels, mixes it with clean sediment in the channel system, distributes it on the fan, and migrates it into the soil column. The model is coupled with an atmospheric dispersion model that predicts the deposition of radioactive waste-contaminated tephra at specified grid points. The redistribution model begins in the upper Fortymile Wash drainage basin where it integrates the tephra deposited on steep slopes and active channel beds within a GIS framework. The Fortymile Wash drainage basin is the focus of this model because tephra from only this basin reaches the Fortymile Wash alluvial fan by fluvial processes, and it is on this fan where the radiological dose to a hypothetical individual is compared to the regulatory standard (via additional biosphere models). The dilution effect of flood scour, mixing, and re-deposition within the upper basin is modeled using a dilution-mixing model widely used in the contaminant-transport literature. The accuracy of this model is established by comparing the model prediction with tephra concentrations measured in channels draining the Lathrop Wells volcanic center. The model combines the contaminated tephra transported from the upper basin with the tephra deposited directly on the fan as primary fallout. On the Fortymile Wash fan, channels and interchannel-divide areas are divided on the basis of soil-geomorphic mapping according to whether they are Holocene or Pleistocene in age. This approach allows the model to incorporate the effects of channel migration on the fan within the past 10,000 yr. The model treats the redistribution

  11. Seismicity in the Vicinity of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, for the Period October 1, 2004 to September 30, 2006

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Smith, Ken

    2007-01-01

    This report describes earthquake activity within approximately 65 km of Yucca Mountain site during the October 1, 2004 to September 30, 2006 time period (FY05-06). The FY05-06 earthquake activity will be compared with the historical and more recent period of seismic activity in the Yucca Mountain region. The relationship between the distribution of seismicity and active faults, historical patterns of activity, and rates of earthquakes (number of events and their magnitudes) are important components in the assessment of the seismic hazard for the Yucca Mountain site. Since October 1992 the University of Nevada has compiled a catalog of earthquakes in the Yucca Mountain area. Seismicity reports have identified notable earthquake activity, provided interpretations of the seismotectonics of the region, and documented changes in the character of earthquake activity based on nearly 30 years of site-characterization monitoring. Data from stations in the seismic network in the vicinity of Yucca Mountain is collected and managed at the Nevada Seismological Laboratory (NSL) at the University of Nevada Reno (UNR). Earthquake events are systematically identified and cataloged under Implementing Procedures developed in compliance with the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Quality Assurance Program. The earthquake catalog for FY05-06 in the Yucca Mountain region submitted to the Yucca Mountain Technical Data Management System (TDMS) forms the basis of this report

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Maldonado, F.; Koether, S.L.

    1983-01-01

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

  13. 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

  14. Los Alamos National Laboratory Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project 1995 quality program status report

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bolivar, S.L.

    1996-07-01

    This status report summarizes the activities and accomplishments of the Los Alamos National Laboratory Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project's (YMP's) quality assurance program for January 1 to September 30, 1995. The report includes major sections on program activities and trend analysis

  15. Important parameters in the performance of a potential repository at Yucca Mountain (TSPA-1995)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Atkins, J.E.; Sevougian, S.D.; Lee, J.H.; Andrews, R.W.; McNeish, J.A.

    1996-01-01

    A total system performance assessment (TSPA) was conducted to determine how a potential repository at Yucca Mountain would behave. Using the results of this TSPA, regression was done to determine which parameters had the most important effect on the repository performance. These results were consistent with the current conceptual understanding of the repository

  16. Environmental assessment: Yucca Mountain site, Nevada research and development area, Nevada; Volume 3

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    1986-05-01

    In February 1983, the US Department of Energy (DOE) identified the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada as one of nine potentially acceptable sites for a mined geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. The site is in the Great Basin, which is one of five distinct geohydrologic settings considered for the first repository. To determine their suitability, the Yucca Mountain site and the eight other potentially acceptable sites have been evaluated in accordance with the DOE`s General Guidelines for the Recommendation of Sites for the Nuclear Waste Repositories. These evaluations were reported in draft environmental assessments (EAs), which were issued for public review and comment. After considering the comments received on the draft EAs, the DOE prepared the final EAs. On the basis of the evaluations reported in this EA, the DOE has found that the Yucca Mountain site is not disqualified under the guidelines. The DOE has also found that it is suitable for site characterization because the evidence does not support a conclusion that the site will not be able to meet each of the qualifying conditions specified in the guidelines. On the basis of these findings, the DOE is nominating the Yucca Mountain site as one of five sites suitable for characterization.

  17. Application of QA grading to Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project items and activities

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Murthy, R.B.; Smith, S.C.

    1991-01-01

    Grading is the act of selecting the quality assurance (QA) measures necessary to develop and maintain confidence in the quality of an item or activity. The list of QA measures from which this selection is made are the 20 criteria of the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project Quality Assurance Requirements Document

  18. Development of rail access to the proposed repository site at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Standish, P.N.; Seidler, P.E.; Andrews, W.B.; Shearin, G.

    1991-01-01

    In accordance with the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendment Act of 1987, Yucca Mountain was designated as the initial site to be investigated as a potential repository for the disposal of high-level radioactive waste. The Yucca Mountain site is an undeveloped area located on the southwestern edge of the Nevada Test Site (NTS), about 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas. The site currently lacks rail service or an existing right-of-way. If the Yucca Mountain site is found suitable for the repository, rail service is considered desirable by the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM) program because of the potential of rail transportation to reduce (1) costs and (2) number of shipments, relative to highway transportation. Therefore, it is necessary to conduct a study to determine (1) that there are alignments for a potential rail line from existing mainline railroads to Yucca Mountain and (2) that these are consistent with present rail design standards and are acceptable relative to environmental and land access considerations

  19. Los Alamos National Laboratory Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project 1995 quality program status report

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bolivar, S.L.

    1996-07-01

    This status report summarizes the activities and accomplishments of the Los Alamos National Laboratory Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project`s (YMP`s) quality assurance program for January 1 to September 30, 1995. The report includes major sections on program activities and trend analysis.

  20. Yucca Mountain Biological Resources Monitoring Program. Progress report, January 1994--December 1994

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1995-07-01

    The US Department of Energy (DOE) is required by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (as amended in 1987) to study and characterize the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a potential geological repository for high-level nuclear waste. During site characterization, the DOE will conduct a variety of geotechnical, geochemical, geological, and hydrological studies to determine the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a potential repository. To ensure that site characterization activities do not adversely affect the environment at Yucca Mountain, a program has been implemented to monitor and mitigate potential impacts and ensure activities comply with applicable environmental regulations. This report describes the activities and accomplishments of EG and G Energy Measurements, Inc. (EG and G/EM) from January 1994 through December 1994 for six program areas within the Terrestrial Ecosystem component of the environmental program for the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project (YMP): Site Characterization Effects, Desert Tortoises (Gopherus agassizii), Habitat Reclamation, Monitoring and Mitigation, Radiological Monitoring, and Biological Support

  1. Alternative strategies: A means for saving money and time on the Yucca Mountain Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wilder, D.G.

    1993-01-01

    The United States Department of Energy (DOE) is undertaking studies to determine the suitability of Yucca Mountain (YM) as a potential site for disposal of high level nuclear waste. Yucca Mountain is located in an arid environment. Many processes that could contribute to mobilization of radionuclides are either absent or minimized in a dry site. Therefore, Yucca Mountain should have the potential of being a veryfavorable site for disposal of waste. The determination of suitability has no precedence, and the characterization of an and site is complex, requiring intensive studies to determine suitability. The studies undertaken by the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project (YMP) are very costly. By a process called performance allocation, the YMP determined strategies to satisfy regulations or meet performance while minimizing costs and schedules. Those involved recognized that allocations should be reviewed as additional information became available. The allocation has not been reviewed nor revised since the initial allocation in the Site Characterization Plan (SCP). The purpose of this paper is to outline alternative allocations that the author feels should be considered based on the additional information that is available at this time

  2. An overview of the Yucca Mountain Global/Regional Climate Modeling Program

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sandoval, R.P.; Behl, Y.K.; Thompson, S.L.

    1992-01-01

    The US Department of Energy (DOE) has developed a site characterization plan (SCP) to collect detailed information on geology, geohydrology, geochemistry, geoengineering, hydrology, climate, and meteorology (collectively referred to as ''geologic information'') of the Yucca Mountain site. This information will be used to determine if a mined geologic disposal system (MGDS) capable of isolating high-level radioactive waste without adverse effects to public health and safety over 10,000 years, as required by regulations 40 CFR Part 191 and 10 CFR Part 60, could be constructed at the Yucca Mountain site. Forecasts of future climates conditions for the Yucca Mountain area will be based on both empirical and numerical techniques. The empirical modeling is based on the assumption that future climate change will follow past patterns. In this approach, paleclimate records will be analyzed to estimate the nature, timing, and probability of occurrence of certain climate states such as glacials and interglacials over the next 10,000 years. For a given state, key climate parameters such as precipitation and temperature will be assumed to be the same as determined from the paleoclimate data. The numerical approach, which is the primary focus of this paper, involves the numerical solution of basic equations associated with atmospheric motions. This paper describes these equations and the strategy for solving them to predict future climate conditions around Yucca Mountain

  3. Viability Assessment of a Repository at Yucca Mountain. Volume 1: Introduction and Site Characteristics

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    None

    1998-12-01

    This first volume contains an introduction to the viability assessment, including the purpose, scope, waste forms, technical challenges, an historical perspective, regulatory framework, management of the repository, technical components, preparations for the license application, and repository milestones after the assessment. The second part of this first volume addresses characteristics of the Yucca Mountain site.

  4. DOE's Yucca Mountain studies: What are they? Why are they being done?

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1990-12-01

    This booklet is about the disposal of high-level nuclear waste in the United States. It is intended for readers who do not have a technical background. It discusses why scientists and engineers think high-level nuclear waste may be disposed of safely underground. It also describes why Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is being studied and provides basic information about those studies

  5. Rainfall and net infiltration probabilities for future climate conditions at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Long, A.; Childs, S.W.

    1993-01-01

    Performance assessment of repository integrity is a task rendered difficult because it requires predicting the future. This challenge has occupied many scientists who realize that the best assessments are required to maximize the probability of successful repository sitting and design. As part of a performance assessment effort directed by the EPRI, the authors have used probabilistic methods to assess the magnitude and timing of net infiltration at Yucca Mountain. A mathematical model for net infiltration previously published incorporated a probabilistic treatment of climate, surface hydrologic processes and a mathematical model of the infiltration process. In this paper, we present the details of the climatological analysis. The precipitation model is event-based, simulating characteristics of modern rainfall near Yucca Mountain, then extending the model to most likely values for different degrees of pluvial climates. Next the precipitation event model is fed into a process-based infiltration model that considers spatial variability in parameters relevant to net infiltration of Yucca Mountain. The model predicts that average annual net infiltration at Yucca Mountain will range from a mean of about 1 mm under present climatic conditions to a mean of at least 2.4 mm under full glacial (pluvial) conditions. Considerable variations about these means are expected to occur from year-to-year

  6. Literature review and ethnohistory of Native American occupancy and use of the Yucca Mountain Region

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Stoffle, R.W.; Olmsted, J.E.; Evans, M.J.

    1990-01-01

    This report presents a review of the literature concerning Native American occupancy and use of the Yucca Mountain area and vicinity. It draws on a wide range of material, including early traveler reports, government documents, ethnographic and historical works, and local newspapers. The report complements two other concurrent studies, one focused on the cultural resources of Native American people in the study area and the other an ethnobotanical study of plant resources used by Native American people in the study area. The literature review has had two principal purposes: to determine the completeness of the Yucca Mountain Native American study design and to contribute to the understanding of the presence of Native American people in the Yucca Mountain area. A review of the existing literature about the Yucca Mountain area and southern Nye County, supplemented by the broader literature about the Great Basin, has verified three aspects of the study design. First, the review has aided in assessing the completeness of the list of Native American ethnic groups that have traditional or historical ties to the site. Second, it has aided in the production of a chronology of Native American activities that occurred on or near the site during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Third, it has helped to identify the location of cultural resources, including burials and other archaeological sites, in the study area and vicinity. 200 refs., 16 figs., 6 tabs

  7. Modeling Temporal-Spatial Earthquake and Volcano Clustering at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    T. Parsons; G.A. Thompson; A.H. Cogbill

    2006-01-01

    The proposed national high-level nuclear repository at Yucca Mountain is close to Quaternary faults and cinder cones. The frequency of these events is low, with indications of spatial and temporal clustering, making probabilistic assessments difficult. In an effort to identify the most likely intrusion sites, we based a 3D finite element model on the expectation that faulting and basalt intrusions are primarily sensitive to the magnitude and orientation of the least principal stress in extensional terranes. We found that in the absence of fault slip, variation in overburden pressure caused a stress state that preferentially favored intrusions at Crater Flat. However, when we allowed central Yucca Mountain faults to slip in the model, we found that magmatic clustering was not favored at Crater Flat or in the central Yucca Mountain block. Instead, we calculated that the stress field was most encouraging to intrusions near fault terminations, consistent with the location of the most recent volcanism at Yucca Mountain, the Lathrop Wells cone. We found this linked fault and magmatic system to be mutually reinforcing in the model in that dike inflation favored renewed fault slip

  8. Los Alamos National Laboratory Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project: 1991 quality program status report

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1992-07-01

    This status report summarizes the activities and accomplishments of the Los Alamos National Laboratory (Los Alamos) Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project's (YMP) quality assurance program for calendar year 1991. The report is divided into three Sections: Program Activities, Verification Activities, and Trend Analysis

  9. Environmental assessment: Yucca Mountain site, Nevada research and development area, Nevada; Volume 1

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    1986-05-01

    In February 1983, the US Department of Energy (DOE) identified the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada as one of nine potentially acceptable sites for a mined geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel and high- level radioactive waste. The site is in the Great Basin, which is one of five distinct geohydrologic settings considered for the first repository. To determine their suitability, the Yucca Mountain site and the eight other potentially acceptable sites have been evaluated in accordance with the DOE`s General Guideline for the Recommendation of Sites for the Nuclear Waste Repositories. These evaluations were reported in draft environmental assessments (EA), which were issued for public review and comment. After considering the comments received on the draft EAs, the DOE prepared the final EAs. On the basis of the evaluations reported in this EA, the DOE found that the Yucca Mountain site is not disqualified under the guidelines. The DOE has also found that it is suitable for site characterization because the evidence does not support a conclusion that the site will not be able to meet each of the qualifying conditions specified in the guidelines. On the basis of these findings, the DOE is nominating the Yucca Mountain site as of five sites suitable for characterization.

  10. Environmental assessment: Yucca Mountain Site, Nevada Research and Development Area, Nevada; Volume 2

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    1986-05-01

    In February 1983, the US Department of Energy (DOE) identified the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada as one of nine potentially acceptable sites for a mined geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. The site is in the Great Basin, which is one of five distinct geohydrologic settings considered for the first repository. To determine their suitability, the Yucca Mountain site and the eight other potentially acceptable sites have been evaluated in accordance with the DOE`s General Guidelines for the Recommendation of Sites for the Nuclear Waste Repositories. These evaluations were reported in draft environmental assessments (EAs), which were issued for public review and comment. After considering the comments received on the draft EAs, the DOE prepared the final EAs. On the basis of the evaluations reported in this EA, the DOE has found that the Yucca Mountain site is not disqualified under the guidelines. The DOE has also found that is is suitable for site characterization because the evidence does not support a conclusion that the site will not be able to meet each of the qualifying conditions specified in the guidelines. On the basis of these findings, the DOE is nominating the Yucca Mountain site as one of five sites suitable for characterization.

  11. Environmental assessment: Yucca Mountain site, Nevada research and development area, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1986-05-01

    In February 1983, the US Department of Energy (DOE) identified the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada as one of nine potentially acceptable sites for a mined geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. The site is in the Great Basin, which is one of five distinct geohydrologic settings considered for the first repository. To determine their suitability, the Yucca Mountain site and the eight other potentially acceptable sites have been evaluated in accordance with the DOE's General Guidelines for the Recommendation of Sites for the Nuclear Waste Repositories. These evaluations were reported in draft environmental assessments (EAs), which were issued for public review and comment. After considering the comments received on the draft EAs, the DOE prepared the final EAs. On the basis of the evaluations reported in this EA, the DOE has found that the Yucca Mountain site is not disqualified under the guidelines. The DOE has also found that it is suitable for site characterization because the evidence does not support a conclusion that the site will not be able to meet each of the qualifying conditions specified in the guidelines. On the basis of these findings, the DOE is nominating the Yucca Mountain site as one of five sites suitable for characterization

  12. Environmental assessment: Yucca Mountain site, Nevada research and development area, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1986-05-01

    In February 1983, the US Department of Energy (DOE) identified the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada as one of nine potentially acceptable sites for a mined geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel and high- level radioactive waste. The site is in the Great Basin, which is one of five distinct geohydrologic settings considered for the first repository. To determine their suitability, the Yucca Mountain site and the eight other potentially acceptable sites have been evaluated in accordance with the DOE's General Guideline for the Recommendation of Sites for the Nuclear Waste Repositories. These evaluations were reported in draft environmental assessments (EA), which were issued for public review and comment. After considering the comments received on the draft EAs, the DOE prepared the final EAs. On the basis of the evaluations reported in this EA, the DOE found that the Yucca Mountain site is not disqualified under the guidelines. The DOE has also found that it is suitable for site characterization because the evidence does not support a conclusion that the site will not be able to meet each of the qualifying conditions specified in the guidelines. On the basis of these findings, the DOE is nominating the Yucca Mountain site as of five sites suitable for characterization

  13. Environmental assessment: Yucca Mountain Site, Nevada Research and Development Area, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1986-05-01

    In February 1983, the US Department of Energy (DOE) identified the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada as one of nine potentially acceptable sites for a mined geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. The site is in the Great Basin, which is one of five distinct geohydrologic settings considered for the first repository. To determine their suitability, the Yucca Mountain site and the eight other potentially acceptable sites have been evaluated in accordance with the DOE's General Guidelines for the Recommendation of Sites for the Nuclear Waste Repositories. These evaluations were reported in draft environmental assessments (EAs), which were issued for public review and comment. After considering the comments received on the draft EAs, the DOE prepared the final EAs. On the basis of the evaluations reported in this EA, the DOE has found that the Yucca Mountain site is not disqualified under the guidelines. The DOE has also found that is is suitable for site characterization because the evidence does not support a conclusion that the site will not be able to meet each of the qualifying conditions specified in the guidelines. On the basis of these findings, the DOE is nominating the Yucca Mountain site as one of five sites suitable for characterization

  14. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2003-12-01

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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1991-01-01

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

  17. As Yucca Mountain debate continues, industry calls for 'comprehensive' solution

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Mitev, Lubomir [NucNet, Brussels (Belgium)

    2014-12-15

    The proposed Nevada site Yucca Mountain is still the only game in town for a deep geologic repository in the US, but resolving the uncertainty that surrounds the project could still take years, making centralised temporary storage more important than ever. The nuclear industry in the US has renewed a call for 'a more comprehensive nuclear fuel management system' that includes the development of centralised temporary storage while the licensing process for a deep geologic repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada continues. Scott Peterson, senior vice-president for communications of the Washington-based Nuclear Energy Institute, told that centralised temporary storage would allow the removal of spent fuel from reactor sites, especially fr