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  1. YUCCA MOUNTAIN SITE DESCRIPTION

    SciTech Connect

    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. Yearly report, Yucca Mountain project

    SciTech Connect

    Brune, J.N.

    1992-09-30

    We proposed to (1) Develop our data logging and analysis equipment and techniques for analyzing seismic data from the Southern Great Basin Seismic Network (SGBSN), (2) Investigate the SGBSN data for evidence of seismicity patterns, depth distribution patterns, and correlations with geologic features (3) Repair and maintain our three broad band downhole digital seismograph stations at Nelson, nevada, Troy Canyon, Nevada, and Deep Springs, California (4) Install, operate, and log data from a super sensitive microearthquake array at Yucca Mountain (5) Analyze data from micro-earthquakes relative to seismic hazard at Yucca Mountain.

  3. DOE's Yucca Mountain Studies.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Department of Energy, Washington, DC.

    This booklet is about the disposal of high-level nuclear waste in the United States with a particular focus on Yucca Mountain, Nevada as a repository site. Intended for readers who do not have a technical background, the booklet discusses why scientists and engineers think high-level nuclear waste may be disposed of safely underground. An…

  4. YUCCA MOUNTAIN PROJECT - A BRIEFING --

    SciTech Connect

    NA

    2003-08-05

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

  5. Geology at Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    1993-05-01

    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.

  6. Yucca Mountain Task 4, Final report FY 1993

    SciTech Connect

    Brune, J.N.

    1993-09-30

    Four major projects at UNRSL have been supported by NWPO-Neotectonics Yucca Mountain Task 4 funds during the last year: (1) Operation and analysis of data from the UNRSL microearthquake network at Yucca Mountain. (2) Continued operation, maintenance, and calibration of three broadband stations. Limited data analysis was also initiated. (3) Continued review by Dr. Brune of documents and literature related to seismic hazard and tectonics of the Yucca Mountain region. (4) Testing of noise levels in boreholes.

  7. Microbial activity at Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    Horn, J.M.; Meike, A.

    1995-09-25

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

  8. Hydrology of Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2001-01-01

    Yucca Mountain, located in southern Nevada in the Mojave Desert, is being considered as a geologic repository for high-level radioactive waste. Although the site is arid, previous studies indicate net infiltration rates of 5-10 mm yr-1 under current climate conditions. Unsaturated flow of water through the mountain generally is vertical and rapid through the fractures of the welded tuffs and slow through the matrix of the nonwelded tuffs. The vitric-zeolitic boundary of the nonwelded tuffs below the potential repository, where it exists, causes perching and substantial lateral flow that eventually flows through faults near the eastern edge of the potential repository and recharges the underlying groundwater system. Fast pathways are located where water flows relatively quickly through the unsaturated zone to the water table. For the bulk of the water a large part of the travel time from land surface to the potential repository horizon (~300 m below land surface) is through the interlayered, low fracture density, nonwelded tuff where flow is predominately through the matrix. The unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain is being modeled using a three-dimensional, dual-continuum numerical model to predict the results of measurements and observations in new boreholes and excavations. The interaction between experimentalists and modelers is providing confidence in the conceptual model and the numerical model and is providing researchers with the ability to plan further testing and to evaluate the usefulness or necessity of further data collection.

  9. The hydrology of Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

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

    2000-12-04

    Yucca Mountain, located in southern Nevada in the Mojave Desert, is being considered as a geologic repository for high-level radioactive waste. Although the site is arid, previous studies indicate net infiltration rates of 5-10 mm yr(-1) under current climate conditions. Unsaturated flow of water through the mountain generally is vertical and rapid through the fractures of the welded tuffs and slow through the matrix of the nonwelded tuffs. The vitric-zeolitic boundary of the nonwelded tuffs below the potential repository, where it exists, causes perching and substantial lateral flow that eventually flows through faults near the eastern edge of the potential repository and recharges the underlying groundwater system. Fast pathways are located where water flows relatively quickly through the unsaturated zone to the water table. For the bulk of the water a large part of the travel time from land surface to the potential repository horizon (similar to 300 m below land surface) is through the interlayered, low fracture density, nonwelded tuff where flow is predominantly through the matrix. The unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain is being modeled using a three-dimensional, dual-continuum numerical model to predict the results of measurements and observations in new boreholes and excavations. The interaction between experimentalists and modelers is providing confidence in the conceptual model and the numerical model and is providing researchers with the ability to plan further testing and to evaluate the usefulness or necessity of further data collection.

  10. Getting Beyond Yucca Mountain - 12305

    SciTech Connect

    Halstead, Robert J.; Williams, James M.

    2012-07-01

    The U.S. Department of Energy has terminated the Yucca Mountain repository project. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has indefinitely suspended the Yucca Mountain licensing proceeding. The presidentially-appointed Blue Ribbon Commission (BRC) on America's Nuclear Future is preparing a report, due in January 2012, to the Secretary of Energy on recommendations for a new national nuclear waste management and disposal program. The BRC Draft Report published in July 2011 provides a compelling critique of the past three decades failed efforts in the United States to site storage and disposal facilities for spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and high-level radioactive waste (HLW). However, the BRC Draft Report fails to provide detailed guidance on how to implement an alternative, successful approach to facility site selection. The comments submitted to the BRC by the State of Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects provide useful details on how the US national nuclear waste program can get beyond the failed Yucca Mountain repository project. A detailed siting process, consisting of legislative elements, procedural elements, and 'rules' for volunteer sites, could meet the objectives of the BRC and the Western Governors Association (WGA), while promoting and protecting the interests of potential host states. The recent termination of the proposed Yucca Mountain repository provides both an opportunity and a need to re-examine the United States' nuclear waste management program. The BRC Draft Report published in July 2011 provides a compelling critique of the past three decades failed efforts in the United States to site storage and disposal facilities for SNF and HLW. It is anticipated that the BRC Final report in January 2012 will recommend a new general course of action, but there will likely continue to be a need for detailed guidance on how to implement an alternative, successful approach to facility site selection. Getting the nation's nuclear waste program back on track

  11. Yucca Mountain and The Environment

    SciTech Connect

    NA

    2005-04-12

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

  12. Natural analogs for Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    Murphy, W.M.

    1995-11-01

    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. Robotics Scoping Study to Evaluate Advances in Robotics Technologies that Support Enhanced Efficiencies for Yucca Mountain Repository Operations

    SciTech Connect

    T. Burgess; M. Noakes; P. Spampinato

    2005-03-17

    This paper presents an evaluation of robotics and remote handling technologies that have the potential to increase the efficiency of handling waste packages at the proposed Yucca Mountain High-Level Nuclear Waste Repository. It is expected that increased efficiency will reduce the cost of operations. The goal of this work was to identify technologies for consideration as potential projects that the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, Office of Science and Technology International Programs, could support in the near future, and to assess their ''payback'' value. The evaluation took into account the robotics and remote handling capabilities planned for incorporation into the current baseline design for the repository, for both surface and subsurface operations. The evaluation, completed at the end of fiscal year 2004, identified where significant advantages in operating efficiencies could accrue by implementing any given robotics technology or approach, and included a road map for a multiyear R&D program for improvements to remote handling technology that support operating enhancements.

  14. Review of Yucca Mountain Disposal Criticality Studies

    SciTech Connect

    Scaglione, John M; Wagner, John C

    2011-01-01

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, submitted a license application for construction authorization of a deep geologic repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, in June of 2008. The license application is currently under review by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. However,on March 3, 2010 the DOE filed a motion requesting withdrawal of the license application. With the withdrawal request and the development of the Blue Ribbon Commission to seek alternative strategies for disposing of spent fuel, the status of the proposed repository at Yucca Mountain is uncertain. What is certain is that spent nuclear fuel (SNF) will continue to be generated and some long-lived components of the SNF will eventually need a disposition path(s). Strategies for the back end of the fuel cycle will continue to be developed and need to include the insights from the experience gained during the development of the Yucca Mountain license application. Detailed studies were performed and considerable progress was made in many key areas in terms of increased understanding of relevant phenomena and issues regarding geologic disposal of SNF. This paper reviews selected technical studies performed in support of the disposal criticality analysis licensing basis and the use of burnup credit. Topics include assembly misload analysis, isotopic and criticality validation, commercial reactor critical analyses, loading curves, alternative waste package and criticality control studies, radial burnup data and effects, and implementation of a conservative application model in the criticality probabilistic evaluation as well as other information that is applicable to operations regarding spent fuel outside the reactor. This paper summarizes the work and significant accomplishments in these areas and provides a resource for future, related activities.

  15. Tectonic models for Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    O'Leary, D. W.

    2006-01-01

    Performance of a high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain hinges partly on long-term structural stability of the mountain, its susceptibility to tectonic disruption that includes fault displacement, seismic ground motion, and igneous intrusion. Because of the uncertainty involved with long-term (10,000 yr minimum) prediction of tectonic events (e.g., earthquakes) and the incomplete understanding of the history of strain and its mechanisms in the Yucca Mountain region, a tectonic model is needed. A tectonic model should represent the structural assemblage of the mountain in its tectonic setting and account for that assemblage through a history of deformation in which all of the observed deformation features are linked in time and space. Four major types of tectonic models have been proposed for Yucca Mountain: a caldera model; simple shear (detachment fault) models; pure shear (planar fault) models; and lateral shear models. Most of the models seek to explain local features in the context of well-accepted regional deformation mechanisms. Evaluation of the models in light of site characterization shows that none of them completely accounts for all the known tectonic features of Yucca Mountain or is fully compatible with the deformation history. The Yucca Mountain project does not endorse a preferred tectonic model. However, most experts involved in the probabilistic volcanic hazards analysis and the probabilistic seismic hazards analysis preferred a planar fault type model. ?? 2007 Geological Society of America. All rights reserved.

  16. Geology of the Yucca Mountain region

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stuckless, J.S.; O'Leary, D. W.

    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 ca. 10 Ma and continued as recently as ca. 80 ka with the eruption of cones and flows at Lathrop Wells, ???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. ?? 2007 Geological Society of America. All rights reserved.

  17. Transportation cask decontamination and maintenance at the potential Yucca Mountain repository; Yucca Mountain Site characterization project

    SciTech Connect

    Hartman, D.J.; Miller, D.D.; Hill, R.R.

    1992-04-01

    This study investigates spent fuel cask handling experience at existing nuclear facilities to determine appropriate cask decontamination and maintenance operations at the potential Yucca Mountain repository. These operations are categorized as either routine or nonroutine. Routine cask decontamination and maintenance tasks are performed in the cask preparation area at the repository. Casks are taken offline to a separate cask maintenance area for major nonroutine tasks. The study develops conceptual designs of the cask preparation area and cask maintenance area. The functions, layouts, and major features of these areas are also described.

  18. Mechanical excavator performance in Yucca Mountain tuffs

    SciTech Connect

    Ozdemir, L.; Hansen, F.D.

    1991-12-31

    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.

  19. Mechanical excavator performance in Yucca Mountain tuffs

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  20. Viability Assessment of a Repository at Yucca Mountain. Volume 5: Costs to Construct and Operate the Repository

    SciTech Connect

    1998-12-01

    This volume presents a management summary of the cost estimate to complete the design, and to license, construct, operate, monitor, close, and decommission a Monitored Geologic Repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. This volume summarizes the scope, estimating methodologies, and assumptions used in development of the Monitored Geologic Repository-VA cost estimate. It identifies the key features necessary to understand the summary costs presented herein. This cost summary derives from a larger body of documented cost analysis. Volume 5 is organized to reflect this structured approach to cost estimation and contains the following sections: Section 1, Cost Elements. This section briefly defines the components of each major repository cost element. Section 2, Project Phases. This section presents the definition, as used in the estimate, of five project phases (Licensing, Pre-emplacement Construction, Emplacement Operations, Monitoring, and Closure and Decommissioning) and the schedule dates for each phase. It also contains major milestone dates and a bar chart schedule. Section 3, Major Assumptions. This section identifies key high-level assumptions for the cost estimate basis. Additional detailed assumptions are included in the appendices. Section 4, Integrated Cost Summary. This section presents a high-level roll-up of the VA costs resulting from the estimating work. The tables and figures contained in this section were compiled from the more detailed cost estimates in the appendices. Section 5, References. This section identifies the references that support this cost volume. Appendices. For each major repository cost element, Appendices B-F [B, C, D, E, F] presents additional information on the scope of cost elements, identifies methodologies used to develop the cost estimates, lists underlying cost assumptions, and tabulates summary results. Appendix A contains a glossary to assist the reader in understanding the terminology in Volume 5. Appendix G presents costs

  1. Nuclear waste disposal: Gambling on Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    Ginsburg, S.

    1995-05-01

    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.

  2. Mechanical anisotropy of the Yucca Mountain tuffs

    SciTech Connect

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

    1991-12-31

    Three series of measurements were performed on oriented cores of several Yucca Mountain tuffs to determine the importance of mechanical anisotropy in the intact rock. Outcrop and drillhole samples were tested for acoustic velocities, linear compressibilities, and strengths in different orientations. The present data sets are preliminary, but suggest the tuffs are transversely anisotropic for these mechanical properties. The planar fabric that produces the anisotropy is believed to be predominantly the result of the preferred orientation of shards and pumice fragments. The potential of significant anisotropy has direct relevance to the formulation of constitutive formulation and the analyses of an underground opening within the Yucca Mountain.

  3. Fluid geochemistry of Yucca Mountain and vicinity

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Marshall, Brian D.; Moscati, Richard J.; Patterson, Gary L.; Stuckless, John S.

    2012-01-01

    Yucca Mountain, a site in southwest Nevada, has been proposed for a deep underground radioactive waste repository. An extensive database of geochemical and isotopic characteristics has been established for pore waters and gases from the unsaturated zone, perched water, and saturated zone waters in the Yucca Mountain area. The development of this database has been driven by diverse needs of the Yucca Mountain Project, especially those aspects of the project involving process modeling and performance assessment. Water and gas chemistries influence the sorption behavior of radionuclides and the solubility of the radionuclide compounds that form. The chemistry of waters that may infiltrate the proposed repository will be determined in part by that of water present in the unsaturated zone above the proposed repository horizon, whereas pore-water compositions beneath the repository horizon will influence the sorption behavior of the radionuclides transported toward the water table. However, more relevant to the discussion in this chapter, development and testing of conceptual flow and transport models for the Yucca Mountain hydrologic system are strengthened through the incorporation of natural environmental tracer data into the process. Chemical and isotopic data are used to establish bounds on key hydrologic parameters and to provide corroborative evidence for model assumptions and predictions. Examples of specific issues addressed by these data include spatial and temporal variability in net fluxes, the role of faults in controlling flow paths, fracture-matrix interactions, the age and origin of perched water, and the distribution of water traveltimes.

  4. YUCCA MOUNTAIN WASTE PACKAGE CLOSURE SYSTEM

    SciTech Connect

    G. Housley; C. Shelton-davis; K. Skinner

    2005-08-26

    The method selected for dealing with spent nuclear fuel in the US is to seal the fuel in waste packages and then to place them in an underground repository at the Yucca Mountain Site in Nevada. This article describes the Waste Package Closure System (WPCS) currently being designed for sealing the waste packages.

  5. Characterize Eruptive Processes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  6. Preparing to Submit a License Application for Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    W.J. Arthur; M.D. Voegele

    2005-03-14

    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

  7. Geophysical expression of the Ghost Dance fault, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1995-01-01

    Gravity and ground magnetic data collected along surveyed traverses across Antler and Live Yucca Ridges, on the eastern flank of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, reveal small-scale faulting associated with the Ghost Dance and possibly other faults. These studies are part of an effort to evaluate faulting in the vicinity of a potential nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain.

  8. Extreme ground motions and Yucca Mountain

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    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

  9. The geohydrologic setting of Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stuckless, J.S.; Dudley, W.W.

    2002-01-01

    This paper provides a geologic and hydrologic framework of the Yucca Mountain region for the geochemical papers in this volume. The regional geologic units, which range in age from late Precambrian through Holocene, are briefly described. Yucca Mountain is composed of dominantly pyroclastic units that range in age from 11.4 to 15.2 Ma. The principal focus of study has been on the Paintbrush Group, which includes two major zoned and welded ash-flow tuffs separated by an important hydrogeologic unit referred to as the Paintbrush non-welded (PTn). The regional structural setting is currently one of extension, and the major local tectonic domains are presented together with a tectonic model that is consistent with the known structures at Yucca Mountain. Streamflow in this arid to semi-arid region occurs principally in intermittent or ephemeral channels. Near Yucca Mountain, the channels of Fortymile Wash and Amargosa River collect infrequent runoff from tributary basins, ultimately draining to Death Valley. Beneath the surface, large-scale interbasin flow of groundwater from one valley to another occurs commonly in the region. Regional groundwater flow beneath Yucca Mountain originates in the high mesas to the north and returns to the surface either in southern Amargosa Desert or in Death Valley, where it is consumed by evapotranspiration. The water table is very deep beneath the upland areas such as Yucca Mountain, where it is 500-750 m below the land surface, providing a large thickness of unsaturated rocks that are potentially suitable to host a nuclear-waste repository. The nature of unsaturated flow processes, which are important for assessing radionuclide migration, are inferred mainly from hydrochemical or isotopic evidence, from pneumatic tests of the fracture systems, and from the results of in situ experiments. Water seeping down through the unsaturated zone flows rapidly through fractures and more slowly through the pores of the rock matrix. Although

  10. Hydrologic characteristics of faults at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Dickerson, Robert P.

    2001-04-29

    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.

  11. YUMMY: The Yucca Mountain MCNP-Library

    SciTech Connect

    Alpan, FA

    2004-12-10

    Point-wise libraries provided with the MCNP code contain neutron data for a limited number of temperatures. However, it is important to have the option of using data from a wide range of temperatures for transport calculations. For this purpose, a multi-temperature, ACE-format neutron library was generated for 134 nuclides, as requested by Yucca Mountain Project (YMP) staff. The library is referred to as YUMMY (YUcca Mountain MCNP-librarY). The neutron cross section data are based on ENDF/B-V or ENDF/B-VI evaluations that were requested by YMP staff. This document provides the details of the new library and its use in criticality safety benchmark problems, a Pressurized Water Reactor design and waste package models in MCNP4C.

  12. Rail Access to Yucca Mountain: Critical Issues

    SciTech Connect

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

    2003-02-25

    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.

  13. Yucca Mountain could face greater volcanic threat

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, Eugene I.; Keenan, Deborah L.

    Locating a radioactive waste repository in the United States has been the subject of over 20 years of scientific research, political wrangling, and court decisions. If a nuclear waste repository is constructed at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, 70,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel will be buried 300 m below the surface.Because eight Quaternary basalt volcanoes erupted within 50 km of the proposed repository in the past million years, future volcanism is an important issue. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is currently using an expert panel to evaluate current models [Perry et al., 1998] and consider alternative models. This article presents an alternative model, developed independently of DOE and the expert panel, and reviews new information pertinent to volcanic hazard studies. Additionally, this article suggests that the size of the Yucca Mountain volcanic field is not presently well known.

  14. Multidisciplinary hydrologic investigations at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dudley, William W.

    1990-01-01

    Future climatic conditions and tectonic processes have the potential to cause significant changes of the hydrologic system in the southern Great Basin, where a nuclear-waste repository is proposed for construction above the water table at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Geothermal anomalies in the vicinity of Yucca Mountain probably result from the local and regional transport of heat by ground-water flow. Regionally and locally irregular patterns of hydraulic potential, local marsh and pond deposits, and calcite veins in faults and fractures probably are related principally to climatically imposed hydrologic conditions within the geologic and topographic framework. However, tectonic effects on the hydrologic system have also been proposed as the causes of these features, and existing data limitations preclude a full evaluation of these competing hypotheses. A broad program that integrates many disciplines of earth science is required in order to understand the relation of hydrology to past, present and future climates and tectonism.

  15. Revised mineralogic summary of Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

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

    1989-03-01

    We have evaluated three-dimensional mineral distribution at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, using quantitative x-ray powder diffraction analysis. All data were obtained on core cuttings, or sidewall samples obtained from drill holes at and around Yucca Mountain. Previously published data are included with corrections, together with new data for several drill holes. The new data presented in this report used the internal standard method of quantitative analysis, which yields results of high precision for the phases commonly found in Yucca Mountain tuffs including opal-CT and glass. Mineralogical trends with depth previously noted are clearly shown by these new data. Glass occurrence is restricted almost without exception to above the present-day static water level (SWL), although glass has been identified below the SWL in partially zeolitized tuffs. Silica phases undergo well-defined transitions with depth, with tridymite and cristobalite occurring only above the SWL, opal-CT occurring with clinoptilolite-mordenite tuffs, and quartz most abundant below the SWL. Smectite occurs in small amounts in most samples but is enriched in two distinct zones. These zones are at the top of the vitric nonwelded base of the Tiva Canyon Member and at the top of the basal vitrophyre of the Topopah Spring Member. Our data support the presence of several zones of mordenite and clinoptilolite-heulandite as shown previously. New data on several deep clinoptililite-heulandite samples coexisting with analcime show that they are heulandite. Phillipsite has not been found in any Yucca Mountain samples, but erionite and chabazite have been found once in fractures. 21 refs., 17 figs.

  16. Predicting the Future at Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  17. Nuclear Waste Disposal: Alternatives to Yucca Mountain

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2009-02-06

    pr_121508_energysecnom.cfm. 13 Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, “Growing energy: Berkeley Lab’s Steve Chu on what termite guts have to do with global warming...does not seem an attractive alternative to the geological 60 Steven Nadis, “The Sub-Seabed Solution...could be done at Yucca Mountain.82 Such “salt creep” occurs more quickly at higher temperatures , which could result from the disposal of high-level waste

  18. DOE`s Yucca Mountain studies

    SciTech Connect

    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 think high-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.

  19. The appropriateness of one-dimensional Yucca Mountain hydrologic calculations; Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    SciTech Connect

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    LeCain, Gary D.; Kurzmack, Mark

    2001-04-29

    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.

  1. The Occurrence of Erionite at Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    NA

    2004-07-01

    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

  2. Archaeological program for the Yucca Mountain Site

    SciTech Connect

    Pippin, L.C.; Rhode, D.

    1991-12-31

    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.

  3. Yucca Mountain drift scale test progress report

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  4. Magma Dynamics at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    D. Krier

    2005-08-29

    Small-volume basaltic volcanic activity at Yucca Mountain has been identified as one of the potential events that could lead to release of radioactive material from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) designated nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. Release of material could occur indirectly as a result of magmatic dike intrusion into the repository (with no associated surface eruption) by changing groundwater flow paths, or as a result of an eruption (dike intrusion of the repository drifts, followed by surface eruption of contaminated ash) or volcanic ejection of material onto the Earth's surface and the redistribution of contaminated volcanic tephra. Either release method includes interaction between emplacement drifts and a magmatic dike or conduit, and natural (geologic) processes that might interrupt or halt igneous activity. This analysis provides summary information on two approaches to evaluate effects of disruption at the repository by basaltic igneous activity: (1) descriptions of the physical geometry of ascending basaltic dikes and their interaction with silicic host rocks similar in composition to the repository host rocks; and (2) a summary of calculations developed to quantify the response of emplacement drifts that have been flooded with magma and repressurized following blockage of an eruptive conduit. The purpose of these analyses is to explore the potential consequences that could occur during the full duration of an igneous event.

  5. TBM tunneling on the Yucca Mountain Project

    SciTech Connect

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

    1995-03-01

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1985-11-01

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

  7. Selection of Batteries and Fuel Cells for Yucca Mountain Robots

    SciTech Connect

    Upadhye, R S

    2003-12-08

    The Performance Confirmation program of the Yucca Mountain Repository Development Project needs to employ remotely operated robots to work inside the emplacement drifts which will have an environment unsuitable for humans (radiation environment of up to 200 rad/hour (mostly gamma rays, some neutrons)) and maximum temperatures of 180 C. The robots will be required to operate inside the drifts for up to 8 hours per mission. Based on available functional requirements, we have developed the following specifications for the power needed by the robots:

  8. Statistical analysis of hydrologic data for Yucca Mountain; Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    SciTech Connect

    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. The Yucca Mountain Project drift scale test

    SciTech Connect

    Finley, R.E.; Blair, S.C.; Boyle, W.J.

    1998-06-01

    The Yucca Mountain Project is currently evaluating the coupled thermal-mechanical-hydrological-chemical (TMHC) response of the potential repository host rock through an in situ thermal testing program. A drift scale test (DST) was constructed during 1997 and heaters were turned on in December 1997. The DST includes nine canister-sized containers with thirty operating heaters each located within the heated drift (HD) and fifty wing heaters located in boreholes in both ribs with a total power output of nominally 210kW. A total of 147 boreholes (combined length of 3.3 km) houses most of the over 3700 TMHC sensors connected with 201 km of cabling to a central data acquisition system. The DST is located in the Exploratory Studies Facility in a 5-m diameter drift approximately 50 m in length. Heating will last up to four years and cooling will last another four years. The rock mass surrounding the DST will experience a harsh thermal environment with rock surface temperatures expected to reach a maximum of about 200 C. This paper describes the process of designing the DST. The first 38 m of the 50-m long Heated Drift (HD) is dedicated to collection of data that will lead to a better understanding of the complex coupled TMHC processes in the host rock of the proposed repository. The final 12 m is dedicated to evaluating the interactions between the heated rock mass and cast-in-place (CIP) concrete ground support systems at elevated temperatures. In addition to a description of the DST design, data from site characterization, and a general description of the analyses and analysis approach used to design the test and make pretest predictions are presented. Test-scoping and pretest numerical predictions of one way thermal-hydrologic, thermal-mechanical, and thermal-chemical behaviors have been completed (TRW, 1997a). These analyses suggest that a dry-out zone will be created around the DST and a 10,000 m{sup 3} volume of rock will experience temperatures above 100 C. The HD

  10. Effects of a potential drop of a shipping cask, a waste container, and a bare fuel assembly during waste-handling operations; Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    SciTech Connect

    Wu, C.L.; Lee, J.; Lu, D.L.; Jardine, L.J.

    1991-12-01

    This study investigates the effects of potential drops of a typical shipping cask, waste container, and bare fuel assembly during waste-handling operations at the prospective Yucca Mountain Repository. The waste-handling process (one stage, no consolidation configuration) is examined to estimate the maximum loads imposed on typical casks and containers as they are handled by various pieces of equipment during waste-handling operations. Maximum potential drop heights for casks and containers are also evaluated for different operations. A nonlinear finite-element model is employed to represent a hybrid spent fuel container subject to drop heights of up to 30 ft onto a reinforced concrete floor. The impact stress, strain, and deformation are calculated, and compared to the failure criteria to estimate the limiting (maximum permissible) drop height for the waste container. A typical Westinghouse 17 {times} 17 PWR fuel assembly is analyzed by a simplified model to estimate the energy absorption by various parts of the fuel assembly during a 30 ft drop, and to determine the amount of kinetic energy in a fuel pin at impact. A nonlinear finite-element analysis of an individual fuel pin is also performed to estimate the amount of fuel pellet fracture due to impact. This work was completed on May 1990.

  11. Characterize Eruptive Processes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    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 shapes.

  12. Tectonic and neotectonic framework of the Yucca Mountain Region

    SciTech Connect

    Schweickert, R.A.

    1992-09-30

    Highlights of major research accomplishments concerned with the tectonics and neotectonics of the Yucca Mountain Region include: structural studies in Grapevine Mountains, Bullfrog Hills, and Bare Mountain; recognition of significance of pre-Middle Miocene normal and strike-slip faulting at Bare Mountain; compilation of map of quaternary faulting in Southern Amargosa Valley; and preliminary paleomagnetic analysis of Paleozoic and Cenozoic units at Bare Mountain.

  13. The Pahrump Valley Museum Yucca Mountain History Exhibit - 12389

    SciTech Connect

    Voegele, Michael; McCracken, Robert; Herrera, Troy

    2012-07-01

    As part of its management of the Yucca Mountain project, the Department of Energy maintained several information centers to provide public access to information about the status of the Yucca Mountain project. Those information centers contained numerous displays, historical information, and served as the location for the Department's outreach activities. As the Department of Energy dealt with reduced budgets in 2009 following the Obama Administration's intent to terminate the program, it shut down its information centers. Nye County considered it important to maintain a public information center where people would be able to find information about what was happening with the Yucca Mountain project. Initially the Nye County assumed responsibility for the information center in Pahrump; eventually the County made a decision to move that information center into an expansion of the existing Pahrump Valley Museum. Nye County undertook an effort to update the information about the Yucca Mountain project and modernize the displays. A parallel effort to create a source of historical information where people could find out about the Yucca Mountain project was undertaken. To accompany the Yucca Mountain exhibits in the Pahrump Valley Museum, Nye County also sponsored a series of interviews to document, through oral histories, as much information about the Yucca Mountain project as could be found in these interviews. The paper presents an overview of the Yucca Mountain exhibits in the Pahrump Valley Museum, and the accompanying oral histories. An important conclusion that can be drawn from the interviews is that construction of a repository in Nevada should have been conceptualized as but the first step in transforming the economy of central Nevada by turning part of the Nevada National Security Site and adjoining area into a world-class energy production and energy research center. (authors)

  14. Preliminary mapping of surficial geology of Midway Valley Yucca Mountain Project, Nye County, Nevada; Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    SciTech Connect

    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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1993-01-01

    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 731.0 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 (1986-89) 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.

  16. Defining the potential repository siting block Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Elayer, R.W.; Nolting, R.M. III

    1996-12-01

    Siting activities for the potential high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain focused on locating a suitable host geologic horizon above the water table. The Topopah Spring Tuff of the Paintbrush Group was identified as the most suitable geologic unit. Sandia National Laboratories (Sandia) identified six areas as potential repository sites. Area known as the Primary Area, is the site of the present characterization and design activities. To support current repository Advanced Conceptual Design, a reevaluation of the Primary Area was conducted by the Yucca Mountain Project`s Management and Operating Contractor (M&O). The purpose of the study was to more precisely define the block volume that would be suitable for siting the repository. The Lynx Geoscience Modeling software (Lynx) was selected to be used in this work because of its three-dimensional modeling and visualization capability for geology and underground excavation design. The Lynx model YMP.MO2 was developed in the study. The model includes surfaces that were constructed to represent each of the following limiting criteria: faults, overburden, repository host horizon, and groundwater. The resulting potential repository siting block is the useable volume within these limiting criteria.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    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.

  18. Estimating recharge at Yucca Mountain, Nevada: A case study

    SciTech Connect

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

    2001-05-13

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2001-11-01

    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

  20. Patterns of fault displacement and strain at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morris, Alan P.; Ferrill, David A.; Sims, Darrell W.; Franklin, Nathan; Waiting, Deborah J.

    2004-09-01

    Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is the sole candidate site for underground disposal of high-level radioactive waste in the United States. The mountain is composed of Tertiary (12.8-11.6 Ma) volcanic tuff, cut by west-dipping normal faults that divide the mountain into north-trending, east-dipping cuestas. Geologic characterization of Yucca Mountain by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has focused on mapping lithostratigraphic units, faults (including single plane, small-displacement surfaces of discontinuity, and large-displacement fault zones), and fractures (quasi-planar zones that have experienced loss of cohesion, including joints, partially mineralized joints, veins, and small-displacement faults). Faults and fractures are important to repository design because they affect seismic hazard, rockfall, and fluid transmissivity in the surrounding rock mass. Geologic maps and detailed studies of rock pavements and tunnel walls reveal that faults and fractures within Yucca Mountain are not uniform in orientation or intensity. We investigate two aspects of distributed deformation arising from fault displacement patterns at Yucca Mountain. First, fault-parallel strains (elongation parallel to cutoff lines where stratigraphic horizons intersect fault planes) develop as a result of lateral fault displacement gradients. Using existing data, we analyze the likely state of strain in fault blocks at Yucca Mountain. Second, fault-strike-perpendicular strains can develop where two normal faults propagate past each other. A component of the total strain is distributed into the surrounding rock to produce synthetic layer dip or a network of smaller faults and fractures. We find that small-scale faulting and fracturing at Yucca Mountain is variable and is strongly controlled by larger scale fault system architecture.

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

    SciTech Connect

    A. Unger; S. Finsterle; G. Bodvarsson

    2003-06-06

    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{sup -11} m{sup 2} and 0.00034, respectively. The calibrated model was then used as a design tool to predict the effect of adjusting the current ventilation-system operation strategy for reducing the probability of radon gas concentrations exceeding a specified level.

  2. Preliminary conceptual model for mineral evolution in Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    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{sub SiO{sub 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{sup +} and CO{sub 3}{sup 2{minus}}. 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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    Tucci, P.; Burkhardt, D.J.

    1995-12-31

    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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schimschal, Ulrich; Nelson, Philip 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. We 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.

  5. The terrestrial ecosystem program for the Yucca Mountain Project

    SciTech Connect

    Ostler, W.K.; O`Farrell, T.P.

    1994-06-01

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  7. Paleoclimatic and paleohydrologic records from secondary calcite: Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Whelan, J.F.; Stuckless, J.S.; Moscati, R.J.; Vaniman, D.T.

    1994-12-31

    Stable isotope analyses of calcite and opal, fluid inclusion formation conditions and gas compositions, Sr isotope ratios, and REE compositions all support formation of secondary calcite in the unsaturated zone of Yucca Mountain from infiltration of surface-derived (and soil zone buffered) waters of meteoric origin. Detailed sampling of growth-banding preserved by the secondary calcite should provide a record of past variations in the stable isotope chemistry of these infiltrating waters, and, hence, of precipitation at Yucca Mountain, i.e., a proxy of past climate at Yucca Mountain. The precision of this record depends on how well it can be dated. The distribution and texture of secondary calcite occurrences, if mapped in careful detail from existing bore hole samples and underground workings (as exposures become accessible), could provide a time/space map of fracture and fault unsaturated-zone ground water flow-paths during past wetter climates which might prevail in the future with change in climate.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1994-12-31

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  10. The vegetation of Yucca Mountain: Description and ecology

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  11. Tectonic stability and expected ground motion at Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1991-12-11

    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.

  13. The Proposed Yucca Mountain Repository From A Corrosion Perspective

    SciTech Connect

    J.H. Payer

    2005-03-10

    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.

  14. HYDROLOGIC CHARACTERISTICS OF FAULTS AT YUCCA MOUNTAIN, NEVADA

    SciTech Connect

    R.P. Dickerson

    2000-10-19

    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.

  15. Scenarios constructed for basaltic igneous activity at Yucca Mountain and vicinity; Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    SciTech Connect

    Barr, G.E.; Dunn, E.; Dockery, H.; Barnard, R.; Valentine, G.; Crowe, B.

    1993-08-01

    Basaltic volcanism has been identified as a possible future event initiating a release of radionuclides from a potential repository at the proposed Yucca Mountain high-level waste repository site. The performance assessment method set forth in the Site Characterization Plan (DOE, 1988) requires that a set of scenarios encompassing all significant radionuclide release paths to the accessible environment be described. This report attempts to catalogue the details of the interactions between the features and processes produced by basaltic volcanism in the presence of the presumed groundwater flow system and a repository structure, the engineered barrier system (EBS), and waste. This catalogue is developed in the form of scenarios. We define a scenario as a well-posed problem, starting from an initiating event or process and proceeding through a logically connected and physically possible combination or sequence of features, events, and processes (FEPs) to the release of contaminants.

  16. Performance predictions for mechanical excavators in Yucca Mountain tuffs; Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    SciTech Connect

    Ozdemir, L.; Gertsch, L.; Neil, D.; Friant, J.

    1992-09-01

    The performances of several mechanical excavators are predicted for use in the tuffs at Yucca Mountain: Tunnel boring machines, the Mobile Miner, a roadheader, a blind shaft borer, a vertical wheel shaft boring machine, raise drills, and V-Moles. Work summarized is comprised of three parts: Initial prediction using existing rock physical property information; Measurement of additional rock physical properties; and Revision of the initial predictions using the enhanced database. The performance predictions are based on theoretical and empirical relationships between rock properties and the forces-experienced by rock cutters and bits during excavation. Machine backup systems and excavation design aspects, such as curves and grades, are considered in determining excavator utilization factors. Instanteous penetration rate, advance rate, and cutter costs are the fundamental performance indicators.

  17. Constructing the Exploratory Studies Facility at Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

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

    1996-05-01

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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

  20. Geologic and geophysical characterization studies of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, a potential high-level radioactive-waste repository

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Whitney, J.W.; Keefer, W.R.

    2000-01-01

    In recognition of a critical national need for permanent radioactive-waste storage, Yucca Mountain in southwestern Nevada has been investigated by Federal agencies since the 1970's, as a potential geologic disposal site. In 1987, Congress selected Yucca Mountain for an expanded and more detailed site characterization effort. As an integral part of this program, the U.S. Geological Survey began a series of detailed geologic, geophysical, and related investigations designed to characterize the tectonic setting, fault behavior, and seismicity of the Yucca Mountain area. This document presents the results of 13 studies of the tectonic environment of Yucca Mountain, in support of a broad goal to assess the effects of future seismic and fault activity in the area on design, long-term performance, and safe operation of the potential surface and subsurface repository facilities.

  1. Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository prompts heated congressional hearing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Showstack, Randy

    2011-11-01

    Although the final report of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future is not expected until January 2012, the tentative conclusions of the commission's draft report were dissected during a recent joint hearing by two subcommittees of the House of Representatives' Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Among the more heated issues debated at the hearing was the fate of the stalled Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada. The Blue Ribbon Commission's (BRC) draft report includes recommendations for managing nuclear waste and for developing one or more permanent deep geological repositories and interim storage facilities, but the report does not address the future of Yucca Mountain. The BRC charter indicates that the commission is to "conduct a comprehensive review of policies for managing the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle." However, the draft report states that the commission was not asked to consider, and therefore did not address, several key issues. "We have not rendered an opinion on the suitability of the Yucca Mountain site or on the request to withdraw the license application for Yucca Mountain," the draft report states.

  2. Uranium and Neptunium Desorption from Yucca Mountain Alluvium

    SciTech Connect

    C.D. Scism; P.W. Reimus; M. Ding; S.J. Chipera

    2006-03-16

    Uranium and neptunium were used as reactive tracers in long-term laboratory desorption studies using saturated alluvium collected from south of Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The objective of these long-term experiments is to make detailed observations of the desorption behavior of uranium and neptunium to provide Yucca Mountain with technical bases for a more realistic and potentially less conservative approach to predicting the transport of adsorbing radionuclides in the saturated alluvium. This paper describes several long-term desorption experiments using a flow-through experimental method and groundwater and alluvium obtained from boreholes along a potential groundwater flow path from the proposed repository site. In the long term desorption experiments, the percentages of uranium and neptunium sorbed as a function of time after different durations of sorption was determined. In addition, the desorbed activity as a function of time was fit using a multi-site, multi-rate model to demonstrate that different desorption rate constants ranging over several orders of magnitude exist for the desorption of uranium from Yucca Mountain saturated alluvium. This information will be used to support the development of a conceptual model that ultimately results in effective K{sub d} values much larger than those currently in use for predicting radionuclide transport at Yucca Mountain.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2000-01-12

    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.

  4. Understanding the Potential for Volcanoes at Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    NA

    2002-08-01

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1997-10-01

    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.

  6. Geologic map of the Yucca Mountain region, Nye County, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Potter, Christopher J.; Dickerson, Robert P.; Sweetkind, Donald S.; Drake II, Ronald M.; Taylor, Emily M.; Fridrich, Christopher J.; San Juan, Carma A.; Day, Warren C.

    2002-01-01

    Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nev., has been identified as a potential site for underground storage of high-level radioactive waste. This geologic map compilation, including all of Yucca Mountain and Crater Flat, most of the Calico Hills, western Jackass Flats, Little Skull Mountain, the Striped Hills, the Skeleton Hills, and the northeastern Amargosa Desert, portrays the geologic framework for a saturated-zone hydrologic flow model of the Yucca Mountain site. Key geologic features shown on the geologic map and accompanying cross sections include: (1) exposures of Proterozoic through Devonian strata inferred to have been deformed by regional thrust faulting and folding, in the Skeleton Hills, Striped Hills, and Amargosa Desert near Big Dune; (2) folded and thrust-faulted Devonian and Mississippian strata, unconformably overlain by Miocene tuffs and lavas and cut by complex Neogene fault patterns, in the Calico Hills; (3) the Claim Canyon caldera, a segment of which is exposed north of Yucca Mountain and Crater Flat; (4) thick densely welded to nonwelded ash-flow sheets of the Miocene southwest Nevada volcanic field exposed in normal-fault-bounded blocks at Yucca Mountain; (5) upper Tertiary and Quaternary basaltic cinder cones and lava flows in Crater Flat and at southernmost Yucca Mountain; and (6) broad basins covered by Quaternary and upper Tertiary surficial deposits in Jackass Flats, Crater Flat, and the northeastern Amargosa Desert, beneath which Neogene normal and strike-slip faults are inferred to be present on the basis of geophysical data and geologic map patterns. A regional thrust belt of late Paleozoic or Mesozoic age affected all pre-Tertiary rocks in the region; main thrust faults, not exposed in the map area, are interpreted to underlie the map area in an arcuate pattern, striking north, northeast, and east. The predominant vergence of thrust faults exposed elsewhere in the region, including the Belted Range and Specter Range thrusts, was to the east

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  8. Literature review and ethnohistory of Native American occupancy and use of the Yucca Mountain Region; Yucca Mountain Project, Interim report

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  9. REMOTE MATERIAL HANDLING IN THE YUCCA MOUNTAIN WASTE PACKAGE CLOSURE CELL AND SUPPORT AREA GLOVEBOX

    SciTech Connect

    K.M. Croft; S.M. Allen; M.W. Borland

    2005-08-02

    The Yucca Mountain Waste Package Closure System (WPCS) cells provide for shielding of highly radioactive materials contained in unsealed waste packages. The purpose of the cells is to provide safe environments for package handling and sealing operations. Once sealed, the packages are placed in the Yucca Mountain Repository. Closure of a typical waste package involves a number of remote operations. Those involved typically include the placement of matched lids onto the waste package. The lids are then individually sealed to the waste package by welding. Currently, the waste package includes three lids. One lid is placed before movement of the waste package to the closure cell; the final two are placed inside the closure cell, where they are welded to the waste package. These and other important operations require considerable remote material handling within the cell environment. This paper discusses the remote material handling equipment, designs, functions, operations, and maintenance, relative to waste package closure.

  10. Task 5 -- Tectonic and neotectonic framework of the Yucca Mountain region

    SciTech Connect

    Schweickert, R.A.

    1994-12-31

    Progress on the tectonics of the Yucca Mountain region is described. Results are reported in the following: regional overview of structure and geometry of Meozoic thrust faults and folds in the area around Yucca Mountain; Evaluation of pre-middle Miocecne structure of Grapevine Mountains and it`s relation to Bare Mountain; Kinematic analysis of low and high angle normal faults in the Bare Mountain area, and comparison of structures with the Grapevine Mountains; and Evaluation of paleomagnetic character of tertiary and pre-tertiary units in the Yucca Mountain region.

  11. Development of the performance confirmation program at YUCCA mountain, nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    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 for inclusion in the Performance Confirmation program was done using a risk-informed performance-based decision analysis. The result of this analysis was a Performance Confirmation base portfolio that consists of 20 activities. The 20 Performance Confirmation activities include geologic, hydrologie, and construction/engineering testing. Some of the activities began during site characterization, and others will begin during construction, or post emplacement, and continue until repository closure.

  12. TBM tunneling on the Yucca Mountain Project: Proceedings

    SciTech Connect

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

    1995-07-01

    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.

  13. Hydrothermal alteration of concrete: Yucca Mountain repository analogues

    SciTech Connect

    Myers, K.B.; Meike, A.

    1997-10-01

    Concrete could comprise a major share of construction materials present in the potential Yucca Mountain high-level radioactive waste repository. Concrete and shotcrete would be used as mechanical support (precast concrete liners), or road bed (invert) in repository emplacement drifts. These drifts could reach at least 150 to 200{degrees}C for extended periods of time, possibly in the presence of fluids. This study characterizes chemical and structural transformations in concrete that may occur as a result of a repository hydrothermal cycle. The specific concrete formulation to be used in the potential Yucca Mountain repository had not been determined at the time of the experiment. Invert and Fibercrete{sup TM} materials from the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF) were chosen for these experiments as representatives of standard construction concrete used in this setting.

  14. Geophysical investigations of concealed faults near Yucca Mountain, Southwest Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ponce, D.A.

    1993-01-01

    Detailed gravity and ground magnetic data collected along surveyed traverses across Midway Valley, on the eastern flank of Yucca Mountain, Nevada reveal that these methods can be used to delineate concealed faults. These studies are part of an effort to evaluate faulting in the vicinity of the proposed surface facilities for a potential nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. The largest gravity and magnetic anomaly in the vicinity of Midway Valley is associated with the Paintbrush fault on the west flank of Alice Ridge. Geophysical data infer a vertical offset of about 200 m (650 ft). Another prominent gravity and magnetic anomaly is associated with the Bow Ridge fault in the western part of Midway Valley.

  15. Hydrotectonic environment at Yucca Mountain & evidence for recurrent invasions by hydrothermal fluids. Special Report No. 3

    SciTech Connect

    1993-03-01

    This document contains four technical presentations regarding the hydrotectonic environment at Yucca Mountain, Nevada and evidence for recurrent invasions by hydrothermal fluids. These papers by Dr. Gerald Frazier, Dr. Donald Livingston, and Dr. Malcolm Somerville present field evidence for polygenic metasomatic alterations of volcanic rocks at Yucca Mountain. This series of papers is used in conjunction with a set of comments to contradict conclusions in the NAS/NRC Report on Hydrotectonic Conditions at Yucca Mountain.

  16. Determination of HEat Capacity of Yucca Mountain Strtigraphic Layers

    SciTech Connect

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

    2006-06-20

    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

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2007-06-25

    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, flow 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

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

    SciTech Connect

    G. Patterson; P. Striffler

    2007-02-17

    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.

  19. Vertical variability in saturated zone hydrochemistry near Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Patterson, G.L.; Striffler, P.S.

    2006-01-01

    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 fades that has moved through day-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.

  20. Draft reclamation program plan for site characterization; Yucca Mountain project

    SciTech Connect

    1989-08-01

    As part of its obligations under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, as amended, the US Department of Energy (DOE) has developed an environmental program that is to be implemented during site characterization at the Yucca Mountain site. This site is proposed for the location of the nation`s first high-level radioactive waste repository. A program for the reclamation of areas disturbed by site characterization is part of the overall environmental program for that site. This Reclamation Program Plan (RPP) describes the reclamation policy of the DOE for the Yucca Mountain site and presents an overview of the reclamation program. The RPP also provides an overview of the reclamation needs relative to site characterization; a review of legislation and requirements pertinent to reclamation; and a review of previous commitments made by the DOE to certain types of reclamation activities. The objective of the DOE reclamation program at Yucca Mountain is to return land disturbed by site-characterization activities to a stable ecological state with a form and productivity similar to the predisturbance state. The DOE will take all reasonable and necessary steps to achieve this objective. 19 refs., 2 tabs.

  1. Implications of stability analysis for heat transfer at Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    Ross, B.; Yiqiang Zhang; Ning Lu

    1993-03-01

    An analytical solution has been obtained to the stability problem for an infinite horizontal layer of gas with Its humidity constrained to 100%. Latent heat transfer makes convective heat transfer much more Important for this moist gas than for a dry gas. The critical Rayleigh number for the onset of convective flow in the moist gas, with a lower no-flow boundary at 97{degrees}C and an upper no-flow boundary at 27{degrees}C, is 0.18, much less than the value of 4m{sup 2} for a dry gas. Although the heat source at Yucca Mountain will be finite in extent, the solution for an infinite horizontal layer still gives a useful criterion for the qualitative importance of convective heat transfer. The critical Rayleigh number of 0.18 corresponds to a permeability of 4 {times} 10{sup {minus}12} m{sup 2} if other parameters ate given values measured at Yucca Mountain. This value falls roughly in the middle of the range of measured permeabilities. The analysis also gives a time constant for the onset of convection, which at twice the critical Rayleigh number is 1000 yr. Thus convection will probably make an important contribution, to host transfer at Yucca Mountain if the rock permeability falls in the upper portion of the range of measurements to date, but only at times after a few hundred or thousand years.

  2. Groundwater chemistry at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, and vicinity

    SciTech Connect

    Kerrisk, J.F.

    1987-02-01

    The chemistry of groundwater at Yucca Mountain and vicinity has been reviewed and compared with the chemistry of water from the Nevada Test Site and surrounding areas such as the Amargosa Desert and Oasis Valley. Sodium is the primary cation and carbonate is the primary anion in water from the saturated zone of the tuffaceous aquifer at Yucca Mountain. Other major cations present are calcium, potassium, and magnesium; other major anions are sulfate and chloride, with lesser quantities of fluoride and nitrate. Aqueous silica is also present. The primary purpose of this review was to survey water-composition data and look for relations among the compositional variables that could provide insight into the processes that control the composition and would ultimately affect radionuclide transport. The following conclusions were inferred from the review. Major cation concentrations are controlled by rock dissolution and mineral precipitation reactions as well as by cation exchange with existing minerals. Aqueous carbonate initially comes from atmospheric and soil-zone carbon dioxide, but there is evidence at Yucca Mountain that carbon dioxide in the gas phase of the unsaturated zone supplies additional carbonate to saturated-zone water in the tuffaceous aquifer as mineral dissolution and precipitation reactions raise the pH of the water. This combination is effectively mineral dissolution and precipitation in a system that is open with respect to carbon dioxide. A carbon model for this process is discussed.

  3. Selenite transport in unsaturated tuff from Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    Conca, J.L.; Triay, I.R.

    1994-04-01

    Direct measurements of unsaturated selenite retardation coefficients and unsaturated hydraulic conductivity were obtained on two tuff samples from Yucca Mountain using the UFA{trademark} technology. The retardation factor for the selenite species was only 2.5 in both Yucca Mountain vitric member at 62.6% saturation and zeolitized nonwelded tuff from G-tunnel at 52.8% saturation with respect to J-13 well water from the Nevada Test Site contaminated with selenium at 1.31 mg/l (ppm). In batch tests on the same material using 1.2 mg/l (ppm), the average K{sub d} was determined to be 13, giving retardation factors higher than the UFA column breakthrough tests by an order of magnitude. The difference could result from preferential flow paths in the UFA column as might occur in the field or differences in residence times between the two types of test. The unsaturated hydraulic conductivities during the experiments were 2.49 {times} 10{sup {minus}8} cm/s for the Yucca Mountain vitric member and 1.16 {times} 10{sup {minus}8} cm/s for the zeolitized nonwelded tuff.

  4. Selenite transport in unsaturated tuff from Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    Conca, J.L.; Triay, I.R.

    1994-12-31

    Direct measurements of unsaturated selenite retardation coefficients and unsaturated hydraulic conductivity were obtained on two tuff samples from Yucca Mountain using the UFA{trademark} technology. The retardation factor for the selenite species was only 2.5 in both Yucca Mountain vitric member at 62.6% saturation and zeolitized nonwelded tuff from G-tunnel at 52.8% saturation with respect to J-13 well water from the Nevada Test Site contaminated with selenium at 1.31 mg/l (ppm). In batch tests on the same material using 1.2 mg/l (ppm), the average K{sub d} was determined to be 13, giving retardation factors higher than the UFA column breakthrough tests by an order of magnitude. The difference could result from preferential flow paths in the UFA column as might occur in the field or differences in residence times between the two types of tests. The unsaturated hydraulic conductivities during the experiments were 2.49 {times} 10{sup {minus}8} cm/s for the Yucca Mountain vitric member and 1.16 {times} 10{sup {minus}8} cm/s for the zeolited nonwelded tuff.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1989-09-01

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

  6. Seismic reflection evidence against a shallow detachment beneath Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Brocher, Thomas M.; Hunter, W. Clay

    1996-01-01

    Intermediate-depth seismic reflection profile across Crater Flat and Yucca Mountain is obtained. The aim of the seismic profiling are discrimination the subsurface geometry of faults and imaging of the boundary between the pre-Tertiary sedimentary strata and the Miocene volcanic rocks of Yucca Mountain. Of major interest is the existence and geometry of a postulated west-dipping detachment fault beneath Yucca Mountain. These reflection profiles provide critical input to efforts to evaluate tectonic models, probabilistic seismic hazards, and potential volcanic hazards near Yucca Mountain, site of investigations for a potential permanent repository for high-level nuclear waste.

  7. Fracture analysis and rock quality designation estimation for the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project; Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    SciTech Connect

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

    1993-02-01

    Within the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project, the design of drifts and ramps and evaluation of the impacts of thermomechanical loading of the host rock requires definition of the rock mass mechanical properties. Ramps and exploratory drifts will intersect both welded and nonwelded tuffs with varying abundance of fractures. The rock mass mechanical properties are dependent on the intact rock properties and the fracture joint characteristics. An understanding of the effects of fractures on the mechanical properties of the rock mass begins with a detailed description of the fracture spatial location and abundance, and includes a description of their physical characteristics. This report presents a description of the abundance, orientation, and physical characteristics of fractures and the Rock Quality Designation in the thermomechanical stratigraphic units at the Yucca Mountain site. Data was reviewed from existing sources and used to develop descriptions for each unit. The product of this report is a data set of the best available information on the fracture characteristics.

  8. Licensing A Geologic Repository At Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Dyer, R. J.

    2003-02-24

    After completing more than twenty years of intensive scientific and engineering investigations at the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has determined that the site is suitable for development of a geologic repository for disposal of the Nation's spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. Following this determination, the site was recommended to the President for repository development. The President approved the recommendation and forwarded it to the U.S. Congress for site designation. The Governor of Nevada vetoed the recommendation with a notice of disapproval to the U.S. Congress. Congress subsequently over-rode the Governor's veto with a joint resolution which the President signed into law. With site designation in effect, DOE is now focusing its work on the development of a license application for repository construction. This paper will summarize the work that had been done to support site recommendation, work that is currently being done for license application, and the necessary next steps that may be required to allow repository operations to begin in 2010.

  9. Movement of shaft and drift construction water in Yucca Mountain, Nevada: An extended study; Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    SciTech Connect

    Sobolik, S.R.; Fewell, M.E.; Eaton, R.R.

    1991-12-01

    The Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project is studying Yucca Mountain in southwestern Nevada as a potential site for a high-level nuclear waste repository. Site characterization includes surface-based and underground testing. Analyses have been performed to design site characterization activities with minimal impact on the ability of the site to isolate waste, and on tests performed as part of the characterization process. One activity of site characterization is the construction of an Exploratory Studies Facility, for which many design options are being considered, including shafts, drifts, and ramps. The information in this report pertains to: (1) engineering calculations of the potential distribution of residual water from constructing the shafts and drifts; (2) numerical calculations predicting the movement of residual construction water from the shaft and drift walls into the rock; and (3) numerical calculations of the movement of residual water and how the movement is affected by ventilation. This document contains information that has been used in preparing Appendix 1 of the Exploratory Studies Facility Design Requirements document for the Yucca Mountain Project.

  10. Potential Future Igneous Activity at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2005-12-01

    Location, timing, and volumes of post-Miocene volcanic activity, along with expert judgement, 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. U.S. 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-groundwater 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

  11. Potential Future Igneous Activity at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

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

    2005-05-26

    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{sup -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{sup -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

  12. Geology of the Yucca Mountain site area, southwestern Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2006-01-01

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

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  14. Geohydrologic data for test well UE-25p1, Yucca Mountain area, Nye County, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Craig, R.W.; Johnson, K.A.

    1984-01-01

    This report presents the following data for test well UE-25p 1 in Nye County, Nevada: drilling operations, lithology, availability of borehole geophysical logs, water levels, future availability of core analyses, water chemistry, pumping tests, borehole-flow surveys, and packer-injection tests. The well is one of a series of test wells drilled in and near Yucca Mountain adjacent to the Nevada Test Site in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Energy. These investigations are part of the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations to identify suitable sites for underground storage of high-level radioactive wastes. Test well UE-25p 1 was the first in the Yucca Mountain area to penetrate rocks of Paleozoic age. To a depth of 1,244 meters, the rocks are predominantly ash-flow tuffs of Tertiary age. From 1,244 meters to a total depth of 1,805 meters, the rock is dolomite of Paleozoic age. (USGS)

  15. Stratigraphy of the Yucca Formation, Indio Mountains, west Texas

    SciTech Connect

    Smith, D.E.; Julian, F.E. . Dept. of Geological Sciences)

    1993-02-01

    The Indio Mountains are located 25 miles south of Van Horn, Texas, on the northwestern margin of the Chihuahua Tectonic Belt. The Indio Mountains are composed of Cretaceous sedimentary rocks deposited on the edge of the Chihuahua trough. The focus of this study, the Yucca conglomerate, is the oldest known Mesozoic rock in the region, although its unconformable base is not exposed within the Indio Mountains. This area has been affected by faulting associated with both the Chihuahua tectonic belt and the Rio Grande Rift. During summer 1992, the authors measured a stratigraphic section through the Yucca conglomerate, using a custom made Jacob's staff. The measured section is over 500 meters thick and was measured and described in 3 meter intervals. The section was measured up a single valley, and did contain some minor faults. This project had three objectives: (1) to examine variations in the sand/conglomerate ratio throughout the Yucca Fm.; (2) to examine variations in conglomerate clast composition using outcrop and thin section analysis; and, (3) ultimately, to compare this stratigraphic section with sections measured by Underwood (1962) in the Eagle Mountains and Devil's Ridge to the northwest. The sand/conglomerate ratio varies, with the proportion of sand increasing up section. At the base of the section, the rocks are mostly clast supported conglomerate interbedded with thin (12 cm) sand layers. The top of the section is dominated by sandstones with pebble stringers, with some massive sand layers over 6m thick. Few truly conglomeratic layers are present near the top of the section. The composition of clasts within the conglomerate also varies. The carbonate clasts are often preferentially eroded. The carbonate content increases up section.

  16. Construction features of the exploratory shaft at Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

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

    1984-12-31

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    Flynn, T.; Buchanan, P.; Trexler, D.; Shevenell, L., Garside, L.

    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.

  18. Pyritic ash-flow tuff, Yucca Mountain, Nevada -- A discussion

    SciTech Connect

    Weiss, S.I.; Larson, L.T.; Noble, D.C.

    1994-12-31

    Textural and mineralogic evidence exists for at least one episode of widespread hydrothermal alteration of volcanic rocks deep in Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Despite this evidence, Castor et al. infer that most of the pyrite found in tuffs at Yucca Mountain was introduced as ejecta (lithic fragments) incorporated during the eruptions of the tuffs, rather than by in-situ hydrothermal activity. Their conclusions appear to be based on their observation that most of the pyrite resides in unaltered to variably altered and veined lithic fragments, whereas pyrite-bearing veins are absent in the tuff matrix, titanomagnetite and mafic phenocrysts in the matrix are generally not replaced by pyrite, and feldspar phenocrysts in the pyritic tuff matrix are generally unaltered. Castor et al. dismiss the much smaller quantities of pyrite disseminated in the tuff matrix, including relatively rare pyritized hornblende and biotite grains, as xenolithic as well. The pyritic tuffs belong to large-volume, subalkaline rhyolite ash-flow units (ca. > 150 to 250 km{sup 3} each). The interpretation of Castor et al. has broad implications for the temperature, fO{sub 2} and fS{sub 2} of major ash flow eruptions. Pyrite origin also bears on the nature of past fluid flow and water-rock reactions at Yucca Mountain, which in turn are important factors in assessing the potential for currently undiscovered mineral resources in the area of the proposed nuclear waste repository. We have studied core and cuttings from the same drill holes studied by Castor et al., as well as other drill holes. It is our contention that the inconsistent lateral and stratigraphic distribution of the pyrite, textural features of the pyrite, and phase stability considerations are incompatible with the {open_quotes}lithic{close_quotes} origin of Castor et al., and are more reasonably explained by in-situ formation from hydrothermal fluids containing low, but geochemically significant, concentrations of reduced sulfur.

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

    SciTech Connect

    S. Levy

    2000-08-07

    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

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  1. Numerical modeling of perched water under Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hinds, J.J.; Ge, S.; Fridrich, C.J.

    1999-01-01

    The presence of perched water near the potential high-level nuclear waste repository area at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, has important implications for waste isolation. Perched water occurs because of sharp contrasts in rock properties, in particular between the strongly fractured repository host rock (the Topopah Spring welded tuff) and the immediately underlying vitrophyric (glassy) subunit, in which fractures are sealed by clays that were formed by alteration of the volcanic glass. The vitrophyre acts as a vertical barrier to unsaturated flow throughout much of the potential repository area. Geochemical analyses (Yang et al. 1996) indicate that perched water is relatively young, perhaps younger than 10,000 years. Given the low permeability of the rock matrix, fractures and perhaps fault zones must play a crucial role in unsaturated flow. The geologic setting of the major perched water bodies under Yucca Mountain suggests that faults commonly form barriers to lateral flow at the level of the repository horizon, but may also form important pathways for vertical infiltration from the repository horizon down to the water table. Using the numerical code UNSAT2, two factors believed to influence the perched water system at Yucca Mountain, climate and fault-zone permeability, are explored. The two-dimensional model predicts that the volume of water held within the perched water system may greatly increase under wetter climatic conditions, and that perched water bodies may drain to the water table along fault zones. Modeling results also show fault flow to be significantly attenuated in the Paintbrush Tuff non-welded hydrogeologic unit.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  3. GENISES: A GIS Database for the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    SciTech Connect

    Beckett, J.

    1991-12-31

    This paper provides a general description of the Geographic Nodal Information Study and Evaluation System (GENISES) database design. The GENISES database is the Geographic Information System (GIS) component of the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project Technical Database (TDB). The GENISES database has been developed and is maintained by EG & G Energy Measurements, Inc., Las Vegas, NV (EG & G/EM). As part of the Yucca Mountain Project (YMP) Site Characterization Technical Data Management System, GENISES provides a repository for geographically oriented technical data. The primary objective of the GENISES database is to support the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project with an effective tool for describing, analyzing, and archiving geo-referenced data. The database design provides the maximum efficiency in input/output, data analysis, data management and information display. This paper provides the systematic approach or plan for the GENISES database design and operation. The paper also discusses the techniques used for data normalization or the decomposition of complex data structures as they apply to GIS database. ARC/INFO and INGRES files are linked or joined by establishing ``relate`` fields through the common attribute names. Thus, through these keys, ARC can allow access to normalized INGRES files greatly reducing redundancy and the size of the database.

  4. Evidence for ground-water stratification near Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Futa, K.; Marshall, B.D.; Peterman, Z.E.

    2006-01-01

    Major- and trace-element concentrations and strontium isotope ratios (strontium-87/strontium-86) in samples of ground water potentially can be useful in delineating flow paths in the complex ground-water system in the vicinity of Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Water samples were collected from boreholes to characterize the lateral and vertical variability in the composition of water in the saturated zone. Discrete sampling of water-producing intervals in the saturated zone includes isolating borehole sections with packers and extracting pore water from core obtained by sonic drilling. Chemical and isotopic stratification was identified in the saturated zone beneath southern Fortymile Wash.

  5. Evidence for Gropun-Water Stratification Near Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    K. Futa; B.D. Marshall; Z.E. Peterman

    2006-03-24

    Major- and trace-element concentrations and strontium isotope ratios (strontium-87/strontium-86) in samples of ground water potentially can be useful in delineating flow paths in the complex ground-water system in the vicinity of Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Water samples were collected from boreholes to characterize the lateral and vertical variability in the composition of water in the saturated zone. Discrete sampling of water-producing intervals in the saturated zone includes isolating borehole sections with packers and extracting pore water from core obtained by sonic drilling. Chemical and isotopic stratification was identified in the saturated zone beneath southern Fortymile Wash.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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. Passive Seismic Monitoring for Rockfall at Yucca Mountain: Concept Tests

    SciTech Connect

    Cheng, J; Twilley, K; Murvosh, H; Tu, Y; Luke, B; Yfantis, A; Harris, D B

    2003-03-03

    For the purpose of proof-testing a system intended to remotely monitor rockfall inside a potential radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain, a system of seismic sub-arrays will be deployed and tested on the surface of the mountain. The goal is to identify and locate rockfall events remotely using automated data collecting and processing techniques. We install seismometers on the ground surface, generate seismic energy to simulate rockfall in underground space beneath the array, and interpret the surface response to discriminate and locate the event. Data will be analyzed using matched-field processing, a generalized beam forming method for localizing discrete signals. Software is being developed to facilitate the processing. To date, a three-component sub-array has been installed and successfully tested.

  9. Degradation Modes of Alloy 22 in Yucca Mountain Repository Conditions

    SciTech Connect

    Hua, F; Gordon, G M; Mon, K G; Rebak, R B

    2005-11-05

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  11. THE DRIFT SCALE HEATER TEST AT YUCCA MOUNTAIN, NEVADA

    SciTech Connect

    Peters, Mark T.; Boyle, William J.; Datta, Robin N.; Elkins, Ned Z.; Yasek, Robert N.; Wagner, Ralph A.; Weaver, Douglas J.

    1998-01-30

    The Drift Scale Heater Test (DST) is an integral part of the program of testing and studies being conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy to evaluate the suitability of Yucca Mountain, Nevada as a site of a deep geologic repository for the permanent disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level nuclear waste. The DST is a large-scale, in situ thermal test to be conducted over nearly a decade in the Exploratory Studies Facility at Yucca Mountain (Figure 1). The overall objective of the DST is to acquire a more indepth understanding of the physical processes that will occur in the rock surrounding the emplaced waste. There are four principal processes of concern: thermal, mechanical, hydrological, and chemical. These processes will be intensified because of the decay heat from the emplaced waste and their interaction or coupling. An understanding of these coupled processes is essential for the assessment of the long-term (over thousands of years) performance of the repository.

  12. Erosional decay of the Yucca Mountain crest, Nevada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stüwe, K.; Robl, J.; Matthai, S.

    2009-07-01

    A simple numerical landscape evolution model is used to investigate the rate of erosional decay of the Yucca Mountain crest in Nevada, USA — a location proposed as a permanent repository for high level radioactive waste. The model is based on a stream power approach in which we assume that the rate of erosion is proportional to the size of the catchment as a proxy for water flux and to the square of the topographic gradient. The proportionality constants in the model are determined using the structural history of the region: extensional tectonics has dissected the region into a series of well-defined tilt blocks in the last 11 my and the ratio of fault displacement and gully incision during this time is used to scale the model. Forward predictions of our model into the future show that the crest will denude to the level of the proposed site between 500,000 years and 5 my. This prediction is based on conservative estimates for all involved parameters. Erosion may be more rapid if other processes are involved. For example, our model does not consider continuing uplift or catastrophic surface processes as they have been recorded in the region. We conclude that any "total system performance analysis" (TSPA — as has been performed for the Yucca Mountain region to predict geological events inside the ridge) must consider erosion as an integral part of its predictions.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  14. MIC evaluation and testing for the Yucca Mountain repository

    SciTech Connect

    Horn, J.M.; Rivera, A.; Lain, T.; Jones, D.A.

    1997-10-01

    The U.S. Department of Energy is engaged in a suitability study for a potential deep geological repository at Yucca Mountain (YM), Nevada, for the containment and storage of high-level nuclear waste. There is growing awareness that biotic factors could affect the integrity of the repository directly through microbially induced corrosion (MIC) of waste package (WP) materials and other repository elements. A program to determine the degree that microorganisms, especially bacteria, influence the corrosion of waste package materials has therefore been undertaken. These studies include testing candidate waste package materials for their susceptibility to MIC, and also seek to determine rates of biocorrosion under varying environmental conditions, as well as predict rates of waste package corrosion over the long term. Previous characterization of bacterial isolates derived from YM geologic material showed that many possessed biochemical activities associated with MIC, 2. Various Yucca Mountain microbes demonstrated the abilities to oxidize iron, reduce sulfate to sulfide, produce acids, and generate exopolysaccharides (or `slime`). Table 1 summarizes previously characterized YM organisms and their associated relevant activities. A subset of the characterized YM bacteria were spread on WP alloy coupons in systems designed to collect polarization resistance (Rp) data for corrosion rate calculations, and to determine cathodic and anodic potentiodynamic polarization to assess corrosion mechanisms. Coupons inoculated with bacteria were compared to those that remained sterile, to determine the bacterial contribution to overall corrosion rates.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1985-12-31

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1996-06-01

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    Younker, J.L.; Andrews, W.B.; Fasano, G.A.; Herrington, C.C.; Mattson, S.R.; Murray, R.C.; Ballou, L.B.; Revelli, M.A.; Ducharme, A.R.; Shephard, L.E.; Dudley, W.W.; Hoxie, D.T.; Herbst, R.J.; Patera, E.A.; Judd, B.R.; Docka, J.A.; Rickertsen, L.D.

    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.``

  19. Evaluation of geographic information systems for three-dimensional ground-water modeling, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Turner, A. Keith; Ervin, Elisabeth M.; Downey, Joe S.; ,

    1991-01-01

    Fully three-dimensional representations of the geologic system at Yucca Mountain have been developed using a Geoscientific Information System, which is an expansion of a traditional Geographic Information Systems. These advanced, three dimensional, representations of Yucca Mountain are required to adequately evaluate the complex geologic and hydrologic conditions surrounding the site. This Geoscientific Information System will be used to store, analyze, and display site data. The system also will provide a link between geologic and hydrologic data and the numerical ground-water-flow model resulting in more easy testing of hypotheses concerning the conceptual model of the geohydrologic system at Yucca Mountain.

  20. COVE 2A Benchmarking calculations using NORIA; Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    SciTech Connect

    Carrigan, C.R.; Bixler, N.E.; Hopkins, P.L.; Eaton, R.R.

    1991-10-01

    Six steady-state and six transient benchmarking calculations have been performed, using the finite element code NORIA, to simulate one-dimensional infiltration into Yucca Mountain. These calculations were made to support the code verification (COVE 2A) activity for the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project. COVE 2A evaluates the usefulness of numerical codes for analyzing the hydrology of the potential Yucca Mountain site. Numerical solutions for all cases were found to be stable. As expected, the difficulties and computer-time requirements associated with obtaining solutions increased with infiltration rate. 10 refs., 128 figs., 5 tabs.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    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

  2. 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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  3. Seismicity in the Vicinity of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, for the Period October 1, 2003 to September 30, 2004

    SciTech Connect

    von Seggern, David; Smith, Ken

    2007-10-15

    This report describes the seismicity and earthquake monitoring activities within the Yucca Mountain region during fiscal year 2004 (FY2004 - October 1, 2003, through September 30, 2004) based on operation of the Southern Great Basin Digital Seismic Network (SGBDSN). Network practices and earthquake monitoring conducted at the Nevada Seismological Laboratory (NSL) under DOE directives for prior fiscal years are covered in similar yearly reports (see references). Real-time systems, including regional data telemetry and data management at NSL, provide for the automatic determination of earthquake locations and magnitudes and notification of important earthquakes in the region to UNR staff and DOE management. All waveform and meta-data, including automatic locations, phase arrival information, and analyst reviewed information, are managed through a relational database system allowing quick and reliable evaluation and analysis of ongoing earthquake activity near Yucca Mountain. This network, which contains weak-motion and strong-motion instrumentation, addresses the seismic hazard of the Yucca Mountain area by providing accurate earthquake magnitudes for earthquake recurrence estimates, spatial hypocentral control to very low magnitudes for identifying and assessing active faults and verifying tectonic models, true ground motions over the complete range of expected earthquake amplitudes for developing predictive models, and earthquake source information for characterizing active faulting. The Nevada Seismological Laboratory operated a 30-station monitoring network within a ring of approximately 50 km radius around Yucca Mountain during FY2004. This year showed the second-lowest seismic moment rate in the NTS and Yucca Mountain region for any fiscal year reporting period since prior to the 1992 M 5.6 Little Skull Mountain (LSM) earthquake. A total of 2180 earthquakes were located for FY2004. The largest event during FY2004 was M 2.99 and there were only 12 earthquakes

  4. UPDATE TO THE PROBABILISTIC VOLCANIC HAZARD ANALYSIS, YUCCA MOUNTAIN, NEVADA

    SciTech Connect

    K.J. Coppersmith

    2005-09-14

    A probabilistic volcanic hazard analysis (PVHA) was conducted in 1996 for the proposed repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Based on data gathered by the Yucca Mountain Project over the course of about 15 years, the analysis integrated the judgments of a panel of ten volcanic experts using methods of formal expert elicitation. PVHA resulted in a probability distribution of the annual frequency of a dike intersecting the repository, which ranges from 10E-7 to 10E-10 (mean 1.6 x 10E-8). The analysis incorporates assessments of the future locations, rates, and types of volcanic dikes that could intersect the repository, which lies about 300 m below the surface. A particular focus of the analysis is the quantification of uncertainties. Since the 1996 PVHA, additional aeromagnetic data have been collected in the Yucca Mountain region, including a high-resolution low-altitude survey. A number of anomalies have been identified within alluvial areas and modeling suggests that some of these may represent buried eruptive centers (basaltic cinder cones). A program is currently underway to drill several of the anomalies to gain information on their origin and, if basalt, their age and composition. To update the PVHA in light of the new aeromagnetic and drilling data as well as other advancements in volcanic hazard modeling over the past decade, the expert panel has been reconvened and the expert elicitation process has been fully restarted. The analysis requires assessments of the spatial distribution of igneous events, temporal distributions, and geometries and characteristics of future events (both intrusive and extrusive). The assessments are for future time periods of 10,000 years and 1,000,000 years. Uncertainties are being quantified in both the conceptual models that define these elements as well as in the parameters for the models. The expert elicitation process is centered around a series of workshops that focus on the available data; alternative approaches to

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

    SciTech Connect

    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, which in turn resulted in

  6. Site environmental report for calendar year 1994, Yucca Mountain Site, Nye County, Nevada.

    SciTech Connect

    1995-06-01

    The Yucca Mountain Site Characterization office has established an environmental program to ensure that facilities are operated in order to protect, maintain, and restore environmental quality, minimize potential threats to the environment and the public, and comply with environmental policies and US DOE orders. The status of the environmental program has been summarized in this annual report to characterize performance, confirm compliance with environmental requirements, and highlight significant programs and efforts during CY 1994. Monitoring, archaeology, groundwater, ecosystems, tortoise conservation, waste minimization, etc., are covered.

  7. Yucca Mountain Waste Package Closure System Robotic Welding and Inspection System

    SciTech Connect

    C. I. Nichol; D. P. Pace; E. D. Larsen; T. R. McJunkin; D. E. Clark; M. L. Clark; K. L. Skinner; A. D. Watkins; H. B. Smartt

    2011-10-01

    The Waste Package Closure System (WPCS), for the closure of radioactive waste in canisters for permanent storage of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and high-level waste in the Yucca Mountain Repository was designed, fabricated, and successfully demonstrated at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL). This article focuses on the robotic hardware and tools necessary to remotely weld and inspect the closure lid welds. The system was operated remotely and designed for use in a radiation field, due to the SNF contained in the waste packages being closed.

  8. A comparison of two potential repositories: The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant and Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    Pflum, C.G.

    1994-07-11

    Two repositories in the same country, yet Congress and the DOE manage them differently. While Congress encumbers WIPP with unanticipated oversight and inappropriate regulations, Congress streamlines the commercial repository program and promises improved regulations for Yucca Mountain. While DOE encouraged science at the expense of the WIPP infrastructure, DOE postponed its scientific investigations at Yucca Mountain and constructed an infrastructure, large enough to support an ambitious program that was never realized. Somewhere between WIPP and Yucca Mountain lies an ideal repository program. A program where consistent national policy promotes progress; where lucid regulations inspire confidence; where science and infrastructure are balanced; and where oversight groups do not become the tail that wags the dog. Neither WIPP nor Yucca Mountain are ideal programs, but each has its advantages that approach the ideal. Consistent national policy would steer the ideal repository program in a predictable direction. Here Yucca Mountain has the advantage. Successive legislation has streamlined the siting process and promises better regulations. From the beginning, the ideal program would know its regulators and regulations. Again, Yucca Mountain has the advantage. More familiar with regulators and regulations, the Yucca Mountain program had the foresight not to declare HLW to be hazardous and subject to dual regulations. The ideal program would equitably balance its science and infrastructure. Here neither program has the advantage and could possibly represent extremes. The WIPP`s emphasis on scientific investigations left it with little or no infrastructure to deal with regulations and oversight. A regulatory infrastructure, for example, could have forewarned WIPP that its in situ tests were not relevant to the regulations. On the opposite extreme, the Yucca Mountain`s emphasis on infrastructure left it with less money for scientific investigations.

  9. Factors limiting microbial activity in volcanic tuff at Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    Kieft, T.L.; Kovacik, W.P.; Taylor, J.

    1996-09-01

    Samples of tuff aseptically collected from 10 locations in the Exploratory Shaft Facility at the site of the proposed high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada Test Site were analyzed for microbiological populations, activities, and factors limiting microbial activity. Radiotracer assays ({sup 14}C-labeled organic substrate mineralization), direct microscopic counts, and plate counts were used. Radiolabeled substrates were glucose, acetate, and glutamate. Radiotracer experiments were carried out with and without moisture and inorganic nutrient amendments to determine factors limiting to microbial activities. Nearly all samples showed the presence of microorganisms with the potential to mineralize organic substrates. Addition of inorganic nutrients stimulated activities in a small number of samples. The presence of viable microbial communities within the tuff has implications for transport of contaminants.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  11. Infiltration at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, traced by {sup 36}Cl

    SciTech Connect

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

    1987-04-01

    Measurements of chloride and {sup 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 {sup 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 {sup 36}Cl bomb pulse at the other location was much more complex, and quantity of {sup 36}Cl in the bomb pulse was <1% of the 6 x 10{sup 12} atoms {sup 36}Cl/m{sup 2} in the bomb pulse at the first location. The data indicate hydrologic activity subsequent to the {sup 36}Cl bomb pulse fallout at one location, but none at the other location. 11 refs.

  12. Infiltration at yucca mountain, nevada, traced by 36Cl

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    1987-11-01

    Measurements of chloride and 36Cl 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 36Cl fallout from nuclear-weapons testing formed a well-defined peak at one location, with a maximum 36Cl/Cl ratio 0.5 m below the surface. The structure of the 36Cl bomb pulse at the other location was much more complex, and the quantity of 36Cl in the bomb pulse was < 1% of the 6 × 10 12 atoms {36Cl }/{m 2} in the bomb pulse at the first location. The data indicate hydrologic activity subsequent to the 36Cl bomb-pulse fallout at one location, but none at the other location.

  13. Hydrologic property alterations due to elevated temperatures at Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    Flint, A.L.; Nash, M.H.; Nash, M.S.

    1994-12-31

    Yucca Mountain is currently being evaluated as a potential site for a high level nuclear waste repository. The pre-emplacement hydrologic properties of the rock are important in determining the suitability of the site; however, post emplacement thermal loads and associated drying may permanently alter the character of the rock. A preliminary study was undertaken to determine the effects of elevated temperatures on hydrologic properties of the welded Topopah Spring member of the Paintbrush Tuff and a zeolitic, nonwelded tuff from the Tuffaceous Beds of Calico Hills. Rock outcrop samples were collected and dried in the laboratory at different temperatures (up to 400 degrees C). Hydrologic and physical properties -were tested before and after each of the drying cycles.

  14. Technical Data Catalog: Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project. Quarterly supplement

    SciTech Connect

    1995-06-30

    This report presents reference information contained in the Yucca Mountain Project Automated Technical Data Tracking System. The Department of Energy is seeking to design and maintain a geologic repository for the disposal of high-level radioactive wastes. However, before this repository can be built, the DOE must first do a comprehensive site evaluation. This evaluation is subject to many regulations. This report fulfills the reporting requirements of the Site-Specific Procedural Agreement for Geologic Repository to develop and maintain a catalog of data which will be updated and provided to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on a quarterly basis. This catalog contains: description of data; time, place, and method of acquisition; and where data may be examined.

  15. Saturated Zone Plumes in Volcanic Rock: Implications for Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    S. Kelkar; R. Roback; B. Robinson; G. Srinivasan; C. Jones; P. Reimus

    2006-02-14

    This paper presents a literature survey of the occurrences of radionuclide plumes in saturated, fractured rocks. Three sites, Idaho National laboratory, Hanford, and Oak Ridge are discussed in detail. Results of a modeling study are also presented showing that the length to width ratio of a plume starting within the repository footprint at the Yucca Mountain Project site, decreases from about 20:1 for the base case to about 4:1 for a higher value of transverse dispersivity, indicating enhanced lateral spreading of the plume. Due to the definition of regulatory requirements, this lateral spreading does not directly impact breakthrough curves at the 18 km compliance boundary, however it increases the potential that a plume will encounter reducing conditions, thus significantly retarding the transport of sorbing radionuclides.

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

    SciTech Connect

    M.L. Wilson

    2001-12-13

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1987-12-31

    Measurements of chloride and {sup 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 {sup 36}Cl fallout from nuclear-weapons testing formed a well-defined peak at one location, with a maximum {sup 36}Cl/Cl ratio 0.5 m below the surface. The structure of the {sup 36}Cl bomb pulse at the other location was much more complex, and the quantity of {sup 36}Cl in the bomb pulse was < 1% of the 6 x 10{sup 12} atoms {sup 36}Cl/m{sup 2} in the bomb pulse at the first location. The data indicate hydrologic activity subsequent to the {sup 36}Cl bomb-pulse fallout at one location, but none at the other location.

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

    SciTech Connect

    1996-05-03

    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.

  20. Aeromagnetic Expression of Buried Basaltic Volcanoes Near Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    O'Leary, D. W.; Mankinen, E.A.; Blakely, R.J.; Langenheim, V.E.; Ponce, D.A.

    2002-01-01

    A high-resolution aeromagnetic survey has defined a number of small dipolar anomalies indicating the presence of magnetic bodies buried beneath the surface of Crater Flat and the Amargosa Desert. Results of potential-field modeling indicate that isolated, small-volume, highly magnetic bodies embedded within the alluvial deposits of both areas produce the anomalies. Their physical characteristics and the fact that they tend to be aligned along major structural trends provide strong support for the hypothesis that the anomalies reflect buried basaltic volcanic centers. Other, similar anomalies are identified as possible targets for further investigation. High-resolution gravity and ground-magnetic surveys, perhaps along with drilling sources of selected anomalies and radiometric age determinations, can provide valuable constraints in estimating potential volcanic hazard to the potential nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain.

  1. Practical post-calibration uncertainty analysis: Yucca Mountain, Nevada, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    James, S. C.; Doherty, J.; Eddebbarh, A.

    2009-12-01

    The values of parameters in a groundwater flow model govern the precision of predictions of future system behavior. Predictive precision, thus, typically depends on an ability to infer values of system properties from historical measurements through calibration. When such data are scarce, or when their information content with respect to parameters that are most relevant to predictions of interest is weak, predictive uncertainty may be high, even if the model is “calibrated.” Recent advances help recognize this condition, quantitatively evaluate predictive uncertainty, and suggest a path toward improved predictive accuracy by identifying sources of predictive uncertainty and by determining what observations will most effectively reduce this uncertainty. We demonstrate linear and nonlinear predictive error/uncertainty analyses as applied to a groundwater flow model of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, the US’s proposed site for disposal of high-level radioactive waste. Both of these types uncertainty analysis are readily implemented as an adjunct to model calibration with medium to high parameterization density. Linear analysis yields contributions made by each parameter to a prediction’s uncertainty and the worth of different observations, both existing and yet-to-be-gathered, toward reducing this uncertainty. Nonlinear analysis provides more accurate characterization of the uncertainty of model predictions while yielding their (approximate) probability distribution functions. This paper applies the above methods to a prediction of specific discharge and confirms the uncertainty bounds on specific discharge supplied in the Yucca Mountain Project License Application. Furthermore, Monte Carlo simulations confirm that hydrogeologic units thought to be flow barriers have probability distributions skewed toward lower permeabilities.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    Montazer, P.; Wilson, W.E.

    1985-12-31

    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{sup -6} to 9.8 x 10{sup -6} foot per day (2 x 10{sup -6} to 3 x 10{sup -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{sup -5} to 2.9 x 10{sup -2} foot per day (8 x 10{sup -6} to 9 x 10{sup -3} meter per day). 15 refs., 4 figs., 1 tab.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    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

  5. Yucca Mountain site characterization project: Site atlas 1997. Part 1

    SciTech Connect

    1997-12-31

    The US Department of Energy (DOE) is conducting site characterization studies at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, to determine if the site is suitable for an underground repository for the permanent disposal of high-level radioactive waste. The Yucca Mountain Project (YMP) Site Atlas is a tool used to cartographically display some of the Geographic Information System (GIS) data in the form of thematic map products. Essentially, the Site Atlas is a compilation of map products that are designed to illustrate the location and extent of site characterization studies. Additionally, the Site Atlas provides maps showing project administrative boundaries and basemaps in the vicinity of the project. The data are current through September 1997. The Atlas is divided into two parts: Part 1 contains GIS maps and supporting characteristic data for geology; stratigraphy; tectonics; volcanism; hydrology; geochemistry; environmental issues; paleontology; repository design; YMP boreholes, trenches, pits, pavements, and exposures; basemap features; and surface-based testing activities, and Part 2 contains 1:6,000- and 1:12,000-scale orthophotography basemaps and orthophotography-based hypsography maps (topographic data). This data is shown at a 50% reduction. The maps and orthophotographs in this Site Atlas are provided to YMP participants as an informational source only and are not for making precise measurements. The Quality Assurance Requirements and Description statement on each map identifies the quality status of the thematic data presented. The Site Atlas is not a comprehensive guide; it does not include all scientific features or studies undertaken for the YMP. The features presented are a small subset of the total work being conducted for the project.

  6. Results of Chemical Analyses in Support of Yucca Mountain Studies

    SciTech Connect

    Daniels, Jeanette

    2007-12-11

    Ground water monitoring for the Nye County Early Warning Drilling Program (NCEWDP) was established to monitor underground water sources of the area and to protect communities surrounding the Nevada Test Site (NTS) from potential radionuclide contamination of these water sources. It provides hydrological information pertaining to groundwater flow patterns and recharge issues in the vicinity of Yucca Mountain. The Harry Reid Center for Environmental Studies (HRC) obtained groundwater samples from select NCEWDP wells shown in Figure 1. These samples were analyzed for major cations, major anions, trace elements, rare earth elements, alkalinity, pH and conductivity. These geochemical results can be used to evaluate the degree of interaction between the aquifers sampled, leading to a thorough mapping of the aquifer system. With increased analysis down gradient of the Yucca Mountain area, evaluations can identify viable groundwater flow paths and establish mixing of the groundwater systems. Tracer tests provide insight into groundwater flow characteristics and transport processes of potential contaminants. These tests are important for contaminant migration issues including safe disposal of hazardous and radioactive materials and remediation of potentially released contaminants. At a minimum, two conservative (non-sorbing) tracers with different diffusion coefficients are used for each tracer test. The tracer test performed under this cooperative agreement utilized fluorinated benzoic acids and halides as conservative tracers. The tracers are of differing size and have differing rates of diffusion into the rock. Larger molecules can not enter the pore spaces that are penetrated by the smaller molecules, therefore larger tracers will travel faster through thegroundwater system. Identical responses of the two tracers indicate no appreciable diffusion into pores of the aquifer system tuff. For the Nye County Tracer Tests, the HRC provided chemical analysis for the tracer

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

    SciTech Connect

    M.L. Wilson

    2001-07-02

    Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is being studied as a potential site for disposal of high-level radioactive waste. The site has been the subject of an extensive site-characterization effort, and a series of total-system performance assessments (TSPAs) has been conducted over the past decade, with increasing complexity and detail in the models used for the assessments. The general approach for conducting a TSPA is to (1) identify and screen potentially relevant features, events, and processes to develop scenarios, (2) develop models, (3) estimate parameter ranges and uncertainties, (4) perform calculations, and (5) interpret results. Some of these steps can be carried out in parallel, and the procedure generally must be repeated iteratively as knowledge is gained. The TSPA model for Yucca Mountain includes numerous submodels for natural systems, engineered systems, and the interactions between them. Disruptive events are also modeled (primarily igneous activity, but with consideration of other possible disruptive events as well). As implied by step (3), we use a probabilistic approach, in which uncertainties are propagated through the system so that the effects of uncertainties on the final results can be analyzed. The most recent TSPA analyses have been conducted in support of a preliminary site-suitability evaluation. If the site is found to be suitable and officially recommended, further TSPA analyses will be conducted to support the license application. Results to date 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 peak dose in the model occurs hundreds of thousands of years in the future, and is dominated by nominal processes, including waste-package corrosion, infiltration and seepage of water, and radionuclide dissolution.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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&G Energy Measurements, Inc. (EG&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.

  9. Late Quaternary geomorphology and soils in Crater Flat, Yucca mountain area, southern Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Peterson, F.F.; Bell, J.W.; Ramelli, A.R.; Dorn, R.I.; Ku, T.L.

    1995-04-01

    Crater Flat is an alluvium-filled structural basin on the west side of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, which is under consideration for a high-level nuclear waste repository. North-trending, late Quaternary faults offset alluvium in Crater Flat both along the canyons of the western flanks of Yucca Mountain and out on the piedmont slope. We believe the initial lack of young offsets at Yucca Mountain was in part due to unrecognized late Quaternary stratigraphy. We hypothesize that alluviation in the Yucca Mountain region was more active during the late Quaternary than previously thought. Several techniques were tried to test this hypothesis. Results are compared with previous soils and surface-exposure dating studies, and correlated to stratigraphy of other late Quaternary units in the southern Nevada, Death Valley, and Mojave Desert areas, and provide new stratigraphic data relevant to understanding climatic-alluvial processes in the Basin and Range Province during the late Quaternary. 76 refs., 7 figs., 6 tabs.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1995-12-31

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  13. Hydrology of the unsaturated zone, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    LeCain, Gary D.; Stuckless, John S.

    2012-01-01

    The unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain was investigated as a possible site for the nation's first high-level nuclear waste repository. Scientific investigations included infiltration studies, matrix properties testing, borehole testing and monitoring, underground excavation and testing, and the development of conceptual and numerical models of the hydrologic processes at Yucca Mountain. Infiltration estimates by empirical and geochemical methods range from 0.2 to 1.4 mm/yr and 0.2–6.0 mm/yr, respectively. Infiltration estimates from numerical models range from 4.5 mm/yr to 17.6 mm/yr. Rock matrix properties vary vertically and laterally as the result of depositional processes and subsequent postdepositional alteration. Laboratory tests indicate that the average matrix porosity and hydraulic conductivity values for the main level of the proposed repository (Topopah Spring Tuff middle nonlithophysal zone) are 0.08 and 4.7 × 10−12 m/s, respectively. In situ fracture hydraulic conductivity values are 3–6 orders of magnitude greater. The permeability of fault zones is approximately an order of magnitude greater than that of the surrounding rock unit. Water samples from the fault zones have tritium concentrations that indicate some component of postnuclear testing. Gas and water vapor movement through the unsaturated zone is driven by changes in barometric pressure, temperature-induced density differences, and wind effects. The subsurface pressure response to surface barometric changes is controlled by the distribution and interconnectedness of fractures, the presence of faults and their ability to conduct gas and vapor, and the moisture content and matrix permeability of the rock units. In situ water potential values are generally less than −0.2 MPa (−2 bar), and the water potential gradients in the Topopah Spring Tuff units are very small. Perched-water zones at Yucca Mountain are associated with the basal vitrophyre of the Topopah Spring Tuff or the Calico

  14. Hydrology of the unsaturated zone, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lecain, Gary D.; Stuckless, John S.

    2012-01-01

    The unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain was investigated as a possible site for the nation's first high-level nuclear waste repository. Scientific investigations included infiltration studies, matrix properties testing, borehole testing and monitoring, underground excavation and testing, and the development of conceptual and numerical models of the hydrologic processes at Yucca Mountain. Infiltration estimates by empirical and geochemical methods range from 0.2 to 1.4 mm/yr and 0.2–6.0 mm/yr, respectively. Infiltration estimates from numerical models range from 4.5 mm/yr to 17.6 mm/yr. Rock matrix properties vary vertically and laterally as the result of depositional processes and subsequent postdepositional alteration. Laboratory tests indicate that the average matrix porosity and hydraulic conductivity values for the main level of the proposed repository (Topopah Spring Tuff middle nonlithophysal zone) are 0.08 and 4.7 × 10−12 m/s, respectively. In situ fracture hydraulic conductivity values are 3–6 orders of magnitude greater. The permeability of fault zones is approximately an order of magnitude greater than that of the surrounding rock unit. Water samples from the fault zones have tritium concentrations that indicate some component of postnuclear testing. Gas and water vapor movement through the unsaturated zone is driven by changes in barometric pressure, temperature-induced density differences, and wind effects. The subsurface pressure response to surface barometric changes is controlled by the distribution and interconnectedness of fractures, the presence of faults and their ability to conduct gas and vapor, and the moisture content and matrix permeability of the rock units. In situ water potential values are generally less than −0.2 MPa (−2 bar), and the water potential gradients in the Topopah Spring Tuff units are very small. Perched-water zones at Yucca Mountain are associated with the basal vitrophyre of the Topopah Spring Tuff or the Calico

  15. Site Environmental Report for Calendar Year 2001 Yucca Mountain Site Nye County, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Dyer, J

    2002-10-31

    This Site Environmental Report describes the environmental program conducted for the U.S. Department of Energy Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Office during 2001. It describes the environmental laws and regulations that are applicable to the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project, the actions taken to comply with those laws and regulations, the Project's environmental program, and a summary of data collected to monitor potential impacts of the Project on the environment.

  16. MISTY ECHO Tunnel Dynamics Experiment--Data report: Volume 1; Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    SciTech Connect

    Phillips, J.S.; Luke, B.A.; Long, J.W.; Lee, J.G.

    1992-04-01

    Tunnel damage resulting from seismic loading is an important issue for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository. The tunnel dynamics experiment was designed to obtain and document ground motions, permanent displacements, observable changes in fracture patterns, and visible damage at ground motion levels of interest to the Yucca Mountain Project. Even though the maximum free-field loading on this tunnel was 28 g, the damage observed was minor. Fielding details, data obtained, and supporting documentation are reported.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1995-12-31

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  19. Linear thermal expansion data for tuffs from the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada; Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    SciTech Connect

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

    1992-07-01

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

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

    SciTech Connect

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

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  2. Summary of revised potentiometric-surface map for Yucca Mountain and vicinity, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1993-01-01

    The revised map for the potentiometric surface of the uppermost saturated zone in Tertiary volcanic rocks at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is based mainly on 1988 water levels. Refinement of the water-level corrections has increased understanding of the area immediately east-southeast and hydrologically downgradient of Yucca Mountain. This small-gradient area is a nearly horizontal surface which corresponds to the likely direction of ground-water flow from Yucca Mountain - east-southeast. To the west of Yucca Mountain, water levels are approximately 45 m higher than those in the small-gradient area, and to the east of the northern part of Yucca Mountain water levels are approximately 300 m higher than those in the small-gradient area. Water levels are higher to the west of Yucca Mountain apparently because of a barrier to ground-water flow formed by the Solitario Canyon fault and a splay of the fault, and water levels are higher to the north apparently because of a semi-perched ground-water system.

  3. Seismicity in the Vicinity of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, for the Period October 1, 2002, to September 30, 2003

    SciTech Connect

    Smith, Ken; von Seggern, David

    2007-12-04

    Earthquake activity in the Yucca Mountain from October 1, 2002 through September 30, 2003 (FY03) is assessed and compared with previous activity in the region. FY03 is the first reporting year since the 1992 M 5.6 Little Skull Mountain earthquake with no earthquakes greater than M 3.0 within 65 km of Yucca Mountain. In addition, FY03 includes the fewest number of earthquakes greater than M 2.0 in any reporting year since the LSM event. With 3075 earthquakes in the catalog, FY03 represents the second largest number of earthquakes (second to FY02) since FY96 when digital seismic network operations began. The largest event during FY03 was M 2.78 in eastern NTS and there were only 8 earthquakes greater than M 2.0.

  4. PRESERVATION OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL MATERIALS IN ARID ENVIRONMENTS RELEVANT TO YUCCA MOUNTAIN

    SciTech Connect

    N. Chapman, A. Dansie, C. McCombie

    2006-02-24

    The objective of this study was to evaluate archaeological materials from underground openings or shallow burial in arid environments relevant to Yucca Mountain and to draw conclusions about how their state and their environment of preservation could be of relevance to design and operational aspects of the high-level waste repository. The study has evaluated materials from cultures in the arid regions of the ancient Middle East and compared them with the preservation of ancient materials in dry cave sites in the Great Basin desert area of Nevada. The emphasis has been on materials found in undisturbed underground openings such as caves and un-backfilled tombs. Long-term preservation of such materials in underground openings and the stability of the openings themselves provide useful analogue information that serves as a reference point for considering the operation and evolution of the Yucca Mountain repository. Being able to shed light, by close physical and environmental analogy, on what happens in underground openings over many thousands of years provides valuable underpinning to illustrations of expected system performance and offers pointers towards optimizing repository system and operational design.

  5. 1983 biotic studies of Yucca Mountain, Nevada Test Site, Nye County, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    O`Farrell, T.P.; Collins, E.

    1984-04-01

    A 27.5-square-mile portion of Yucca Mountain on and adjacent to the US Department of Energy`s Nevada Test Site, Nye County, Nevada, is being considered as a potential location for a national high-level radioactive waste repository. Preliminary geologic and environmental characterization studies have been supported and more extensive studies are planned. Goals of the biotic surveys were to identify species of concern, describe major floral and faunal associations, and assess possible impacts of characterization and operational activities. Floral associations observed were characteristic of either the Mojave or Transition deserts that are widely distributed in southern Nevada. Diversity, in terms of total number of perennial species represented, was higher in Transition Desert associations than in Mojave Desert associations. Canopy coverage of associations fell within the range of reported values, but tended to be more homogeneous than expected. Annual vegetation was found to be diverse only where the frequency of Bromus rubens was low. Ground cover of winter annuals, especially annual grasses, was observed to be very dense in 1983. The threat of range fires on Yucca Mountain was high because of the increased amount of dead litter and the decreased amount of bare ground. Significant variability was observed in the distribution and relative abundance of several small mammal species between 1982 and 1983. Desert tortoise were found in low densities comparable with those observed in 1982. Evidence of recent activity, which included sighting of two live tortoises, was found in five areas on Yucca Mountain. Two of these areas have a high probability of sustaining significant impacts if a repository is constructed. Regeneration of aboveground shrub parts from root crowns was observed in areas damaged in 1982 by seismic testing with Vibroseis machines. These areas, which had been cleared to bare dirt by passage of the machines, also supported lush stands of winter annuals.

  6. Areal power density: A preliminary examination of underground heat transfer in a potential Yucca Mountain repository and recommendations for thermal design approaches; Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    SciTech Connect

    Hertel, E.S. Jr.; Ryder, E.E.

    1991-11-01

    The design of the potential Yucca Mountain repository is subject to many thermal goals related to the compliance of the site with federal regulations. This report summarizes a series of sensitivity studies that determined the expected temperatures near the potential repository. These sensitivity studies were used to establish an efficient loading scheme for the spent fuel canisters and a maximum areal power density based strictly on thermal goals. Given the current knowledge of the site, a design-basis areal power density of 80 kW/acre can be justified based on thermal goals only. Further analyses to investigate the impacts of this design-basis APD on mechanical and operational aspects of the potential repository must be undertaken before a final decision is made.

  7. Estimation of the limitations for surficial water addition above a potential high level radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada; Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    SciTech Connect

    Fewell, M.E.; Sobolik, S.R.; Gauthier, J.H.

    1992-01-01

    The Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project is studying Yucca Mountain in southwestern Nevada as a potential site for a high-level nuclear waste repository. Site characterization includes surface-based and underground testing. Analyses have been performed to design site characterization activities with minimal impact on the ability of the site to isolate waste, and on tests performed as part of the characterization process. One activity of site characterization is the construction of an Exploratory Studies Facility, consisting of underground shafts, drifts, and ramps, and the accompanying surface pad facility and roads. The information in this report addresses the following topics: (1) a discussion of the potential effects of surface construction water on repository-performance, and on surface and underground experiments; (2) one-dimensional numerical calculations predicting the maximum allowable amount of water that may infiltrate the surface of the mountain without affecting repository performance; and (3) two-dimensional numerical calculations of the movement of that amount of surface water and how the water may affect repository performance and experiments. The results contained herein should be used with other site data and scientific/engineering judgement in determining controls on water usage at Yucca Mountain. This document contains information that has been used in preparing Appendix I of the Exploratory Studies Facility Design Requirements document for the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project.

  8. The Site-Scale Saturated Zone Flow Model for Yucca Mountain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Al-Aziz, E.; James, S. C.; Arnold, B. W.; Zyvoloski, G. A.

    2006-12-01

    previous model calibration. Specific discharge at a point 5~km from the repository is also examined and found to be within acceptable uncertainty. The results show that updated model yields a calibration with smaller residuals than the previous model revision while ensuring that flowpaths follow measured gradients and paths derived from hydrochemical analyses. This work was supported by the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Office as part of the Civilian Radioactive Waste Management Program, which is managed by the U.S. Department of Energy, Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project. Sandia National Laboratories is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin Company, for the United States Department of Energy under Contract DE AC04 94AL85000.

  9. Communicating A Controversial and Complex Project to the Public: Yucca Mountain Tours - Real and Virtual Communication

    SciTech Connect

    A.B. Benson; P.V. Nelson; M. d'Ouville

    2000-03-01

    Since 1983, under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, as amended (42 U.S.C. 10101 et seq.), the U.S. Department of Energy (the Department) has been investigating a site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, to determine whether it is suitable for development as the nation's first repository for permanent geologic disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. By far, the largest quantity of waste destined for geologic disposal is spent nuclear fuel from 118 commercial nuclear power reactors at 72 power plant sites and 1 commercial storage site across the United States. Currently, 104 of these reactors are still in operation and generate about 20 percent of the country's electricity. Under standard contracts that DOE executed with the utilities, DOE is to accept spent nuclear fuel from the utilities for disposal. Until that happens, the utilities must safely store their spent nuclear fuel in compliance with Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulations. As of December 1998, commercial spent nuclear fuel containing approximately 38,500 metric tons of heavy metal (MTHM) was stored in 33 states. The balance of the waste destined for geologic disposal in a repository is Department-owned spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. The Department's spent nuclear fuel includes naval spent nuclear fuel and irradiated fuel from weapons production, domestic research reactors, and foreign research reactors. For disposal in a geologic repository, high-level radioactive waste would be processed into a solid glass form and placed into approximately 20,000 canisters. No liquid or hazardous wastes regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 would be disposed of in a geologic repository. The difficulty in siting new facilities, particularly those designed as nuclear or nuclear-related facilities, is well documented. In this context, national boundaries are not significant distinguishing barriers. As one publication observed, ''Environmental

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1984-12-01

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

  11. A seismic study of Yucca Mountain and vicinity, southern Nevada; data report and preliminary results

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hoffman, L.R.; Mooney, W.D.

    1983-01-01

    From 1980 to 1982, the U.S. Geological Survey conducted seismic refraction studies at the Nevada Test Site to aid in an investigation of the regional crustal structure at a possible nuclear waste repository site near Yucca Mountain. Two regionally distributed deployments and one north-south deployment recorded nuclear events. First arrival times from these deployments were plotted on a location map and contoured to determine traveltime delays. The results indicate delays as large as 0.5 s in the Yucca Mountain and Crater Flat areas relative to the Jackass Flats area. A fourth east-west deployment recorded a chemical explosion and was interpreted using a two-dimensional computer raytracing technique. Delays as high as 0.7 s were observed over Crater Flat and Yucca Mountain. The crustal model derived from this profile indicates that Paleozoic rocks, which outcrop to the east at Skull Mountain and the Calico Hills, and to the west at Bare Mountain, lie at a minimum depth of 3 km beneath part of Yucca Mountain. These results confirm earlier estimates based on the modeling of detailed gravity data. A mid-crustal boundary at 15 ? 2 km beneath Yucca Mountain is evidenced by a prominent reflection recorded beyond 43 km range at 1.5 s reduced time. Other mid-crustal boundaries have been identified at 24 and 30 km and the total crustal thickness is 35 km.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1998-09-29

    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

  13. Strain accumulation at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, 1983-1998

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Savage, J. C.; Svarc, J. L.; Prescott, W. H.

    1999-08-01

    A 14-station, 50-km aperture geodetic array centered on the proposed radioactive waste disposal site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, was surveyed in 1983, 1984, 1993, and 1998 to determine the rate of strain accumulation there. The coseismic effects of the 1992 (MS=5.4) Little Skull Mountain earthquake, which occurred within the array, were calculated from a dislocation model and removed from the data. The measured principal strain accumulation rates determined over the 1983-1998 interval are ɛ1 = 2±12 nanostrain/yr N87°W±12° and ɛ2 = -22±12 nanostrain/yr N03°E±12° (extension reckoned positive and quoted uncertainties are standard deviations). The N65°W extension rate is -2±12 nanostrain/yr, significantly less than the 1991-1997 N65°W rate of 50±9 nanostrain/yr reported by Wernicke et al. [1998]. The implied maximum right-lateral engineering-shear, strain accumulation rate is γ=ɛ1-ɛ2 = 23±10 nanostrain/yr, a marginally significant rate. Almost half (ɛ1 = 6 nanostrain/yr N90°W, ɛ2 = -6 nanostrain/yr N00°E, and γ = 12 nanostrain/yr ) of the measured strain rate can be attributed to strain accumulation on the Death Valley-Furnace Creek (50 km distant) and Hunter Mountain-Panamint Valley (90 km distant) faults. The residual strain rate after the removal of those fault contributions is not significant at the 95% confidence level.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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 footprints are presented in this AMR. In addition, the

  17. Modeling Potential Tephra Dispersal at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hooper, D.; Franklin, N.; Adams, N.; Basu, D.

    2006-12-01

    Quaternary basaltic volcanoes exist within 20 km [12 mi] of the potential radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, and future basaltic volcanism at the repository is considered a low-probability, potentially high-consequence event. If radioactive waste was entrained in the conduit of a future volcanic event, tephra and waste could be transported in the resulting eruption plume. During an eruption, basaltic tephra would be dispersed primarily according to the height of the eruption column, particle-size distribution, and structure of the winds aloft. Following an eruption, contaminated tephra-fall deposits would be affected by surface redistribution processes. The Center for Nuclear Waste Regulatory Analyses developed the computer code TEPHRA to calculate atmospheric dispersion and subsequent deposition of tephra and spent nuclear fuel from a potential eruption at Yucca Mountain and to help prepare the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to review a potential U.S. Department of Energy license application. The TEPHRA transport code uses the Suzuki model to simulate the thermo-fluid dynamics of atmospheric tephra dispersion. TEPHRA models the transport of airborne pyroclasts based on particle diffusion from an eruption column, horizontal diffusion of particles by atmospheric and plume turbulence, horizontal advection by atmospheric circulation, and particle settling by gravity. More recently, TEPHRA was modified to calculate potential tephra deposit distributions using stratified wind fields based on upper atmosphere data from the Nevada Test Site. Wind data are binned into 1-km [0.62-mi]-high intervals with coupled distributions of wind speed and direction produced for each interval. Using this stratified wind field and discretization with respect to height, TEPHRA calculates particle fall and lateral displacement for each interval. This implementation permits modeling of split wind fields. We use a parallel version of the code to calculate expected

  18. Tectonic and neotectonic framwork of the Yucca Mountain region, Task 5

    SciTech Connect

    Schweickert, R.A.

    1993-09-30

    Research continued on the tectonic and neotectonics of the Yucca Mountain region. Highlights from projects include: structural studies in Grapevine Mountains, Funeral Mountains, Bullfrog Hills, and Bare Mountain; development of structural models for pre-Middle Miocene normal and strike-slip faulting at Bare Mountain; Paleomagnetic analysis of Paleozoic and Cenozoic units at Bare Mountain; sampling of pegmatites in Bullfrog Hills and Funeral Mountains for U-Pb isotopic analysis; and review and analysis of Mesozoic structure between eastern sierra and Nevada test Site.

  19. Total system performance predictions (TSPA-1995) for the potential high-level waste repository at Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    Sevougian, S.D.; Andrews, R.W.; McNeish, J.A.

    1996-06-01

    The management and operating contractor for the potential high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, has been recently completed a new performance assessment of the ability of the repository to isolate and contain nuclear waste for long time periods (up to 1,000,000 years). Sensitivity analyses determine the most important physical parameters and processes, using the most current information and models.

  20. Archaelogy of Arid Environment Points to Management Options for Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    N. Chapman; A. Dansie; C. McCombie

    2006-08-29

    As with all planned repositories for spent fuel, the critical period over which Yucca Mountain needs to provide isolation is the first hundreds to thousands of years after the fuel is emplaced, when it is at its most hazardous. Both the original and the proposed new EPA standards highlight the central importance of this performance period by focusing on repository behavior during the first 10,000 years. Archaeology has a lot to tell us about the behavior of materials and structures over this time period. There have been numerous studies of archaeological artifacts in conditions relevant to the groundwater saturated environments that are a feature of most international geological disposal concepts, but relatively few in arid environments like that of the Nevada desert. However, there is much information to be gleaned, not only from classic archaeological areas in the Middle East and around the Mediterranean but also, perhaps surprisingly to some, from Nevada itself. Our recent study evaluated archaeological materials from underground openings and shallow burial in arid environments relevant to Yucca Mountain, drawing conclusions about how their state and their environment of preservation could help to assess design and operational options for the high-level waste repository.

  1. Evaluation of the Corrosivity of Dust Deposited on Waste Packages at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    C. Bryan; R. Jarek; T. Wolery; D. Shields; M. Sutton; E. Hardin; D. Barr

    2005-03-18

    Small amounts of dust will be deposited on the surfaces of waste packages in drifts at Yucca Mountain during the operational and the preclosure ventilation periods. Salts present in the dust will deliquesce as the waste packages cool and relative humidity in the drifts increases. In this paper, we evaluate the potential for brines formed by dust deliquescence to initiate and sustain localized corrosion that results in failure of the waste package outer barrier and early failure of the waste package. These arguments have been used to show that dust deliquescence-induced localized or crevice corrosion of the waste package outer barrier (Alloy 22) is of low consequence with respect to repository performance. Measured atmospheric and underground dust compositions are the basis of thermodynamic modeling and experimental studies to evaluate the likelihood of brine formation and persistence, the volume of brines that may form, and the relative corrosivity of the initial deliquescent brines and of brines modified by processes on the waste package surface. In addition, we evaluate several mechanisms that could inhibit or stifle localized corrosion should it initiate. The dust compositions considered include both tunnel dust samples from Yucca Mountain, National Airfall Deposition Program rainout data, and collected windblown dust samples. Also considered is sublimation of ammonium salts, a process that could affect dust composition prior to deliquescence. Ammonium chlorides, nitrates, and even sulfates sublimate readily into ammonia and acid gases, and will be lost from the surface of the waste package prior to deliquescence.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  3. Testing the concept of drift shadow at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    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 238U-234U-230Th) have been analyzed in samples of rock from beneath four naturally occurring lithophysal cavities. All rock samples show 234U depletion relative to parent 238U indicating varying degrees of water-rock interaction over the past million years. Variations in 234U/238U activity ratios indicate that depletion of 234U relative to 238U 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 234U/ 238U activity ratios in rock beneath the cavity floors are interpreted to reflect differences in the amount of past seepage into lithophysal cavities, as indicated by the abundance of secondary mineral deposits present on the cavity floors.

  4. Impact of quaternary climate on seepage at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2006-01-01

    Uranium-series ages, oxygen-isotopic compositions, and uranium contents were determined in outer growth layers of opal and calcitefrom 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 (??18O) values of the growth layers were conducted by electron microprobe analysis and secondary ion mass spectrometry techniques at spatial resolutions of 2 to about 20 micrometers (??m) and 25 to 40 ??m, 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 ??m/k.y. for 1- to 3-centimeter-thick coatings, whereas coatings less than about 1-centimeter-thick have growth rates less than 0.5 ??m/k.y. At the depth of the proposed repository, correlations of uranium concentration and ??18O 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.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2006-03-17

    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.

  6. Corrosion of candidate container materials by Yucca Mountain bacteria

    SciTech Connect

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

    1999-12-10

    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,

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1994-12-31

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1994-12-31

    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.

  9. Drift natural convection and seepage at the Yucca Mountain repository

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Halecky, Nicholaus Eugene

    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, from the hot drift center to the cool 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.

  10. Strain accumulation near Yucca Mountain, Nevada, 1993-1998

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Savage, J. C.; Svarc, J. L.; Prescott, W. H.

    2001-01-01

    A 50-km aperture geodetic network centered on the proposed high-level radioactive waste disposal site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, was surveyed with GPS in 1993 and 1998. The average deformation rate across the area is described by the principal strain rates 22.8±8.8 nstrain yr-1 N77.6°W±13.5° and -8.8±11.9 nstrain yr-1 N12.5°E±13.5° (extension reckoned positive) and a clockwise rotation rate about a vertical axis of 9.6±7.4 nrad yr-1 relative to fixed North America. Quoted uncertainties are standard deviations. Those strain rates are consistent with the geodetic strain rates (2±12 nstrain yr-1 N87°±12°W and -22±12 nstrain yr-1 N03°±12°E) previously reported by Savage et al. [1999] for the 1983-1998 interval and with the low extension rate (5-20 nstrain yr-1) [Marrett et al., 1998] inferred from the geologic record. None of those strain rates is consistent with the 50±9 nstrain yr-1 N65°W extension rate for the area reported by Wernicke et al. [1998].

  11. Volcanic hazard studies for the Yucca Mountain project

    SciTech Connect

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

    1989-05-01

    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{sup 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{sup 3} to 10{sup 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. Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project Technical Data Catalog (quarterly supplement)

    SciTech Connect

    1993-06-30

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  14. Yucca Mountain Transportation Security Issues: overview and update

    SciTech Connect

    Ballard, J.D.; Halstead, R.J.; Dilger, F.; Collins, H.

    2007-07-01

    This paper examines four aspects of transportation security planning for the proposed geologic repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The authors review the transportation sabotage consequence assessments prepared over the past five years by the United States Department of Energy (DOE), and the State of Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects (NANP). The authors identify five critical uncertainties in the repository transportation system being developed by DOE, and assess the implications of these uncertainties for shipment security. The authors compare the security findings and recommendations of the recent National Academy of Sciences study of high-level nuclear waste transportation, with the State of Nevada petition for rulemaking (PRM 73-10) filed with the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in 1999. The authors summarize recent trends in global terrorism and recommend research on alternative assumptions for threat assessments, and recommend that Federal agencies consider social-science based counter-terrorism strategies, such as precursor analysis, and the 'Day After' methodology developed by the Rand Corporation. (authors)

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2006-03-10

    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 {sup 238}U-{sup 234}U-{sup 230}Th) have been analyzed in samples of rock from beneath four naturally occurring lithophysal cavities. All samples show {sup 234}U depletion relative to parent {sup 238}U, indicating varying degrees of water-rock interaction over the past million years. Variations in {sup 234}U/{sup 238}U activity ratios indicate that depletion of {sup 234}U relative to {sup 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 {sup 234}U/{sup 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. Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project: Technical Data Catalog quarterly supplement

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  17. Yucca Mountain Project - Science & Technology Radionuclide Absorbers Development Program Overview

    SciTech Connect

    Hong-Nian Jow; R.C. Moore; K.B. Helean; S. Mattigod; M. Hochella; A.R. Felmy; J. Liu; K. Rosso; G. Fryxell; J. Krumhansl; Y. Wang

    2005-01-14

    The proposed Yucca Mountain repository is anticipated to be the first facility for long-term disposal of commercial spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste in the United States. The facility, located in the southern Nevada desert, is currently in the planning stages with initial exploratory excavations completed. It is an underground facility mined into the tuffaceous volcanic rocks that sit above the local water table. The focus of the work described in this paper is the development of radionuclide absorbers or ''getter'' materials for neptunium (Np), iodine (I), and technetium (Tc) for potential deployment in the repository. ''Getter'' materials retard the migration of radionuclides through sorption, reduction, or other chemical and physical processes, thereby slowing or preventing the release and transport of radionuclides. An overview of the objectives and approaches utilized in this work with respect to materials selection and modeling of ion ''getters'' is presented. The benefits of the ''getter'' development program to the United States Department of Energy (US DOE) are outlined.

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

    SciTech Connect

    Hirschfelder, J.

    1992-07-01

    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.

  19. Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project Technical Data Catalog (Quarterly supplement)

    SciTech Connect

    1993-12-31

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    A. Ramirez

    2000-10-01

    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.

  1. MRS system study for the repository: Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project; Volume 2

    SciTech Connect

    Sinagra, T.A.; Harig, R.

    1990-12-01

    The US Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM), has initiated a waste management system study to identify the impacts of the presence or absence of a monitored retrievable storage facility (hereinafter referred to as ``MRS``) on system costs and program schedules. To support this study, life-cycle cost estimates and construction schedules have been prepared for the surface and underground facilities and operations geologic nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada. Nine different operating scenarios (cases) have been identified by OCRWM for inclusion in this study. For each case, the following items are determined: the repository design and construction costs, operating costs, closure and decommissioning costs, required staffing, construction schedules, uncertainties associated with the costs and schedules, and shipping cask and disposal container throughputs. This document contains A-D.

  2. MRS system study for the repository: Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project; Volume 1

    SciTech Connect

    Sinagra, T.A.; Harig, R.

    1990-12-01

    The US Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM), has initiated a waste management system study to identify the impacts of the presence or absence of a monitored retrievable storage facility (hereinafter referred to as ``MRS``) on system costs and program schedules. To support this study, life-cycle cost estimates and construction schedules have been prepared for the surface and underground facilities and operations of a geologic nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada. Nine different operating scenarios (cases) have been identified by OCRWM for inclusion in this study. For each case, the following items are determined: the repository design and construction costs, operating costs, closure and decommissioning costs, required staffing, construction schedules, uncertainties associated with the costs and schedules, and shipping cask and disposal container throughputs. 6 refs., 83 figs., 57 tabs.

  3. Nye County Nevada Perspectives on the State of the Yucca Mountain Project - 12388

    SciTech Connect

    Lacy, Darrell; Voegele, Michael; Jaszczak, Casmier

    2012-07-01

    Responding to the Department of Energy decision to try to withdraw the Yucca Mountain license application and the Administration actions to close down the Yucca Mountain project, Nye County undertook a number of activities to articulate its support for continuing the Yucca Mountain project. The activities included responding to inquiries from federal agencies, including investigations undertaken by the Government Accountability Office addressing other potential uses for the Yucca Mountain site, responding to a Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the possible use of Yucca Mountain for disposal of Greater than Class C wastes, testifying in hearings, and interacting with the President's Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future. The paper summarizes Nye County's position on the Yucca Mountain repository, Nye County's perspectives on the various activities that were developed and considered by the Government Accountability Office, Nye County's concerns with the use of the Nevada National Security Site for Disposal of Greater than Class C Low-Level Radioactive Wastes, testimony of Nye County officials expressing local community support for the Yucca Mountain project, and Nye County's perspectives on recommendations provided by the Blue Ribbon Commission to move the nation's high-level radioactive waste disposal programs forward without consideration of the role Yucca Mountain could have served in those recommendations. Nye County believes that every effort should be made to, at a minimum, fund the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to complete the license application review. Then, if Congress does decide to change the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, there will be valuable information available to support new policy development. This administration contends that Congressional language associated with the FY2010 and FY2011 appropriations and authorization process is sufficient evidence of its intent to terminate the Yucca Mountain repository program. The appropriation

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

    SciTech Connect

    Rautenstrauch, K.R.; Cox, M.K.; Doerr, T.B.; Green, R.A.; Mueller, J.M.; O`Farrell, T.P.; Rakestraw, D.L.

    1991-04-01

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    Rautenstrauch, K.R.; Cox, M.K.; Doerr, T.B.; Green, R.A.; Mueller, J.M.; O`Farrell, T.P.; Rakestraw, D.L.

    1991-12-31

    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 the biology of tortoises at Yucca Mountain, ascertain what information was lacking, and identify the potential impacts on tortoises of SC. We then developed a technical design that can be used to identify and mitigate direct and cumulative impacts and provide 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.

  6. Mineralogic variation in drill core UE-25 UZ{number_sign}16, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

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

    1995-02-01

    Quantitative X-ray powder diffraction methods have been used to analyze 108 samples from drill core UE-25 UZ{number_sign}16 at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. This drill hole, located within the imbricate fault zone east of the potential Yucca Mountain repository site, confirms the authors` previous knowledge of gross-scale mineral distributions at Yucca Mountain and provides insight into possible shallow pathways for hydrologic recharge into the potential host rock. Analyses of samples from UE-25 UZ{number_sign}16 have shown that the distribution of major zeolitized horizons, of silica phases, and of glassy tuffs are similar to those noted in nearby drill cores. However, the continuous core and closer sample spacing in UE-25 UZ{number_sign}16 provide a more exact determination of mineral stratigraphy, particularly in hydrologically important units such as the Paintbrush bedded tuffs above the Topopah Spring Tuff and in the upper vitrophyre of the Topopah Spring Tuff. The discovery of matrix zeolitization in the devitrified Topopah Spring Tuff of UE25 UZ{number_sign}16 shows that some unexpected mineralogic features can still be encountered in the exploration of Yucca Mountain and emphasizes the importance of obtaining a more complete three-dimensional model of Yucca Mountain mineralogy.

  7. Hydrology of Yucca Mountain and vicinity, Nevada-California : investigative results through mid-1983

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Waddell, R.K.; Robison, J.H.; Blankennagel, R.K.

    1984-01-01

    Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is one of several sites under consideration for construction of the first repository for high-level nuclear waste. The climate is arid; few perennial streams are present in the region. Flash floods occasionally occur. The site is underlain by at least 1,800 meters of volcanic tuffs of Tertiary age; limestones and dolomites of Paleozoic age underlie much of the surrounding region, and, together with alluvial deposits, comprise the major aquifers. Yucca Mountain is in the Alkali Flat-Furnace Creek Ranch ground-water subbasin, which is part of the Death Valley ground-water basin. Discharge occurs at Alkali Flat almost entirely by evapotranspiration, and at Furnace Creek Ranch from small springs and seeps. Beneath Yucca Mountain, depth to water ranges from about 460 to 700 meters; the rock under consideration for construction of the repository is in the unsaturated zone. Rate of recharge at Yucca Mountain is small, perhaps much less than 5 millimeters per year. Within the saturated zone, water movement is principally along fractures. The hydraulic gradient is small east (downgradient) of Yucca Mountain, and increases to the north and west. Lack of effective-porosity data presently precludes accurate calculation of flow velocity and travel times. (USGS)

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1995-12-31

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    Bjerstedt, T.W.

    1996-12-31

    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.

  11. Synthesis of Subsurface Fracture Characteristics at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smart, K. J.; Wyrick, D. Y.; Landis, P. S.; Waiting, D. J.

    2005-12-01

    Fractures are among the most abundant geologic structures found in rocks. Although individual fractures are rarely of great importance, the sheer number of fractures makes them a key component of many geologic and engineering-related processes. Fractures directly affect geotechnical processes for stability of underground openings and indirectly influence processes such as thermal stress accommodation. Near-surface water infiltration and flow, and unsaturated zone radionuclide transport are tunnel- and mountain-scale processes influenced by fractures. Yucca Mountain, Nevada is the site of the United States' potential high-level nuclear waste repository. This presentation provides an up-to-date synthesis of subsurface fracture data collected in the repository host horizon interval from two tunnels, the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF) and the Enhanced Characterization of the Repository Block (ECRB) cross-drift at Yucca Mountain. The primary goals are to: (1) summarize fracture data collected by both detailed line survey and full-periphery geologic mapping techniques; and (2) provide a rigorous analysis of key fracture characteristics, including fracture orientation, spacing and size. Definitive cooling joints and vapor phase partings are present in all zones within the Topopah Spring Tuff (the proposed repository host horizon), but are not abundant and represent only 5 to 11% of all recorded fractures. Fractures with measurable displacement are also present, but account for only 3 to 4% of the total population. These fractures, however, are predominantly subvertical with either a northwest or northeast strike. Regardless of lithostratigraphic interval (i.e., presence or absence of lithophysae), distinctive orientation-based fracture sets are present -- fractures are not randomly distributed. This observation holds for analyses of long and short fractures. The overall distribution of fracture size based on observed trace length is strongly skewed with short

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

    SciTech Connect

    Barnard, R.W.; Wilson, M.L.; Dockery, H.A.; Kaplan, P.G.; Eaton, R.R.; Bingham, F.W.; Gauthier, J.H.; Robey, T.H.

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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{sub NaCl}, below 300 mM and 200 mM, respectively.

  14. Survey of Yucca Mountain, Forty-Mile Canyon, and Jackass Flats in Nye County, Nevada for desert tortoise, Gopherus agassizii

    SciTech Connect

    Medica, P.A.; O`Farrell, T.P.; Collins, E.

    1981-10-01

    The objective of this brief survey was to determine if G. agassizii is present west of Forty-Mile Canyon in the Yucca Mountain.. area, or along the major access roads which lead through Jackass Flats to Forty-Mile Canyon and Yucca Mountain

  15. Environmental Impacts of Transportation to the Potential Repository at Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    R.L. Sweeney; R. Best; P. Bolton; P. Adams

    2002-01-03

    The Environmental Impact Statement for a Geologic Repository for the Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste at Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada analyzes a Proposed Action to construct, operate, monitor, and eventually close a geologic repository for the disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. As part of the Proposed Action, the EIS analyzes the potential impacts of transporting commercial and DOE spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste to Yucca Mountain from 77 sites across the United States. The analysis includes information on the comparative impacts of transporting these materials by truck and rail and discusses the impacts of building a rail line or using heavy-haul trucks to move rail casks from a mainline railroad in Nevada to the site. This paper provides an overview of the analyses and the potential impacts of these transportation activities. The potential transportation impacts were looked at from two perspectives: transportation of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste by legal-weight truck or by rail on a national scale and impacts specific to Nevada from the transportation of these materials from the State borders to the Yucca Mountain site. In order to address the range of impacts that could result from the most likely modes, legal-weight truck and rail, the EIS employed two analytical scenarios--mostly legal-weight truck and mostly rail. Estimated national transportation impacts were based on 24 years of transportation activities. Approximately 8 fatalities could occur from all causes in the nationwide general population from incident-free transportation activities of the mostly legal-weight truck scenario and about 4 from the mostly rail scenario. The analysis examined the radiological consequences under the maximum foreseeable accident scenario and also overall accident risk. The overall accident risk over the 24 year period would be about 0.0002 latent cancer fatality for

  16. Making the Postclosure Safety Case for the Proposed Yucca Mountain Repository

    SciTech Connect

    P. Swift; A.V. Luik

    2006-08-28

    The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in its advisory standard for geological repositories promulgated jointly with the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, explicitly distinguishes between the concepts of a safety case and a safety assessment. As defined in the advisory standard, the safety case is a broader set of arguments that provide confidence and substantiate the formal analyses of system safety made through the process of safety assessment. Although the IAEAYs definitions include both preclosure (i.e., operational) safety and post-closure performance in the overall safety assessment and safety case, the emphasis in here is on long-term performance after waste has been emplaced and the repository has been closed. This distinction between pre- and postclosure aspects of the repository is consistent with the U.S. regulatory framework defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Chapter 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 197, or 40 CFR 197) [2] and implemented by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (Chapter 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 63, or 10 CFR 63) [3]. The separation of the pre- and postclosure safety cases is also consistent with the way in which the U.S. Department of Energy has assigned responsibilities for developing the safety case. Bechtel SAIC Company is the Management and Operating contractor responsible for the design and operation of the Yucca Mountain facility and is therefore responsible for the preparation of the preclosure aspects of the safety case. Sandia National Laboratories has lead responsibility for scientific work evaluating post-closure performance, and therefore is responsible for developing the post-closure aspects of the safety case. In the context of the IAEA definitions, both preclosure and postclosure safety, including safety assessment and the safety case, will be documented in the license application being prepared for the

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  20. An overview of the Yucca Mountain global/regional climate modeling program

    SciTech Connect

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

    1992-11-01

    The U.S. 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. Forecasts of future climate 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 wil follow past patterns. 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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    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.

  7. Yucca Mountain Biological resources monitoring program; Annual report FY89 and FY90

    SciTech Connect

    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. (MHB)

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1996-07-01

    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.

  9. Geophysical investigations of buried volcanic centers near Yucca Mountain, Southwest Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Langenheim, V.E.; Kirchoff-Stein, K. S.; Oliver, H.W.

    1993-01-01

    Several aeromagnetic dipolar anomalies occur over flat, alluvial areas near Yucca Mountain that resemble anomalies typically associated with subaerial basaltic volcanic centers. Detailed gravity and ground magnetic data were collected along a surveyed traverse across an aeromagnetic anomaly in Amargosa Valley, south of Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Modeling of the ground magnetic data collected over the largest of these anomalies, the Lathrop Wells aeromagnetic anomaly, indicates that the top of the causative body, most likely basalt, is less than 250 m below the surface. Gravity data indicate an apparent lack of an associated gravity anomaly and suggest that either the causative body may be tuff rather than basalt, or the volume of the body is small. Both drilling and collection of more magnetic and gravity data are necessary because ages and volumes of buried volcanic centers are important constraints for estimating the probability of potential volcanism near the proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  11. Physical limits on ground motion at Yucca Mountain

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Andrews, D.J.; Hanks, T.C.; Whitney, J.W.

    2007-01-01

    Physical limits on possible maximum ground motion at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, the designated site of a high-level radioactive waste repository, are set by the shear stress available in the seismogenic depth of the crust and by limits on stress change that can propagate through the medium. We find in dynamic deterministic 2D calculations that maximum possible horizontal peak ground velocity (PGV) at the underground repository site is 3.6 m/sec, which is smaller than the mean PGV predicted by the probabilistic seismic hazard analysis (PSHA) at annual exceedance probabilities less than 10-6 per year. The physical limit on vertical PGV, 5.7 m/sec, arises from supershear rupture and is larger than that from the PSHA down to 10-8 per year. In addition to these physical limits, we also calculate the maximum ground motion subject to the constraint of known fault slip at the surface, as inferred from paleoseismic studies. Using a published probabilistic fault displacement hazard curve, these calculations provide a probabilistic hazard curve for horizontal PGV that is lower than that from the PSHA. In all cases the maximum ground motion at the repository site is found by maximizing constructive interference of signals from the rupture front, for physically realizable rupture velocity, from all parts of the fault. Vertical PGV is maximized for ruptures propagating near the P-wave speed, and horizontal PGV is maximized for ruptures propagating near the Rayleigh-wave speed. Yielding in shear with a Mohr-Coulomb yield condition reduces ground motion only a modest amount in events with supershear rupture velocity, because ground motion consists primarily of P waves in that case. The possibility of compaction of the porous unsaturated tuffs at the higher ground-motion levels is another attenuating mechanism that needs to be investigated.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    Flint, L.E.

    1998-09-01

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  15. Lead isotopes and trace metals in dust at Yucca Mountain

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kwak, Loretta; Neymark, Leonid A.; Peterman, Zell E.

    2008-01-01

    Lead (Pb)-isotope compositions and trace-metal concentrations were determined for samples of dust collected from underground and surface locations at and near the proposed radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Rare earth element concentrations in the dust samples from the underground tunnels are similar to those in wholerock samples of the repository host rocks (Miocene Tiva Canyon Tuff and Topopah Spring Tuff), supporting interpretation that the subsurface dust is mainly composed of rock comminuted during tunnel construction. Other trace metals (arsenic, cadmium, cobalt, chromium, copper, manganese, nickel, lead, antimony, thallium, and zinc) are variably enriched in the subsurface dust samples relative to the average concentrations in the host rocks. Average concentrations of arsenic and lead in dust samples, high concentrations of which can cause corrosion of waste canisters, have enrichment factors from 1.2 to 1.6 and are insignificant relative to the range of concentrations for these metals observed in the host rock samples. Most dust samples from surface sites also are enriched in many of these trace metals relative to average repository host rocks. At least some of these enrichments may be artifacts of sampling. Plotted on a 208Pb/206Pb-207Pb/206Pb graph, Pb-isotope compositions of dust samples from underground sites form a mixing line extending from host-rock Pb-isotope compositions towards compositions of many of the dust samples from surface sites; however, combined Pb concentration and isotope data indicate the presence of a Pbenriched component in the subsurface dust that is not derived from host rock or surface dust and may derive from anthropogenic materials introduced into the underground environment.

  16. Engineered materials characterization report for the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project. Volume 1, Introduction, history, and current candidates

    SciTech Connect

    Van Konynenburg, R.A.; McCright, R.D.; Roy, A.K.; Jones, D.A.

    1995-08-01

    The purpose of the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project is to evaluate Yucca Mountain for its suitability as a potential site for the nation`s first high-level nuclear waste repository. As part of this effort, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has been occupied for a number of years with developing and evaluating the performance of waste packages for the potential repository. In recent years this work has been carried out under the guidance of and in collaboration with the Management and Operating contractor for the Civilian Radioactive Waste Management System, TRW Environmental Safety Systems, Inc., which in turn reports to the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management of the US Department of Energy. This report summarizes the history of the selection and characterization of materials to be used in the engineered barrier system for the potential repository at Yucca Mountain, describes the current candidate materials, presents a compilation of their properties, and summarizes available corrosion data and modeling. The term ``engineered materials`` is intended to distinguish those materials that are used as part of the engineered barrier system from the natural, geologic materials of the site.

  17. Modeling fluid-rock interaction at Yucca Mountain, Nevada; A progress report, April 15, 1992

    SciTech Connect

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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 groundwater{close_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 fractures{close_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 deposits{close_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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  20. Radionuclide transport from yucca Mountain and Inter-basin Flow in Death Valley

    SciTech Connect

    Bredehoeft, J.; Fridrich, C.; King, C.HG.M.

    2007-07-01

    Hydrodynamics and the U.S. Geological survey conducted studies to evaluate far-field issues related to potential transport, by ground water, of radionuclide into Inyo County from Yucca Mountain, including Death Valley, and the evaluation of a connection between the Lower Carbonate Aquifer (LCA) and the biosphere. Our oversight and completed Cooperative Agreement research, and a number of other investigators research indicate that there is groundwater flow between the alluvial and carbonate aquifers both at Yucca Mountain and in Inyo County. The specific purpose of our research was to acquire geological, subsurface geology, and hydrologic data to: 1. Establish the existence of inter-basin flow between the Amargosa Basin and Death Valley Basin, 2. Characterize groundwater flow paths in the LCA through Southern Funeral Mountain Range, and 3. Evaluate the hydraulic connection between the Yucca Mountain repository and the major springs in Death Valley through the LCA. 4. Evaluate the hydraulic connection between the Yucca Mountain repository and Franklin Lake Playa. The hydraulic characterization of the LCA is of critical interest to Inyo County and the U.S. Department of Energy because: 1. The upward gradient in the LCA at Yucca Mountain provides a natural barrier to radionuclide transport, 2. The LCA is a necessary habitat resource for the endangered Devil's Hole pup fish, and 3. The LCA is the primary water supply and source of water to the major springs in Death Valley National Park. This paper presents the results of our study program to evaluate if inter-basin flow exists between the Amargosa and Death Valley Basins through the LCA. The study presents the results of our structural geology analysis of the Southern Funeral Mountain range, geochemical source analysis of spring waters in the region, and a numerical groundwater model to simulate inter-basin flow in the Southern Funeral Mountain range. (authors)

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  2. Yucca Mountain, Nevada - A proposed geologic repository for high-level radioactive waste

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Levich, R.A.; Stuckless, J.S.

    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. ?? 2007 Geological Society of America. All rights reserved.

  3. Paleomagnetic constraints on the geometry and timing of deformation at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rosenbaum, J.G.; Hudson, M.R.; Scott, R.B.

    1991-01-01

    Paleomagnetic data from Miocene ash flow sheets indicate that southern Yucca Mountain has undergone about 30?? of clockwise vertical-axis rotation since emplacement of the Tiva Canyon Member of the Paintbrush Tuff at about 13 Ma. Declinations of remanent magnetization from 32 sites in the reversely magnetized Tiva Canyon member display a systematic southward increase over the 25 km north-south extent of Yucca Mountain. Analysis of tilt-corrected directions of remanent magnetization from the Tiva Canyon sites indicates that structural attitudes determined from outcrop patterns on geologic maps are generally more accurate than field measurements of attitudes of compaction foliation or contacts. -from Authors

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1995-12-31

    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.

  8. Influence of seasonal climatic variability on shallow infiltration at Yucca Mountain

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hevesi, Joseph A.; Flint, Alan L.

    1993-01-01

    To analyze infiltration and the redistribution of moisture in alluvial deposits at Yucca Mountain, water content profiles at a 13.5 m deep borehole were measured at monthly intervals using a neutron moisture probe. Increases in water content to a maximum depth of 1.8 m in response to winter season precipitation were noted. Below a depth of 1.8 m, a gradual drying trend was indicated. A simulation study showed that, although small amounts of water may be percolating through the deep nonwetted ones of the profile, the influence of climatic variability on infiltration through thick alluvial deposits at Yucca Mountain is greatly mitigated by evapotranspiration.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  11. Uncertainty analysis of preclosure accident doses for the Yucca Mountain repository

    SciTech Connect

    Ma, C.W.; Miller, D.D.; Zavoshy, S.J.; Jardine, L.J.

    1990-12-31

    This study presents a generic methodology that can be used to evaluate the uncertainty in the calculated accidental offsite doses at the Yucca Mountain repository during the preclosure period. For demonstration purposes, this methodology is applied to two specific accident scenarios: the first involves a crane dropping an open container with consolidated fuel rods, the second involves container failure during emplacement or removal operations. The uncertainties of thirteen parameters are quantified by various types of probability distributions. The Latin Hypercube Sampling method is used to evaluate the uncertainty of the offsite dose. For the crane-drop scenario with concurrent filter failure, the doses due to the release of airborne fuel particles are calculated to be 0.019, 0.32, and 2.8 rem at confidence levels of 10%, 50%, and 90%, respectively. For the container failure scenario with concurrent filter failure, the 90% confidence-level dose is 0.21 rem. 20 refs., 4 figs., 3 tabs.

  12. Mountain-Scale Coupled Thermal-Hydrological-Chemical Processes Around the Potential Nuclear Waste Repository at Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    E. Sonnenthal; C. Haukwa; N. Spycher

    2001-06-04

    The objectives of this study were to evaluate the thermal-hydrological-chemical (THC) effects on flow and geochemistry in the unsaturated zone (UZ) at Yucca Mountain at a mountain scale. The major THC processes important in the UZ are (1) mineral precipitation/dissolution affecting flow and transport to and from the potential repository, and (2) changes in the compositions of gas and liquid that may seep into drifts.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2005-08-29

    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

  14. Moisture Observations in Sealed Tunnels at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coleman, N. M.; Winterle, J.; Arlt, H.; Dinwiddie, C.; Fedors, R.

    2002-12-01

    assessments of deep percolation and seepage. The NRC staff believes that long-term empirical observations in sealed tunnels could be an element of a performance confirmation plan for Yucca Mountain.

  15. Burnup Credit Approach Used in the Yucca Mountain License Application

    SciTech Connect

    Scaglione, John M; Wagner, John C

    2010-01-01

    The United States Department of Energy has submitted a license application (LA) for construction authorization of a deep geologic repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The license application is currently under review by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). This paper will describe the methodology and approach used in the LA to address the issue of criticality and the role of burnup credit during the postclosure period. The most significant and effective measures for prevention of criticality in the repository include multiple redundant barriers that act to isolate fissionable material from water (which can act as a moderator, corrosive agent, and transporter of fissile material); inherent geometry of waste package internals and waste forms; presence of fixed neutron absorbers in waste package internals; and fuel burnup for commercial spent nuclear fuel. A probabilistic approach has been used to screen criticality from the total system performance assessment. Within the probabilistic approach, criticality is considered an event, and the total probability of a criticality event occurring within 10,000 years of disposal is calculated and compared against the regulatory criterion. The total probability of criticality includes contributions associated with both internal (within waste packages) and external (external to waste packages) criticality for each of the initiating events that could lead to waste package breach. The occurrence of and conditions necessary for criticality in the repository have been thoroughly evaluated using a comprehensive range of parameter distributions. A simplified design-basis modeling approach has been used to evaluate the probability of criticality by using numerous significant and conservative assumptions. Burnup credit is used only for evaluations of in-package configurations and uses a combination of conservative and bounding modeling approximations to ensure conservatism. This paper will review the NRC regulatory

  16. Chlorine-36 alidation Study at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    J. Paces

    2006-08-28

    The amount, spatial distribution, and velocity of water percolating through the unsaturated zone (UZ) at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, are important issues for assessing the performance of the proposed deep geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. To help characterize the nature and history of UZ flow, isotopic studies were initiated in 1995, using rock samples collected from the Miocene ash-flow tuffs in the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF), an 8-km-long tunnel constructed along the north-south extent of the repository block, and the Enhanced Characterization of the Repository Block (ECRB) Cross Drift, a 2.5-km-long tunnel constructed across the repository block (Figure 1-1, Sources: Modified from DOE 2002 [Figure 1-14] and USBR 1996). Scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) analyzed for chlorine-36 ({sup 36}Cl) in salts leached from whole-rock samples collected from tunnel walls and subsurface boreholes, and scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) analyzed for isotopes of oxygen, carbon, uranium, lead, thorium, and strontium in secondary minerals collected from subsurface fractures and lithophysal cavities. Elevated values for ratios of {sup 36}Cl to total chloride ({sup 36}Cl/CL) at the level of the proposed repository indicated that small amounts of water carrying bomb-pulse {sup 36}Cl (i.e., {sup 36}Cl/Cl ratios greater than 1250 x 10{sup -15} resulting from {sup 36}Cl produced by atmospheric testing of nuclear devices during the 1950s and early 1960s) had percolated through welded and nonwelded tuffs to depths of 200 to 300 meters (m) beneath the land surface over the past 50 years. Because of the implications of short travel times to the performance of the proposed repository, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)/Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM), Office of Repository Development (ORD), decided to verify the {sup 36}Cl/Cl data with an independent validation study. DOE asked the USGS

  17. Rock-mass classification of candidate repository units at Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Langkopf, B.S.; Gnirk, P.R.

    1986-02-01

    The Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations (NNWSI) Project managed by the Nevada Operations Office of the Department of energy, is examining the feasibility of siting a repository for high-level radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain, a tuff site on and adjacent to the Nevada Test Site, Nye County, Nevada. Between 1981 and 1983, four tuff units were considered as potential units for emplacement of radioactive waste. Two of the four units are above the water table: the welded, devitrified portion of the Topopah Spring Member of the paintbrush Tuff and the zeolitized, nonwelded portion of the Tuffaceous Beds of Calico Hills. The other two units are below the water table: the welded, devitrified portion of the Bullfrog Member of the Crater Flat Tuff and the welded, devitrified portion of the Tram Member of the Crater Flat Tuff. In this study, available site-specific information from drillholes, supplemented by the needed information from tuff units at other locations, was used in conjunction with two rock-mass-classification systems to evaluate the relative excavation stability of these units. The two rock-mass-classification systems are the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Classification System developed by Bieniawski and the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute Classification System developed by Barton. Two other tuff units located at Rainier Mesa on the Nevada Test Site, the welded portion of the Grouse Canyon Member of the Belted Range Tuff and the nonwelded Tunnel Bed 5, were also evaluated using these rock-mass-classification systems. These last two units were never considered as possible locations for waste emplacement but were evaluated as a basis for comparison with Yucca Mountain units because there are existing stable tunnels in the Rainier Mesa units.

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

    SciTech Connect

    Smith, Ken

    2007-11-26

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    Hoxie, D.T.

    1995-04-01

    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.

  2. Earthquake and volcano clustering via stress transfer at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2006-01-01

    The proposed national high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain is close to Quaternary cinder cones and faults with Quaternary slip. Volcano eruption and earthquake frequencies are 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 three-dimensional finite-element model on the expectation that faulting and basalt intrusions are 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 Lathrop Wells feeder dike inflation favored renewed fault slip. ?? 2006 Geological Society of America.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1992-01-10

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1993-08-01

    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{sup +}){sup 2}/Ca{sup ++}) versus log a((Na{sup +}){sup 2}/Ca{sup ++}) 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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2006-05-31

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  11. ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT OVERVIEW YUCCA MOUNTAIN SITE, NEVADA RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT AREA, NEVADA

    SciTech Connect

    DOE

    1986-05-01

    In February 1983, the U.S. 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. Potential contaminant transport in the regional Carbonate Aquifer beneath Yucca Mountain, Nevada, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bredehoeft, John; King, Michael

    2010-05-01

    Yucca Mountain, Nevada is the site of the proposed US geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. The repository is to be a mine, sited approximately 300 m below the crest of the mountain, in a sequence of variably welded and fractured mid-Miocene rhylolite tuffs, in the unsaturated zone, approximately 300 m above the water table. Beneath the proposed repository, at a depth of 2 km, is a thick sequence of Paleozoic carbonate rocks that contain the highly transmissive Lower Carbonate Aquifer. In the area of Yucca Mountain the Carbonate Aquifer integrates groundwater flow from north of the mountain, through the Amargosa Valley, through the Funeral Mountains to Furnace Creek in Death Valley, California where the groundwater discharges in a set of large springs. Data that describe the Carbonate Aquifer suggest a concept for flow through the aquifer, and based upon the conceptual model, a one-layer numerical model was constructed to simulate groundwater flow in the Carbonate Aquifer. Advective transport analyses suggest that the predicted travel time of a particle from Yucca Mountain to Death Valley through the Carbonate Aquifer might be as short as 100 years to as long 2,000 years, depending upon the porosity.

  13. Site characterization progress report: Yucca Mountain, Nevada, April 1, 1992--September 30, 1992, Number 7

    SciTech Connect

    1992-12-01

    In accordance with section 113(b)(3) of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, as amended (NWPA), the Department has prepared the seventh in a series of reports on the progress of site characterization at the Yucca Mountain candidate site. The Civilian Radioactive Waste Management Program made significant progress during the reporting period at the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project. Several important advances were made in the surface-based testing program including: initiation of borehole drilling utilizing the new, state-of-the-art LM-300 drill rig which employs dry drilling and coring techniques; neutron access borehole drilling to evaluate infiltration processes; excavations to aid geologic mapping; and trenching in Midway Valley to study Quaternary faulting. A Floodplain Assessment and Statement of Findings was published in the Federal Register which concluded there would be no significant impact nor cumulative impacts on floodplains resulting from Exploratory Studies Facility activities. The National Academy of Sciences` National Research Council released its report entitled ``Ground Water at Yucca Mountain: How High Can It Rise?`` which concluded that none of the evidence cited as proof of groundwater upwelling in and around Yucca Mountain could be reasonably attributed to that process and that significant water table excursions to the repository design level are not shown by the geologic record. The June 29, 1992, earthquake near Yucca Mountain provided scientists with a wealth of information relevant to understanding the neotectonics of the area and the geometry of faults at depth. Early findings suggest that accelerations recorded were well within proposed design limits for the surface waste handling facilities.

  14. Regulatory compliance for a Yucca Mountain Repository: A performance assessment perspective

    SciTech Connect

    Dyer, J.R.; Van Luik, A.E.; Gil, A.V.; Brocoum, S.J.

    1997-02-01

    The U.S. Department of Energy`s Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project is scheduled to submit a License Application in the year 2002. The License Application is to show compliance with the regulations promulgated by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission which implement standards promulgated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These standards are being revised, and it is not certain what their exact nature will be in term of either the performance measure(s) or the time frames that are to be addressed. This paper provides some insights pertaining to this regulatory history, an update on Yucca Mountain performance assessments, and a Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project perspective on proper standards based on Project experience in performance assessment for its proposed Yucca Mountain Repository system. The Project`s performance assessment based perspective on a proper standard applicable to Yucca Mountain may be summarized as follows: a proper standard should be straight forward and understandable; should be consistent with other standards and regulations; and should require a degree of proof that is scientifically supportable in a licensing setting. A proper standard should have several attributes: (1) propose a reasonable risk level as its basis, whatever the quantitative performance measure is chosen to be, (2) state a definite regulatory time frame for showing compliance with quantitative requirements, (3) explicitly recognize that the compliance calculations are not predictions of actual future risks, (4) define the biosphere to which risk needs to be calculated in such a way as to constrain potentially endless speculation about future societies and future human actions, and (5) have as its only quantitative requirement the risk limit (or surrogate performance measure keyed to risk) for the total system.

  15. Thrust faults of southern Diamond Mountains, central Nevada: Implications for hydrocarbons in Diamond Valley and at Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    French, D.E.

    1993-04-01

    Overmature Mississippian hydrocarbon source rocks in the southern Diamond Mountains have been interpreted to be a klippe overlying less mature source rocks and represented as an analogy to similar conditions near Yucca Mountain (Chamberlain, 1991). Geologic evidence indicates an alternative interpretation. Paleogeologic mapping indicates the presence of a thrust fault, referred to here as the Moritz Nager Thrust Fault, with Devonian rocks emplaced over Permian to Mississippian strata folded into an upright to overturned syncline, and that the overmature rocks of the Diamond Mountains are in the footwall of this thrust. The upper plate has been eroded from most of the Diamond Mountains but remnants are present at the head of Moritz Nager Canyon and at Sentinel Mountain. Devonian rocks of the upper plate comprised the earliest landslide megabreccia. Later, megabreccias of Pennsylvanian and Permian rocks of the overturned syncline of the lower plate were deposited. By this interpretation the maturity of lower-plate source rocks in the southern Diamond Mountains, which have been increased by tectonic burial, is not indicative of conditions in Diamond Valley, adjacent to the west, where upper-plate source rocks might be present in generating conditions. The interpretation that overmature source rocks of the Diamond Mountains are in a lower plate rather than in a klippe means that this area is an inappropriate model for the Eleana Range near Yucca Mountain.

  16. Structure of Crater Flat and Yucca Mountain, Southeastern Nevada, as inferred from gravity data

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Oliver, H.W.; Fox, K.F.

    1993-01-01

    Existing gravity data in the vicinity of Yucca Mountain and Crater Flat have been examined to determine if these data support only the caldera model or if they support other geologic models such as for a high-angle graben or detachment fault. The west to east isostatic gravity profile reduced for a density of 2.0 g/cm3 shows a gravity low of about 20 mGal centered only 2 km from the eastern edge of Crater Flat relative to a gravity high over the eastern boundary of Yucca Mountain. In the western part of Crater Flat, isostatic anomalies rise about 50 mGal across the flat, reaching a maximum gradient of 9 mGal/km about 3 km east of the Bare Mountain range-front fault. Computer modeling of these data indicate that a model that consists of a detachment fault that dips to the west at 12?? under Yucca Mountain and intersects a 27?? east-dipping Bare Mountain fault fits the observed gravity data generally as well as the caldera model.

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

    SciTech Connect

    B.D. Marshal; J.F. Whelan

    2001-07-23

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

  18. Peak Ground Velocities for Seismic Events at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    K. Coppersmith; R. Quittmeyer

    2005-02-16

    This report describes a scientific analysis to bound credible horizontal peak ground velocities (PGV) for the repository waste emplacement level at Yucca Mountain. Results are presented as a probability distribution for horizontal PGV to represent uncertainties in the analysis. The analysis also combines the bound to horizontal PGV with results of ground motion site-response modeling (BSC 2004 [DIRS 170027]) to develop a composite hazard curve for horizontal PGV at the waste emplacement level. This result provides input to an abstraction of seismic consequences (BSC 2004 [DIRS 169183]). The seismic consequence abstraction, in turn, defines the input data and computational algorithms for the seismic scenario class of the total system performance assessment (TSPA). Planning for the analysis is documented in Technical Work Plan TWP-MGR-GS-000001 (BSC 2004 [DIRS 171850]). The bound on horizontal PGV at the repository waste emplacement level developed in this analysis complements ground motions developed on the basis of PSHA results. In the PSHA, ground motion experts characterized the epistemic uncertainty and aleatory variability in their ground motion interpretations. To characterize the aleatory variability they used unbounded lognormal distributions. As a consequence of these characterizations, as seismic hazard calculations are extended to lower and lower annual frequencies of being exceeded, the ground motion level increases without bound, eventually reaching levels that are not credible (Corradini 2003 [DIRS 171191]). To provide credible seismic inputs for TSPA, in accordance with 10 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 63.102(j) [DIRS 156605], this complementary analysis is carried out to determine reasonable bounding values of horizontal PGV at the waste emplacement level for annual frequencies of exceedance as low as 10{sup -8}. For each realization of the TSPA seismic scenario, the results of this analysis provide a constraint on the values sampled from the

  19. SYSTHESIS OF VOLCANISM STUDIES FOR THE YUCCA MOUNTAIN SITE CHARACTERIZATION PROJECT

    SciTech Connect

    Perry, F. V.; Crowe, G. A.; Valentine, G. A.; Bowker, L. M.

    1997-09-23

    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. 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 hazard 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 distribution of Pliocene and Quaternary basaltic volcanic centers is evaluated with respect to tectonic models for detachment, caldera, regional and local rifting, and the Walker Lane structural zone. Geophysical data are described for the YMR and are used as an aid to understand the distribution of past basaltic volcanic centers and possible future magmatic processes. Chapter 4 discusses the petrologic and geochemical features of basaltic volcanism in the YMR, the southern Great Basin and the Basin

  20. TECHNICAL PEER REVIEW REPORT - YUCCA MOUNTAIN: WASTE PACKAGE CLOSURE CONTROL SYSTEM

    SciTech Connect

    NA

    2005-10-25

    The objective of the Waste Package Closure System (WPCS) project is to assist in the disposal of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and associated high-level wastes (HLW) at the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada. Materials will be transferred from the casks into a waste package (WP), sealed, and placed into the underground facility. The SNF/HLW transfer and closure operations will be performed in an aboveground facility. The objective of the Control System is to bring together major components of the entire WPCS ensuring that unit operations correctly receive, and respond to, commands and requests for data. Integrated control systems will be provided to ensure that all operations can be performed remotely. Maintenance on equipment may be done using hands-on or remote methods, depending on complexity, exposure, and ease of access. Operating parameters and nondestructive examination results will be collected and stored as permanent electronic records. Minor weld repairs must be performed within the closure cell if the welds do not meet the inspection acceptance requirements. Any WP with extensive weld defects that require lids to be removed will be moved to the remediation facility for repair.

  1. The Effects of Site Characterization Activities on the Abundance of Ravens (Corvus corax) in the Yucca Mountain Area

    SciTech Connect

    P.E. Lederle

    1998-05-08

    In response to the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 and the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 1987, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) developed and is implementing the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project. Raven abundance was measured from August 1991 through August 1995 along treatment and control routes to evaluate whether site characterization activities resulted in increased raven abundance at Yucca Mountain. This study fulfills the requirement set forth in the incidental take provisions of the Biological Opinion that DOE monitor the abundance of ravens at Yucca Mountain. Ravens were more abundant at Yucca Mountain than in the control area, and raven abundance in both areas increased over time. However, the magnitude of differences between Yucca Mountain and control surveys did not change over time, indicating that the increase in raven abundance observed during this study was not related to site characterization activities. Increases over time on both Yucca Mountain and control routes are consistent with increases in raven abundance in the Mojave Desert reported by the annual Breeding Bird Survey of the US. Fish and Wildlife Service. Evidence from the Desert Tortoise Monitoring Program at Yucca Mountain suggests that ravens are not a significant predator of small tortoises in this locale. Carcasses of small tortoises (less than 110 mm in length) collected during the study showed little evidence of raven predation, and 59 radiomarked hatchlings that were monitored on a regular basis were not preyed upon by ravens. Overall, no direct evidence of raven predation on tortoises was observed during this study. Small tortoises are probably encountered so infrequently by ravens that they are rarely exploited as a food source. This is likely due to the relatively low abundance of both desert tortoises and ravens in the Yucca Mountain area.

  2. Aspects of igneous activity significant to a repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Krier, D. J.; Perry, F. V.

    2004-01-01

    Location, timing, volume, and eruptive style of post-Miocene volcanoes have defined the volcanic hazard significant to a proposed high-level radioactive waste (HLW) and spent nuclear fuel (SNF) repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, as a low-probability, high-consequence event. Examination of eruptive centers in the region that may be analogueues to possible future volcanic activity at Yucca Mountain have aided in defining and evaluating the consequence scenarios for intrusion into and eruption above a repository. The probability of a future event intersecting a repository at Yucca Mountain has a mean value of 1.7 x 10{sup -8} per year. This probability comes from the Probabilistic Volcanic Hazard Assessment (PVHA) completed in 1996 and updated to reflect change in repository layout. Since that time, magnetic anomalies representing potential buried volcanic centers have been identified fiom magnetic surveys; however these potential buried centers only slightly increase the probability of an event intersecting the repository. The proposed repository will be located in its central portion of Yucca Mountain at approximately 300m depth. The process for assessing performance of a repository at Yucca Mountain has identified two scenarios for igneous activity that, although having a very low probability of occurrence, could have a significant consequence should an igneous event occur. Either a dike swarm intersecting repository drifts containing waste packages, or a volcanic eruption through the repository could result in release of radioactive material to the accessible environment. Ongoing investigations are assessing the mechanisms and significance of the consequence scenarios. Lathrop Wells Cone ({approx}80,000 yrs), a key analogue for estimating potential future volcanic activity, is the youngest surface expression of apparent waning basaltic volcanism in the region. Cone internal structure, lavas, and ash-fall tephra have been examined to estimate eruptive volume

  3. Surface Complexation Modeling of Radionuclide Sorption in the Saturated Zone of Yucca Mountain Rocks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ding, M.; Kelkar, S.; Fabryka-Martin, J. T.; Caporuscio, F. A.; Meijer, A.

    2008-12-01

    The U.S. DOE is preparing to submit a license application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to create a geologic repository at the Yucca Mountain, Nevada, for the disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high- level radioactive waste. In the event of a radionuclide release, the ground water beneath the Yucca Mountain is the primary medium through which most radionuclides might move from the geologic repository to the accessible environment. Sorption of radionuclides onto rock surfaces is one of the important processes affecting the transport in the saturated zone of Yucca Mountain (SZ). For this reason, a considerable experimental effort has been devoted over the last two decades to the measurements of sorption distribution coefficients (Kd) for various radionuclides in rock samples from the vicinity of the repository site at the Yucca Mountain. Despite the quantity and quality of the data, they are strictly valid only under the experimental conditions at which they were measured, whereas the Kd distributions used as inputs in performance assessment calculations need to represent the range of geochemical conditions and rock types expected to occur along the transport pathways. Hence geochemical modeling was used to calculate and predict chemical speciation of elements of interest in solid and solution under a variety of different conditions. The computer code PHREEQC v2.3 and the thermodynamic database PHREEQCDATA025.DAT were used for this geochemical modeling. The modeling provides a basis for extrapolating the experimentally derived Kd's, and provides improved understanding of the underlying sorption mechanisms, thus justifying and defending the Kd's selected for further radionuclide transport modeling development. This presentation focuses on the elements Am, U, Np and Pu which sorb in the SZ primarily via surface complexation reactions. We discuss quantitatively the influence of groundwater compositions, rock surface area, binding constants, and

  4. Surface Complexation Modeling of Radionuclide Sorption in the Saturated Zone of Yucca Mountain Rocks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ding, M.; Kelkar, S.; Fabryka-Martin, J.; Caporuscio, F.; Meijer, A.

    2007-12-01

    The U.S. DOE is preparing to submit a license application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to create a geologic repository at the Yucca Mountain, Nevada, for the disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. In the event of a radionuclide release, the ground water beneath the Yucca Mountain is the primary medium through which most radionuclides might move from the geologic repository to the accessible environment. Sorption of radionuclides onto rock surfaces in the saturated zone of Yucca Mountain (SZ) is one of the most important processes retarding their release to the accessible environment. For this reason, a considerable experimental effort has been devoted over the last two decades to the measurements of sorption distribution coefficients (Kd) for various radionuclides in rock samples from the vicinity of the repository site at the Yucca Mountain. Despite the quantity and quality of the data, they are strictly valid only under the experimental conditions at which they were measured, whereas the Kd distributions used as inputs in performance assessment calculations need to represent the range of geochemical conditions and rock types expected to occur along the transport pathways. Hence geochemical modeling was used to calculate and predict chemical speciation of elements of interest in solid and solution under a variety of different conditions. The computer code PHREEQC v2.3 and the thermodynamic database PHREEQCDATA025.DAT were used for this geochemical modeling. The modeling provides a basis for extrapolating the experimentally derived Kd's, and provides improved understanding of the underlying sorption mechanisms, thus justifying and defending the Kd's selected for further radionuclide transport modeling development. This presentation focuses on the elements Am, U, Np and Pu which sorb in the SZ primarily via surface complexation reactions. We discuss quantitatively the influence of groundwater compositions, rock surface area

  5. A revised Litostragraphic Framework for the Southern Yucca Mountain Area, Nye County, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

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

    2006-03-24

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

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

    SciTech Connect

    Pescatore, C.; Sullivan, T.M.

    1992-02-01

    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.

  7. A revised lithostratigraphic framework for the southern Yucca Mountain area, Nye County, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2006-01-01

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

  8. Distribution and chemistry of fracture-lining minerals at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

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

    1995-12-01

    Yucca Mountain, a >1.5-km-thick sequence of tuffs and subordinate lavas in southwest Nevada, is being investigated as a potential high-level nuclear waste repository site. Fracture-lining minerals have been studied because they may provide information on past fluid transport and because they may act as natural barriers to radionuclide migration within the fractures. Cores from seven drill holes have been studied to determine the distribution and chemistry of minerals lining fractures at Yucca Mountain. Fracture-lining minerals in tuffs of the Paintbrush Group, which is above the static water level at Yucca Mountain, are highly variable in distribution, both vertically and laterally across the mountain, with the zeolites mordenite, heulandite, and stellerite widespread in fractures even though the tuff matrix is generally devitrified and nonzeolitic. Where heulandite occurs as both tabular and prismatic crystals in the same fracture, the two morphologies have different compositions, suggesting multiple episodes of zeolite formation within the fractures. Manganese-oxide minerals within the Paintbrush Group are rancieite and lithiophorite. The silica polymorphs (quartz, tridymite, and cristobalite) generally exist in fractures where they exist in the matrix, suggesting that they formed in the fractures at the same time they formed in the matrix. Fluorite, calcite, and opal occur over tridymite in some lithophysal cavities. Calcite also occurs over zeolites in fractures unrelated to lithophysal cavities and is often the youngest mineral in a given fracture. The clays smectite, palygorskite, and sepiolite are common in fractures in the Paintbrush Group in drill core USW GU-3; smectite is an abundant fracture-coating mineral in all drill cores at Yucca Mountain.

  9. Pre-waste-emplacement ground-water travel time sensitivity and uncertainty analyses for Yucca Mountain, Nevada; Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  10. Mineralogy, petrology and whole-rock chemistry of selected mechanical test samples of Yucca Mountain tuffs; Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    SciTech Connect

    Connolly, J.R.

    1991-12-01

    Petrologic, bulk chemical and mineralogic data are presented for 19 samples of tuffaceous rocks from core holes UE-25a{number_sign}1, USW G-1, USW GU-3, and USW G-4 at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The suite of samples contains a wide variety of petrologic types, including zeolitized, glassy, and devitrified tuffs. Data include hand sample and thin section descriptions (with modal analyses for which uncertainties are estimated), and major element analyses with uncertainty estimates. No uncertainties were estimated for qualitative mineral identifications by X-ray diffraction. 5 refs., 1 fig., 4 tabs.

  11. Meteorological data for water years 1988-94 from five weather stations at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Flint, A.L.; Davies, W.J.

    1997-11-01

    This report describes meteorological data collected from five weather stations at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, from as early as April 1987 through September 1994. The measurements include solar radiation, temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, wind vector magnitude, wind direction, wind vector direction, barometric pressure, and precipitation. Measurements were made very 10 seconds and averaged every 15 minutes. The data were collected as part of the geologic and hydrologic site-characterization studies of Yucca Mountain, a potential repository for high-level radioactive waste. Precipitation at the site ranged from a low of 12 millimeters total for water year 1989 to a high of 312 millimeters total for water year 1993. Air temperature ranged from a low of 15.1 degrees Celsius in December 1990 (water year 1991) to a high of 41.9 degrees Celsius in July 1989 (water year 1989). The weather station network also provides information on the spatial variability of precipitation and temperature.

  12. Analyzing flow patterns in unsaturated fractured rock of YuccaMountain using an integrated modeling approach

    SciTech Connect

    Wu, Yu-Shu; Lu, Guoping; Zhang, Keni; Pan, Lehua; Bodvarsson,Gudmundur S.

    2003-11-03

    This paper presents a series of modeling investigations to characterize percolation patterns in the unsaturated zone of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, a proposed underground repository site for storing high-level radioactive waste. The investigations are conducted using a modeling approach that integrates a wide variety of moisture, pneumatic, thermal, and isotopic geochemical field data into a comprehensive three-dimensional numerical model through model calibration. This integrated modeling approach, based on a dual-continuum formulation, takes into account the coupled processes of fluid and heat flow and chemical isotopic transport in Yucca Mountain's highly heterogeneous, unsaturated fractured tuffs. In particular, the model results are examined against different types of field-measured data and used to evaluate different hydrogeological conceptual models and their effects on flow patterns in the unsaturated zone. The objective of this work to provide understanding of percolation patterns and flow behavior through the unsaturated zone, which is a crucial issue in assessing repository performance.

  13. Evaluating the Long-Term Safety of a Repository at Yucca Mountain 

    SciTech Connect

    Van Luik, Abe

    2009-07-17

    Regulations require that the repository be evaluated for its health and safety effects for 10,000 years for the Site Recommendation process. Regulations also require potential impacts to be evaluated for up to a million years in an Environmental Impact Statement. The Yucca Mountain Project is in the midst of the Site Recommendation process. The Total System Performance Assessment (TSPA) that supports the Site Recommendation evaluated safety for these required periods of time. Results showed it likely that a repository at this site could meet the licensing requirements promulgated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The TSPA is the tool that integrates the results of many years of scientific investigations with design information to allow evaluations of potential far-future impacts of building a Yucca Mountain repository. Knowledge created in several branches of physics is part of the scientific basis of the TSPA that supports the Site Recommendation process.

  14. Multiscale Thermohydrologic Model Supporting the Licence Application for the Yucca Mountain Repository

    SciTech Connect

    T.A> Buscheck; Y. Sun; Y. Hao

    2006-03-28

    The MultiScale ThermoHydrologic Model (MSTHM) predicts thermal-hydrologic (TH) conditions within emplacement tunnels (drifts) and in the adjoining host rock at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, which is the proposed site for a radioactive waste repository in the US. Because these predictions are used in the performance assessment of the Yucca Mountain repository, they must address the influence of variability and uncertainty of the engineered- and natural-system parameters that significantly influence those predictions. Parameter-sensitivity studies show that the MSTHM predictions adequately propagate the influence of parametric variability and uncertainty. Model-validation studies show that the influence of conceptual-model uncertainty on the MSTHM predictions is insignificant compared to that of parametric uncertainty, which is propagated through the MSTHM.

  15. CORROSION RELIABILITY PREDICTION: LONG TERM NUCLEAR WASTE STORAGE IN YUCCA MOUNTAIN

    SciTech Connect

    G.S. Frankel; E. Tada; B. Maier

    2005-08-18

    The US. Department of Energy has proposed the disposal of high level nuclear waste from commercial and defense reactors in a mined geologic repository under Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The waste will be stored in metallic canisters. The barrier against corrosion will be an Alloy 22 canister and a Ti Grade 7 drip shield. Both of these materials are extremely corrosion resistant. The environment inside Yucca Mountain is relatively benign, but the long time period over which these materials must resist penetration makes corrosion a concern. This paper presents a background of the corrosion issues and shows some recent results regarding measurements of localized corrosion under thin aqueous layers and layers that simulate wet dust deposits.

  16. Massively parallel computing simulation of fluid flow in the unsaturated zone of Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

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

    2001-08-31

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1993-04-01

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

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1996-11-01

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

  19. Three-dimensional hydrological and thermal property models of Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Rautman, C.A.; McKenna, S.A.

    1997-11-01

    This report describes the creation of three-dimensional numerical models of selected rock-matrix properties for the region of the potential high-level nuclear waste repository site at Yucca Mountain, which is located in southern Nevada. The models have been generated for a majority of the unsaturated and shallow saturated zone within an area referred to within the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization project as the site area. They comprise a number of material properties of importance both to detailed process-level modeling activities and to more summary-style performance assessment modeling. The material properties within these models are both spatially variable (heterogeneous) and spatially correlated, as the rocks are understood from data obtained from site-characterization drill holes widely scattered across the site area.

  20. Site characterization plan: Yucca Mountain Site, Nevada Research and Development Area, Nevada: Volume 9, Index

    SciTech Connect

    1988-12-01

    This site characterization plan (SCP) has been developed for the candidate repository site at Yucca Mountain in the State of Nevada. The SCP includes a description of the Yucca Mountain site (Chapters 1-5), a conceptual design for the repository (Chapter 6), a description of the packaging to be used for the waste to be emplaced in the repository (Chapter 7), and a description of the planned site characterization activities (Chapter 8). The schedules and milestones presented in Sections 8.3 and 8.5 of the SCP were developed to be consistent with the June 1988 draft Amendment to the DOE`s Mission Plan for the Civilian Radioactive Waste Management Program. The five month delay in the scheduled start of exploratory shaft construction that was announced recently is not reflected in these schedules.

  1. Mineralogical Charecteristics of Yucca Mountain Alluvium and Effects on Neptunium (V) Sorption

    SciTech Connect

    M. Ding; S.J. Chipera; P.W. Reimus

    2006-09-05

    Saturated alluvium is expected to serve as an important natural barrier to radionuclide transport at Yucca Mountain, the proposed geological repository for disposal of high-level nuclear wastes. {sup 237}Np(V) (half-life = 2.4 x 10{sup 5} years) has been identified as one of the radionuclides that could potentially contribute the greatest dose to humans because of its relatively high solubility and weak adsorption to volcanic tuffs under oxidizing conditions. The previous studies suggested that the mineralogical characteristics of the alluvium play an important role in the interaction between Np(V) and the alluvium. The purpose of this study is to further evaluate the mineralogical basis for Neptunium (V) sorption by saturated alluvium located down-gradient of Yucca Mountain.

  2. Total System Performance Assessment, 1993: An evaluation of the potential Yucca Mountain repository

    SciTech Connect

    Andrews, R.W.; Dale, T.F.; McNeish, J.A.

    1994-03-01

    Total System Performance Assessments are an important component in the evaluation of the suitability of Yucca Mountain, Nevada as a potential site for a mined geologic repository for the permanent disposal of high-level radioactive wastes in the United States. The Total System Performance Assessments are conducted iteratively during site characterization to identify issues which should be addressed by the characterization and design activities as well as providing input to regulatory/licensing and programmatic decisions. During fiscal years 1991 and 1992, the first iteration of Total System Performance Assessment (hereafter referred to as TSPA 1991) was completed by Sandia National Laboratories and Pacific Northwest Laboratory. Beginning in fiscal year 1993, the Civilian Radioactive Waste Management System Management and Operating Contractor was assigned the responsibility to plan, coordinate, and contribute to the second iteration of Total System Performance Assessment (hereafter referred to as TSPA 1993). This document presents the objectives, approach, assumptions, input, results, conclusions, and recommendations associated with the Management and Operating Contractor contribution to TSPA 1993. The new information incorporated in TSPA 1993 includes (1) revised estimates of radionuclide solubilities (and their thermal and geochemical dependency), (2) thermal and geochemical dependency of spent fuel waste alteration and glass dissolution rates, (3) new distribution coefficient (k{sub d}) estimates, (4) revised estimates of gas-phase velocities and travel times, and (5) revised hydrologic modeling of the saturated zone which provides updated estimates of the advective flux through the saturated zone.

  3. Welding Robot and Remote Handling System for the Yucca Mountain Waste Package Closure System

    SciTech Connect

    Barker, M.E.; Holt, T.E.; LaValle, D.R.; Pace, D.P.; Croft, K.M.; Shelton-Davis, C.V.

    2008-07-01

    In preparation for the license application and construction of a repository for housing the nation's spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste in Yucca Mountain, the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) has been charged with preparing a mock-up of a full-scale prototype system for sealing the waste packages (WP). Three critical pieces of the closure room include two PaR Systems TR4350 Telerobotic Manipulators and a PaR Systems XR100 Remote Handling System (RHS). The TR4350 Manipulators are 6-axis programmable robots that will be used to weld the WP lids and purge port cap as well as conduct nondestructive examinations. The XR100 Remote Handling System is a 4-axis programmable robot that will be used to transport the WP lids and process tools to the WP for operations and remove equipment for maintenance. The welding and RHS robots will be controlled using separate PaR 5/21 CIMROC Controllers capable of complex motion control tasks. A tele-operated PaR 4350 Manipulator will also be provided with the XR100 Remote Handling System. It will be used for maintenance and associated activities within the closure room. (authors)

  4. Site environmental report for the Yucca Mountain Project. Calendar Year 2005

    SciTech Connect

    None, None

    2006-10-01

    This site environmental report describes the environmental program conducted during 2005 by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Repository Development. The report describes the environmental laws and regulations that were applicable to the Yucca Mountain Project in 2005, the actions taken to comply with those laws and regulations, and the Project’s environmental program. The report also summarizes the data collected to monitor potential impacts of the Project on the environment.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1996-12-31

    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{sub 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.

  6. Determination of Rock Mass Modulus Using the Plate Loading Method at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Finley, R.E.; George, J.T.; Riggins, M.

    1999-08-02

    A suite of plate loading tests has recently been conducted by Sandia National Laboratories at the Exploratory Studies Facility at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Fielding of these in situ tests as well as other approaches undertaken for the determination of rock mass modulus are described. The various methodologies are evaluated and their data compared. Calculation by existing empirical methods and numerical modeling are compared to each other as well as to field data.

  7. Calculation of Post-Closure Natural Convection Heat and Mass Transfer in Yucca Mountain Drifts

    SciTech Connect

    S. Webb; M. Itamura

    2004-03-16

    Natural convection heat and mass transfer under post-closure conditions has been calculated for Yucca Mountain drifts using the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) code FLUENT. Calculations have been performed for 300, 1000, 3000, and 10,000 years after repository closure. Effective dispersion coefficients that can be used to calculate mass transfer in the drift have been evaluated as a function of time and boundary temperature tilt.

  8. Factors Affecting Radiation Dose from a Hypothetical Extrusive Volcanic Event at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Weiner, R.; Coleman, N.

    2008-07-01

    This paper describes the factors that could affect doses to the reasonably maximally exposed individual (RMEI) as a result of a hypothetical extrusive igneous event at Yucca Mountain. Based on available information, there is no evidence that most of the spent fuel in waste packages intersected by a volcanic conduit would be reduced to fine-grained material and subsequently erupted as volcanic ash. (authors)

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1998-09-01

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

  10. MODELING FLOW AND TRANSPORT PATHWAYS TO THE POTENTIAL REPOSITORY HORIZON AT YUCCA MOUNTAIN

    SciTech Connect

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

    1998-03-04

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

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

    SciTech Connect

    1995-07-15

    The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (Public Law 97-425), as amended by Public Law 100-203, December 22, 1987, established the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM) within the Department of Energy (DOE), and directed the Office to investigate a site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, to determine if this site is suitable for the construction of a repository for the disposal of high level nuclear waste. Work on site characterization has been under way for several years. Thus far, about $1.47 billion have been spent on Yucca Mountain programs. This work has been funded by Congressional appropriations from a Nuclear Waste Fund to which contributions have been made by electric utility ratepayers through electric utilities generating power from nuclear power stations. The Secretary of Energy and the Governor of the State of Nevada have appointed one person each to a panel to oversee an objective, independent financial and management evaluation of the Yucca Mountain Project. The Requirements for the work will include an analysis of (1) the Yucca Mountain financial and, contract management techniques and controls; (2) Project schedules and credibility of the proposed milestones; (3) Project organizational effectiveness and internal planning processes, and (4) adequacy of funding levels and funding priorities, including the cost of infrastructure and scientific studies. The recipient will provide monthly progress report and the following reports/documents will be presented as deliverables under the contract: (1) Financial and Contract Management Preliminary Report; (2) Project Scheduling Preliminary Report; (3)Project Organizational Effectiveness Preliminary Report; (4) Project Funding Levels and Funding Priorities Preliminary Report; and (5) Final Report.

  12. Water levels in the Yucca Mountain area, Nevada, 1990--91

    SciTech Connect

    Tucci, P.; O`Brien, G.M.; Burkhardt, D.J.

    1996-07-01

    Water levels were monitored in 27 wells in the Yucca Mountain area, Nevada during 1990--91. Twelve wells were monitored periodically, generally on a monthly basis, and 15 wells representing 24 intervals were monitored hourly. All wells monitor water levels in Tertiary volcanic rocks, except one that monitors 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 1,035 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 1990--91. All data were acquired in accordance with a quality-assurance program to support the reliability of the data.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1994-12-31

    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 infilling 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 weathering of silicate detritus. However, calcretes from a fan draining a carbonate terrane have strontium compositions dominated locally by the limestone 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.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1995-11-01

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1995-12-31

    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.

  16. Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project bibliography, 1992--1994. Supplement 4

    SciTech Connect

    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 Energy Science and Technology Database from January 1, 1992, through December 31, 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. Earlier information on this project can be found in the first bibliography DOE/TIC-3406, which covers 1977--1985, and its three supplements DOE/OSTI-3406(Suppl.1), DOE/OSTI-3406(Suppl.2), and DOE/OSTI-3406(Suppl.3), which cover information obtained during 1986--1987, 1988--1989, and 1990--1991, respectively. All entries in the 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).

  17. Independent Analysis of Seismicity and Rock fall Scenarios for the Yucca Mountain Repository

    SciTech Connect

    Apted, M.J.; Kemeny, J.M.; Martin, C.D.; James, R.J.

    2006-07-01

    Yucca Mountain is located in the somewhat seismically active Basin and Range province. Future seismic activity is identified by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the US National Academy of Sciences as a key scenario for safety assessment of a proposed repository at Yucca Mountain. As part of its on-going program of conducting independent analyses of scientific and technical issues that could be important to the licensing of the Yucca Mountain repository, EPRI has conducted an analysis of the combined scenarios of seismic activity and stability of emplacement drifts with respect to the long-term repository safety. In this paper we present the results of 3D finite element simulations of both static and dynamic loading of a degraded waste package. For the static case, the expected maximum static load is determined by utilizing relationships between cave height and the bulking factor. A static load representing 30 meters of broken rock was simulated using the finite element model. For the dynamic case, block size and velocity data from the most recent Drift Degradation AMR are used. Based on this, a rock block with a volume of 3.11 m{sup 3} and with an impact velocity of 4.81 m/s was simulated using the finite element model. In both cases, the results indicate that the waste package remains intact. (authors)

  18. Mineralogy of drill hole UE-25p#1 at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

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

    1988-05-01

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

  19. Paleoseismic investigations of Stagecoach Road fault, southeastern Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Menges, C.M.; Oswald, J.A.; Coe, J.A.; Lundstrom, S.C.; Paces, J.B.; Mahan, S.A.; Widmann, B.; Murray, M.

    1998-04-01

    This report summarizes the results of paleoseismic investigations at two trenches (SCR-T1 and SCR-T3) excavated across the Stagecoach Road (SCR) fault at the southeastern margin of Yucca Mountain. The results of these studies are based on detailed mapping or logging of geologic and structural relationships exposed in trench walls, combined with descriptions of lithologic units, associated soils, and fault-related deformation. The ages of trench deposits are determined directly from geochronologic dating of selected units and soils, supplemented by stratigraphic and soil correlations with other surficial deposits in the Yucca Mountain area. The time boundaries used in this report for subdivision of the Quaternary period are listed in a table. These data and interpretations are used to identify the number, amounts, timing, and approximately lengths of late to middle Quaternary (less than 200 ka) surface-faulting events associated with paleoearthquakes at the trench sites. This displacement history forms the basis for calculating paleoearthquake recurrence intervals and fault-slip rates for the Stagecoach Road fault and allows comparison with fault behavior on other Quaternary faults at or near Yucca Mountain.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Flint, Lorraine E.; Flint, Alan 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.

  1. Communicating credibly in an incredible environment-yucca mountain public outreach tools and techniques

    SciTech Connect

    Sheldon, S.R.; Muller, E.

    2007-07-01

    Open disclosure and public understanding of major issues surrounding the Yucca Mountain Project is a consistent goal for Clark County, Nevada, which represents nearly 80 percent of Nevada's total population. Recent enhancements to the County's communication methods employ emerging technology as well as traditional public relations tactics. The County's communication methods engage the public through highly visual displays, exhibits, informative and entertaining video programs, school presentations, creative print inserts, public interaction and news media. The program provides information based on the county's research studies and findings on property values, the environment, tourism, public health and safety, increased costs for emergency services and the potential disproportionate effects to Native American tribes and other minority populations in the area. Multi-cultural Dialogue: Nevada, particularly southern Nevada and the Las Vegas area, has experienced explosive growth in the last decade. The fastest growing demographic group in Nevada is Hispanics (nearly 23% in Las Vegas) and Asians (approx. 8%). Clark County's Nuclear Waste's Multi-cultural Program is designed to reach residents from these emerging segments of our population. Educational video programs: While officially opposed to the project, Clark County is committed to providing Nevada residents with accurate, timely and objective information about Yucca Mountain and its potential impacts to our state. Since the actual operation of the repository, if approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, is about a decade away, the program includes presentations for middle and high school students on age-appropriate topics. Work with indigenous tribes: American Indian tribes in Southern Nevada participated in an unprecedented video program presenting the unique views and perspectives of the American Indian tribes directly impacted by the proposed repository. Monitoring program: To track economic, fiscal and

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

    SciTech Connect

    G. Freeze

    2002-03-25

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

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1993-10-01

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

  4. YUCCA MOUNTAIN PROJECT 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

    SciTech Connect

    NA

    2002-03-26

    For more than half a century, since nuclear science helped us win World War II and ring in the Atomic Age, scientists have known that !he Nation would need a secure, permanent facility in which to dispose of radioactive wastes. Twenty years ago, when Congress adopted the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (NWPA or ''the Act''), it recognized the overwhelming consensus in the scientific community that the best option for such a facility would be a deep underground repository. Fifteen years ago, Congress directed the Secretary of Energy to investigate and recommend to the President whether such a repository could be located safely at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Since then, our country has spent billions of dollars and millions of hours of research endeavoring to answer this question. I have carefully reviewed the product of this study. In my judgment, it constitutes sound science and shows that a safe repository can be sited there. I also believe that compelling national interests counsel in favor of proceeding with this project. Accordingly, consistent with my responsibilities under the NWPA, today I am recommending that Yucca Mountain be developed as the site for an underground repository for spent fuel and other radioactive wastes. The first consideration in my decision was whether the Yucca Mountain site will safeguard the health and safety of the people, in Nevada and across the country, and will be effective in containing at minimum risk the material it is designed to hold. Substantial evidence shows that it will. Yucca Mountain is far and away the most thoroughly researched site of its kind in the world. It is a geologically stable site, in a closed groundwater basin, isolated on thousands of acres of Federal land, and farther from any metropolitan area than the great majority of less secure, temporary nuclear waste storage sites that exist in the country today. This point bears emphasis. We are not confronting a hypothetical problem. We have a staggering amount of

  5. Bedrock geologic map of the Yucca Mountain area, Nye County, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

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

    1998-11-01

    Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada, has been identified as a potential site for underground storage of high-level radioactive nuclear waste. Detailed bedrock geologic maps form an integral part of the site characterization program by providing the fundamental framework for research into the geologic hazards and hydrologic behavior of the mountain. This bedrock geologic map provides the geologic framework and structural setting for the area in and adjacent to the site of the potential repository. The study area comprises the northern and central parts of Yucca Mountain, located on the southern flank of the Timber Mountain-Oasis Valley caldera complex, which was the source for many of the volcanic units in the area. The Timber Mountain-Oasis Valley caldera complex is part of the Miocene southwestern Nevada volcanic field, which is within the Walker Lane belt. This tectonic belt is a northwest-striking megastructure lying between the more active Inyo-Mono and Basin-and-Range subsections o f the southwestern Great Basin.

  6. Geohydrologic data for test well USW H-6 Yucca Mountain area, Nye County, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1983-01-01

    The following data are presented for test well USW H-6: drilling operations, lithology, availability of borehole geophysical logs , water levels, future availability of core analyses, water chemistry, pumping tests, and packer-injection tests. The well is one of a series of test wells drilled in and near Yucca Mountain adjacent to the Nevada Test Site, Nye County, Nevada, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Energy. These investigations are part of the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations to identify suitable sites for underground storage of high-level radioactive wastes. Test well USW H-6 was drilled to a total depth of 1,220 m. Rocks penetrated are predominantly ash-flow tuffs. Lava was encountered from 877 to 1 ,126 m. The composite static water level is approximately 526 m below land surface. The well was pumped during two periods. Maximum drawdown was about 18 m after pumping for 4,822 min at 28 L/sec, and 12 m after pumping for 2,226 min at 27 L/sec. A borehole flow survey showed that 91% of the water withdrawn from the well came from the depth intervals from 616 to 631 m, and from 777 to 788 m. (Author 's abstract)

  7. 1984 Biotic Studies of Yucca Mountain, Nevada Test Site, Nye County, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Collins, E.; O`Farrell, T.P.

    1985-02-01

    A portion of Yucca Mountain on and adjacent to the US Department of Energy`s Nevada Test Site, Nye County, Nevada, is being considered as a possible location for a national high-level radioactive waste repository. The geologic and environmental characteristics of the site are being investigated to determine its suitability for further characterization. Goals of biotic studies were to identify species of concern, describe major floral and faunal associations, determine exposure levels of external background radiation, and assess possible impacts of characterization and operational activities. The species composition of dominant small mammals inhabiting major vegetation associations in 1984 varied little compared with results of similar surveys conducted in 1982 and 1983. Total captures were lower and reproduction was apparently curtailed. Merriam`s kangaroo rat and the long tailed pocket mouse continued to be the most abundant species. Diversity of resident species did not differ significantly between the trapping lines. The composition and relative abundance of associated species was more variable. Western harvest mice were trapped for the first time, but pinyon mice, which were present in prior years, were not trapped. Five desert tortoises were observed during surveys of possible sites for repository surface facilities. 25 refs., 4 figs., 5 tabs.

  8. A FRAMEWORK FOR THE ANALYSIS OF LOCALIZED CORROSION AT THE PROPOSED YUCCA MOUNTAIN REPOSITORY

    SciTech Connect

    J.H. Payer; S.A. Carroll; G.E. Gdowski; R.B. Rebak

    2006-03-09

    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. An approach is presented to the analysis of localized corrosion during a time period when it is possible for waters from drips and seepage to contact the waste package surfaces, and the analysis is demonstrated for the water chemistry of mixed salt solutions and a set of time-temperature-relative humidity profiles for a hot, mid and cool temperature waste package. Based on the analysis, there are large time periods when localized corrosion can not be supported, and no corrosion damage will occur. Further analysis can then focus on time periods when it is possible for localized corrosion to occur and the determination of the evolution of any corrosion damage.

  9. EVALUATION OF THE CORROSIVITY OF DUST DEPOSITED ON WASTE PACKAGES AT YUCCA MOUNTAIN, NEVADA

    SciTech Connect

    C. Bryan; R. Jack; T, Wolery; D. Shields; M. Sutton; E. Hardin; D. Barr

    2005-08-03

    Potentially corrosive brines can form during post-closure by deliquescence of salt minerals in dust deposited on the surface of waste packages at Yucca Mountain during operations and the pre-closure ventilation period. Although thermodynamic modeling and experimental studies of brine deliquescence indicates that brines are likely to form, they will be nitrate-rich and non-corrosive. Processes that modify the brines following deliquescence are beneficial with respect to inhibition of corrosion. For example, acid degassing (HCl, HNO{sub 3}) could dry out brines, but kinetic limitations are likely to limit the effect to increasing their passivity by raising the pH and increasing the NO{sub 3}/Cl ratio. Predicted dust quantities and maximum brine volumes on the waste package surface are small, and physical isolation of salt minerals in the dust may inhibit formation of eutectic brines and decrease brine volumes. If brines do contact the WP surface, small droplet volumes and layer thicknesses do not support development of diffusive gradients necessary for formation on separate anodic-cathodic zones required for localized corrosion. Finally, should localized corrosion initiate, corrosion product buildup will stifle corrosion, by limiting oxygen access to the metal surface, by capillary retention of brine in corrosion product porosity, or by consumption of brine components (Cl{sup -}).

  10. A Framework for the Analysis of Localized Corrosion at the Proposed Yucca Mountain Repository

    SciTech Connect

    Payer, J H; Carroll, S A; Gdowski, G E; Rebak, R B; Michels, T C; Miller, M C; Henson, V E

    2006-01-10

    The proposed 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 Yucca Mountain 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. An approach is presented to the analysis of localized corrosion during a time period when it is possible for waters from drips and seepage to contact the waste package surfaces, and the analysis is demonstrated for the water chemistry of mixed salt solutions and a set of time-temperature-relative humidity profiles for a hot, mid and cool temperature waste package. Based on the analysis, there are large time periods when localized corrosion can not be supported, and no corrosion damage will occur. Further analysis can then focus on time periods when it is possible for localized corrosion to occur and the determination of the evolution of any corrosion damage.

  11. Geostatistical simulation of rock quality designation (RQD) to support facilities design at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Cromer, M.V.; Zelinski, W.P.

    1996-12-31

    The conceptual design of the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository facility includes shafts and ramps as access to the repository horizon, located 200 to 400 m below ground surface. Geostatistical simulation techniques are being employed to produce numerical models of selected material properties (rock characteristics) in their proper spatial positions. These numerical models will be used to evaluate behavior of various engineered features, the effects of construction and operating practices, and the waste-isolation performance of the overall repository system. The work presented here represents the first attempt to evaluate the spatial character of the rock strength index known as rock quality designation (RQD). Although it is likely that RQD reflects an intrinsic component of the rock matrix, this component becomes difficult to resolve given the frequency and orientation of data made available from vertical core records. The constraints of the two-dimensional study along the axis of an exploratory drift allow bounds to be placed upon the resulting interpretations, while the use of an indicator transformation allows focus to be placed on specific details that may be of interest to design engineers. The analytical process and subsequent development of material property models is anticipated to become one of the principal means of summarizing, integrating, and reconciling the diverse suite of earth-science data acquired through site characterization and of recasting the data in formats specifically designed for use in further modeling of various physical processes.

  12. YUCCA MOUNTAIN SITE CHARACTERIZATIONS PROJECT TUNNEL BORING MACHINE (TBM) SYSTEM SAFETY ANALYSIS

    SciTech Connect

    N /A

    1997-02-19

    The purpose of this analysis is to systematically identify and evaluate hazards related to the tunnel boring machine (TBM) used in the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF) at the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project. This process is an integral part of the systems engineering process; whereby safety is considered during planning, design, testing, and construction. Since the TBM is an ''as built'' system, the M&O is conducting the System Safety Analysis during the construction or assembly phase of the TBM. A largely qualitative approach was used since a radiological System Safety Analysis is not required. The risk assessment in this analysis characterizes the accident scenarios associated with the TBM in terms of relative risk and includes recommendations for mitigating all identified risks. The priority for recommending and implementing mitigation control features is: (1) Incorporate measures to reduce risks and hazards into the system/subsystem/component design, (2) add safety features and capabilities to existing designs, and (3) develop procedures and conduct training to increase worker awareness of potential hazards, on methods to reduce exposure to hazards, and on the actions required to avoid accidents or correct hazardous conditions. The scope of this analysis is limited to the TBM during normal operations, excluding hazards occurring during assembly and test of the TBM or maintenance of the TBM equipment.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stuckless, John S.; Levich, Robert A.

    2012-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stuckless, John S.; Levich, Robert A.

    2012-01-01

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

  15. Experimental and numerical simulation of dissolution andprecipitation: Implications for fracture sealing at Yucca Mountain,Nevada

    SciTech Connect

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

    2001-08-31

    Plugging of flow paths caused by mineral precipitation in fractures above the potential repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, would reduce the probability of water seeping into the repository. As part of an ongoing effort to evaluate thermal-hydrologic-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 five 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 fifty-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

  16. The Multi-Scale Model Approach to Thermohydrology at Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    Glascoe, L; Buscheck, T A; Gansemer, J; Sun, Y

    2002-03-27

    The Multi-Scale Thermo-Hydrologic (MSTH) process model is a modeling abstraction of them1 hydrology (TH) of the potential Yucca Mountain repository at multiple spatial scales. The MSTH model as described herein was used for the Supplemental Science and Performance Analyses (BSC, 2001) and is documented in detail in CRWMS M&O (2000) and Glascoe et al. (2002). The model has been validated to a nested grid model in Buscheck et al. (In Review). The MSTH approach is necessary for modeling thermal hydrology at Yucca Mountain for two reasons: (1) varying levels of detail are necessary at different spatial scales to capture important TH processes and (2) a fully-coupled TH model of the repository which includes the necessary spatial detail is computationally prohibitive. The MSTH model consists of six ''submodels'' which are combined in a manner to reduce the complexity of modeling where appropriate. The coupling of these models allows for appropriate consideration of mountain-scale thermal hydrology along with the thermal hydrology of drift-scale discrete waste packages of varying heat load. Two stages are involved in the MSTH approach, first, the execution of submodels, and second, the assembly of submodels using the Multi-scale Thermohydrology Abstraction Code (MSTHAC). MSTHAC assembles the submodels in a five-step process culminating in the TH model output of discrete waste packages including a mountain-scale influence.

  17. Characterizing the Evolution of the In-Drift Environment in a Proposed Yucca Mountain Repository

    SciTech Connect

    Dr. Abraham Van Luik

    2004-11-15

    This presentation provides a high-level summary of the approach taken to achieve a conceptual understanding of the chemical environments likely to exist in the proposed Yucca Mountain repository after the permanent closure of the facility. That conceptual understanding was then made quantitative through laboratory and modeling studies. This summary gives an overview of the in-drift chemical environment modeling that was needed to evaluate a Yucca Mountain repository: it describes the geological, hydrological, and geochemical aspects of the chemistry of water contacting engineered barriers and includes a summary of the technical basis that supports the integration of this information into the total system performance assessment. In addition, it presents a description of some of the most important data and processes influencing the in-drift environment, and describes how data and parameter uncertainty are propagated through the modeling. Sources of data include: (1) external studies regarding climate changes; (2) site-specific studies of the structure of the mountain and the properties of its rock layers; (3) properties of dust in the mountain and investigations of the potential for deliquescence on that dust to create solutions above the boiling point of water; (4) obtaining thermal data from a comprehensive thermal test addressing coupled processes; and (5) modeling the evolution of the in-drift environment at several scales. Model validation is also briefly addressed.

  18. Earthquake-induced water-level fluctuations at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, June 1992

    SciTech Connect

    O`Brien, G.M.

    1993-07-01

    This report presents earthquake-induced water-level and fluid-pressure data for wells in the Yucca Mountain area, Nevada, during June 1992. Three earthquakes occurred which caused significant water-level and fluid-pressure responses in wells. Wells USW H-5 and USW H-6 are continuously monitored to detect short-term responses caused by earthquakes. Two wells, monitored hourly, had significant, longer-term responses in water level following the earthquakes. On June 28, 1992, a 7.5-magnitude earthquake occurred near Landers, California causing an estimated maximum water-level change of 90 centimeters in well USW H-5. Three hours later a 6.6-magnitude earthquake occurred near Big Bear Lake, California; the maximum water-level fluctuation was 20 centimeters in well USW H-5. A 5.6-magnitude earthquake occurred at Little Skull Mountain, Nevada, on June 29, approximately 23 kilometers from Yucca Mountain. The maximum estimated short-term water-level fluctuation from the Little Skull Mountain earthquake was 40 centimeters in well USW H-5. The water level in well UE-25p {number_sign}1, monitored hourly, decreased approximately 50 centimeters over 3 days following the Little Skull Mountain earthquake. The water level in UE-25p {number_sign}1 returned to pre-earthquake levels in approximately 6 months. The water level in the lower interval of well USW H-3 increased 28 centimeters following the Little Skull Mountain earthquake. The Landers and Little Skull Mountain earthquakes caused responses in 17 intervals of 14 hourly monitored wells, however, most responses were small and of short duration. For several days following the major earthquakes, many smaller magnitude aftershocks occurred causing measurable responses in the continuously monitored wells.

  19. Review of Microbial Responses to Abiotic Environmental Factors in the Context of the Proposed Yucca Mountain Repository

    SciTech Connect

    Meike, A.; Stroes-Gascoyne, S.

    2000-08-01

    A workshop on Microbial Activities at Yucca Mountain (May 1995, Lafayette, CA) was held with the intention to compile information on all pertinent aspects of microbial activity for application to a potential repository at Yucca Mountain. The findings of this workshop set off a number of efforts intended to eventually incorporate the impacts of microbial behavior into performance assessment models. One effort was to expand an existing modeling approach to include the distinctive characteristics of a repository at Yucca Mountain (e.g., unsaturated conditions and a significant thermal load). At the same time, a number of experimental studies were initiated as well as a compilation of relevant literature to more thoroughly study the physical, chemical and biological parameters that would affect microbial activity under Yucca Mountain-like conditions. This literature search (completed in 1996) is the subject of the present document. The collected literature can be divided into four categories: (1) abiotic factors, (2) community dynamics and in-situ considerations, (3) nutrient considerations and (4) transport of radionuclides. The complete bibliography represents a considerable resource, but is too large to be discussed in one document. Therefore, the present report focuses on the first category, abiotic factors, and a discussion of these factors in order to facilitate the development of a model for Yucca Mountain.

  20. Age and character of basaltic rocks of the Yucca Mountain region, southern Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fleck, R.J.; Turrin, B.D.; Sawyer, D.A.; Warren, R.G.; Champion, D.E.; Hudson, M.R.; Minor, S.A.

    1996-01-01

    Volcanism in the Yucca Mountain region of southern Nevada in the last 5 m.y. is restricted to moderate-to-small volumes of subalkaline basaltic magmas, produced during at least 6 intervals, and spanning an age range from 4.6 Ma to about 125 ka. Where paleomagnetic evidence is available, the period of volcanism at individual eruptive centers apparently was geologically short-lived, even where multiple eruptions involved different magma types. K-Ar studies are consistent with most other geochronologic information, such as the minimum ages of exposure-dating techniques, and show no evidence of renewed volcanism after a significant quiescence at any of the centers in the Yucca Mountain region. A volcanic recurrence interval of 860 ?? 350 kyr is computed from a large K-Ar data set and an evaluation of their uncertainties. Monte Carlo error propagations demonstrate the validity of uncertainties obtained for weighted-mean ages when modified using the goodness of fit parameter, MSWD. Elevated 87Sr/86Sr initial ratios (Sri) in the basalts, nearly constant at 0.707, combined with low SiO2 and Rb/Sr ratios indicate a subcontinental, lithospheric mantle source, previously enriched in radiogenic Sr and depleted in Rb. Beginning with eruptions of the most voluminous eruptive center, the newly dated Pliocene Thirsty Mountain volcano, basaltic magmas have decreased in eruptive volume, plagioclase-phenocryst content, various trace element ratios, and TiO2, while increasing in light rare earth elements, U, Th, P2O5, and light REE/heavy REE ratios. These time-correlated changes are consistent with either increasing depths of melting or a decreasing thermal gradient in the Yucca Mountain region during the last 5 m.y.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2006-05-02

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    Savard, C.S.

    1994-12-31

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

  3. Mineralogy, petrology and whole-rock chemistry data compilation for selected samples of Yucca Mountain tuffs; Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    SciTech Connect

    Connolly, J.R.

    1991-12-01

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

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1992-07-01

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

  5. Report of the Peer Review Panel on the early site suitability evaluation of the Potential Repository Site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada; Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    SciTech Connect

    1992-01-01

    The US Department of Energy (DOE) Yucca mountain Site Characterization Project Office (YMPO) assigned Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), the Technical and Management Support Services (T&MSS) contractor to the YmPo, the task of conducting an Early Site Suitability Evaluation (ESSE) of the Yucca mountain site as a potential site for a high-level radioactive waste repository. First, the assignment called for the development of a method to evaluate a single site against the DOE General Guidelines for Recommendation of Sites for Nuclear Waste Repositories, 10 CFR Part 960. Then, using this method, an evaluation team, the ESSE Core Team, of senior YMP scientists, engineers, and technical experts, evaluated new information obtained about the site since publication of the final Environmental Assessment (DOE, 1986) to determine if new suitability/unsuitability findings could be recommended. Finally, the Core Team identified further information and analyses needed to make final determinations for each of the guidelines. As part of the task, an independent peer review of the ESSE report has been conducted. Expertise was solicited that covered the entire spectrum of siting guidelines in 10 CFR Part 960 in order to provide a complete, in-depth critical review of the data evaluated and cited in the ESSE report, the methods used to evaluate the data, and the conclusions and recommendations offered by the report. Fourteen nationally recognized technical experts (Table 2) served on the Peer Review Panel. The comments from the Panel and the responses prepared by the ESSE Core Team, documented on formal Comment Response Forms, constitute the body of this document.

  6. Summary and evaluation of existing geological and geophysical data near prospective surface facilities in Midway Valley, Yucca Mountain Project, Nye County, Nevada; Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    SciTech Connect

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

    1992-01-01

    Midway Valley, located at the eastern base of the Yucca Mountain in southwestern Nevada, is the preferred location of the surface facilities for the potential high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. One goal in siting these surface facilities is to avoid faults that could produce relative displacements in excess of 5 cm in the foundations of the waste-handling buildings. This study reviews existing geologic and geophysical data that can be used to assess the potential for surface fault rupture within Midway Valley. Dominant tectonic features in Midway Valley are north-trending, westward-dipping normal faults along the margins of the valley: the Bow Ridge fault to the west and the Paintbrush Canyon fault to the east. Published estimates of average Quaternary slip rates for these faults are very low but the age of most recent displacement and the amount of displacement per event are largely unknown. Surface mapping and interpretive cross sections, based on limited drillhole and geophysical data, suggest that additional normal faults, including the postulated Midway Valley fault, may exist beneath the Quaternary/Tertiary fill within the valley. Existing data, however, are inadequate to determine the location, recency, and geometry of this faulting. To confidently assess the potential for significant Quaternary faulting in Midway Valley, additional data are needed that define the stratigraphy and structure of the strata beneath the valley, characterize the Quaternary soils and surfaces, and establish the age of faulting. The use of new and improved geophysical techniques, combined with a drilling program, offers the greatest potential for resolving subsurface structure in the valley. Mapping of surficial geologic units and logging of soil pits and trenches within these units must be completed, using accepted state-of-the-art practices supported by multiple quantitative numerical and relative age-dating techniques.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1995-05-01

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

  8. Selected ground-water data for Yucca Mountain Region, southern Nevada and eastern California, through December 22

    SciTech Connect

    La Camera, R.J.; Westenburg, C.L.

    1994-08-01

    The U.S. Geological Survey, in support of the U.S. Department of Energy, Yucca Mountain Site-Characterization Project, collects, compiles, and summarizes hydrologic data in the Yucca Mountain region. The data are collected to allow assessments of ground-water resources during studies to determine the potential suitability of Yucca Mountain for storing high-level nuclear waste. Data on ground-water levels at 36 sites, ground-water discharge at 6 sites, ground-water quality at 19 sites, and ground-water withdrawals within Crater Flat, Jackass Flats, Mercury Valley, and the Amargosa Desert are presented. Data on ground-water levels, discharges, and withdrawals collected by other agencies (or as part of other programs) are included to further indicate variations through time at selected monitoring locations. Data are included in this report from 1910 through 1992.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2002-01-01

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

  10. Relict colluvial boulder deposits as paleoclimatic indicators in the Yucca Mountain region, southern Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Whitney, J.W.; Harrington, C.D.

    1993-08-01

    Six colluvial boulder deposits from Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada, were dated by cation-ratio dating of rock varnish accreted on boulder surfaces. Estimated minimum ages of these boulder deposits range from 760 to 170 ka. Five additional older deposits on nearby Skull and Little Skull Mountains and Buckboard Mesa yielded cation-ratio minimum-age estimates of 1.38 Ma to 800 ka. An independent cosmogenic chlorine-36 surface exposure date was obtained on one deposit, which confirms an estimated early to middle Quaternary age. These deposits have provided the oldest age estimates for unconsolidated hillslope deposits in the southwestern United States. We suggest that the colluvial boulder deposits were produced during early and middle Pleistocene glacial/pluvial episodes and were stabilized during the transition to drier interglacial climates. By comparison to modern periglacial environments, winter minimum monthly temperatures of -3 to -5 {degree}C were necessary to initiate freeze-thaw conditions of such vigor to physically weather relatively large volumes of large boulders from the upper hillslopes of the Yucca Mountain area. These conditions imply that early and middle Pleistocene glacial winter temperature were at least 1 to 3{degree}C colder than existed during the last Pleistocene glacial episode and 7 to 9{degree}C colder than present. 53 refs., 9 figs., 3 tabs.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1996-09-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Xiaoyan; Zhang, Chengyuan; Liu, Quansheng; Birkholzer, Jens

    2009-05-01

    In many underground nuclear waste repository systems, such as Yucca Mountain project, 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 Multi-point Statistical method is to record multiple-point statistics concerning the connectivity patterns of 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 Yucca Mountain waste repository system. First, MPS method is used to create fracture network with 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 surrounding rock of waste emplacement drifts. Our study shows that connectivity or pattern of fracture network can be grasped and reconstructed by Multi-Point-Statistical method. 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 uncertainty of models even in complicated coupled THM simulation. It indicates that Multi-Point Statistics is a potential method to characterize and reconstruct natural fracture network in a fractured rock mass with advantages of quantifying connectivity of fracture system and its simulation uncertainty simultaneously.

  13. Fracture characterization of the large-block test, Fran Ridge, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Wagoner, J.L.

    1999-04-28

    The US Department of Energy (DOE) is investigating the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a potential site for the nation's first high-level nuclear waste repository. The site is located about 120 km northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada, at the Nevada Test Site. Favorable aspects of Yucca Mountain as a potential repository site include its arid nature and the sorptive properties of the rock materials. The arid environment results in unsaturated conditions at the potential emplacement horizon, which is the Topopah Spring tuff of the Paintbrush Group. The Large Block Test (LBT) was designed to be one of a series of tests at different scales and conditions that assist in defining the physical processes that need to be considered in models of a potential repository in Yucca Mountain. The LBT is a critical test because it is of sufficient size to incorporate a fracture system that is representative of the distribution of fracture dimensions and characteristics--with the exception of major structures, such as faults--that would likely be present in a repository. The LBT location was chosen to include large, through-going fractures as well as small, healed fractures that are of limited extent. The LBT location also includes a variety of fracture sizes, connectivities, and characteristics that fall between the bounds of the large and very small fractures. The LBT allows for boundary controls and monitoring that are somewhat similar to those typical of laboratory studies, and it allows for three-dimensional (3-D) characterization and monitoring. The unique combination of size with boundary controls of the LBT allows processes to be evaluated and models to be tested more completely than in tests of any other scale (Wilder et al. 1997, Section 1).

  14. Existing Evidence for the Fate of Neptunium in the Yucca Mountain Repository

    SciTech Connect

    Friese, Judah I. ); Buck, Edgar C. ); McNamara, Bruce K. ); Hanson, Brady D. ); Marschman, Steven C. )

    2003-06-18

    Neptunium, because of its long half life, is an element of long-term interest to the Yucca Mountain repository. The fate of neptunium under repository settings is unknown. This report provides a review and new interpretation of past tests on commercial spent nuclear fuel and experimental evidence on the fate of neptunium. Tests on commercial spent nuclear fuel preformed previously at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) used a bathtub setup by immersing spent fuel in either deionized water or a groundwater typical of those at Yucca Mountain. The main goal of the tests was to determine the different concentrations of radionuclides in solution with different types of cladding defects. Neptunium was not the focus of these tests, nor were the tests designed to study neptunium. Drip tests performed at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) are unsaturated tests that drip water at different rates on spent fuel. Relatively new tests at ANL examine the corrosion of Np-doped U3O8 in humid air at various temperatures. This review concludes that all tests reported here have analytical problems (i.e., relatively high detection limits for Np) and have been configured such that they limit the ability to interpret the available neptunium data. Past tests on spent nuclear fuel do not unambiguously describe neptunium chemistry as there are multiple mechanisms that may explain the observed behavior in each test. One apparently major shortcoming of most tests is that the extent of fuel reaction was limited by the amount of oxygen present in the system. Further detailed studies under repository-relevant conditions, which include the assumption of a constant 20 percent oxygen atmosphere, are needed to provide the data necessary for the development and validation of models used to predict the long-term fate of neptunium and other radionuclides at Yucca Mountain.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2009-05-01

    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.

  16. Physical processes and effects of magmatism in the Yucca Mountain region

    SciTech Connect

    Valentine, G.A.; Crowe, B.M.; Perry, F.V.

    1991-12-31

    This paper describes initial studies related to the effects of volcanism on performance of the proposed Yucca Mountain radioactive waste repository, and to the general processes of magmatism in the Yucca Mountain region. Volcanism or igneous activity can affect the repository performance by ejection of waste onto the earth`s surface (eruptive effects), or by subsurface effects of hydrothermal processes and altered hydrology if an intrusion occurs within the repository block. Initial, conservative calculations of the volume of waste that might be erupted during a small-volume basaltic eruption (such as those which occurred in the Yucca Mountain region) indicate that regulatory limits might be exceeded. Current efforts to refine these calculations, based upon field studies at analog sites, are described. Studies of subsurface effects are just beginning, and are currently focused on field studies of intrusion properties and contact metamorphism at deeply eroded analog sites. General processes of magmatism are important for providing a physical basis for predictions of future volcanic activity. Initial studies have focused on modeling basaltic magma chambers in conjunction with petrographic and geochemical studies. An example of the thermal-fluid dynamic evolution of a small basaltic sill is described, based on numerical simulation. Quantification of eruption conditions can provide valuable information on the overall magmatic system. We are developing quantitative methods for mapping pyroclastic facies of small basaltic centers and, in combination with two-phase hydrodynamic simulation, using this information to estimate eruption conditions. Examples of such hydrodynamic simulations are presented, along with comparison to an historical eruption in Hawaii.

  17. Status of volcanism studies for the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    SciTech Connect

    Crowe, B.; Perry, F.; Murrell, M.; Poths, J.; Valentine, G.A.; Wells, S.; Bowker, L.; Finnegan, K.; Geissman, J.; McFadden, L.

    1995-02-01

    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. 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 Lathrop Wells volcanic center is described in detail because it is the youngest basalt center in the YMR. Chapter 3 describes the tectonic setting of the YMR and presents and assesses the significance of multiple alternative tectonic models. Geophysical data are described for the YMR and are used as an aid to understand the distribution of basaltic volcanic centers. Chapter 4 discusses the petrologic and geochemical features of basaltic volcanism in the YMR, the southern Great Basin and the Basin and Range province. The long time of activity and characteristic small volume of the Postcaldera basalt of the YMR result in one of the lowest eruptive rates in a volcanic field in the southwest United States. Chapter 5 summarizes current concepts of the segregation, ascent, and eruption of basalt magma. Chapter 6 summarizes the history of volcanism studies (1979 through early 1994), including work for the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project and overview studies by the state of Nevada and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Chapter 7 summarizes probabilistic volcanic hazard assessment using a three-part conditional probability model. Chapter 8 describes remaining volcanism work judged to be needed to complete characterization studies for the YMR. Chapter 9 summarizes the conclusions of this volcanism status report.

  18. The Sorption/Desorption Behavior of Uranium in Transport Studies Using Yucca Mountain Alluvium

    SciTech Connect

    Scism, Cynthia D.

    2005-12-01

    Yucca Mountain, Nevada is the proposed site of a geologic repository for the disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste in the United States. In the event repository engineered barriers fail, the saturated alluvium located south of Yucca Mountain is expected to serve as a natural barrier to the migration of radionuclides to the accessible environment. The purpose of this study is to improve the characterization of uranium retardation in the saturated zone at Yucca Mountain to support refinement of an assessment model. The distribution of uranium desorption rates from alluvium obtained from Nye County bore holes EWDP-19IM1, EWDP-10SA, EWDP-22SA were studied to address inconsistencies between results from batch sorption and column transport experiments. The alluvium and groundwater were characterized to better understand the underlying mechanisms of the observed behavior. Desorption rate constants were obtained using an activity based mass balance equation and column desorption experiments were analyzed using a mathematical model utilizing multiple sorption sites with different first-order forward and reverse reaction rates. The uranium desorption rate constants decreased over time, suggesting that the alluvium has multiple types of active sorption sites with different affinities for uranium. While a significant fraction of the initially sorbed uranium desorbed from the alluvium quite rapidly, a roughly equivalent amount remained sorbed after several months of testing. The information obtained through this research suggests that uranium may experience greater effective retardation in the alluvium than simple batch sorption experiments would suggest. Electron Probe Microanalysis shows that uranium is associated with both clay minerals and iron oxides after sorption to alluvial material. These results provide further evidence that the alluvium contains multiple sorption sites for uranium.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  1. Hydrologic and geologic characteristics of the Yucca Mountain site relevant to the performance of a potential repository

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Levich, R.A.; Linden, R.M.; Patterson, R.L.; Stuckless, J.S.

    2000-01-01

    Yucca Mountain, located ~100 mi northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada, has been designated by Congress as a site to be characterized for a potential mined geologic repository for high-level radioactive waste. This field trip will examine the regional geologic and hydrologic setting for Yucca Mountain, as well as specific results of the site characterization program. The first day focuses on the regional setting with emphasis on current and paleo hydrology, which are both of critical concern for predicting future performance of a potential repository. Morning stops will be southern Nevada and afternoon stops will be in Death Valley. The second day will be spent at Yucca Mountain. The field trip will visit the underground testing sites in the "Exploratory Studies Facility" and the "Busted Butte Unsaturated Zone Transport Field Test" plus several surface-based testing sites. Much of the work at the site has concentrated on studies of the unsaturated zone, an element of the hydrologic system that historically has received little attention. Discussions during the second day will compromise selected topics of Yucca Mountain geology, hydrology and geochemistry and will include the probabilistic volcanic hazard analysis and the seismicity and seismic hazard in the Yucca Mountain area. Evening discussions will address modeling of regional groundwater flow, the results of recent hydrologic studies by the Nye County Nuclear Waste Program Office, and the relationship of the geology and hydrology of Yucca Mountain to the performance of a potential repository. Day 3 will examine the geologic framework and hydrology of the Pahute Mesa-Oasis Valley Groundwater Basin and then will continue to Reno via Hawthorne, Nevada and the Walker Lake area.

  2. Oxygen isotopes and trace elements in the Tiva Canyon Tuff, Yucca Mountain and vicinity, Nye County, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Marshall, B.D.; Kyser, T.K.; Peterman, Z.E.

    1996-12-31

    Yucca Mountain is being studied as a potential site for an underground repository for high-level radioactive waste. Because Yucca Mountain is located in a resource-rich geologic setting, one aspect of the site characterization studies is an evaluation of the resource potential at Yucca Mountain. The Tiva Canyon Tuff (TCT) is a widespread felsic ash-flow sheet that is well exposed in the Yucca Mountain area. Samples of the upper part of the TCT were selected to evaluate the potential for economic mineral deposits within the Miocene volcanic section. These samples of the upper cliff and caprock subunits have been analyzed for oxygen isotopes and a large suite of elements. Oxygen isotope compositions ({delta}{sup 18}O) of the TCT are typical of felsic igneous rocks but range from 6.9 to 11.8 permil, indicating some post-depositional alteration. There is no evidence of the low {delta}{sup 18}O values (less than 6 permil) that are typical of epithermal precious-metal deposits in the region. The variation in oxygen isotope ratios is probably the result of deuteric alteration during late-stage crystallization of silica and low-temperature hydration of glassy horizons; these processes are also recorded by the chemical compositions of the rocks. However, most elemental contents in the TCT reflect igneous processes, and the effects of alteration are observed only in some of the more mobile elements. These studies indicate that the TCT at Yucca Mountain has not been affected by large-scale meteoric-water hydrothermal circulation. The chemical compositions of the TCT, especially the low concentrations of most trace elements including typical pathfinder elements, show no evidence for epithermal metal deposits. Together, these data indicate that the potential for economic mineralization in this part of the volcanic section at Yucca Mountain is small.

  3. Cost-Effective Cementitious Material Compatible with Yucca Mountain Repository Geochemistry

    SciTech Connect

    Dole, LR

    2004-12-17

    The current plans for the Yucca Mountain (YM) repository project (YMP) use steel structures to stabilize the disposal drifts and connecting tunnels that are collectively over 100 kilometers in length. The potential exist to reduce the underground construction cost by 100s of millions of dollars and improve the repository's performance. These economic and engineering goals can be achieved by using the appropriate cementitious materials to build out these tunnels. This report describes the required properties of YM compatible cements and reviews the literature that proves the efficacy of this approach. This report also describes a comprehensive program to develop and test materials for a suite of underground construction technologies.

  4. Geochemistry of natural components in the near-field environment, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Peterman, Z.E.; Oliver, T.A.

    2007-01-01

    The natural near-field environment in and around the emplacement drifts of the proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, includes the host rock, dust, seepage, and pore water. The chemical compositions of these components have been determined for assessing possible chemical and mineralogical reactions that may occur after nuclear waste is emplaced. The rock hosting the proposed repository is relatively uniform as shown by a mean coefficient of variation (CV) of 9 percent for major elements. In contrast, compositional variations of dust (bulk and water-soluble fractions), pore water, and seepage are large with mean CVs ranging from 28 to 64 percent. ?? 2007 Materials Research Society.

  5. A FRAMEWORK FOR THE ANALYSIS OF LOCALIZED CORROSION AT THE PROPOSED YUCCA MOUNTAIN REPOSITORY

    SciTech Connect

    Dr. J.H. Payer

    2006-04-18

    Corrosion is a primary determinant of waste package performance at the proposed Yucca Mountain Repository: (1) the most likely degradation process; (2) controls the delay time for radionuclide transport from the waste package; and (3) determines when packages will be penetrated and the shape size and distribution of those penetrations. In this presentation a framework for the analysis of localized corrosion is presented and demonstrated for a scenario: (1) water chemistry of mixed salt solutions (sodium chloride-potassium nitrate); and (2) time-temperature-relative humidity profiles for a hot, mid and cool temperature waste package.

  6. Multiphysics processes in partially saturated fractured rock: Experiments and models from Yucca Mountain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rutqvist, Jonny; Tsang, Chin-Fu

    2012-09-01

    The site investigations at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, have provided us with an outstanding data set, one that has significantly advanced our knowledge of multiphysics processes in partially saturated fractured geological media. Such advancement was made possible, foremost, by substantial investments in multiyear field experiments that enabled the study of thermally driven multiphysics and testing of numerical models at a large spatial scale. The development of coupled-process models within the project have resulted in a number of new, advanced multiphysics numerical models that are today applied over a wide range of geoscientific research and geoengineering applications. Using such models, the potential impact of thermal-hydrological-mechanical (THM) multiphysics processes over the long-term (e.g., 10,000 years) could be predicted and bounded with some degree of confidence. The fact that the rock mass at Yucca Mountain is intensively fractured enabled continuum models to be used, although discontinuum models were also applied and are better suited for analyzing some issues, especially those related to predictions of rockfall within open excavations. The work showed that in situ tests (rather than small-scale laboratory experiments alone) are essential for determining appropriate input parameters for multiphysics models of fractured rocks, especially related to parameters defining how permeability might evolve under changing stress and temperature. A significant laboratory test program at Yucca Mountain also made important contributions to the field of rock mechanics, showing a unique relation between porosity and mechanical properties, a time dependency of strength that is significant for long-term excavation stability, a decreasing rock strength with sample size using very large core experiments, and a strong temperature dependency of the thermal expansion coefficient for temperatures up to 200°C. The analysis of in situ heater experiments showed that fracture

  7. Site characterization progress report: Yucca Mountain, Nevada, October 1, 1990--March 31, 1991; Number 4

    SciTech Connect

    1991-10-01

    In accordance with the requirements of Section 113 (b) (3) of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, as amended (NWPA), the US Department of Energy (DOE) has prepared this report on the progress of site characterization activities at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, for the period October 1, 1990, through March 31, 1991. This report is the fourth in a series of reports that are issued at intervals of approximately six months during site characterization. The report covers a number of initiatives to improve the effectiveness of the site characterization program, and covers continued efforts related to preparatory activities, Study Plans, and performance assessment.

  8. Assessing microbiologically induced corrosion of waste package materials in the Yucca Mountain repository

    SciTech Connect

    Horn, J. M., LLNL

    1998-01-01

    The contribution of bacterial activities to corrosion of nuclear waste package materials must be determined to predict the adequacy of containment for a potential nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain (YM), NV. The program to evaluate potential microbially induced corrosion (MIC) of candidate waste container materials includes characterization of bacteria in the post-construction YM environment, determination of their required growth conditions and growth rates, quantitative assessment of the biochemical contribution to metal corrosion, and evaluation of overall MIC rates on candidate waste package materials.

  9. TOSPAC calculations in support of the COVE 2A benchmarking activity; Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    SciTech Connect

    Gauthier, J.H.; Zieman, N.B.; Miller, W.B.

    1991-10-01

    The purpose of the the Code Verification (COVE) 2A benchmarking activity is to assess the numerical accuracy of several computer programs for the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project of the Department of Energy. This paper presents a brief description of the computer program TOSPAC and a discussion of the calculational effort and results generated by TOSPAC for the COVE 2A problem set. The calculations were performed twice. The initial calculations provided preliminary results for comparison with the results from other COVE 2A participants. TOSPAC was modified in response to the comparison and the final calculations included a correction and several enhancements to improve efficiency. 8 refs.

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

    SciTech Connect

    1990-08-01

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

  11. Seismic Wave Amplification, Attenuation, and Scattering at the UZ-16 Borehole, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Preston, L.; Smith, K.

    2006-12-01

    The UE#25 UZ-16 borehole array at Yucca Mountain, Nevada (designated site for the nation's high-level nuclear waste repository), provides a prime opportunity to investigate near surface effects on seismic waveforms as a function of depth. The borehole 3-component geophone array consists of 96 depth levels of 4.5 Hz sensors from about 30 m to 500 m depth below the surface. Currently we are recording at 18 approximately equally spaced depth levels and the array was recently augmented with three 3-component matching surface sensors (totaling 63 16-bit 200 sps data channels). The time stamped continuous digital data stream is telemetered in real-time to the Nevada Seismological Laboratory where it is visually inspected and event data is subset and integrated with regional network data when necessary; system check calibrations have been performed on all recorded sensors. Therefore, we have high resolution time-depth local and regional earthquake waveform histories from 500 m to the surface within the Yucca Mountain block. Due to the thick cover of Miocene volcanic tuffs at Yucca Mountain, the borehole does not penetrate into the underlying Paleozoic basement but samples tuff horizons of varying thicknesses and properties. Ground motion design criteria for the repository and surface facilities are based, in part, on characterizing the near surface velocities and the amplification, intrinsic attenuation, and scattering of seismic waves from local earthquakes. We present results from several investigations of local earthquake recordings including spectral ratios and attenuation as a function of depth and characterize scattering in the tuff layers. Preliminary results indicate differences in spectral ratios depending on component, with E-W components indicating higher ratios relative to N-S and Z components as compared to the bottom most geophone, most likely due to the structural fabric of Yucca Mountain. Also, most observed amplification from spectral ratios (from about 3

  12. Two-dimensional numerical simulation of geochemical transport in Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    Travis, B.J.; Nuttall, H.E.

    1987-12-01

    Several physical and chemical processes can affect transport of radionuclides in Yucca Mountain. Geometric spreading and lateral flow will reduce the concentration of contaminated water reaching the accessible environment. Travel times to the water table are calculated to be at least several tens of thousands of years. Colloid transport can also enhance radionuclide transport, but will be important only if fracture flow is. Finally, the heat load from repository waste can alter the distribution of some naturally occurring minerals. In particular, dissolution and precipitation of SiO{sub 2} should lead to a region of reduced permeability around waste canisters. 22 refs., 47 figs., 7 tabs.

  13. Revised potentiometric-surface map, Yucca Mountain and vicinity, Nevada; Water-resources investigations report 93-4000

    SciTech Connect

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

    1994-05-01

    This report presents a revised potentiometric-surface map based mainly on the 1988 average water levels at Yucca Mountain and the nearby vicinity extending from Crater Flat to Jackass Flats. Discussion includes an explanation of the revised potentiometric-surface map, an examination of yearly trends in the water levels, and adjustments for temperature and density effects in the deeper wells. Report scope focuses on the potentiometric surface of the uppermost saturated zone in the Tertiary volcanic rocks at Yucca Mountain. Some information, related to the underlying Paleozoic carbonate aquifer, pertinent to the volcanic flow system, is presented.

  14. Development and testing of techniques to obtain infiltration data for unconsolidated surficial materials, Yucca Mountain area, Nye County, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Hofmann, Lon L.; Guertal, William R.; Flint, Alan L.

    2000-12-31

    Measurements of surface infiltration at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, a potential site for a high-level nuclear-waste repository, are needed to determine spatial variability of hydrologic properties for a wide variety of skeletal desert soils. This report describes and evaluates existing instruments and methods to measure infiltration capacities and their appropriateness for determining hydrologic properties on Yucca Mountain. The report also presents preliminary infiltration data and estimated measurements of saturated hydraulic conductivity and sorptivity and describes the methods used to collect the data.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1994-12-31

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

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

    SciTech Connect

    Livingston, D.E.

    1994-01-01

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

  17. Evaluation of the Corrosivity of Dust Deposited on Waste Packages at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    C. Bryan; R. Jarek; T. Wolery; D. Shields; M. Sutton; E. Hardin; D. Barr

    2005-03-01

    Potentially corrosive brines may form by deliquescence of salt minerals in dust deposited on the surface of waste packages at Yucca Mountain during operations and the pre-closure ventilation period. Evaluation of measured atmospheric and underground dust compositions by thermodynamic modeling and experimental studies of brine deliquescence indicates that brines are likely to form, but will be nitrate-rich and non-corrosive. Processes that modify the brines following deliquescence are beneficial with respect to corrosion. Acid degassing (HCI, HNO{sub 3}) will potentially dry out brines, but kinetic limitations will limit the effect to increasing the passivity of the brines by raising the pH and increasing the NO{sub 3}/CI ratio. Interactions with silicate minerals in the dust buffer brine pH to neutral values, and may also cause dryout. Predicted dust quantities and maximum deliquescent brine volumes on the waste package surface are small, and physical isolation of salt minerals in the dust may inhibit formation of eutectic brines, further decreasing deliquescence brine volumes. Should corrosive brines form, capillary forces will tend to retain brine in the dust. If brines do contact the WP surface, small droplet or film dimensions do not support development of diffusive gradients and separate anodic-cathodic regions necessary for initiation of localized corrosion. Finally, should localized corrosion initiate, corrosion product buildup will eventually stifle corrosion, by limiting oxygen access to the metal surface, by capillary retention of brine in corrosion product porosity, or by consumption of brine components, principally chloride. Thus, dust deliquescence is of low consequence with respect to repository performance.

  18. Geohydrologic data from test hole USW UZ-6s, Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Loskot, C.L.

    1993-12-31

    As part of the investigation of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, as a potential site for storing high-level radioactive wastes in an underground mined geologic repository, the US Geological Survey, in cooperation with the US Department of Energy, in 1982, began drilling a series of test holes in and near the southwestern part of the Nevada Test Site to determine the geologic and hydrologic characteristics of the area. Test hole USW UZ-6s is part of that series of test holes, and this report presents data obtained from test hole USW UZ-6s. The data includes those from drilling operations, lithology, coring, and laboratory analyses of hydrologic properties, which include gravimetric water content, water potential, and bulk- and grain-density values. The gravimetric water content of the densely welded section of the Tiva Canyon Member of the Paintbrush Tuff averages 0.027 gram per gram for test hole USW UZ-6s; water potential averages {minus}7,200 kilo-pascals; gravimetric water content of the moderately to densely welded tuffs range from 0.054 gram per gram for the Tiva Canyon Member of the Paintbrush Tuff to 0.027 gram per gram for the Topopah Spring Member of the Paintbrush Tuff; and water potentials range from {minus}6,700 to {minus}3,400 kilopascals. Gravimetric water content for the partially welded to unnamed bedded tuffs average 0.123, 0.106, and 0.085 gram per gram for the Tiva Canyon Member, the unnamed bedded tuffs, and the Topopah Spring Member in test hole USW UZ-6s; average water potentials for these units are {minus}1,700, {minus}480, and {minus}820 kilopascals.

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

    SciTech Connect

    Thamir, F.; McBride, C.M.

    1985-12-31

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2003-01-01

    the model uncertainty and the variability of water compositions at Yucca Mountain.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2002-09-01

    small relative to the mode l uncertainty and the variability of water compositions at Yucca Mountain.

  2. Preliminary description of quaternary and late pliocene surficial deposits at Yucca Mountain and vicinity, Nye County, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Hoover, D.L.

    1989-11-01

    The Yucca Mountain area, in the south-central part of the Great Basin, is in the drainage basin of the Amargosa River. The mountain consists of several fault blocks of volcanic rocks that are typical of the Basin and Range province. Yucca Mountain is dissected by steep-sided valleys of consequent drainage systems that are tributary on the east side to Fortymile Wash and on the west side to an unnamed wash that drains Crater Flat. Most of the major washes near Yucca Mountain are not integrated with the Amargosa River, but have distributary channels on the piedmont above the river. Landforms in the Yucca Mountain area include rock pediments, ballenas, alluvial pediments, alluvial fans, stream terraces, and playas. Early Holocene and older alluvial fan deposits have been smoothed by pedimentation. The semiconical shape of alluvial fans is apparent at the junction of tributaries with major washes and where washes cross fault and terrace scarps. Playas are present in the eastern and southern ends of the Amargosa Desert. 39 refs., 9 figs., 1 tab.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  4. Coupled In-Rock and In-Drift Hydrothermal Model Stuudy For Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    G. Danko; J. Birkholzer; D. Bahrami

    2006-12-18

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  6. Modeling studies of gas movement and moisture migration at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Tsang, Y.W.; Pruess, K.

    1991-06-01

    Modeling studies on moisture redistribution processes that are mediated by gas phase flow and diffusion have been carried out. The problem addressed is the effect of a lowered humidity of the soil gas at the land surface on moisture removal from Yucca Mountain, the potential site for a high-level nuclear waste repository. At the land surface, humid formation gas contacts much drier atmospheric air. Near this contact, the humidity of the soil gas may be considerably lower than at greater depth, where the authors expect equilibrium with the liquid phase and close to 100% humidity. The lower relative humidity of the soil gas may be modeled by imposing, at the land surface, an additional negative capillary suction corresponding to vapor pressure lowering according to Kelvin`s Equation, thus providing a driving force for the upward movement of moisture in both the vapor and liquid phases. Sensitivity studies show that moisture removal from Yucca Mountain arising from the lowered-relative-humidity boundary condition is controlled by vapor diffusion. There is much experimental evidence in the soil literature that diffusion of vapor is enhanced due to pore-level phase change effects by a few orders of magnitude. Modeling results presented here will account for this enhancement in vapor diffusion.

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

    SciTech Connect

    Gauthier, J.H.

    1994-07-01

    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.

  8. Site characterization progress report: Yucca Mountain, Nevada, October 1, 1993--March 31, 1994

    SciTech Connect

    1994-10-01

    This report is the tenth 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 spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. Also included in this report are descriptions of 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. The Executive Summary is intended to provide a summary of major decisions, activities, accomplishments, and issues of interest during the reporting period. Chapter 1, Introduction, provides background information to assist the reader in understanding the current status of the program. Chapter 2 provides specific detailed discussions of activities conducted during the current reporting period and has two major divisions. Section 2.1, Preparatory Activities, provides information on select preparatory activities necessary to conduct site characterization and design activities. Sections 2.2 through 2.8 provide specific details on studies and activities conducted during the reporting period and follow the original structure of the Department`s 1988 Site Characterization Plan. Chapter 3 contains the current summary schedule, while Chapter 4 provides a description of the program outreach, including activities during the reporting period, in both the international program and public outreach. Chapter 5 presents an epilogue of significant events that occurred after the end of the reporting period.

  9. Influence of transitional volcanic strata on lateral diversion at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Flint, L.E.; Flint, A.L.; Selker, J.S.

    2003-01-01

    Natural hydraulic barriers exist at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, a potential high-level nuclear waste repository, that have been identified as possible lateral diversions for reducing deep percolation through the waste storage area. Historical development of the conceptual model of lateral diversion has been limited by available field data, but numerical investigations presented the possibility of significant lateral diversion due to the presence of a thin, porous rock layer, the Paintbrush nonwelded tuffs. Analytical analyses of the influence of transitional changes in properties suggest that minimal lateral diversion is likely at Yucca Mountain. Numerical models, to this point, have not accounted for the gradual transition of properties or the existence of multiple layers that could inadvertently influence the simulation of lateral diversion as an artifact of numerical model discretization. Analyses were made of subsurface matric potential measurements, and comparisons were made of surface infiltration estimates with deeper percolation flux calculations using chloride-mass-balance calculations and simulations of measured temperature profiles. These analyses suggest that insignificant lateral diversion has occurred above the repository horizon and that water generally moves vertically through the Paintbrush nonwelded tuffs.

  10. Yucca Mountain program summary of research and technical review activities, July 1988--June 1989

    SciTech Connect

    1989-11-01

    The Desert Research Institute (DRI), through its Water Resources Center (WRC), since 1984 has supported the State of Nevada Nuclear Waste Project Office`s activities related to the proposed high-level radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain on the Nevada Test Site (NTS). This effort is directed at providing the State Office with an unbiased evaluation of the Yucca Mountain Project (YMP) investigations performed by the US Department of Energy (DOE) and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The overall objective is to determine independently whether or not the site meets the performance criteria defined by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 and amendments for isolating and containing the wastes during emplacement and the proposed life of the repository. A particularly important area of concern with the proposed repository is the site`s hydrology. The faculty of the DRI have long been involved with research throughout the State and have particular expertise in groundwater studies related to radionuclide migration and hydrologic safety of underground nuclear testing by DOE and predecessor agencies. In addition, we utilize laboratory personnel for chemical and isotopic analyses in both of the DRI-WMC water chemistry laboratories.

  11. Data report for the 1985 seismic-refraction experiment at Yucca Mountain and vicinity, southwestern Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Sutton, V.D.

    1985-12-31

    In February 1985, the US Geological Survey (USGS) conducted a seismic-refraction survey in the vicinity of Yucca Mountain, southwestern Nevada to better define the P(compressional)-wave velocity structure of the upper crust in this area. This experiment is a continuation of seismic investigations at the Nevada Test Site (NTS) by the USGS on behalf of the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations Project (NNWSI) to assess the feasibility of a proposed nuclear waste disposal site at Yucca Mountain. The 1985 seismic-refraction survey consisted of three separate deployments: two East-West profiles, Line A and Line B, and a North-South profile (Plate 1). Thirty-one shots were recorded by 120 portable seismographs, where recorder station spacing averaged .3 km, and the shotpoints averaged 5 to 8 km apart. Additionally, off set shots were fired at shotpoints located about 7 to 15 km from the endpoints of the deployment lines. This report includes record sections from the twenty-nine shotpoints (Plates 2 to 17), a list of seismograph locations (Appendix A), a list of shotpoint locations and shot times, DKDAT data files and Tape Grade Code (Appendix B), and a list of first-arrival traveltime picks (Appendix C). Detailed interpretation of these data will be published in a subsequent report.

  12. The use of chlorine isotope measurements to trace water movements at Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    Norris, A.E.

    1989-08-01

    The rates of water movements in the tuffs at Yucca Mountain are important for assessing the performance of a potential high-level nuclear waste repository. Measurements of cosmogenic 3.0 {times} 10{sup 5} yr {sup 36}Cl in tuff from the unsaturated zone and in water from the saturated zone can provide information about water movements over times of 10{sup 15} to 10{sup 6} years. The data derived from the analysis of cuttings from a dry-drilled hole at Yucca Mountain indicate the presence of a {sup 36}Cl background that must be taken into account for proper interpretation of the {sup 36}Cl interpretation of the {sup 36}Cl results. Similarly, the {sup 36}Cl measured in water from the saturated zone requires additional work for correct interpretation. Fallout of {sup 36}Cl from nuclear weapons tests between 1952 and 1962 provided a tracer for an infiltration study. Measurements of the {sup 36}Cl bomb pulse in tuffs from the unsaturated zone show potential for tracing recent water flow in faults and fractures. 5 refs.

  13. Verification of a 1-dimensional model for predicting shallow infiltration at Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

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

    1994-12-31

    A characterization of net infiltration rates is needed for site-scale evaluation of groundwater flow at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Shallow infiltration caused by precipitation may be a potential source of net infiltration. A 1-dimensional finite difference model of shallow infiltration with a moisture-dependent evapotranspiration function and a hypothetical root-zone was calibrated and verified using measured water content profiles, measured precipitation, and estimated potential evapotranspiration. Monthly water content profiles obtained from January 1990 through October 1993 were measured by geophysical logging of 3 boreholes located in the alluvium channel of Pagany Wash on Yucca Mountain. The profiles indicated seasonal wetting and drying of the alluvium in response to winter season precipitation and summer season evapotranspiration above a depth of 2.5 meters. A gradual drying trend below a depth of 2.5 meters was interpreted as long-term redistribution and/or evapotranspiration following a deep infiltration event caused by runoff in Pagany Wash during 1984. An initial model, calibrated using the 1990 to 1992 record, did not provide a satisfactory prediction of water content profiles measured in 1993 following a relatively wet winter season. A re-calibrated model using a modified, seasonally-dependent evapotranspiration function provided an improved fit to the total record. The new model provided a satisfactory verification using water content changes measured at a distance of 6 meters from the calibration site, but was less satisfactory in predicting changes at a distance of 18 meters.

  14. Physical and hydrologic properties of rock outcrop samples at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Flint, L.E.; Flint, A.L.; Rautman, C.A.; Istok, J.D.

    1996-09-01

    Studies are underway at Yucca Mountain to characterize physical and hydrologic conditions for a potential high-level radioactive waste repository. Site characterization requires the development of three- dimensional models describing hydrogeologic units in terms of inputs for numerical models. It is also important to understand the spatial distribution of these properties, vertical and horizontally, in order to estimate values at unmeasured points. Deterministic processes of volcanism caused the initial formation of the rock units, and it is useful to be able to correlate rock properties with the more qualitative descriptions of rock lithology that occur on a larger scale. Preliminary data were collected to develop methods and evaluate spatial relations to determine sampling frequency. In addition, a data base was developed to provide some of the parameters needed for preliminary flow-modeling exercises. Surface transects of rock outcrops facilitated rapid collection of closely spaced samples of all units exposed at and around Yucca Mountain. This report presents the data collected, descriptive statistics for various units, preliminary hydrogeologic units, and analyses of porosity compared with flow properties.

  15. Verification of a 1-dimensional model for predicting shallow infiltration at Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

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

    1994-12-31

    A characterization of net infiltration rates is needed for site-scale evaluation of groundwater flow at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Shallow infiltration caused by precipitation may be a potential source of net infiltration. A 1-dimensional finite difference model of shallow infiltration with a moisture-dependant evapotranspiration function and a hypothetical root-zone was calibrated and verified using measured water content profiles, measured precipitation, and estimated potential evapotranspiration. Monthly water content profiles obtained from January 1990 through October 1993 were measured by geophysical logging of 3 boreholes located in the alluvium channel of Pagany Wash on Yucca Mountain. The profiles indicated seasonal wetting and drying of the alluvium in response to winter season precipitation and summer season evapotranspiration above a depth of 2.5 meters. A gradual drying trend below a depth of 2.5 meters was interpreted as long-term redistribution and/or evapotranspiration following a deep infiltration event caused by runoff in Pagany Wash during 1984. An initial model, calibrated using the 1990 to 1 992 record, did not provide a satisfactory prediction of water content profiles measured in 1993 following a relatively wet winter season. A re-calibrated model using a modified, seasonally-dependent evapotranspiration function provided an improved fit to the total record. The new model provided a satisfactory verification using water content changes measured at a distance of 6 meters from the calibration site, but was less satisfactory in predicting changes at a distance of 18 meters.

  16. Evaluation of the US DOE's conceptual model of hydrothermal activity at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dublyansky, Y. V.

    2014-08-01

    A unique conceptual model describing the conductive heating of rocks in the thick unsaturated zone of Yucca Mountain, Nevada by a silicic pluton emplaced several kilometers away is accepted by the US Department of Energy (DOE) as an explanation of the elevated depositional temperatures measured in fluid inclusions in secondary fluorite and calcite. Acceptance of this model allowed the DOE to keep from considering hydrothermal activity in the performance assessment of the proposed high-level nuclear waste disposal facility. The evaluation presented in this paper shows that no computational modeling results have yet produced a satisfactory match with the empirical benchmark data, specifically with age and fluid inclusion data that indicate high temperatures (up to ca. 80 °C) in the unsaturated zone of Yucca Mountain. Auxiliary sub-models complementing the DOE model, as well as observations at a natural analog site, have also been evaluated. Summarily, the model cannot be considered as validated. Due to the lack of validation, the reliance on this model must be discontinued and the appropriateness of decisions which rely on this model must be re-evaluated.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  18. Diet of desert tortoises at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, and implications for habitat reclamation

    SciTech Connect

    Rakestraw, D.L.; Holt, E.A.; Rautenstrauch, K.R.

    1995-12-01

    The diet of desert tortoises at Yucca Mountain was assessed during 1992 to 1995 using a combination of feeding observations and scat analysis. Feeding observation data (1993 through 1995) showed that tortoises fed on a wide variety of items. The most frequently eaten items were forbs and annual grasses. These two forage groups comprised more than 90% of all bites taken. Analysis of scat (1992 and 1993) also showed that grasses and forbs were the most common groups, making up more than 80% of the composition of scat. Yearly differences between proportions of species in the diet were observed and were most likely attributable to differences in plant productivity, which is linked to rainfall patterns. Non-native species were an important component of the diet in all years, accounting for 13 to 50% of all bites observed and 6 to 24% of scat contents. A list of all items encountered in the diet is provided. To facilitate reclamation of desert tortoise habitat disturbed by the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project, native forage species that should be included in reclamation seed mixes, when feasible, were identified. Although shrubs make up only a small proportion of the diet, they should also be included in reclamation efforts because they provide habitat structure. Tortoise cover sites, and microhabitats amenable to seed germination and seedling establishment. In addition, non-native species should not be planted on reclaimed sites and, if necessary, sites should be recontoured and soil compaction reduced prior to planting.

  19. Site characterization progress report: Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Number 15, April 1--September 30, 1996

    SciTech Connect

    1997-04-01

    During the second half of fiscal year 1996, activities at the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project (Project) supported the objectives of the revised Program Plan released this period by the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management of the US Department of Energy (Department). Outlined in the revised plan is a focused, integrated program of site characterization, design, engineering, environmental, and performance assessment activities that will achieve key Program and statutory objectives. The plan will result in the development of a license application for repository construction at Yucca Mountain, if the site is found suitable. Activities this period focused on two of the three near-term objectives of the revised plan: updating in 1997 the regulatory framework for determining the suitability of the site for the proposed repository concept and providing information for a 1998 viability assessment of continuing toward the licensing of a repository. The Project has also developed a new design approach that uses the advanced conceptual design published during the last reporting period as a base for developing a design that will support the viability assessment. The initial construction phase of the Thermal Testing Facility was completed and the first phase of the in situ heater tests began on schedule. In addition, phase-one construction was completed for the first of two alcoves that will provide access to the Ghost Dance fault.

  20. Climatic Forecasting of Net Infiltration at Yucca Mountain UsingAnalogue Meteorological Data

    SciTech Connect

    Faybishenko, Boris

    2005-12-22

    At Yucca Mountain, NV, future changes in climatic conditionswill probably alter net infiltration, drainage below the bottom of theevapotranspiration zone within the soil profile, or flow across theinterface between soil and the densely welded part of the Tiva CanyonTuff. The objectives of this study were to: (i) develop a semiempiricalmodel and forecast average net infiltration rates, using the limitedmeteorological data from analog meteorological stations, for interglacial(present day), and future monsoon, glacial transition, and glacialclimates over the Yucca Mountain region; and (ii) corroborate thecomputed net infiltration ratesby comparing them with the empiricallyand numerically determined groundwater recharge and percolation ratesthrough the unsaturated zone from published data. This study approachedcalculations of net infiltration, aridity, and precipitationeffectiveness indices using a modified Budyko's water-balance model, withreference-surface potential evapotranspiration determined from theradiation-based Penman formula. Results of calculations show that netinfiltration rates are expected to generally increase from thepresent-day climate to monsoon climate, to glacial transition climate,and then to the glacial climate, following a power law relationshipbetween net infiltration and precipitation. The forecasting resultsindicate the overlap between the ranges of net infiltration for differentclimates. Forecasting of net infiltration for different climate states issubject to numerous uncertainties associated with selecting climateanalog sites, using relatively short analog meteorological records,neglecting the effects of vegetation and surface runoff and run-on on alocal scale, as well as possible anthropogenically induced climatechanges.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1985-12-31

    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}2!{sup 3}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.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1989-12-31

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

  3. A preliminary comparison of mineral deposits in faults near Yucca Mountain, Nevada, with possible analogs

    SciTech Connect

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

    1988-05-01

    Several faults near Yucca Mountain, Nevada, contain abundant calcite and opal-CT, with lesser amounts of opal-A and sepiolite or smectite. These secondary minerals are being studied to determine the directions, amounts, and timing of transport involved in their formation. Such information is important for evaluating the future performances of a potential high-level nuclear waste repository beneath Yucca Mountain. This report is a preliminary assessment of how those minerals were formed. Possible analog deposits from known hydrothermal veins, warm springs, cold springs or seeps, soils, and aeolian sands were studied by petrographic and x-ray diffraction methods for comparison with the minerals deposited in the faults; there are major mineralogic differences in all of these environments except in the aeolian sands and in some cold seeps. Preliminary conclusions are that the deposits in the faults and in the sand ramps are closely related, and that the process of deposition did not require upward transport from depth. 35 refs., 25 figs.

  4. Modeling Unsaturated Flow and Transport Processes in Fractured Tuffs of Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

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

    2003-07-15

    This paper presents a field modeling study characterizing fluid flow and tracer transport in the unsaturated zone of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, a proposed underground repository for storing high-level radioactive waste. The 500 to 700 meter thick unsaturated zone of Yucca Mountain consists of highly heterogeneous layers of anisotropic, fractured ash flow and air fall tuffs. Characterization of fluid flow and heat transfer through such a system has been a challenge due to the heterogeneities prevalent on various scales. Quantitative evaluation of water, gas, and heat flow by means of numerical simulation is essential for design and performance assessment of the repository. A three-dimensional numerical flow and transport model will be discussed. The model has been calibrated against field-measured data and takes into account the coupled processes of unsaturated flow and tracer transport in the highly heterogeneous, unsaturated fractured porous rock. The modeling approach of the model is based on a dual-continuum formulation of coupled multiphase fluid and tracer transport through fractured porous rock. As application examples, effects of current and future climates on the unsaturated zone processes are evaluated to aid in the assessment of the proposed repository's system performance.

  5. Atmospheric Dispersal and Dispostion of Tephra From a Potential Volcanic Eruption at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    G. Keating; W.Statham

    2004-02-12

    The purpose of this model report is to provide documentation of the conceptual and mathematical model (ASHPLUME) for atmospheric dispersal and subsequent deposition of ash on the land surface from a potential volcanic eruption at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. This report also documents the ash (tephra) redistribution conceptual model. The ASHPLUME conceptual model accounts for incorporation and entrainment of waste fuel particles associated with a hypothetical volcanic eruption through the Yucca Mountain repository and downwind transport of contaminated tephra. The ASHPLUME mathematical model describes the conceptual model in mathematical terms to allow for prediction of radioactive waste/ash deposition on the ground surface given that the hypothetical eruptive event occurs. This model report also describes the conceptual model for tephra redistribution from a basaltic cinder cone. Sensitivity analyses and model validation activities for the ash dispersal and redistribution models are also presented. Analyses documented in this model report will improve and clarify the previous documentation of the ASHPLUME mathematical model and its application to the Total System Performance Assessment (TSPA) for the License Application (TSPA-LA) igneous scenarios. This model report also documents the redistribution model product outputs based on analyses to support the conceptual model.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2006-07-05

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1999-03-01

    Yucca Mountain, in southern Nevada, is being investigated by the US Department of Energy as a potential site for a repository for high-level radioactive waste. This report documents the results of surface-based geologic, pneumatic, hydrologic, and geochemical studies conducted during 1992 to 1996 by the US Geological Survey in the vicinity of the North Ramp of the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF) that are pertinent to understanding multiphase fluid flow within the deep unsaturated zone. Detailed stratigraphic and structural characteristics of the study area provided the hydrogeologic framework for these investigations. Shallow infiltration is not discussed in detail in this report because the focus in on three major aspects of the deep unsaturated-zone system: geologic framework, the gaseous-phase system, and the aqueous-phase system. However, because the relation between shallow infiltration and deep percolation is important to an overall understanding of the unsaturated-zone flow system, a summary of infiltration studies conducted to date at Yucca Mountain is provided in the section titled Shallow Infiltration. This report describes results of several Site Characterization Plan studies that were ongoing at the time excavation of the ESF North Ramp began and that continued as excavation proceeded.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1995-03-01

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

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

    SciTech Connect

    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{sub {minus}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{sup 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{sup {minus}1}), indicating that observed flow rates from wells along the east flank of Yucca Mountain were able to be simulated with a barometric model.

  10. Simulation modeling of the probability of magmatic disruption of the potential Yucca Mountain Site

    SciTech Connect

    Crowe, B.M.; Perry, F.V.; Valentine, G.A.; Wallmann, P.C.; Kossik, R.

    1993-11-01

    The first phase of risk simulation modeling was completed for the probability of magmatic disruption of a potential repository at Yucca Mountain. E1, the recurrence rate of volcanic events, is modeled using bounds from active basaltic volcanic fields and midpoint estimates of E1. The cumulative probability curves for El are generated by simulation modeling using a form of a triangular distribution. The 50% estimates are about 5 to 8 {times} 10{sup 8} events yr{sup {minus}1}. The simulation modeling shows that the cumulative probability distribution for E1 is more sensitive to the probability bounds then the midpoint estimates. The E2 (disruption probability) is modeled through risk simulation using a normal distribution and midpoint estimates from multiple alternative stochastic and structural models. The 50% estimate of E2 is 4.3 {times} 10{sup {minus}3} The probability of magmatic disruption of the potential Yucca Mountain site is 2.5 {times} 10{sup {minus}8} yr{sup {minus}1}. This median estimate decreases to 9.6 {times} 10{sup {minus}9} yr{sup {minus}1} if E1 is modified for the structural models used to define E2. The Repository Integration Program was tested to compare releases of a simulated repository (without volcanic events) to releases from time histories which may include volcanic disruptive events. Results show that the performance modeling can be used for sensitivity studies of volcanic effects.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2001-05-29

    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.

  12. Site environmental report for calendar year 1997, Yucca Mountain Site, Nye County, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    1998-10-01

    This document is the seventh annual Site Environmental Report (SER) submitted by the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Office (YMSCO) to describe the environmental program implemented by the US Department of Energy (DOE) at Yucca Mountain. As prescribed by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA, 1982), this program ensures that site characterization activities are conducted in a manner that minimizes any significant adverse impacts to the environment and complies with all applicable laws and regulations. The most recent guidelines for the preparation of the SER place major emphasis on liquid and gaseous emissions of radionuclides, pollutants or hazardous substances; human exposure to radionuclides; and trends observed by comparing data collected over a period of years. To date, the YMP has not been the source of any radioactive emissions or been responsible for any human exposure to radionuclides. Minuscule amounts of radioactivity detected at the site are derived from natural sources or from dust previously contaminated by nuclear tests conducted in the past at the NTS. Because data for only a few years exist for the site, identification of long-term trends is not yet possible. Despite the lack of the aforementioned categories of information requested for the SER, the YMP has collected considerable material relevant to this report. An extensive environmental monitoring and mitigation program is currently in place and is described herein. Also, as requested by the SER guidelines, an account of YMP compliance with appropriate environmental legislation is provided.

  13. Exploratory Shaft Seismic Design Basis Working Group report; Yucca Mountain Project

    SciTech Connect

    Subramanian, C.V.; King, J.L.; Perkins, D.M.; Mudd, R.W.; Richardson, A.M.; Calovini, J.C.; Van Eeckhout, E.; Emerson, D.O.

    1990-08-01

    This report was prepared for the Yucca Mountain Project (YMP), which is managed by the US Department of Energy. The participants in the YMP are investigating the suitability of a site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, for construction of a repository for high-level radioactive waste. An exploratory shaft facility (ESF) will be constructed to permit site characterization. The major components of the ESF are two shafts that will be used to provide access to the underground test areas for men, utilities, and ventilation. If a repository is constructed at the site, the exploratory shafts will be converted for use as intake ventilation shafts. In the context of both underground nuclear explosions (conducted at the nearby Nevada Test Site) and earthquakes, the report contains discussions of faulting potential at the site, control motions at depth, material properties of the different rock layers relevant to seismic design, the strain tensor for each of the waveforms along the shaft liners, and the method for combining the different strain components along the shaft liners. The report also describes analytic methods, assumptions used to ensure conservatism, and uncertainties in the data. The analyses show that none of the shafts` structures, systems, or components are important to public radiological safety; therefore, the shafts need only be designed to ensure worker safety, and the report recommends seismic design parameters appropriate for this purpose. 31 refs., 5 figs., 6 tabs.

  14. Distribution of fast hydrologic paths in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    Fabryka-Martin, J.T.; Wolfsberg, A.V.; Levy, S.S.; Roach, J.L.; Winters, S.T.; Wolfsberg, L.E.; Elmore, D.; Sharma, P.

    1998-12-31

    Development and testing of conceptual flow and transport models for hydrologic systems are strengthened when natural environmental tracers are incorporated into the process. One such tracer is chlorine-36 ({sup 36}Cl, half-life, 301,000 years), a radioactive isotope produced in the atmosphere and carried underground with percolating groundwater. High concentrations of this isotope were also added to meteoric water during a period of global fallout from atmospheric testing of nuclear devices, primarily in the 1950s. This bomb-pulse signal has been used to test for the presence of fast transport paths in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain and to provide the basis for a conceptual model for their distribution. Yucca Mountain is under investigation by the US Department of Energy as a potential site at which to host an underground high-level radioactive waste repository. Under wetter climatic conditions, fast-flow pathways will respond quickly to increases in infiltration and have the potential to become seeps in the tunnel drifts. The {sup 36}Cl data are also being used in numerical flow and transport models to establish lower bounds on infiltration rates, estimate ground water ages, and establish bounding values for hydrologic flow parameters governing fracture transport.

  15. Application of quality assurance controls to TBM tunneling on the Yucca Mountain Project

    SciTech Connect

    Christensen, J.D.

    1996-06-01

    As part of the Yucca Mountain Project (YMP), a 7.62-meter diameter tunnel is being constructed using a Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM). This tunnel, which may form a portion of a permanent high-level nuclear waste repository, is being constructed under the auspices of a nuclear quality assurance (QA) program. The YMP nuclear QA program applies to items and activities determined to be important to radiological safety, waste isolation, and potential interactions with the environment. The items and activities determined to be important have been assigned a quality assurance classification. This paper focuses on the items (rockbolts, steel sets, and shotcrete) and quality affecting activities involved in providing ground support and excavating the tunnel. Typical activities that have been assigned QA classifications include TBM maintenance, control of water used in the tunnel during construction, and control of diesel emissions in the tunnel. The paper concludes that the key to the successful implementation of nuclear QA requirements for tunneling at Yucca Mountain was the assignment of personnel with the appropriate mix of tunneling and nuclear experience.

  16. A Fruit of Yucca Mountain: The Remote Waste Package Closure System

    SciTech Connect

    Kevin Skinner; Greg Housley; Colleen Shelton-Davis

    2011-11-01

    Was the death of the Yucca Mountain repository the fate of a technical lemon or a political lemon? Without caution, this debate could lure us away from capitalizing on the fruits of the project. In March 2009, Idaho National Laboratory (INL) successfully demonstrated the Waste Package Closure System, a full-scale prototype system for closing waste packages that were to be entombed in the now abandoned Yucca Mountain repository. This article describes the system, which INL designed and built, to weld the closure lids on the waste packages, nondestructively examine the welds using four different techniques, repair the welds if necessary, mitigate crack initiating stresses in the surfaces of the welds, evacuate and backfill the packages with an inert gas, and perform all of these tasks remotely. As a nation, we now have a proven method for securely sealing nuclear waste packages for long term storage—regardless of whether or not the future destination for these packages will be an underground repository. Additionally, many of the system’s features and concepts may benefit other remote nuclear applications.

  17. US Geological Survey Committee for the Advancement of Science in the Yucca Mountain Project symposium on {open_quotes}Fractures, Hydrology, and Yucca Mountain{close_quotes}: Abstracts and summary

    SciTech Connect

    Gomberg, J.

    1991-12-31

    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.

  18. UNCOVERING BURIED VOLCANOES: NEW DATA FOR PROBABILISTIC VOLCANIC HAZARD ASSESSMENT AT YUCCA MOUNTAIN

    SciTech Connect

    F.V. Perry

    2005-10-13

    Basaltic volcanism poses a potential hazard to the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository because multiple episodes of basaltic volcanism have occurred in the Yucca Mountain region (YMR) in the past 11 Ma. Intervals between eruptive episodes average about 1 Ma. Three episodes have occurred in the Quaternary at approximately 1.1 Ma (5 volcanoes), 350 ka (2 volcanoes), and 80 ka (1 volcano). Because Yucca Mountain lies within the Basin and Range Province, a significant portion of the pre-Quaternary volcanic history of the YMR may be buried in alluvial-filled basins. An exceptionally high-resolution aeromagnetic survey and subsequent drilling program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) began in 2004 and is gathering data that will enhance understanding of the temporal and spatial patterns of Pliocene and Miocene volcanism in the region (Figure 1). DOE has convened a ten-member expert panel of earth scientists that will use the information gathered to update probabilistic volcanic hazard estimates originally obtained by expert elicitation in 1996. Yucca Mountain is a series of north-trending ridges of eastward-tilted fault blocks that are bounded by north to northeast-trending normal faults. Topographic basins filled with up to 500 m of alluvium surround it to the east, south and west. In the past several decades, nearly 50 holes have been drilled in these basins, mainly for Yucca Mountain Project Site Characterization and the Nye County Early Warning Drilling Program. Several of these drill holes have penetrated relatively deeply buried (300-400 m) Miocene basalt; a Pliocene basalt dated at 3.8 Ma was encountered at a relatively shallow depth (100 m) in the northern Amargosa Desert (Anomaly B in Figure 1). The current drilling program is the first to specifically target and characterize buried basalt. Based on the new aeromagnetic survey and previous air and ground magnetic surveys (Connor et al. 2000; O'Leary et al. 2002), at least eight drill

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1996-12-31

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

  20. A Transportation Risk Assessment Tool for Analyzing the Transport of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste to the Proposed Yucca Mountain Repository

    SciTech Connect

    Ralph Best; T. Winnard; S. Ross; R. Best

    2001-08-17

    well as non-radioactive traffic fatalities. The Yucca Mountain EIS Transportation Database was developed using Microsoft Access 97{trademark} software and the Microsoft Windows NT{trademark} operating system. The database consists of tables for storing data, forms for selecting data for querying, and queries for retrieving the data in a predefined format. Database queries retrieve records based on input parameters and are used to calculate incident-free and accident doses using unit risk factors obtained from RADTRAN results. The next section briefly provides some background that led to the development of the database approach used in preparing the Yucca Mountain DEIS. Subsequent sections provide additional details on the database structure and types of impacts calculated using the database.

  1. Evolution of the conceptual model of unsaturated zone hydrology at yucca mountain, nevada

    SciTech Connect

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

    2001-02-01

    Yucca Mountain is an arid site proposed for consideration as the United States' first underground high-level radioactive waste repository. Low rainfall (approximately 170 mm/yr) and a thick unsaturated zone (500-1000 m) are important physical attributes of the site because the quantity of water likely to reach the waste and the paths and rates of movement of the water to the saturated zone under future climates would be major factors in controlling the concentrations and times of arrival of radionuclides at the surrounding accessible environment. The framework for understanding the hydrologic processes that occur at this site and that control how quickly water will penetrate through the unsaturated zone to the water table has evolved during the past 15 yr. Early conceptual models assumed that very small volumes of water infiltrated into the bedrock (0.5-4.5 mm/yr, or 2-3 percent of rainfall), that much of the infiltrated water flowed laterally within the upper nonwelded units because o f capillary barrier effects, and that the remaining water flowed down faults with a small amount flowing through the matrix of the lower welded, fractured rocks. It was believed that the matrix had to be saturated for fractures to show. However, accumulating evidence indicated that infiltration rates were higher than initially estimated, such as infiltration modeling based on neutron borehole data, bomb-pulse isotopes deep in the mountain, perched water analyses and thermal analyses. Mechanisms supporting lateral diversion did not apply at these higher fluxes, and the flux calculated in the lower welded unit exceeded the conductivity of the matrix, implying vertical flow of water into the high permeability fractures of the potential repository host rock, and disequilibrium between matrix and fracture water potentials. The development of numerical modeling methods and parameter values evolved concurrently with the conceptual model in order to account for the observed field data

  2. Evolution of the conceptual model of unsaturated zone hydrology at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Flint, Alan L.; Flint, Lorraine E.; Bodvarsson, Gudmundur S.; Kwicklis, Edward M.; Fabryka-Martin, June

    2001-01-01

    Yucca Mountain is an arid site proposed for consideration as the United States’ first underground high-level radioactive waste repository. Low rainfall (approximately 170 mm/yr) and a thick unsaturated zone (500–1000 m) are important physical attributes of the site because the quantity of water likely to reach the waste and the paths and rates of movement of the water to the saturated zone under future climates would be major factors in controlling the concentrations and times of arrival of radionuclides at the surrounding accessible environment. The framework for understanding the hydrologic processes that occur at this site and that control how quickly water will penetrate through the unsaturated zone to the water table has evolved during the past 15 yr. Early conceptual models assumed that very small volumes of water infiltrated into the bedrock (0.5–4.5 mm/yr, or 2–3 percent of rainfall), that much of the infiltrated water flowed laterally within the upper nonwelded units because of capillary barrier effects, and that the remaining water flowed down faults with a small amount flowing through the matrix of the lower welded, fractured rocks. It was believed that the matrix had to be saturated for fractures to flow. However, accumulating evidence indicated that infiltration rates were higher than initially estimated, such as infiltration modeling based on neutron borehole data, bomb-pulse isotopes deep in the mountain, perched water analyses and thermal analyses. Mechanisms supporting lateral diversion did not apply at these higher fluxes, and the flux calculated in the lower welded unit exceeded the conductivity of the matrix, implying vertical flow of water in the high permeability fractures of the potential repository host rock, and disequilibrium between matrix and fracture water potentials. The development of numerical modeling methods and parameter values evolved concurrently with the conceptual model in order to account for the observed field data

  3. Task 3: Evaluation of mineral resource potential, caldera geology, and volcano-tectonic framework at and near Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    Weiss, S.I.; Noble, D.C.; Larson, L.T.

    1994-12-31

    This report summarizes the work of Task 3 that was initially discussed in our monthly reports for the period October 1, 1993 through September 30, 1994, and is contained in our various papers and abstracts, both published and in press or currently in review. Our efforts during this period have involved the continuation of studies begun prior to October, 1993, focussed mainly on aspects of the caldera geology, magmatic activity, hydrothermal mineralization and extensional tectonics of the western and central parts of the southwestern Nevada volcanic field (SWNVF), studies of the subsurface rocks of Yucca Mountain utilizing drill-hole sampled obtained in 1991 and 1992, and studies of veins and siliceous ledges cropping out in northwestern Yucca Mountain. These veins and ledges provide evidence for near-surface hydrothermal activity in northwestern Yucca Mountain during the Crater Flat Tuff period of volcanism. During the period of this report we have concentrated our efforts on the production and publication of documents summarizing many of the data, interpretations and conclusions of Task 3 studies pertaining to hydrothermal activity and mineralization in the Yucca Mountain region and their relations to volcanism and tectonic activity. The resulting two manuscripts for journal publication and a compilation of radiometric age and trace-element geochemical data are appended to this report.

  4. Bibliography of Yucca Mountain Project (YMP) publications at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, September 1977 through March 1998

    SciTech Connect

    1998-03-01

    This bibliography contains 685 citations published from September, 1977 through March, 1998, describing site characterization activities and research projects related to the radioactive waste disposal facilities being planned for Yucca Mountain, Nevada. An additional 35 citations are listed for reports in progress.

  5. Yucca Mountain transportation routes: Preliminary characterization and risk analysis; Volume 2, Figures [and] Volume 3, Technical Appendices

    SciTech Connect

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

    1991-05-31

    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.

  6. Tritium and 36Cl as constraints on fast fracture flow and percolation flux in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain.

    PubMed

    Guerin, M

    2001-10-01

    An analysis of tritium and 36Cl data collected at Yucca Mountain, Nevada suggests that fracture flow may occur at high velocities through the thick unsaturated zone. The mechanisms and extent of this "fast flow" in fractures at Yucca Mountain are investigated with data analysis, mixing models and several one-dimensional modeling scenarios. The model results and data analysis provide evidence substantiating the weeps model [Gauthier, J.H., Wilson, M.L., Lauffer, F.C., 1992. Proceedings of the Third Annual International High-level Radioactive Waste Management Conference, vol. 1, Las Vegas, NV. American Nuclear Society, La Grange Park, IL, pp. 891-989] and suggest that fast flow in fractures with minimal fracture-matrix interaction may comprise a substantial proportion of the total infiltration through Yucca Mountain. Mixing calculations suggest that bomb-pulse tritium measurements, in general, represent the tail end of travel times for thermonuclear-test-era (bomb-pulse) infiltration. The data analysis shows that bomb-pulse tritium and 36Cl measurements are correlated with discrete features such as horizontal fractures and areas where lateral flow may occur. The results presented here imply that fast flow in fractures may be ubiquitous at Yucca Mountain, occurring when transient infiltration (storms) generates flow in the connected fracture network.

  7. Use of Groundwater Chemistry to Evaluate Subsurface Flow at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coleman, N. M.; Dam, W. L.

    2001-12-01

    Yucca Mountain, Nevada is a potential site for the disposal of high-level nuclear wastes. Groundwater at the site occurs in Tertiary volcanic tuffs and in Quaternary valley fill alluvium at lower elevations in the Amargosa Desert. Groundwater seeps downward to the water table through a thick unsaturated zone (UZ), then flows south and southeasterly from Yucca Mountain toward Fortymile Wash. The wash is a highly ephemeral watercourse that drains Fortymile Canyon and Jackass Flats southward. The wash crosses Highway 95 just west of Lathrop Wells, Nevada. Water table contours in Jackass Flats show that groundwater flow strongly converges on the axis of Fortymile Wash, indicating that the same structural conditions that cause topographic lows in the area also enhance the southerly flow of groundwater. Groundwater chemistry is being used to evaluate flow conditions at local and regional scales, and to help resolve technical issues concerning UZ and saturated zone (SZ) flow conditions and dilution processes. A number of perched zones have been found beneath Yucca Mt. in five different wells (Patterson et al., 1998). The major element chemistry of perched water is distinct from pore water chemistry in the UZ and more similar to the water chemistry of the SZ. The perched water is more dilute than the UZ pore waters, with generally lower chloride concentrations. The lower chloride concentration suggests that a fraction of the perched water is recharge that moves downward from the surface through fractures, and has less interaction with the host rock than pore waters. However, only 1 of 5 wells yielded perched water with bomb-pulse levels of tritium. Deuterium and O-18 stable isotope chemistry indicates that perched water has an intermediate composition when compared to SZ groundwater. It is isotopically heavier (less negative) than SZ water beneath Yucca Mountain, but lighter than groundwater from wells along Fortymile Wash where significant recharge occurs. The heaviest

  8. Yucca Mountain Socioeconomic Project: The 1991 Nevada State telephone survey: Key findings

    SciTech Connect

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

    1991-05-01

    The 1991 Nevada State Telephone Survey was implemented by Decision Research on behalf of the State of Nevada, Agency for Nuclear Projects/Nuclear Waste Project Office (NWPO) as part of an ongoing socioeconomic impact assessment study. The scope of this survey was considerably smaller than a previous survey conducted in 1989 and focused more upon public evaluations of the Yucca Mountain repository program and the trust Nevadans currently addressing the siting issues. In order to provide place in key public officials who are Longitudinal data on the repository program, the 1991 questionnaire consisted of questions that were used in the 1989 NWPO survey which was conducted by Mountain West Research. As a result, the findings from this survey are compared with analogous items from the 1989 survey, and with the results from a survey commissioned by the Las Vegas Review-Journal and reported in their issue of October 21, 1990. The Review-Journal survey was conducted by Bruce Merri11 of the Arizona State University Media Research Center. A more complete comparison of the 1989 and 1991 surveys sponsored by NWPO is possible since the researchers at Decision Research had access to both these databases. The only source of information for the Review-Journal findings was the articles published in the Fall, 1990. The findings of the 1991 survey show that Nevadans oppose the federal government attempts to locate a high-level radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain. They support a policy of opposition on the part of Nevada officials. They believe that Nevadans should have the final say in whether to accept the repository or not, and they reject the proposition that benefits from the repository program will outweigh the harms. These findings are very similar to survey results from 1989 and 1990 and once again demonstrate very widespread public opposition by Nevadans to the current federal repository program.

  9. Petrography and phenocryst chemistry of volcanic units at Yucca Mountain, Nevada: A comparison of outcrop and drill hole samples

    SciTech Connect

    Broxton, D.E.; Byers, F.M. Jr.; Warren, R.G.

    1989-04-01

    This report is a compilation of petrographic and mineral chemical data for stratigraphic units at Yucca Mountain. It supports a possible peer review of Yucca Mountain drill core by summarizing the available data in a form that allows comparison of stratigraphic units in drill holes with surface outcrops of the same units. Petrographic and mineral chemical data can be used in conjunction with other geologic and geophysical information to determine if stratigraphic relations in Yucca Mountain drill core are geologically reasonable and compare well with relations known from extensive surface studies. This compilation of petrographic and mineral chemical data is complete enough for most stratigraphic units to be used in a peer review of Yucca Mountain drill core. Additional data must be collected for a few units to complete the characterization. Rock units at Yucca Mountain have unique petrographic and mineral chemical characteristics that can be used to make accurate stratigraphic assignments in drill core samples. Stratigraphic units can be differentiated on the basis of petrographic characteristics such as total phenocryst abundances, relative proportions of phenocryst minerals, and type and abundances of mafic and accessory minerals. The mineral chemistry of phenocrysts is also an important means of differentiating among stratigraphic units, especially when used in conjunction with the petrographic data. Sanidine phenocrysts and plagioclase rims have narrow compositional ranges for most units and often have well-defined dominant compositions. Biotite compositions are useful for identifying groups of related units (e.g., Paintbrush Tuff Members vs Crater Flat Tuff Members) and for providing an important check on the consistency of the data. 21 refs., 12 figs., 2 tabs.

  10. Identification of structures, systems, and components important to safety at the potential repository at Yucca Mountain; Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    SciTech Connect

    Hartman, D.J.; Miller, D.D.; Klamerus, L.J.

    1991-10-01

    This study recommends which structures, systems, and components of the potential repository at Yucca Mountain are important to safety. The assessment was completed in April 1990 and uses the reference repository configuration in the Site Characterization Plan Conceptual Design Report and follows the methodology required at that time by DOE Procedure AP6.10-Q. Failures of repository items during the preclosure period are evaluated to determine the potential offsite radiation doses and associated probabilities. Items are important to safety if, in the event they fail to perform their intended function, an accident could result which causes a dose commitment greater than 0.5 rem to the whole body or any organ of an individual in an unrestricted area. This study recommends that these repository items include the structures that house spent fuel and high-level waste, the associated filtered ventilation exhaust systems, certain waste- handling equipment, the waste containers, the waste treatment building structure, the underground waste transporters, and other items listed in this report. This work was completed April 1990. 27 refs., 7 figs., 9 tabs.

  11. DATA QUALIFICATION REPORT: MINERALOGY DATA FOR USE ON THE YUCCA MOUNTAIN PROJECT

    SciTech Connect

    T.L. Steinborn

    2002-08-01

    This DQR uses the technical assessment methods according to Attachment 2 of AP-SIII.2QY Rev. 0, ICN 3, to qualify DTN LADB831321AN98.002. The data addressed in this DQR have been cited in CRWMS M&O (2000b) to support the Site Recommendation in determining the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a repository for high level nuclear waste. CRWMS M&O (2000b) refers to mineral analyses that are unqualified. Within the context of this DQR, the term mineral analyses includes: (1) the determination of the identity of specific crystalline phases from the Yucca Mountain Site by X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis, as well as, (2) determination of mineral abundance as a percentage of the total mineral content of samples collected from drill core, side wall core and drill cuttings. These data are used among other purposes to define the spatial distribution of minerals at the Yucca Mountain Site, for correlation with geologic properties, and may be used as input in developing both unsaturated and saturated zone flow and transport models for the YMP Total System Performance Assessment. This DQR evaluates the unqualified data within DTNs within the context of supporting such kinds of studies on the YMP. The unqualified data considered in this DQR were identified and directly used in CRWMS M&O (2000b) in which the mineral analyses are used to create three-dimensional representations of mineral distributions. The purpose of this DQR is to recommend data that can be cited as qualified for use in technical products to support the License Application. The qualified data were placed in new DTNs generated as a result of the evaluation. The appropriateness and limitations (if any) of the data with respect to intended use are addressed in this DQR. In accordance with Attachment 1 of procedure AP-3.15Q, Rev. 3, ICN 2, ''Managing Technical Product Inputs'', it has been determined that the unqualified mineral abundance data for core material are not used in the direct calculation of Principal

  12. ATMOSPHERIC DISPERSAL AND DEPOSITION OF TEPHRA FROM A POTENTIAL VOLCANIC ERUPTION AT YUCCA MOUNTAIN, NEVADA

    SciTech Connect

    C. Harrington

    2004-10-25

    The purpose of this model report is to provide documentation of the conceptual and mathematical model (Ashplume) for atmospheric dispersal and subsequent deposition of ash on the land surface from a potential volcanic eruption at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. This report also documents the ash (tephra) redistribution conceptual model. These aspects of volcanism-related dose calculation are described in the context of the entire igneous disruptive events conceptual model in ''Characterize Framework for Igneous Activity'' (BSC 2004 [DIRS 169989], Section 6.1.1). The Ashplume conceptual model accounts for incorporation and entrainment of waste fuel particles associated with a hypothetical volcanic eruption through the Yucca Mountain repository and downwind transport of contaminated tephra. The Ashplume mathematical model describes the conceptual model in mathematical terms to allow for prediction of radioactive waste/ash deposition on the ground surface given that the hypothetical eruptive event occurs. This model report also describes the conceptual model for tephra redistribution from a basaltic cinder cone. Sensitivity analyses and model validation activities for the ash dispersal and redistribution models are also presented. Analyses documented in this model report update the previous documentation of the Ashplume mathematical model and its application to the Total System Performance Assessment (TSPA) for the License Application (TSPA-LA) igneous scenarios. This model report also documents the redistribution model product outputs based on analyses to support the conceptual model. In this report, ''Ashplume'' is used when referring to the atmospheric dispersal model and ''ASHPLUME'' is used when referencing the code of that model. Two analysis and model reports provide direct inputs to this model report, namely ''Characterize Eruptive Processes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada and Number of Waste Packages Hit by Igneous Intrusion''. This model report provides direct inputs to

  13. Geology of the USW SD-7 drill hole Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Rautman, C.A.; Engstrom, D.A.

    1996-09-01

    The USW SD-7 drill hole is one of several holes drilled under Site Characterization Plan Study 8.3.1.4.3.1, also known as the Systematic Drilling Program, as part of the U.S. Department of Energy characterization program at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The Yucca Mountain site has been proposed as the potential location of a repository for high-level nuclear waste. The SD-7 drill hole is located near the southern end of the potential repository area and immediately to the west of the Main Test Level drift of the Exploratory Studies Facility. The hole is not far from the junction of the Main Test Level drift and the proposed South Ramp decline. Drill hole USW SD-7 is 2675.1 ft (815.3 m) deep, and the core recovered nearly complete sections of ash-flow tuffs belonging to the lower half of the Tiva Canyon Tuff, the Pah Canyon Tuff, and the Topopah Spring Tuff, all of which are part of the Miocene Paintbrush Group. Core was recovered from much of the underlying Calico Hills Formation, and core was virtually continuous in the Prow Pass Tuff and the Bullfrog Tuff. The SD-7 drill hole penetrated the top several tens of feet into the Tram Tuff, which underlies the Prow Pass and Bullfrog Tuffs. These latter three units are all formations of the Crater Flat Group, The drill hole was collared in welded materials assigned to the crystal-poor middle nonlithophysal zone of the Tiva Canyon Tuff; approximately 280 ft (85 m) of this ash-flow sheet was penetrated by the hole. The Yucca Mountain Tuff appears to be missing from the section at the USW SD-7 location, and the Pah Canyon Tuff is only 14.5 ft thick. The Pah Canyon Tuff was not recovered in core because of drilling difficulties, suggesting that the unit is entirely nonwelded. The presence of this unit is inferred through interpretation of down-hole geophysical logs.

  14. Implications of halide leaching on 36Cl studies at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lu, Guoping; Sonnenthal, Eric L.; Bodvarsson, Gudmundur S.

    2003-12-01

    Chlorine 36 was generated from nuclear tests in the 1950s and 1960s and has been used to identify fast flow paths at Yucca Mountain, the proposed repository for high-level nuclear waste [, 1997, 1998]. Bomb pulse 36Cl, brought into the subsurface by infiltrating rainwater, presumably resides along fracture surfaces because of the extremely low rock matrix permeability. However, leaching a rock sample to extract this salt inevitably extracts pore water chloride (Cl) and rock matrix chloride, thereby making it difficult to obtain reproducible measurements or detect the specific bomb pulse signatures. Complexities introduced by these sources of older chloride include dilution of bomb pulse 36Cl/Cl ratios for samples from strata with a high Cl concentration, variations in measured ratios as a function of leaching time, rock chip size, and the differing effects of active leaching from those of passive leaching. This work provides both a conceptual model and a mathematical solution for the leaching processes and examines the role of sample leaching in the 36Cl studies of Yucca Mountain rocks. An analytical solution is derived for the diffusion of Cl and 36Cl in composite media (rock matrix and water) to accommodate variable diffusivity. This solution is subsequently used to develop a leaching model that takes into account bomb pulse signal, matrix pore water, and relatively hard to leach components (isolated fluid inclusion and mineral boundary salts). The model is then applied to samples from stratigraphic units at Yucca Mountain to obtain leachate concentrations from different setup methods (protocols), including duration, chip size, and gravitational settling of the water-rock mixture. The model results show that the probability of detecting a 36Cl/Cl bomb pulse signal is severely diminished under longer leaching times and smaller rock fragment sizes and that leaching times of 1 to 10 hours are most likely to be successful in detecting a bomb pulse signal. Bomb pulse

  15. Using seismic reflection to locate a tracer testing complex south of Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kryder, Levi

    Tracer testing in the fractured volcanic aquifer near Yucca Mountain, and in the alluvial aquifer south of Yucca Mountain, Nevada has been conducted in the past to determine the flow and transport properties of groundwater in those geologic units. However, no tracer testing has been conducted across the alluvium/volcanic interface. This thesis documents the investigative process and subsequent analysis and interpretations used to identify a location suitable for installation of a tracer testing complex, near existing Nye County wells south of Yucca Mountain. The work involved evaluation of existing geologic data, collection of wellbore seismic data, and a detailed surface seismic reflection survey. Borehole seismic data yielded useful information on alluvial P-wave velocities. Seismic reflection data were collected over a line of 4.5-km length, with a 10-m receiver and shot spacing. Reflection data were extensively processed to image the alluvium/volcanic interface. A location for installation of an alluvial/volcanic tracer testing complex was identified based on one of the reflectors imaged in the reflection survey; this site is located between existing Nye County monitoring wells, near an outcrop of Paintbrush Tuff. Noise in the reflection data (due to some combination of seismic source signal attenuation, poor receiver-to-ground coupling, and anthropogenic sources) were sources of error that affected the final processed data set. In addition, in some areas low impedance contrast between geologic units caused an absence of reflections in the data, complicating the processing and interpretation. Forward seismic modeling was conducted using Seismic Un*x; however, geometry considerations prevented direct comparison of the modeled and processed data sets. Recommendations for additional work to address uncertainties identified during the course of this thesis work include: drilling additional boreholes to collect borehole seismic and geologic data; reprocessing a

  16. Native Americans and Yucca Mountain: A revised and updated summary report on research undertaken between 1987 and 1991; Volume 2

    SciTech Connect

    Fowler, C.S.

    1991-10-15

    This report consists of Yucca Mountain Project bibliographies. It is the appendix to a report that summarizes data collected between September 1986 and September 1988 relative to Native American concerns involving the potential siting of a high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The data were collected from Western Shoshone and Southern Paiute people upon whose aboriginal lands the repository potentially is to be located. Western Shoshone people involved in the study were those resident or affiliated with reservation communities at Yomba and Duckwater, Nevada, and Death Valley, California. Southern Paiute people were at reservation communities at Moapa and Las Vegas. Additional persons of Western Shoshone and Southern Paiute descent were interviewed at Beatty, Tonopah, Caliente, Pahrump, and Las Vegas, Nevada. The work was part of a larger project of socioeconomic studies for the State of Nevada`s Nuclear Waste Projects office, conducted by Mountain West of Phoenix, Arizona.

  17. Analogues as a check of predicted drift stability at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stuckless, J.S.

    2006-01-01

    Calculations made by the U.S. Department of Energy's Yucca Mountain Project as part of the licensing of a proposed geologic repository in southwestern Nevada for the disposal of high-level radioactive waste, predict that emplacement tunnels will remain open with little collapse long after ground support has disintegrated. This conclusion includes the effects of anticipated seismic events. Natural analogues cannot provide a quantitative test of this conclusion, but they can provide a reasonableness test by examining the naturally occuring and anthropogenic examples of stability of subterranean openings. Available data from a variety of sources, combined with limited observations by the author, show that natural underground openings tend to resist collapse for millions of years and that anthropogenic subterranean openings have remained open from before recorded history through today. This stability is true even in seismically active areas. In fact, the archaeological record is heavily skewed toward preservation of underground structures relative to those found at the surface.

  18. Characterization of seepage in the exploratory studies facility, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Oliver, T.A.; Whelan, J.F.

    2006-01-01

    Following a 5-month period of above-average precipitation during the winter of 2004-2005, water was observed seeping into the South Ramp section of the Exploratory Studies Facility of the proposed repository for high-level radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Samples of the seepage were collected and analyzed for major ions, trace metals, and delta deuterium and delta oxygen-18 values in an effort to characterize the water and assess the interaction of seepage with anthropogenic materials used in the construction of the proposed repository. As demonstrated by the changes in the chemistry of water dripping from a rock bolt, interaction of seepage with construction materials can alter solution chemistry and oxidation state.

  19. Geologic map of south-central Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dickerson, Robert P.; Drake II, Ronald M.

    2004-01-01

    New 1:6,000-scale geologic mapping in a 20-square-kilometer area near the south end of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, which is the proposed site of an underground repository for the storage of high-level radioactive wastes, substantially supplements the stratigraphic and structural data obtained from earlier, 1:24,000-scale mapping. Principal observations and interpretations resulting from the larger scale, more detailed nature of the recent investigation include: (1) the thickness of the Miocene Tiva Canyon Tuff decreases from north to south within the map area, and the lithophysal zones within the formation have a greater lateral variability than in areas farther north; and (2) fault relations are far more complex than shown on previous maps, with both major (block-bounding) and minor (intrablock) faults showing much lateral variation in (a) the number of splays and (b) the amount, distribution, and width of anastomosing breccia and fracture zones.

  20. Water levels in continuously monitored wells in the Yucca Mountain area, Nevada, 1985--88

    SciTech Connect

    Luckey, R.R.; Lobmeyer, D.H.; Burkhardt, D.J.

    1993-07-01

    Water levels have been monitored hourly in 15 wells completed in 23 depth intervals in the Yucca Mountain area, Nevada. Water levels were monitored using pressure transducers and were recorded by data loggers. The pressure transducers were periodically calibrated by raising and lowering them in the wells. The water levels were normally measured at approximately the same time that the transducers were calibrated. Where the transducer output appeared reasonable, it was converted to water levels using the calibrations and manual water- level measurements. The amount of transducer output that was converted to water levels ranged from zero for several intervals to about 98 percent for one interval. Fourteen of the wells were completed in Tertiary volcanic rocks and one well was completed in Paleozoic carbonate rocks. Each well monitored from one to four depth intervals. Water-level fluctuation caused by barometric pressure changes and earth tides were observed.

  1. A simplified radionuclide source term for total-system performance assessment; Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    SciTech Connect

    Wilson, M.L.

    1991-11-01

    A parametric model for releases of radionuclides from spent-nuclear-fuel containers in a waste repository is presented. The model is appropriate for use in preliminary total-system performance assessments of the potential repository site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada; for this reason it is simpler than the models used for detailed studies of waste-package performance. Terms are included for releases from the spent fuel pellets, from the pellet/cladding gap and the grain boundaries within the fuel pellets, from the cladding of the fuel rods, and from the radioactive fuel-assembly parts. Multiple barriers are considered, including the waste container, the fuel-rod cladding, the thermal ``dry-out``, and the waste form itself. The basic formulas for release from a single fuel rod or container are extended to formulas for expected releases for the whole repository by using analytic expressions for probability distributions of some important parameters. 39 refs., 4 figs., 4 tabs.

  2. Natural Analoges as a Check of Predicted Drift Stability at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    J. Stuckless

    2006-03-10

    Calculations made by the U.S. Department of Energy's Yucca Mountain Project as part of the licensing of a proposed geologic repository (in southwestern Nevada) for the disposal of high-level radioactive waste, predict that emplacement tunnels will remain open with little collapse long after ground support has disintegrated. This conclusion includes the effects of anticipated seismic events. Natural analogues cannot provide a quantitative test of this conclusion, but they can provide a reasonableness test by examining the natural and anthropogenic examples of stability of subterranean openings. Available data from a variety of sources, combined with limited observations by the author, show that natural underground openings tend to resist collapse for millions of years and that anthropogenic subterranean openings have remained open from before recorded history through today. This stability is true even in seismically active areas. In fact, the archaeological record is heavily skewed toward preservation of underground structures relative to those found at the surface.

  3. THE DECISION TO RECOMMEND YUCCA MOUNTAIN AND THE NEXT STEPS TOWARD LICENSED REPOSITORY DEVELOPMENT

    SciTech Connect

    Barrett, L. H.

    2002-02-25

    After more than 20 years of carefully planned and reviewed scientific field work by the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Geological Survey, and numerous other organizations, Secretary of Energy Abraham concluded in January that the Yucca Mountain site is suitable, within the meaning of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, for development as a permanent nuclear waste and spent fuel repository. In February, the Secretary recommended to the President that the site be developed for licensed disposal of these wastes, and the President transmitted this recommendation to Congress. This paper summarizes key technical and national interest considerations that provided the basis for the recommendation. It also discusses the program's near-term plans for repository development if Congress designates the site.

  4. Thermal and seismic impacts on the North Ramp at Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    Lin, M.; Hardy, M.P.; Jung, J.

    1994-05-01

    The impacts of thermal and seismic loads on the stability of the Exploratory Studies Facility North Ramp at Yucca Mountain were assessed using both empirical and analytical approaches. This paper presents the methods and results of the analyses. Thermal loads were first calculated using the computer code STRES3D. This code calculates the conductive heat transfer through a semi-infinite elastic, isotropic, homogeneous solid and the rafts thermally-induced stresses. The calculated thermal loads, combined with simulated earthquake motion, were then modeled using UDEC and DYNA3D, numerical codes with dynamic simulation capabilities. The thermal- and seismic-induced yield zones were post-processed and presented for assessment of damage. Uncoupled bolt stress analysis was also conducted to evaluate the seismic impact on the ground support components.

  5. Evaluation of the US DOE's conceptual model of hydrothermal activity at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dublyansky, Y. V.

    2012-11-01

    A unique conceptual model envisaging conductive heating of rocks in the thick unsaturated zone of Yucca Mountain, Nevada by a silicic pluton emplaced several kilometers away is accepted by the US Department of Energy (DOE) as an explanation of the elevated depositional temperatures measured in fluid inclusions in secondary fluorite and calcite. Acceptance of this model allowed the DOE not to consider hydrothermal activity in the performance assessment of the proposed high-level nuclear waste disposal facility. Evaluation shows that validation of the model by computational modeling and by observations at a natural analog site was unsuccessful. Due to the lack of validation, the reliance on this model must be discontinued and the scientific defensibility of decisions which rely on this model must be re-evaluated.

  6. Scaling of material properties for Yucca Mountain: literature review and numerical experiments on saturated hydraulic conductivity

    SciTech Connect

    McKenna, S.A.; Rautman, C.A.

    1996-08-01

    A review of pertinent literature reveals techniques which may be practical for upscaling saturated hydraulic conductivity at Yucca Mountain: geometric mean, spatial averaging, inverse numerical modeling, renormalization, and a perturbation technique. Isotropic realizations of log hydraulic conductivity exhibiting various spatial correlation lengths are scaled from the point values to five discrete scales through these techniques. For the variances in log{sub 10} saturated hydraulic conductivity examined here, geometric mean, numerical inverse and renormalization adequately reproduce point scale fluxes across the modeled domains. Fastest particle velocities and dispersion measured on the point scale are not reproduced by the upscaled fields. Additional numerical experiments examine the utility of power law averaging on a geostatistical realization of a cross-section similar to the cross-sections that will be used in the 1995 groundwater travel time calculations. A literature review on scaling techniques for thermal and mechanical properties is included. 153 refs., 29 figs., 6 tabs.

  7. The vulnerability of the Nevada visitor economy to a repository at Yucca Mountain.

    PubMed

    Easterling, D

    1997-10-01

    This article reviews the studies commissioned by the Nevada Nuclear Waste Project Office to estimate the economic impact of a high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. Case studies found that visitor impacts occur for some analogous facilities, but not for others. Assessments of behavioral intent indicate that at least some economic agents would avoid visiting Nevada under repository scenarios. A third set of studies tested the risk-aversion and negative-imagery models of visitor decision making; people avoid visiting places associated with either a significant health risk or negative imagery, but it has yet to be shown that a repository would induce these perceptions in nearby places. In sum, the NWPO-sponsored studies suggest the potential for visitor impacts, but do confirm that these effects will occur.

  8. An Evaluation of Seismic Reflection Studies in the Yucca Mountain Area, Nevada Test Site

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    McGovern, Thomas F.; Introduction by Pankratz, L. W.; Ackermann, H.D.

    1983-01-01

    As part of a total geophysical evaluation of Yucca Mountain for use as a Nuclear Waste Repository the seismic reflection technique has been applied. This study has been conducted to analyze the historical and technical efforts which have been used by three geophysical contractors employing a wide variety of techniques ranging from the most simple to very elaborate 3-D surveys. In each case elaborate noise studies were conducted, and based upon their evaluation parameters were chosen for multifold CDP recording. In every case, the signal-to-noise ratio was such that no reflections were discernable. Since the reflections cannot be separated from the noise even using very elaborate noise suppression techniques and up to 384 fold multiplicity it is apparent that in this volcanic terrain reflection surveys, can not work.

  9. Carbon isotopic data from test hole USW UZ-1, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Yang, In C.; Peters, C.A.; Thorstenson, D.C.

    1993-01-01

    Rock-CO2-gas analyses in test hole USW UZ-1 at Yucca Mountain indicate that gas movement in the unsaturated zone is likely through a dry-fracture system with little porewater or caliche-calcite interaction. This is because near-surface ??13C values are of biogenic origin and have changed little throughout the total depth. Post-bomb 14C activity is observed to the depth of about 12 m. An abrupt change in plotted 14C/depth slope is seen at 61 m. The less steep upper segment corresponds to the zone with greater porosity and moisture content, and consequently more tortuosity, with an estimated traveltime of 1.27 cm/yr; the steeper sloped zone corresponding to the lower segment has smaller porosity and moisture content but larger fracture density for gas transport, with an estimated traveltime of 3.26 cm/yr.

  10. Yucca Mountain transportation routes: Preliminary characterization and risk analysis; Volume 1, Research report

    SciTech Connect

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

    1991-05-31

    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.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1990-12-31

    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.

  12. Characterization of Pu colloidal and aqueous species in Yucca Mountain groundwater surrogate

    SciTech Connect

    Bourcier, W L; Brachmann, A; Jardine, L J; Palmer, C E; Romanovski, V V; Shaw, H F

    1999-08-11

    The speciation and formation of Pu intrinsic colloids from an initial solution of Pu(V) were studied at pH 1, pH 3, pH 6, pIH 8, and pH 11. The medium was a surrogate Yucca Mountain groundwater from well J-l 3 under air atmosphere. The solutions were monitored for several months. Samples were analyzed using liquid scintillation counting, ultra filtration, solvent extraction: photon correlation spectroscopy, and laser-induced photo-acoustic breakdown and emission spectroscopy. Redox potentials were measured periodically. The time dependencies of soluble and colloidal Pu concentrations are reported. The size and concentration of Pu colloid particles were estimated.

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

    SciTech Connect

    Nelson, P.H.; Schimschal, U.

    1993-05-01

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

  14. Physical and hydraulic properties of volcanic rocks from Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Flint, L.E.

    2003-01-01

    A database of physical and hydraulic properties was developed for rocks in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, a site under consideration as a geologic repository for high-level radioactive waste. The 5320 core samples were collected from 23 shallow (<100 m) and 10 deep (500-1000 m) vertical boreholes. Hydrogeologic units have been characterized in the unsaturated zone [Flint, 1998] that represent rocks with ranges of welding, lithophysae, and high and low temperature alteration (as a result of the depositional, cooling, and alterational history of the lithostratigraphic layers). Lithostratigraphy, the hydrogeologic unit, and the corresponding properties are described. In addition, the physical properties of bulk density, porosity, and particle density; the hydraulic properties of saturated hydraulic conductivity and moisture retention characteristics; and the field water content were measured and compiled for each core sample.

  15. An example postclosure risk assessment using the potential Yucca Mountain Site

    SciTech Connect

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

    1992-05-01

    The risk analysis described in this document was performed for the US Department of Energy`s (DOE) Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM) over a 2-year time period ending in June 1988. The objective of Pacific Northwest Laboratory`s (PNL) task was to demonstrate an integrated, though preliminary, modeling approach for estimating the postclosure risk associated with a geologic repository for the disposal of high-level nuclear waste. The modeling study used published characterization data for the proposed candidate site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, along with existing models and computer codes available at that time. Some of the site data and conceptual models reported in the Site Characterization Plan published in December 1988, however, were not yet available at the time that PNL conducted the modeling studies.

  16. Clark County, Nevada's Assessment of Land Use Conflicts Resulting from Shipments to Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    Christiansen, N.W.; Navis, I.; Matranga, E.

    2007-07-01

    This paper should help the reader understand the impact that the proposed Yucca Mountain spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste shipping campaign by rail and truck may have on the 'present and future uses of the land' that are impacted by these shipments in the Las Vegas Metropolitan area. In the FEIS, DOE states that, 'information useful for an evaluation of land-use and ownership impacts should identify the current ownership of the land that its activities could disturb, and the present and anticipated future uses of the land' (emphasis added). As stated, any information that helps evaluate the land use and ownership impacts needs to look at the present and anticipated uses of the land. This paper looks at the change occurring in Clark County, specifically in the Las Vegas Metropolitan area, in regards to the anticipated use of the land. (authors)

  17. Chemistry of water collected from an unventilated drift, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Marshall, B.D.; Oliver, T.A.; Peterman, Z.E.

    2007-01-01

    Water samples (referred to as puddle water samples) were collected from the surfaces of a conveyor belt and plastic sheeting in the unventilated portion of the Enhanced Characterization of the Repository Block (ECRB) Cross Drift in 2003 and 2005 at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The chemistry of these puddle water samples is very different than that of pore water samples from borehole cores in the same region of the Cross Drift or than seepage water samples collected from the Exploratory Studies Facility tunnel in 2005. The origin of the puddle water is condensation on surfaces of introduced materials and its chemistry is dominated by components of the introduced materials. Large CO2 concentrations may be indicative of localized chemical conditions induced by biologic activity. ?? 2007 Materials Research Society.

  18. Procedure development study: Low strain rate and creep experiments; Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    SciTech Connect

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

    1991-10-01

    Licensing of the potential nuclear-waste repository at Yucca Mountain by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission would require, among other things, demonstrations of the long term usability of the underground facilities. Such a demonstration involves analysis of the mechanical response of the rock to the presence of underground openings and heat-producing waste, which in turn requires data on the mechanical properties of the rock. This document describes the experimental results from a scoping study which led to the development of procedures for performing quality-affecting rock-mechanics experiments on intact rock. The future experiments performed with these procedures will produce information on the time-dependent deformation of welded tuff and represent one aspect of the overall effort to characterize the rheology of the rock mass. 3 refs., 42 figs., 6 tabs.

  19. Coupled THM analysis of the single-heater test at yucca mountain

    SciTech Connect

    Blair, S C; Buscheck, T A; Daily, W D; Lin, W; Ramirez, A L

    1999-01-25

    This paper presents a summary of results from the Single-Heater Test (SHT) at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. In the SHT, a horizontal, 5-m-long, line-heat source was used to heat a rock pillar for nine months. Moisture movement was monitored during and after heating using electrical-resistance tomography (ERT) and neutron-logging techniques. Results indicate drying in regions of the rock where temperature reached 60°C and above. The drying zone is asymmetric and is not centered on the heater, but has lobes extending above and to the sides of the heater. Predicted temperatures agreed well with observations. A cold- trap effect was predicted, in the heater borehole, that efficiently transfers heat along the heater borehole to the excavation wall. A simple thermomechanical analysis of the SHT shows that shear zones predicted for vertical fractures coincide with regions of increased moisture content derived from ERT measurements.

  20. Tectonic characterization of a potential high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Whitney, John W.; O'Leary, Dennis W.

    1993-01-01

    Tectonic characterization of a potential high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is needed to assess seismic and possible volcanic hazards that could affect the site during the preclosure (next 100 years) and the behavior of the hydrologic system during the postclosure (the following 10,000 years) periods. Tectonic characterization is based on assembling mapped geological structures in their chronological order of development and activity, and interpreting their dynamic interrelationships. Addition of mechanistic models and kinematic explanations for the identified tectonic processes provides one or more tectonic models having predictive power. Proper evaluation and application of tectonic models can aid in seismic design and help anticipate probable occurrence of future geologic events of significance to the repository and its design.

  1. Comparison of the Microbial Community Composition at Yucca Mountain and Laboratory Test Nuclear Repository Environments

    SciTech Connect

    Horn, J; Carrillo, C; Dias, V

    2002-10-09

    The microbiological community structure within a proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain (YM), NV was determined. Microbial growth from collected rock was detected using simulated ground water as a growth medium, with or without amendment of a carbon source. Grown isolates were identified by 16s ribosomal DNA (rDNA) sequence analysis. A more complete compositional analysis of the microbial community located at the proposed nuclear waste repository site was performed using environmental DNA isolation and subsequent identification of amplified 16s rDNA genes. Concurrently, a series of corrosion testing tanks that simulate the evolution of anticipated environmental conditions within the proposed repository have been subjected to the same type of analyses.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1993-01-01

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

  3. A floristic survey of Yucca Mountain and vicinity, Nye County, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Niles, W.E.; Leary, P.J.; Holland, J.S.; Landau, F.H.

    1995-12-01

    A survey of the vascular flora of Yucca Mountain and vicinity, Nye County, Nevada, was conducted from March to June 1994, and from March to October 1995. An annotated checklist of recorded taxa was compiled. Voucher plant specimens were collected and accessioned into the Herbarium at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Collection data accompanying these specimens were entered into that herbarium`s electronic data base. Combined results from this survey and the works of other investigators reveal the presence of a total of 375 specific and intraspecific taxa within the area these allocated to 179 genera and 54 families. No taxon currently listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act was encountered during this study. Several candidate species for listing under this Act were present, and distributional data for these were recorded. No change in the status of these candidate species is recommended as the result of this study.

  4. Pilot-scale tests of tuff gravel flow diversion barriers for Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    Conca, J.; Apted, M.; Kessler, J.; Kessler, J.

    1995-12-31

    This project conducts pilot-scale tests on potential sand/tuff gravel barrier designs and materials by measuring their hydraulic and barrier properties for use in modeling and final designs of possible diversion barriers at Yucca Mountain. The use of rubble composed of crushed paintbrush tuff (referred to as tuff gravel) in an engineered barrier around the waste packages can provide superior performance capabilities in a geologic repository located in the vadose zone. The effectiveness of unsaturated gravel as an hydraulic barrier to inflow of water from the surrounding environment is referred to by various names, e.g., diversion barrier, capillary barrier, or Richard`s barrier. A gravel barrier can also function as a diffusion barrier to the transport of ionic contaminants away from waste packages. Preliminary studies on tuff gravel and other gravel barriers have demonstrated their performance under a wide range of conditions anticipated in disposal scenarios.

  5. Debate heats up over potential Interim Nuclear Waste Repository, as studies of Yucca Mountain continue

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Showstack, Randy

    With spent nuclear fuel piling up at power plants around the United States, and with a potential permanent nuclear waste repository at Nevada's Yucca Mountain not scheduled to accept waste until 11 years from now in the year 2010, the nuclear energy industry and many members of Congress have renewed their push to establish an interim repository at the adjacent Nevada Test Site of nuclear bombs.At a sometimes contentious March 12 hearing to consider the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1999 (House Resolution 45) that would require an interim facility to begin accepting waste in 2003, bill cosponsor Rep. Jim Barton (R-Tex.) told Energy Secretary Bill Richardson that he preferred that Congress and the Clinton Administration negotiate rather than fight over the measure.

  6. Chemistry of Water Collected From an Unventilated Drift, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Marshall, Brian D.; Peterman, Zell E.

    2007-07-01

    Water samples (referred to as puddle water samples) were collected from the surfaces of a conveyor belt and plastic sheeting in the unventilated portion of the Enhanced Characterization of the Repository Block (ECRB) Cross Drift in 2003 and 2005 at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The chemistry of these puddle water samples is very different than that of pore water samples from borehole cores in the same region of the Cross Drift or than seepage water samples collected from the Exploratory Studies Facility tunnel in 2005. The origin of the puddle water is condensation on surfaces of introduced materials and its chemistry is dominated by components of the introduced materials. Large CO{sub 2} concentrations may be indicative of localized chemical conditions induced by biologic activity. (authors)

  7. Petrophysical properties, mineralogy, fractures, and flow tests in 25 deep boreholes at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nelson, Philip H.; Kibler, Joyce E.

    2014-01-01

    As part of a site investigation for the disposal of radioactive waste, numerous boreholes were drilled into a sequence of Miocene pyroclastic flows and related deposits at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. This report contains displays of data from 25 boreholes drilled during 1979–1984, relatively early in the site investigation program. Geophysical logs and hydrological tests were conducted in the boreholes; core and cuttings analyses yielded data on mineralogy, fractures, and physical properties; and geologic descriptions provided lithology boundaries and the degree of welding of the rock units. Porosity and water content were computed from the geophysical logs, and porosity results were combined with mineralogy from x-ray diffraction to provide whole-rock volume fractions. These data were composited on plates and used by project personnel during the 1990s. Improvements in scanning and computer technology now make it possible to publish these displays.

  8. Site characterization progress report: Yucca Mountain, Nevada. October 1, 1996--March 31, 1997

    SciTech Connect

    1997-10-01

    The report is the sixteenth in a series issued approximately every six months to report progress and results of site characterization activities being conducted to evaluate Yucca Mountain as a possible geologic repository for the disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. This report highlights work started, in progress, and completed during the reporting period. In addition, this report documents and discusses changes to the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM) Site Characterization Program (Program) resulting from the ongoing collection and evaluation of site information, systems analyses, development of repository and waste package designs, and results of performance assessment activities. Details on the activities summarized can be found in the numerous technical reports cited throughout the progress report. Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project (Project) activities this period focused on implementing the near-term objectives of the revised Program Plan issued last period. Near-term objectives of the revised Program Plan include updating the US Department of Energy`s (DOE) repository siting guidelines to be consistent with a more focused performance-driven program; supporting an assessment in 1998 of the viability of continuing with actions leading to the licensing of a repository; and if the site is suitable, submittal of a Secretarial site recommendation to the President in 2001 and license application the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in 2002. During this reporting period, the Project developed and baselined its long-range plan in December 1996. That revision reflected the detailed fiscal year (FY) 1997 work scope and funding plan previously baselined at the end of FY 1996. Site characterization activities have been focused to answer the major open technical issues and to support the viability assessment.

  9. Paleohydrologic investigations in the vicinity of Yucca Mountain: Late Quaternary paleobotanical and polynological records

    SciTech Connect

    Spaulding, W.G.

    1994-10-05

    The primary objective of this research in the vicinity of the proposed Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository is the detection of episodes of increased runoff and groundwater discharge in this presently arid area. Ancient, inactive spring deposits in nearby valley bottoms (Haynes, 1967; Quade, 1986; Quade and Pratt, 1989), evidence for perennial water in presently dry canyons (Spaulding, 1992), and recent claims for extraordinary increases in precipitation during the last glacial age (Forester, 1994), provide good reason to further investigate both lowland spring-discharge habitats, and upland drainages. The ultimate purpose is to assess the long-term variability of the hydrologic system in the vicinity of Yucca Mountain in response to naturally occurring climatic changes. The data generated in the course of this study are derived from radiocarbon dated packrat (Neotoma) middens. This report presents the results of an initial assessment of the hydrologic stability of the candidate area based on a limited suite of middens from localities that, on geomorphic and hydrologic grounds, could have been close to ancient stream-side or spring environments. Paleoclimatic reconstructions are another means of studying the long-term climatic hydrologic stability of the Candidate Area include, and are also generated from packrat midden data. A different flora characterized the Candidate Area during the last glacial age in response to a cooler and wetter climate, and the plant species that comprised this flora can be used to reconstruct specific components of past climatic regimes. Thus, a secondary objective of this study is to compare the plant macrofossil data generated in this study to other records from the Candidate Area (Spaulding, 1985; Wigand, 1990) to determine if these new data are consistent with prior reconstructions. 66 refs., 4 figs., 13 tabs.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1993-12-31

    Net infiltration and recharge at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, a potential site for a high level nuclear waste repository, are determined both by the rock properties and past and future changes in climate. A 1-dimensional model was constructed to represent a borehole being drilled through the unsaturated zone. The rock properties were matched to the lithologies expected to be encountered in the borehole. As current paleoclimate theory assumes that {sup 18}O increases with wetter and cooler global climates, a past climate scenario, built on depletion of {sup 18}O from ocean sediments was used as a basis for climate change over the past 700,000 years. The climate change was simulated by assigning net infiltration values as a linear function of {sup 18}O. Assuming the rock properties, lithologies, and climate scenarios are correct, simulations indicated that Yucca Mountain is not in steady state equilibrium at the surface (<75 meters) when compared to measured data, but that the system could be at steady state conditions at depths of >250 meters. Based on the cyclic climate inputs, the near surface is currently in a long term drying trend (for the last 3,000 years) yet recharge into the water table is continuing to occur at an average rate equivalent to the average input rate of the climate model, indicating that conditions at depth are damped out over very long time periods. The Paintbrush Tuff nonwelded units, positioned between the Tiva Canyon and Topopah Spring welded tuff Members, do not appear to act as a capillary barrier and therefore would not perch water. The low porosity vitric caprock and basal vitrophyre of the Topopah Spring Member, however, act as restrictive layers. The higher porosity rock directly above the caprock reduces the potential for the caprock to perch water leaving the basal vitrophyre as the most likely location for perched water to develop.

  11. Uncertainty and variability of infiltration at Yucca Mountain: Part 2. Model results and corroboration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stothoff, Stuart A.

    2013-06-01

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission actively investigated climate and infiltration at Yucca Mountain for two decades to (i) understand important controls and uncertainties influencing percolation through the unsaturated zone on multimillennial time scales and (ii) provide flux boundary conditions for up to 1 million years in performance assessment models of the proposed Yucca Mountain repository. This second part of a two-part series describes site-scale model results for present and potential future conditions and confirmatory analyses for present-day conditions. At both the grid-cell and site-average scale, the calculated uncertainty distribution for net infiltration is approximately lognormal, and the coefficient of variation decreases with increasing net infiltration. Smaller relative but larger absolute responses to climate change occur where net infiltration is large. Comparisons of distributed model estimates with temperature and geochemical observations from the unsaturated zone suggest that average estimates are generally consistent but exhibit significant variability. An observed seepage event in the South Ramp of the Exploratory Studies Facility, combined with related subsurface observations across the site, suggests that subsurface spreading from zones of high infiltration to zones of low infiltration may occur in stratabound fractures, laterally extensive discontinuities, or at transitions between welded and nonwelded tuff units. Two conceptual models for unsaturated-zone flow each explain the subsurface observations, collectively providing bounding estimates for net infiltration. Model-predicted uncertainty distribution for decadal-average site-scale net infiltration is generally consistent with estimated percolation fluxes using the bounding hypotheses, suggesting that the model-calculated uncertainty is reasonably consistent with the uncertainty in interpreting site observations.

  12. Uncertainty and variability of infiltration at Yucca Mountain: Part 1. Numerical model development

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stothoff, Stuart A.

    2013-06-01

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission investigated climate and infiltration at Yucca Mountain to (i) understand important controls and uncertainties influencing percolation through the unsaturated zone on multimillennial time scales and (ii) provide flux boundary conditions for up to 1 million years in performance assessment models of the proposed Yucca Mountain repository. This first part of a two-part series describes a procedure for abstracting the results from detailed numerical simulations of local-scale infiltration into a site-scale model considering uncertainty and variability in distributed net infiltration. Part 2 describes site-scale model results and corroboration. A detailed one-dimensional numerical model was used to estimate bare-soil net infiltration at the scales of hours and meters for 442 soil, bedrock, and climate combinations. The set of results are abstracted into three parametric response functions for decadal-average bare-soil infiltration given hydraulic and climatic parameters. The three abstractions describe deep soil, shallow soil over a coarser layer, and shallow soil over a finer layer. The site-scale model considers spatial variability and uncertainty of the input parameters on a 30 m grid, using the abstractions independently in each cell. Two additional abstractions account for overland flow and vegetation. The model uses Monte Carlo simulation, with all input parameters uncertain and spatially variable, to calculate the mean and standard deviation of net infiltration in each grid cell for selected climate states. Using abstractions rather than detailed simulations speeds calculation of infiltration realizations by many orders of magnitude relative to a detailed simulation.

  13. Total system performance assessment - 1995: An evaluation of the potential Yucca Mountain Repository

    SciTech Connect

    1995-11-01

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is currently investigating the feasibility of permanently disposing the nation`s commercial high-level radioactive wastes (in the form of spent fuel from the over 100 electric power-generating nuclear reactors across the U.S.) and a portion of the defense high-level radioactive wastes (currently stored at federal facilities around the country) in the unsaturated tuffaceous rocks at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Quantitative predictions based on the most current understanding of the processes and parameters potentially affecting the long-term behavior of the disposal system are used to assess the ability of the site and its associated engineered designs to meet regulatory objectives set forward by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The evaluation of the ability of the overall system to meet the performance objectives specified in the applicable regulatory standards has been termed total system performance assessment (TSPA). The aim of any total system performance assessment is to be as complete and reasonably conservative as possible and to assure that the descriptions of the predictive models and parameters are sufficient to ascertain their accuracy. Total system performance assessments evolve with time. As additional site and design information is generated, performance assessment analyses can be revised to become more representative of the expected conditions and remove some of the conservative assumptions necessitated by the incompleteness of site and design data. Previous iterations of total system performance assessment of the Yucca Mountain site and associated engineered barriers have been conducted in 1991 and 1993. These analyses have been documented in Barnard, Eslinger, Wilson and Andrews.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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.

  15. Porosity and permeability of tuffs from the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Soeder, D.J.; Dishart, J.E. )

    1992-01-01

    An investigation of the intrinsic flow properties of the rock matrix in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, was carried out by performing single-phase water or air permeability measurements on about 150 selected samples representing all of the different rock units in the unsaturated zone. Pores were studied by examining thin sections of samples impregnated with fluorescent-dyed epoxy. Yucca Mountain is made up of volcanic tuff, which occurs in three distinct textures: welded, nonwelded, and bedded. Welded tuffs occur in two thick, rhyolitic, pyroclastic flow units. In thin sections, the typical welded-tuff pore structure appears to consist of isolated voids interconnected by microfractures. Porosities average about 10 percent, and matrix permeabilities are generally 1 microdarcy or less. The nonwelded tuffs occur in several thin pyroclastic flows between and below the two main welded units. Porosities average about 20 to 30%, and permeabilities are in the microdarcy to millidarcy range.