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Title: Plutonium Equivalent Inventory for Belowground Radioactive Waste at the Los Alamos National Laboratory Technical Area 54, Area G Disposal Facility - Fiscal Year 2011

Abstract

The Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) generates radioactive waste as a result of various activities. Many aspects of the management of this waste are conducted at Technical Area 54 (TA-54); Area G plays a key role in these management activities as the Laboratory's only disposal facility for low-level radioactive waste (LLW). Furthermore, Area G serves as a staging area for transuranic (TRU) waste that will be shipped to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant for disposal. A portion of this TRU waste is retrievably stored in pits, trenches, and shafts. The radioactive waste disposed of or stored at Area G poses potential short- and long-term risks to workers at the disposal facility and to members of the public. These risks are directly proportional to the radionuclide inventories in the waste. The Area G performance assessment and composite analysis (LANL, 2008a) project long-term risks to members of the public; short-term risks to workers and members of the public, such as those posed by accidents, are addressed by the Area G Documented Safety Analysis (LANL, 2011a). The Documented Safety Analysis uses an inventory expressed in terms of plutonium-equivalent curies, referred to as the PE-Ci inventory, to estimate these risks. The Technical Safety Requirementsmore » for Technical Area 54, Area G (LANL, 2011b) establishes a belowground radioactive material limit that ensures the cumulative projected inventory authorized for the Area G site is not exceeded. The total belowground radioactive waste inventory limit established for Area G is 110,000 PE-Ci. The PE-Ci inventory is updated annually; this report presents the inventory prepared for 2011. The approach used to estimate the inventory is described in Section 2. The results of the analysis are presented in Section 3.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2]
  1. Los Alamos National Laboratory
  2. WPS: WASTE PROJECTS AND SERVICES
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
DOE/LANL
OSTI Identifier:
1038875
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-12-20679
TRN: US1202118
DOE Contract Number:
AC52-06NA25396
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES, AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; ACCIDENTS; ALPHA-BEARING WASTES; INVENTORIES; LANL; LOW-LEVEL RADIOACTIVE WASTES; MANAGEMENT; PERFORMANCE; PLUTONIUM; RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS; RADIOACTIVE WASTES; RADIOISOTOPES; SAFETY; SAFETY ANALYSIS; WASTES; WIPP

Citation Formats

French, Sean B., and Shuman, Rob. Plutonium Equivalent Inventory for Belowground Radioactive Waste at the Los Alamos National Laboratory Technical Area 54, Area G Disposal Facility - Fiscal Year 2011. United States: N. p., 2012. Web. doi:10.2172/1038875.
French, Sean B., & Shuman, Rob. Plutonium Equivalent Inventory for Belowground Radioactive Waste at the Los Alamos National Laboratory Technical Area 54, Area G Disposal Facility - Fiscal Year 2011. United States. doi:10.2172/1038875.
French, Sean B., and Shuman, Rob. 2012. "Plutonium Equivalent Inventory for Belowground Radioactive Waste at the Los Alamos National Laboratory Technical Area 54, Area G Disposal Facility - Fiscal Year 2011". United States. doi:10.2172/1038875. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1038875.
@article{osti_1038875,
title = {Plutonium Equivalent Inventory for Belowground Radioactive Waste at the Los Alamos National Laboratory Technical Area 54, Area G Disposal Facility - Fiscal Year 2011},
author = {French, Sean B. and Shuman, Rob},
abstractNote = {The Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) generates radioactive waste as a result of various activities. Many aspects of the management of this waste are conducted at Technical Area 54 (TA-54); Area G plays a key role in these management activities as the Laboratory's only disposal facility for low-level radioactive waste (LLW). Furthermore, Area G serves as a staging area for transuranic (TRU) waste that will be shipped to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant for disposal. A portion of this TRU waste is retrievably stored in pits, trenches, and shafts. The radioactive waste disposed of or stored at Area G poses potential short- and long-term risks to workers at the disposal facility and to members of the public. These risks are directly proportional to the radionuclide inventories in the waste. The Area G performance assessment and composite analysis (LANL, 2008a) project long-term risks to members of the public; short-term risks to workers and members of the public, such as those posed by accidents, are addressed by the Area G Documented Safety Analysis (LANL, 2011a). The Documented Safety Analysis uses an inventory expressed in terms of plutonium-equivalent curies, referred to as the PE-Ci inventory, to estimate these risks. The Technical Safety Requirements for Technical Area 54, Area G (LANL, 2011b) establishes a belowground radioactive material limit that ensures the cumulative projected inventory authorized for the Area G site is not exceeded. The total belowground radioactive waste inventory limit established for Area G is 110,000 PE-Ci. The PE-Ci inventory is updated annually; this report presents the inventory prepared for 2011. The approach used to estimate the inventory is described in Section 2. The results of the analysis are presented in Section 3.},
doi = {10.2172/1038875},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2012,
month = 4
}

Technical Report:

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  • The Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL or the Laboratory) generates radioactive waste as a result of various activities. Operational or institutional waste is generated from a wide variety of research and development activities including nuclear weapons development, energy production, and medical research. Environmental restoration (ER), and decontamination and decommissioning (D and D) waste is generated as contaminated sites and facilities at LANL undergo cleanup or remediation. The majority of this waste is low-level radioactive waste (LLW) and is disposed of at the Technical Area 54 (TA-54), Area G disposal facility. U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Order 435.1 (DOE, 2001) requiresmore » that radioactive waste be managed in a manner that protects public health and safety, and the environment. To comply with this order, DOE field sites must prepare and maintain site-specific radiological performance assessments for LLW disposal facilities that accept waste after September 26, 1988. Furthermore, sites are required to conduct composite analyses that account for the cumulative impacts of all waste that has been (or will be) disposed of at the facilities and other sources of radioactive material that may interact with the facilities. Revision 4 of the Area G performance assessment and composite analysis was issued in 2008 (LANL, 2008). These analyses estimate rates of radionuclide release from the waste disposed of at the facility, simulate the movement of radionuclides through the environment, and project potential radiation doses to humans for several on-site and off-site exposure scenarios. The assessments are based on existing site and disposal facility data and on assumptions about future rates and methods of waste disposal. The accuracy of the performance assessment and composite analysis depends upon the validity of the data used and assumptions made in conducting the analyses. If changes in these data and assumptions are significant, they may invalidate or call into question certain aspects of the analyses. For example, if the volumes and activities of waste disposed of during the remainder of the disposal facility's lifetime differ significantly from those projected, the doses projected by the analyses may no longer apply. DOE field sites are required to implement a performance assessment and composite analysis maintenance program. The purpose of this program is to ensure the continued applicability of the analyses through incremental improvement of the level of understanding of the disposal site and facility. Site personnel are required to conduct field and experimental work to reduce the uncertainty in the data and models used in the assessments. Furthermore, they are required to conduct periodic reviews of waste receipts, comparing them to projected waste disposal rates. The radiological inventory for Area G was updated in conjunction with Revision 4 of the performance assessment and composite analysis (Shuman, 2008). That effort used disposal records and other sources of information to estimate the quantities of radioactive waste that have been disposed of at Area G from 1959, the year the facility started receiving waste on a routine basis, through 2007. It also estimated the quantities of LLW that will require disposal from 2008 through 2044, the year in which it is assumed that disposal operations at Area G will cease. This report documents the fourth review of Area G disposal receipts since the inventory was updated and examines information for waste placed in the ground during fiscal years (FY) 2008 through 2011. The primary objective of the disposal receipt review is to ensure that the future waste inventory projections developed for the performance assessment and composite analysis are consistent with the actual types and quantities of waste being disposed of at Area G. Toward this end, the disposal data that are the subject of this review are used to update the future waste inventory projections for the disposal facility. These projections are compared to the future inventory projections that were developed for Revision 4 of the performance assessment and composite analysis. The approach used to characterize the FY 2008 through 2011 waste is generally the same as that used to characterize the inventory for the Revision 4 analyses (Shuman, 2008). This methodology is described in Section 2. The results of the disposal receipt review are presented in Section 3 and discussed in terms of their significance to the Area G analyses.« less
  • As a condition to the Disposal Authorization Statement issued to Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL or the Laboratory) on March 17, 2010, a comprehensive performance assessment and composite analysis maintenance program must be implemented for the Technical Area 54, Area G disposal facility. Annual determinations of the adequacy of the performance assessment and composite analysis are to be conducted under the maintenance program to ensure that the conclusions reached by those analyses continue to be valid. This report summarizes the results of the fiscal year 2011 annual review for Area G. Revision 4 of the Area G performance assessment andmore » composite analysis was issued in 2008 and formally approved in 2009. These analyses are expected to provide reasonable estimates of the long-term performance of Area G and, hence, the disposal facility's ability to comply with Department of Energy (DOE) performance objectives. Annual disposal receipt reviews indicate that smaller volumes of waste will require disposal in the pits and shafts at Area G relative to what was projected for the performance assessment and composite analysis. The future inventories are projected to decrease modestly for the pits but increase substantially for the shafts due to an increase in the amount of tritium that is projected to require disposal. Overall, however, changes in the projected future inventories of waste are not expected to compromise the ability of Area G to satisfy DOE performance objectives. The Area G composite analysis addresses potential impacts from all waste disposed of at the facility, as well as other sources of radioactive material that may interact with releases from Area G. The level of knowledge about the other sources included in the composite analysis has not changed sufficiently to call into question the validity of that analysis. Ongoing environmental surveillance activities are conducted at, and in the vicinity of, Area G. However, the information generated by many of these activities cannot be used to evaluate the validity of the performance assessment and composite analysis models because the monitoring data collected are specific to operational releases or address receptors that are outside the domain of the performance assessment and composite analysis. In general, applicable monitoring data are supportive of some aspects of the performance assessment and composite analysis. Several research and development (R and D) efforts have been initiated under the performance assessment and composite analysis maintenance program. These investigations are designed to improve the current understanding of the disposal facility and site, thereby reducing the uncertainty associated with the projections of the long-term performance of Area G. The status and results of R and D activities that were undertaken in fiscal year 2011 are discussed in this report. Special analyses have been conducted to determine the feasibility of disposing of specific waste streams, to address proposed changes in disposal operations, and to consider the impacts of changes to the models used to conduct the performance assessment and composite analysis. These analyses are described and the results of the evaluations are summarized in this report. The Area G disposal facility consists of Material Disposal Area (MDA) G and the Zone 4 expansion area. To date, all disposal operations at Area G have been confined to MDA G. Material Disposal Area G is scheduled to undergo final closure in 2015; disposal of waste in the pits and shafts is scheduled to end in 2013. In anticipation of the closure of MDA G, plans are being made to ship the majority of the waste generated at LANL to off-site locations for disposal. It is not clear at this time if waste that will be disposed of at LANL will be placed in Zone 4 or if disposal operations will move to a new location at the Laboratory. Separately, efforts to optimize the final cover used in the closure of MDA G are underway; a final cover design different than that adopted for the performance assessment and composite analysis will likely emerge from that investigation. All of these changes will require re-examination of the assumptions upon which the performance assessment and composite analysis are based and, in all likelihood, revision of those analyses.« less
  • As a condition to the disposal authorization statement issued to Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL or the Laboratory) on March 17, 2010, a comprehensive performance assessment and composite analysis maintenance program must be implemented for the Technical Area 54, Area G disposal facility. Annual determinations of the adequacy of the performance assessment and composite analysis (PA/CA) are to be conducted under the maintenance program to ensure that the conclusions reached by those analyses continue to be valid. This report summarizes the results of the fiscal year (FY) 2015 annual review for Area G.
  • As a condition to the disposal authorization statement issued to Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL or the Laboratory) on March 17, 2010, a comprehensive performance assessment and composite analysis (PA/CA) maintenance program must be implemented for the Technical Area 54, Area G disposal facility. Annual determinations of the adequacy of the PA/CA are to be conducted under the maintenance program to ensure that the conclusions reached by those analyses continue to be valid. This report summarizes the results of the fiscal year (FY) 2016 annual review for Area G.
  • Surface transport of waste residues was investigated at Waste Disposal Area G by sampling soil, air, and water at the site surface. Sampling locations for soil and vegetation were deliberately selected at (1) the most likely points of occurrence of radionuclides or (2) likely points of occurrence with theoretically the highest concentrations of radionuclides if radionuclides were transported from burial to the site surface. Data obtained from this reconnaissance showed that /sup 3/H, /sup 239/ /sup 240/Pu, and ..gamma..-emitting radionuclide concentrations occasionally increase modestly above regional background levels. The data also indicated that /sup 3/H is migrating from waste repositories,more » whereas /sup 239/ /sup 240/Pu and ..gamma..-emitters are not migrating out of repositories. The latter were probably deposited on the surface by occasional spills during disposal operations or as a result of surface storage and holding practices. However, all radionuclide concentractions remain orders of magnitude below applicable standards and guides used to assure that their concentrations in environmental media would not lead to unnecessary or unsafe levels of exposure to the public.« less