skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Groundwater Pathway Model for the Los Alamos National Laboratory Technical Area 54, Area G, Revision 1

Abstract

This report consists of four major sections, including this introductory section. Section 2 provides an overview of previous investigations related to the development of the current sitescale model. The methods and data used to develop the 3-D groundwater model and the techniques used to distill that model into a form suitable for use in the GoldSim models are discussed in Section 3. Section 4 presents the results of the model development effort and discusses some of the uncertainties involved. Eight attachments that provide details about the components and data used in this groundwater pathway model are also included with this report. The groundwater modeling effort reported here is a revision of the work that was conducted in 2005 (Stauffer et al., 2005a) in support of the 2008 Area G performance assessment and composite analysis (LANL, 2008). The revision effort was undertaken primarily to incorporate new geologic information that has been collected since 2003 at, and in the vicinity of, Area G. The new data were used to create a more accurate geologic framework model (GFM) that forms the basis of the numerical modeling of the site’s long-term performance. The groundwater modeling uses mean hydrologic properties of the geologic strata underlyingmore » Area G; this revision includes an evaluation of the impacts that natural variability in these properties may have on the model projections.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [2];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  2. Neptune Inc., Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
OSTI Identifier:
1343692
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-13-24014
DOE Contract Number:
AC52-06NA25396
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES; Earth Sciences; Environmental Protection; Reduced order model, unsaturated flow, performance assessment

Citation Formats

Stauffer, Philip H., Chu, Shaoping, Miller, Terry A., Strobridge, Daniel M., Cole, Gregory L., Birdsell, Kay H., Robinson, Bruce Alan, Gable, Carl Walter, Broxton, David E., Springer, Everett P., and Schofield, Tracy. Groundwater Pathway Model for the Los Alamos National Laboratory Technical Area 54, Area G, Revision 1. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.2172/1343692.
Stauffer, Philip H., Chu, Shaoping, Miller, Terry A., Strobridge, Daniel M., Cole, Gregory L., Birdsell, Kay H., Robinson, Bruce Alan, Gable, Carl Walter, Broxton, David E., Springer, Everett P., & Schofield, Tracy. Groundwater Pathway Model for the Los Alamos National Laboratory Technical Area 54, Area G, Revision 1. United States. doi:10.2172/1343692.
Stauffer, Philip H., Chu, Shaoping, Miller, Terry A., Strobridge, Daniel M., Cole, Gregory L., Birdsell, Kay H., Robinson, Bruce Alan, Gable, Carl Walter, Broxton, David E., Springer, Everett P., and Schofield, Tracy. Fri . "Groundwater Pathway Model for the Los Alamos National Laboratory Technical Area 54, Area G, Revision 1". United States. doi:10.2172/1343692. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1343692.
@article{osti_1343692,
title = {Groundwater Pathway Model for the Los Alamos National Laboratory Technical Area 54, Area G, Revision 1},
author = {Stauffer, Philip H. and Chu, Shaoping and Miller, Terry A. and Strobridge, Daniel M. and Cole, Gregory L. and Birdsell, Kay H. and Robinson, Bruce Alan and Gable, Carl Walter and Broxton, David E. and Springer, Everett P. and Schofield, Tracy},
abstractNote = {This report consists of four major sections, including this introductory section. Section 2 provides an overview of previous investigations related to the development of the current sitescale model. The methods and data used to develop the 3-D groundwater model and the techniques used to distill that model into a form suitable for use in the GoldSim models are discussed in Section 3. Section 4 presents the results of the model development effort and discusses some of the uncertainties involved. Eight attachments that provide details about the components and data used in this groundwater pathway model are also included with this report. The groundwater modeling effort reported here is a revision of the work that was conducted in 2005 (Stauffer et al., 2005a) in support of the 2008 Area G performance assessment and composite analysis (LANL, 2008). The revision effort was undertaken primarily to incorporate new geologic information that has been collected since 2003 at, and in the vicinity of, Area G. The new data were used to create a more accurate geologic framework model (GFM) that forms the basis of the numerical modeling of the site’s long-term performance. The groundwater modeling uses mean hydrologic properties of the geologic strata underlying Area G; this revision includes an evaluation of the impacts that natural variability in these properties may have on the model projections.},
doi = {10.2172/1343692},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Fri Feb 10 00:00:00 EST 2017},
month = {Fri Feb 10 00:00:00 EST 2017}
}

Technical Report:

Save / Share:
  • The Risk Assessment for the Retrieval of Transuranic Waste is a comparative risk assessment of the potential adverse human health effects resulting from exposure to contaminants during retrieval and post-retrieval aboveground storage operations of post-1970 earthen-covered transuranic waste. Two alternatives are compared: (1) Immediate Retrieval and (2) Delayed Retrieval. Under the Immediate Retrieval Alternative, retrieval of the waste is assumed to begin immediately, Under the Delayed Retrieval Alternative, retrieval is delayed 10 years. The current risk assessment is on Pads 1, 2, and 4, at Technical Area-54, Area-G, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). Risks are assessed independently for three scenarios:more » (1) incident-free retrieval operations, (2) incident-free storage operations, and (3) a drum failure analysis. The drum failure analysis evaluates container integrity under both alternatives and assesses the impacts of potential drum failures during retrieval operations. Risks associated with a series of drum failures are potentially severe for workers, off-site receptors, and general on-site employees if retrieval is delayed 10 years and administrative and engineering controls remain constant. Under the Delayed Retrieval Alternative, an average of 300 drums out of 16,647 are estimated to fail during retrieval operations due to general corrosion, while minimal drums are predicted to fail under the Immediate Retrieval Alternative. The results of the current study suggest that, based on risk, remediation of Pads 1, 2, and 4 at LANL should not be delayed. Although risks from incident-free operations in the Delayed Retrieval Alternative are low, risks due to corrosion and drum failures are potentially severe.« less
  • The purpose of this letter is to notify the New Mexico Environment Department-Hazardous Waste Bureau (NMED-HWB) of a Class 1 Permit Modification to the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Hazardous Waste Facility Permit issued to the Department of Energy (DOE) and Los Alamos National Security, LLC (LANS) in November 2010. The modification adds structures to the container storage unit at Technical Area (TA) 54 Area G, Pad 11. Permit Section 3.1(3) requires that changes to the location of a structure that does not manage hazardous waste shall be changed within the Permit as a Class 1 modification without prior approvalmore » in accordance with Code of Federal Regulations, Title 40 (40 CFR), {section}270.42(a)(1). Structures have been added within Dome 375 located at TA-54, Area G, Pad 11 that will be used in support of waste management operations within Dome 375 and the modular panel containment structure located within Dome 375, but will not be used as waste management structures. The Class 1 Permit Modification revises Figure 36 in Attachment N, Figures; and Figure G.12-1 in Attachment G.12, Technical Area 54, Area G, Pad 11 Outdoor Container Storage Unit Closure Plan. Descriptions of the structures have also been added to Section A.4.2.9 in Attachment A, TA - Unit Descriptions; and Section 2.0 in Attachment G.12, Technical Area 54, Area G, Pad 11 Outdoor Container Storage Unit Closure Plan. Full description of the permit modification and the necessary changes are included in Enclosure 1. The modification has been prepared in accordance with 40 CFR {section}270.42(a)(l). This package includes this letter and an enclosure containing a description of the permit modification, text edits of the Permit sections, and the revised figures (collectively LA-UR-12-22808). Accordingly, a signed certification page is also enclosed. Three hard copies and one electronic copy of this submittal will be delivered to the NMED-HWB.« less
  • This report consists of four major sections, including this introductory section. Section 2 provides an overview of previous investigations related to the development of the current sitescale model. The methods and data used to develop the 3-D groundwater model and the techniques used to distill that model into a form suitable for use in the GoldSim models are discussed in Section 3. Section 4 presents the results of the model development effort and discusses some of the uncertainties involved. Three attachments that provide details about the components and data used in this groundwater pathway model are also included with thismore » report.« less
  • The Technical Area 54 (TA-54) Area G disposal facility is used for the disposal of radioactive waste at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Order 435.1 (DOE, 2001) requires that radioactive waste be managed in a manner that protects public health and safety and the environment. In compliance with that requirement, DOE field sites must prepare and maintain site-specific radiological performance assessments for facilities that receive waste after September 26, 1988. Sites are also required to conduct composite analyses for facilities that receive waste after this date; these analyses account for the cumulative impacts of allmore » waste that has been (and will be) disposed of at the facilities and other sources of radioactive material that may interact with these facilities. LANL issued Revision 4 of the Area G performance assessment and composite analysis in 2008. In support of those analyses, vertical and horizontal sediment flux data were collected at two analog sites, each with different dominant vegetation characteristics, and used to estimate rates of vertical resuspension and wind erosion for Area G. The results of that investigation indicated that there was no net loss of soil at the disposal site due to wind erosion, and suggested minimal impacts of wind on the long-term performance of the facility. However, that study did not evaluate the potential for contaminant transport caused by the horizontal movement of soil particles over long time frames. Since that time, additional field data have been collected to estimate wind threshold velocities for initiating sediment transport due to saltation and rates of sediment transport once those thresholds are reached. Data such as these have been used in the development of the Vegetation Modified Transport (VMTran) model. This model is designed to estimate patterns and long-term rates of contaminant redistribution caused by winds at the site, taking into account the impacts of plant succession and environmental disturbance. Aeolian, or wind-driven, sediment transport drives soil erosion, affects biogeochemical cycles, and can lead to the transport of contaminants. Rates of aeolian sediment transport depend in large part on the type, amount, and spatial pattern of vegetation. In particular, the amount of cover from trees and shrubs, which act as roughness elements, alters rates of aeolian sediment transport. The degree to which the understory is disturbed and the associated spacing of bare soil gaps further influence sediment transport rates. Changes in vegetation structure and patterns over periods of years to centuries may have profound impacts on rates of wind-driven transport. For recently disturbed areas, succession is likely to occur through a series of vegetation communities. Area G currently exhibits a mosaic of vegetation cover, with patches of grass and forbs over closed disposal units, and bare ground in heavily used portions of the site. These areas are surrounded by less disturbed regions of shrubland and pinon-juniper woodland; some ponderosa pine forest is also visible in the canyon along the road. The successional trajectory for the disturbed portions of Area G is expected to proceed from grasses and forbs (which would be established during site closure), to shrubs such as chamisa, to a climax community of pinon-juniper woodland. Although unlikely under current conditions, a ponderosa pine forest could develop over the site if the future climate is wetter. In many ecosystems, substantial and often periodic disturbances such as fire or severe drought can rapidly alter vegetation patterns. Such disturbances are likely to increase in the southwestern US where projections call for a warmer and drier climate. With respect to Area G, the 3 most likely disturbance types are surface fire, crown fire, and drought-induced tree mortality. Each type of disturbance has a different frequency or likelihood of occurrence, but all 3 tend to reset the vegetation succession cycle to earlier stages. The Area G performance assessment and composite analysis evaluate the impacts of disposing of radioactive waste over a period of hundreds to thousands of years. An assessment of aeolian sediment transport over this timeframe needs to account for the impacts of changes in vegetation structure and other surface conditions that occur under normal circumstances and as a result of environmental disturbance. Recent aeolian sediment transport studies undertaken in diverse dryland systems on both undisturbed and disturbed lands have yielded a suite of empirical measurements. These studies do not take into account changes in long-term conditions at the sites being investigated. Although studies of dune systems have begun to account for different types of vegetation due to succession and the effects of disturbance under current and projected climate, similar information for drylands that are not dominated by dunes is almost entirely lacking.« less
  • 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