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Title: NNSS Soils Monitoring: Plutonium Valley (CAU 366) FY2015

Abstract

Desert Research Institute (DRI) is conducting a field assessment of the potential for contaminated soil transport from the Plutonium Valley Contamination Area (CA) as a result of wind transport and storm runoff in support of National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) efforts to complete regulatory closure of the contamination areas. The DRI work is intended to confirm the likely mechanism(s) of transport and determine the meteorological conditions that might cause movement of contaminated soils. The emphasis of the work is on collecting sediment transported by channelized storm runoff at the Plutonium Valley investigation sites. These data will inform closure plans that are being developed, which will facilitate the appropriate closure design and post-closure monitoring. In 2011, DRI installed two meteorological monitoring stations south (station #1) and north (station #2) of the Plutonium Valley CA and a runoff sediment sampling station within the CA. Temperature, wind speed, wind direction, relative humidity, precipitation, solar radiation, barometric pressure, soil temperature, and airborne particulate concentration are collected at both meteorological stations. The maximum, minimum, and average or total (as appropriate) for each of these parameters are recorded for each 10-minute interval. The sediment sampling station includes an automatically activated ISCO sampling pump with collection bottlesmore » for suspended sediment, which is activated when sufficient flow is present in the channel, and passive traps for bedload material that is transported down the channel during runoff events. This report presents data collected from these stations during fiscal year (FY) 2015.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [2];  [1];  [1]
  1. Desert Research Inst. (DRI), Las Vegas, NV (United States)
  2. Desert Research Inst. (DRI), Reno, NV (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Desert Research Inst. (DRI), Las Vegas, NV (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
OSTI Identifier:
1344531
Report Number(s):
45273
DOE/NV/0000939-39
DOE Contract Number:
DE-NA0000939
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES

Citation Formats

Nikolich, George, Mizell, Steve, McCurdy, Greg, Campbell, Scott, and Miller, Julianne J. NNSS Soils Monitoring: Plutonium Valley (CAU 366) FY2015. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.2172/1344531.
Nikolich, George, Mizell, Steve, McCurdy, Greg, Campbell, Scott, & Miller, Julianne J. NNSS Soils Monitoring: Plutonium Valley (CAU 366) FY2015. United States. doi:10.2172/1344531.
Nikolich, George, Mizell, Steve, McCurdy, Greg, Campbell, Scott, and Miller, Julianne J. Wed . "NNSS Soils Monitoring: Plutonium Valley (CAU 366) FY2015". United States. doi:10.2172/1344531. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1344531.
@article{osti_1344531,
title = {NNSS Soils Monitoring: Plutonium Valley (CAU 366) FY2015},
author = {Nikolich, George and Mizell, Steve and McCurdy, Greg and Campbell, Scott and Miller, Julianne J.},
abstractNote = {Desert Research Institute (DRI) is conducting a field assessment of the potential for contaminated soil transport from the Plutonium Valley Contamination Area (CA) as a result of wind transport and storm runoff in support of National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) efforts to complete regulatory closure of the contamination areas. The DRI work is intended to confirm the likely mechanism(s) of transport and determine the meteorological conditions that might cause movement of contaminated soils. The emphasis of the work is on collecting sediment transported by channelized storm runoff at the Plutonium Valley investigation sites. These data will inform closure plans that are being developed, which will facilitate the appropriate closure design and post-closure monitoring. In 2011, DRI installed two meteorological monitoring stations south (station #1) and north (station #2) of the Plutonium Valley CA and a runoff sediment sampling station within the CA. Temperature, wind speed, wind direction, relative humidity, precipitation, solar radiation, barometric pressure, soil temperature, and airborne particulate concentration are collected at both meteorological stations. The maximum, minimum, and average or total (as appropriate) for each of these parameters are recorded for each 10-minute interval. The sediment sampling station includes an automatically activated ISCO sampling pump with collection bottles for suspended sediment, which is activated when sufficient flow is present in the channel, and passive traps for bedload material that is transported down the channel during runoff events. This report presents data collected from these stations during fiscal year (FY) 2015.},
doi = {10.2172/1344531},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Wed Feb 01 00:00:00 EST 2017},
month = {Wed Feb 01 00:00:00 EST 2017}
}

Technical Report:

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  • The Desert Research Institute (DRI) is conducting a field assessment of the potential for contaminated soil transport from the Plutonium Valley Contamination Area (CA) as a result of wind transport and storm runoff in support of Nevada Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) efforts to complete regulatory closure of the contamination areas. The DRI work is intended to confirm the likely mechanism(s) of transport and determine the meteorological conditions that might cause movement of contaminated soils. Emphasis is given to collecting sediment transported by channelized storm runoff at the Plutonium Valley investigation sites. These data will inform closure plans that are beingmore » developed, which will facilitate appropriate closure design and postclosure monitoring. Desert Research Institute installed two meteorological monitoring stations south (station number 1) and north (station number 2) of the Plutonium Valley CA and a runoff sediment sampling station within the CA in 2011. Temperature, wind speed, wind direction, relative humidity, precipitation, solar radiation, barometric pressure, soil temperature, and airborne particulate concentration are collected at both meteorological stations. The maximum, minimum, and average or total (as appropriate) for each of these parameters is recorded for each 10-minute interval. The sediment sampling station includes an automatically activated ISCO sampling pump with collection bottles for suspended sediment, which is activated when sufficient flow is present in the channel, and passive traps for bedload material that is transported down the channel during runoff events. This report presents data collected from these stations during FY2013 and FY2014.« less
  • Desert Research Institute (DRI) is conducting a field assessment of the potential for contaminated soil transport from the Plutonium Valley Contamination Area (CA) as a result of wind transport and storm runoff in support of National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) efforts to complete regulatory closure of the contamination areas. The DRI work is intended to confirm the likely mechanism(s) of transport and determine the meteorological conditions that might cause movement of contaminated soils. The emphasis of the work is on collecting sediment transported by channelized storm runoff at the Plutonium Valley investigation sites. These data will inform closure plans thatmore » are being developed, which will facilitate the appropriate closure design and post-closure monitoring.« less
  • The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), Nevada Site Office (NSO), Environmental Restoration Soils Activity has authorized the Desert Research Institute (DRI) to conduct field assessments of potential sediment transport of contaminated soil from Corrective Action Unit (CAU) 366, Area 11 Plutonium Valley Dispersion Sites Contamination Area (CA) during precipitation runoff events.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), Nevada Site Office (NSO), Environmental Restoration Soils Activity has authorized the Desert Research Institute (DRI) to conduct field assessments of potential sediment transport of contaminated soil from Corrective Action Unit (CAU) 366, Area 11 Plutonium Valley Dispersion Sites Contamination Area (CA) during precipitation runoff events. Field measurements at the T-4 Atmospheric Test Site (CAU 370) suggest that radionuclide-contaminated soils may have migrated along a shallow ephemeral drainage that traverses the site (NNSA/NSO, 2009). (It is not entirely clear how contaminated soils got into their present location at the T-4more » Site, but flow to the channel has been redirected and the contamination does not appear to be migrating at present.) Aerial surveys in selected portions of the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) also suggest that radionuclide-contaminated soils may be migrating along ephemeral channels in Areas 3, 8, 11, 18, and 25 (Colton, 1999). In Area 11, several low-level airborne surveys of the Plutonium Valley Dispersion Sites (CAU 366) show plumes of Americium 241 (Am-241) extending along ephemeral channels (Figure 1, marker numbers 5 and 6) below Corrective Action Site (CAS) 11-23-03 (marker number 3) and CAS 11 23-04 (marker number 4) (Colton, 1999). Plutonium Valley in Area 11 of the NNSS was selected for the study because of the aerial survey evidence suggesting downstream transport of radionuclide-contaminated soil. The aerial survey (Figure 1) shows a well defined finger of elevated radioactivity (marker number 5) extending to the southwest from the southernmost detonation site (marker number 4). This finger of contamination overlies a drainage channel mapped on the topographic base map used for presentation of the survey data suggesting surface runoff as a likely cause of the contaminated area. Additionally, instrumenting sites strongly suspected of conveying soil from areas of surface contamination offers the most efficient means to confirm that surface runoff may transport radioactive contamination as a result of ambient precipitation/runoff events. Closure plans being developed for the CAUs on the NNSS may include post-closure monitoring for possible release of radioactive contaminants. Determining the potential for transport of radionuclide-contaminated soils under ambient meteorological conditions will facilitate an appropriate closure design and post-closure monitoring program.« less
  • Corrective Action Unit 366 comprises the six corrective action sites (CASs) listed below: (1) 11-08-01, Contaminated Waste Dump No.1; (2) 11-08-02, Contaminated Waste Dump No.2; (3) 11-23-01, Radioactively Contaminated Area A; (4) 11-23-02, Radioactively Contaminated Area B; (5) 11-23-03, Radioactively Contaminated Area C; and (6) 11-23-04, Radioactively Contaminated Area D. These sites are being investigated because existing information on the nature and extent of potential contamination is insufficient to evaluate and recommend corrective action alternatives (CAAs). Additional information will be obtained by conducting a corrective action investigation before evaluating CAAs and selecting the appropriate corrective action for each CAS. Themore » results of the field investigation will support a defensible evaluation of CAAs that will be presented in the Corrective Action Decision Document. The sites will be investigated based on the data quality objectives (DQOs) developed July 6, 2011, by representatives of the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), National Nuclear Security Administration Nevada Site Office. The DQO process was used to identify and define the type, amount, and quality of data needed to develop and evaluate appropriate corrective actions for CAU 366. The presence and nature of contamination at CAU 366 will be evaluated based on information collected from a field investigation. Radiological contamination will be evaluated based on a comparison of the total effective dose (TED) at sample locations to the dose-based final action level (FAL). The TED will be calculated by summing the estimates of internal and external dose. Results from the analysis of soil samples collected from sample plots will be used to calculate internal radiological dose. Thermoluminescent dosimeters placed at each sample location will be used to measure external radiological dose. Based on historical documentation of the releases associated with the nuclear tests, it was determined that CASs 11-23-02, 11-23-03, and 11-23-04 will be investigated as one release site. The three test areas associated with these CASs are in close proximity; the devices tested were all composed of plutonium and enriched uranium; and the ground zeroes are all posted high contamination areas (HCAs). Because the device tested at CAS 11-23-01 was composed primarily of enriched uranium and the ground zero is not a posted HCA, the CAS will be investigated as a separate release. The DQO process also resulted in an assumption that TED within the HCAs and contaminated waste dumps exceeds the FAL and requires corrective action. A field investigation will be performed to define where TED exceeds the FAL and to determine whether other contaminants of concern are present at the site associated with other activities that took place at the site or from spills or waste discovered during the investigation. The presence and nature of contamination from other types of releases (such as migration and any potential releases discovered during the investigation) will be evaluated using soil samples collected from the locations most likely containing contamination, if present. Appendix A provides a detailed discussion of the DQO methodology and the DQOs specific to each CAS.« less