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Title: Site characterization techniques used at a low-level waste shallow land burial field demonstration facility

Abstract

The Environmental Sciences Division of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory has been investigating improved shallow land burial technology for application in the humd eastern United States. As part of this effort, a field demonstration facility (Engineered Test Facility, or ETF) has been established in Solid Waste Storage Area 6 for purposes of investigatig the ability of two trench treatments (waste grouting prior to cover emplacement and waste isolation with trench liners) to prevent water-waste contact and thus minimize waste leaching. As part of the experimental plan, the ETF site has been characterized for purposes of constructing a hydrologic model. Site characterization is an extremely important component of the waste disposal site selection process; during these activities, potential problems, which might obviate the site from further consideration, may be found. This report describes the ETF site characterization program and identifies and, where appropriate, evaluates those tests that are of most value in model development. Specific areas covered include site geology, soils, and hydrology. Each of these areas is further divided into numerous subsections, making it easy for the reader to examine a single area of interest. Site characterization is a multidiscipliary endeavor with voluminous data, only portions of which are presentedmore » and analyzed here. The information in this report is similar to that which will be required of a low-level waste site developer in preparing a license application for a potential site in the humid East, (a discussion of licensing requirements is beyond its scope). Only data relevant to hydrologic model development are included, anticipating that many of these same characterization methods will be used at future disposal sites with similar water-related problems.« less

Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab., TN (USA)
OSTI Identifier:
6564334
Report Number(s):
ORNL/TM-9146
ON: DE84016742
DOE Contract Number:
AC05-84OR21400
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Other Information: Portions are illegible in microfiche products. Original copy available until stock is exhausted
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; 58 GEOSCIENCES; ORNL; RADIOACTIVE WASTE DISPOSAL; HYDROLOGY; LOW-LEVEL RADIOACTIVE WASTES; SOILS; PHYSICAL PROPERTIES; SORPTIVE PROPERTIES; DISTRIBUTION FUNCTIONS; EXPERIMENTAL DATA; GEOLOGY; GROUND WATER; RADIOACTIVE WASTE FACILITIES; SURFACE WATERS; UNDERGROUND DISPOSAL; DATA; FUNCTIONS; HYDROGEN COMPOUNDS; INFORMATION; MANAGEMENT; MATERIALS; NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS; NUCLEAR FACILITIES; NUMERICAL DATA; OXYGEN COMPOUNDS; RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS; RADIOACTIVE WASTES; SURFACE PROPERTIES; US AEC; US DOE; US ERDA; US ORGANIZATIONS; WASTE DISPOSAL; WASTE MANAGEMENT; WASTES; WATER; 052002* - Nuclear Fuels- Waste Disposal & Storage; 580100 - Geology & Hydrology- (-1989)

Citation Formats

Davis, E.C., Boegly, W.J. Jr., Rothschild, E.R., Spalding, B.P., Vaughan, N.D., Haase, C.S., Huff, D.D., Lee, S.Y., Walls, E.C., and Newbold, J.D. Site characterization techniques used at a low-level waste shallow land burial field demonstration facility. United States: N. p., 1984. Web. doi:10.2172/6564334.
Davis, E.C., Boegly, W.J. Jr., Rothschild, E.R., Spalding, B.P., Vaughan, N.D., Haase, C.S., Huff, D.D., Lee, S.Y., Walls, E.C., & Newbold, J.D. Site characterization techniques used at a low-level waste shallow land burial field demonstration facility. United States. doi:10.2172/6564334.
Davis, E.C., Boegly, W.J. Jr., Rothschild, E.R., Spalding, B.P., Vaughan, N.D., Haase, C.S., Huff, D.D., Lee, S.Y., Walls, E.C., and Newbold, J.D. Sun . "Site characterization techniques used at a low-level waste shallow land burial field demonstration facility". United States. doi:10.2172/6564334. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/6564334.
@article{osti_6564334,
title = {Site characterization techniques used at a low-level waste shallow land burial field demonstration facility},
author = {Davis, E.C. and Boegly, W.J. Jr. and Rothschild, E.R. and Spalding, B.P. and Vaughan, N.D. and Haase, C.S. and Huff, D.D. and Lee, S.Y. and Walls, E.C. and Newbold, J.D.},
abstractNote = {The Environmental Sciences Division of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory has been investigating improved shallow land burial technology for application in the humd eastern United States. As part of this effort, a field demonstration facility (Engineered Test Facility, or ETF) has been established in Solid Waste Storage Area 6 for purposes of investigatig the ability of two trench treatments (waste grouting prior to cover emplacement and waste isolation with trench liners) to prevent water-waste contact and thus minimize waste leaching. As part of the experimental plan, the ETF site has been characterized for purposes of constructing a hydrologic model. Site characterization is an extremely important component of the waste disposal site selection process; during these activities, potential problems, which might obviate the site from further consideration, may be found. This report describes the ETF site characterization program and identifies and, where appropriate, evaluates those tests that are of most value in model development. Specific areas covered include site geology, soils, and hydrology. Each of these areas is further divided into numerous subsections, making it easy for the reader to examine a single area of interest. Site characterization is a multidiscipliary endeavor with voluminous data, only portions of which are presented and analyzed here. The information in this report is similar to that which will be required of a low-level waste site developer in preparing a license application for a potential site in the humid East, (a discussion of licensing requirements is beyond its scope). Only data relevant to hydrologic model development are included, anticipating that many of these same characterization methods will be used at future disposal sites with similar water-related problems.},
doi = {10.2172/6564334},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Sun Jul 01 00:00:00 EDT 1984},
month = {Sun Jul 01 00:00:00 EDT 1984}
}

Technical Report:

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  • A 5-year field demonstration (ETF) of improved shallow land burial practices for low-level radioactive solid wastes in a humid environment evaluates the use of a trench liner and grout as alternate trench treatments for improving shallow land burial site performance in the humid East. The ETF is located within the Copper Creek thrust block of the Valley and Ridge Province of east Tennessee and is underlain by strata of the Middle to Late Cambrian Conasauga Group. The Maryville Limestone formation, which is composed of ribbon-bedded and interclastic limestones and dark grey shales and mudstones, comprises the bedrock immediately beneath themore » site. The bedrock and residuum structure are characterized by anticlinal folds with numerous joints and fractures, some of which are filled with calcite. Seismic and electrical resistivity geophysical methods were useful in characterizing the thickness of residuum and presence of structural features. Soils are illitic and range from podzolic to lithosols to alluvial in the vicinity of the ETF, but the original soil solum was removed in 1975 when the mixed hardwood forest was cleared and the site was planted in grasses. The remaining residuum consists of acidic soil aggregate and extensively weathered siltstone and sandstone which exhibit the original rock structure. Mean annual precipitation at the site is 1500 mm, although during the initial study period (10-1-80 to 9-30-81) the annual total was 939 mm. Runoff was estimated to be about 50% of the precipitation total, based on observations at two Parshall flumes installed at the site. Storm runoff is quite responsive to rainfall, and the lag time between peak rainfall and runoff is less than 15 min during winter storms. Tracer studies of the ground-water system, suggest that ground-water flow has two distinct components, one associated with fracture flow and the other with intergranular flow.« less
  • Before a license can be obtained to construct a facility for the shallow-land burial of low-level wastes, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission must be assured that the facility will meet both performance objectives and prescriptive requirements set forth in 10CFR61, Licensing Requirements for Land Disposal of Radioactive Waste. Subpart D of 10CFR61 states that a disposal site shall be capable of being characterized, modeled, analyzed and monitored. To test the concept of site modelability, a 30-year old low-level radioactive waste disposal site at Chalk River Nuclear Laboratories (CRNL), Canada, was used as a field location for evaluating the process ofmore » site characterization and the subsequent modeling prediction of radionuclide transport from the site by groundwater. The radionuclide source term was a limestone-lined pit (since covered with soil) which in 1953 to 1954 received approximately 3800 liters of aqueous waste containing 1000 to 1500 curies of aged, mixed fission products, including 700 to 1000 curies of /sup 90/Sr and 200 to 300 curies of /sup 137/Cs. This evaluation was performed by comparing the actual measured radionuclide migration with predicted migration estimated from hydrologic/radionuclide transport models. This comparison provided valuable insights into the applicability of transport modeling, and to determining what level of effort is needed in site characterization at locations similar to the Nitrate Disposal Pit to provide the desired degree of predictive capabilities. 47 refs., 42 figs., 7 tabs.« less
  • Before a license can be obtained to construct a facility for the shallow-land burial of low-level wastes, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission must be assured that the facility will meet both performance objectives and prescriptive requirements set forth in 10CFR61, ''Licensing Requirements for Land Disposal of Radioactive Waste.'' Subpart D, Section 61.50(a) (2) of 10CRF61 states that a ''disposal site shall be capable of being characterized, modeled, analyzed and monitored.'' In order to test the concept of ''site modelability,'' a 33-year old low-level radioactive waste disposal site, the ''A'' Disposal Area, at Chalk River Nuclear Laboratories (CRNL), Canada, was usedmore » as a field location for evaluating the process of site characterization and the subsequent modeling prediction of radionuclide transport from the site by groundwater. This report is the second of two such evaluations and was performed by comparing the actual measured radionuclide migration with predicted migration estimated from hydrologic/radionuclide transport modeling. Using a temporally varying /sup 90/Sr retardation factor to account for changing concentrations of acidity and competing ions in the source materials, a reasonably good agreement was obtained between observed and predicted /sup 90/Sr migration in the groundwater. However, trace amounts of /sup 137/Cs and /sup 239/minus/240/Pu have migrated faster than expected at this site. 31 refs., 54 figs., 15 tabs.« less
  • The staff provides an expanded interpretation of the site suitability requirements in the proposed rule 10 CFR Part 61, a description of the anticipated site selection process, and a detailed discussion of the site characterization program needed to support a license application and environmental report. The paper provides early-on guidance to prospective applicants in these three subject areas.
  • Analyzing the potential migration of radionuclides from sites containing solid low-level wastes requires knowledge of contaminant concentrations in the soil solution surrounding the waste. This soil solution concentration is generally referred to as the source term and is determined by such factors as the concentration of radionuclides in the solid waste, the rate of leachate formation, the concentration of dissolved species in the leachate, any solubility reactions occurring when the leachate contacts the soil, and the rate of water flow in the soil surrounding the waste. A field lysimeter facility established at the Hanford site is being used to determinemore » typical source terms in arid climates for commercial low-level wastes solidifed with cement, Dow polymer (vinyl ester-styrene), and bitumen. The field lysimeter facility consists of 10, 3-m-deep by 1.8-m-dia closed-bottom lysimeters situated around a 4-m-deep by 4-m-dia central instrument caisson. Commercial cement and Dow polymer waste samples were removed from 210-L drums and placed in 8 of the lysimeters. Two bitumen samples are planned to be emplaced in the facility's remaining 2 lysimeters during 1984. The central caisson provides access to the instrumentation in the individual lysimeters and allows selective sampling of the soil and waste. Suction candles (ceramic cups) placed around the waste forms will be used to periodically collect soil-water samples for chemical analysis. Meteorological data, soil moisture content, and soil temperature are automatically monitored at the facility. Characterization of the soils and waste forms have been partially completed. These data consist of moisture release characteristics, particle-size distribution, and distributions and concentrations of radionuclides in the waste forms. 11 references, 12 figures, 5 tables.« less