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Title: Geochemical and Isotopic Evaluation of Groundwater Movement in Corrective Action Unit 97: Yucca Flat/Climax Mine, Nevada Test Site, Nevada, Rev. No.: 0

Abstract

This report describes the results of a comprehensive geochemical evaluation of the groundwater flow system in the Yucca Flat/Climax Mine Corrective Action Unit (CAU). The main objectives of this study are to identify probable pathways for groundwater flow within the study area and to develop constraints on groundwater transit times between selected data collection sites. This work provides an independent means of testing and verifying predictive flow models being developed for this CAU using finite element methods. The Yucca Flat/Climax Mine CAU constitutes the largest of six underground test areas on the Nevada Test Site (NTS) specified for remedial action in the ''Federal Facility Agreement and Consent Order''. A total of 747 underground nuclear detonations were conducted in this CAU. Approximately 23 percent of these detonations were conducted below or near the water table, resulting in groundwater contamination in the vicinity and possibly downgradient of these underground test locations. Therefore, a rigorous evaluation of the groundwater flow system in this CAU is necessary to assess potential long-term risks to the public water supply at downgradient locations.

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Stoller-Navarro Joint Venture (S-N), Las Vegas, NV
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
877252
Report Number(s):
S-N/99205-070
TRN: US200606%%820
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC52-03NA99205
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; CONTAMINATION; EVALUATION; EXPLOSIONS; FINITE ELEMENT METHOD; FLOW MODELS; NEVADA TEST SITE; REMEDIAL ACTION; TESTING; WATER SUPPLY; WATER TABLES

Citation Formats

Farnham, Irene. Geochemical and Isotopic Evaluation of Groundwater Movement in Corrective Action Unit 97: Yucca Flat/Climax Mine, Nevada Test Site, Nevada, Rev. No.: 0. United States: N. p., 2006. Web. doi:10.2172/877252.
Farnham, Irene. Geochemical and Isotopic Evaluation of Groundwater Movement in Corrective Action Unit 97: Yucca Flat/Climax Mine, Nevada Test Site, Nevada, Rev. No.: 0. United States. doi:10.2172/877252.
Farnham, Irene. Wed . "Geochemical and Isotopic Evaluation of Groundwater Movement in Corrective Action Unit 97: Yucca Flat/Climax Mine, Nevada Test Site, Nevada, Rev. No.: 0". United States. doi:10.2172/877252. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/877252.
@article{osti_877252,
title = {Geochemical and Isotopic Evaluation of Groundwater Movement in Corrective Action Unit 97: Yucca Flat/Climax Mine, Nevada Test Site, Nevada, Rev. No.: 0},
author = {Farnham, Irene},
abstractNote = {This report describes the results of a comprehensive geochemical evaluation of the groundwater flow system in the Yucca Flat/Climax Mine Corrective Action Unit (CAU). The main objectives of this study are to identify probable pathways for groundwater flow within the study area and to develop constraints on groundwater transit times between selected data collection sites. This work provides an independent means of testing and verifying predictive flow models being developed for this CAU using finite element methods. The Yucca Flat/Climax Mine CAU constitutes the largest of six underground test areas on the Nevada Test Site (NTS) specified for remedial action in the ''Federal Facility Agreement and Consent Order''. A total of 747 underground nuclear detonations were conducted in this CAU. Approximately 23 percent of these detonations were conducted below or near the water table, resulting in groundwater contamination in the vicinity and possibly downgradient of these underground test locations. Therefore, a rigorous evaluation of the groundwater flow system in this CAU is necessary to assess potential long-term risks to the public water supply at downgradient locations.},
doi = {10.2172/877252},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Wed Feb 01 00:00:00 EST 2006},
month = {Wed Feb 01 00:00:00 EST 2006}
}

Technical Report:

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  • The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), National Nuclear Security Administration Nevada Site Office (NNSA/NSO) initiated the Underground Test Area (UGTA) Project to assess and evaluate the effects of the underground nuclear weapons tests on groundwater beneath the Nevada Test Site (NTS) and vicinity. The framework for this evaluation is provided in Appendix VI, Revision No. 1 (December 7, 2000) of the Federal Facility Agreement and Consent Order (FFACO, 1996). Section 3.0 of Appendix VI ''Corrective Action Strategy'' of the FFACO describes the process that will be used to complete corrective actions specifically for the UGTA Project. The objective of themore » UGTA corrective action strategy is to define contaminant boundaries for each UGTA corrective action unit (CAU) where groundwater may have become contaminated from the underground nuclear weapons tests. The contaminant boundaries are determined based on modeling of groundwater flow and contaminant transport. A summary of the FFACO corrective action process and the UGTA corrective action strategy is provided in Section 1.5. The FFACO (1996) corrective action process for the Yucca Flat/Climax Mine CAU 97 was initiated with the Corrective Action Investigation Plan (CAIP) (DOE/NV, 2000a). The CAIP included a review of existing data on the CAU and proposed a set of data collection activities to collect additional characterization data. These recommendations were based on a value of information analysis (VOIA) (IT, 1999), which evaluated the value of different possible data collection activities, with respect to reduction in uncertainty of the contaminant boundary, through simplified transport modeling. The Yucca Flat/Climax Mine CAIP identifies a three-step model development process to evaluate the impact of underground nuclear testing on groundwater to determine a contaminant boundary (DOE/NV, 2000a). The three steps are as follows: (1) Data compilation and analysis that provides the necessary modeling data that is completed in two parts: the first addressing the groundwater flow model, and the second the transport model. (2) Development of a groundwater flow model. (3) Development of a groundwater transport model. This report presents the results of the first part of the first step, documenting the data compilation, evaluation, and analysis for the groundwater flow model. The second part, documentation of transport model data will be the subject of a separate report. The purpose of this document is to present the compilation and evaluation of the available hydrologic data and information relevant to the development of the Yucca Flat/Climax Mine CAU groundwater flow model, which is a fundamental tool in the prediction of the extent of contaminant migration. Where appropriate, data and information documented elsewhere are summarized with reference to the complete documentation. The specific task objectives for hydrologic data documentation are as follows: (1) Identify and compile available hydrologic data and supporting information required to develop and validate the groundwater flow model for the Yucca Flat/Climax Mine CAU. (2) Assess the quality of the data and associated documentation, and assign qualifiers to denote levels of quality. (3) Analyze the data to derive expected values or spatial distributions and estimates of the associated uncertainty and variability.« less
  • This document, which makes changes to Phase I Hydrologic Data for the Groundwater Flow and Contaminant Transport Model of Corrective Action Unit 97: Yucca Flat/Climax Mine, Nevada Test Site, Nye County, Nevada, S-N/99205--077, Revision 0 (June 2006), was prepared to address review comments on this final document provided by the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) in a letter dated August 4, 2006. The document includes revised pages that address NDEP review comments and comments from other document users. Change bars are included on these pages to identify where the text was revised. In addition to the revised pages, themore » following clarifications are made for the two plates inserted in the back of the document: • Plate 4: Disregard the repeat of legend text ‘Drill Hole Name’ and ‘Drill Hole Location’ in the lower left corner of the map. • Plate 6: The symbol at the ER-16-1 location (white dot on the lower left side of the map) is not color-coded because no water level has been determined. The well location is included for reference. • Plate 6: The symbol at the ER-12-1 location (upper left corner of the map), a yellow dot, represents the lower water level elevation. The higher water level elevation, represented by a red dot, was overprinted.« less
  • This report documents transport data and data analyses for Yucca Flat/Climax Mine CAU 97. The purpose of the data compilation and related analyses is to provide the primary reference to support parameterization of the Yucca Flat/Climax Mine CAU transport model. Specific task objectives were as follows: • Identify and compile currently available transport parameter data and supporting information that may be relevant to the Yucca Flat/Climax Mine CAU. • Assess the level of quality of the data and associated documentation. • Analyze the data to derive expected values and estimates of the associated uncertainty and variability. The scope of thismore » document includes the compilation and assessment of data and information relevant to transport parameters for the Yucca Flat/Climax Mine CAU subsurface within the context of unclassified source-term contamination. Data types of interest include mineralogy, aqueous chemistry, matrix and effective porosity, dispersivity, matrix diffusion, matrix and fracture sorption, and colloid-facilitated transport parameters.« less
  • This Corrective Action Investigation Plan contains the U.S. Department of Energy, Nevada Operations Office's (DOE/NV's) approach to collect the data necessary to evaluate Corrective Action Alternatives (CAAs) appropriate for the closure of Corrective Action Unit (CAU) 97 under the Federal Facility Agreement and Consent Order (FFACO). Corrective Action Unit 97, collectively known as the Yucca Flat/Climax Mine CAU, consists of 720 Corrective Action Sites (CASs). The Yucca Flat/Climax Mine CAU extends over several areas of the NTS and constitutes one of several areas used for underground nuclear testing in the past. The nuclear tests resulted in groundwater contamination in themore » vicinity as well as downgradient of the underground test areas. Based on site history, the Yucca Flat underground nuclear tests were conducted in alluvial, volcanic, and carbonate rocks; whereas, the Climax Mine tests were conducted in an igneous intrusion located in northern Yucca Flat. Particle-tracking simulations performed during the regional evaluation indicate that the local Climax Mine groundwater flow system merges into the much larger Yucca Flat groundwater flow systems during the 1,000-year time period of interest. Addressing these two areas jointly and simultaneously investigating them as a combined CAU has been determined the best way to proceed with corrective action investigation (CAI) activities. The purpose and scope of the CAI includes characterization activities and model development conducted in five major sequential steps designed to be consistent with FFACO Underground Test Area Project's strategy to predict the location of the contaminant boundary, develop and implement a corrective action, and close each CAU. The results of this field investigation will support a defensible evaluation of CAAs in the subsequent corrective action decision document.« less
  • The peer review team commends the Navarro-Intera, LLC (N-I), team for its efforts in using limited data to model the fate of radionuclides in groundwater at Yucca Flat. Recognizing the key uncertainties and related recommendations discussed in Section 6.0 of this report, the peer review team has concluded that U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is ready for a transition to model evaluation studies in the corrective action decision document (CADD)/corrective action plan (CAP) stage. The DOE, National Nuclear Security Administration Nevada Field Office (NNSA/NFO) clarified the charge to the peer review team in a letter dated October 9, 2014, frommore » Bill R. Wilborn, NNSA/NFO Underground Test Area (UGTA) Activity Lead, to Sam J. Marutzky, N-I UGTA Project Manager: “The model and supporting information should be sufficiently complete that the key uncertainties can be adequately identified such that they can be addressed by appropriate model evaluation studies. The model evaluation studies may include data collection and model refinements conducted during the CADD/CAP stage. One major input to identifying ‘key uncertainties’ is the detailed peer review provided by independent qualified peers.” The key uncertainties that the peer review team recognized and potential concerns associated with each are outlined in Section 6.0, along with recommendations corresponding to each uncertainty. The uncertainties, concerns, and recommendations are summarized in Table ES-1. The number associated with each concern refers to the section in this report where the concern is discussed in detail.« less