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Title: Radionuclide gas transport through nuclear explosion-generated fracture networks

Underground nuclear weapon testing produces radionuclide gases which may seep to the surface. Barometric pumping of gas through explosion-fractured rock is investigated using a new sequentially-coupled hydrodynamic rock damage/gas transport model. Fracture networks are produced for two rock types (granite and tuff) and three depths of burial. The fracture networks are integrated into a flow and transport numerical model driven by surface pressure signals of differing amplitude and variability. There are major differences between predictions using a realistic fracture network and prior results that used a simplified geometry. Matrix porosity and maximum fracture aperture have the greatest impact on gas breakthrough time and window of opportunity for detection, with different effects between granite and tuff simulations highlighting the importance of accurately simulating the fracture network. In particular, maximum fracture aperture has an opposite effect on tuff and granite, due to different damage patterns and their effect on the barometric pumping process. From stochastic simulations using randomly generated hydrogeologic parameters, normalized detection curves are presented to show differences in optimal sampling time for granite and tuff simulations. In conclusion, seasonal and location-based effects on breakthrough, which occur due to differences in barometric forcing, are stronger where the barometric signal is highlymore » variable.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [2]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States); Neptune and Company, Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  2. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 5; Journal ID: ISSN 2045-2322
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE; Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA)
Country of Publication:
United States
98 NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT, SAFEGUARDS, AND PHYSICAL PROTECTION environmental sciences; geophysics; hydrology