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Title: Tonopah Test Range Air Monitoring: CY2012 Meteorological, Radiological, and Airborne Particulate Observations

In 1963, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), predecessor to the US Department of Energy (DOE), implemented Operation Roller Coaster on the Tonopah Test Range (TTR) and an adjacent area of the Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR) (formerly the Nellis Air Force Range (NAFR)). Operation Roller Coaster consisted of four tests in which chemical explosions were detonated in the presence of nuclear devices to assess the dispersal of radionuclides and evaluate the effectiveness of storage structures to contain the ejected radionuclides. These tests resulted in dispersal of plutonium over the ground surface downwind of the test ground zero. Three tests, Clean Slate 1, 2, and 3, were conducted on the TTR in Cactus Flat; the fourth, Double Tracks, was conducted in Stonewall Flat on the NTTR. DOE is working to clean up and close all four sites. Substantial cleaned up has been accomplished at Double Tracks and Clean Slate 1. Cleanup of Clean Slate 2 and 3 is on the DOE planning horizon for some time in the next several years. The Desert Research Institute installed two monitoring stations, number 400 at the Sandia National Laboratories Range Operations Center and number 401 at Clean Slate 3, in 2008 and amore » third monitoring station, number 402 at Clean Slate 1, in 2011 to measure radiological, meteorological, and dust conditions. The primary objectives of the data collection and analysis effort are to (1) monitor the concentration of radiological parameters in dust particles suspended in air, (2) determine whether winds are re-distributing radionuclides or contaminated soil material, (3) evaluate the controlling meteorological conditions if wind transport is occurring, and (4) measure ancillary radiological, meteorological, and environmental parameters that might provide insight to the above assessments. The following observations are based on data collected during CY2012. The mean annual concentration of gross alpha and gross beta is highest at Station 400 and lowest at Station 401. This difference may be the result of using filter media at Station 400 with a smaller pore size than the media used at the other two stations. Average annual gamma exposure at Station 401 is slightly greater than at Station 400 and 402. Average annual gamma exposure at all three TTR stations are in the upper range to slightly higher than values reported for the CEMP stations surrounding the TTR. At higher wind speeds, the saltation counts are greater at Station 401 than at Station 402 while the suspended particulate concentrations are greater at Station 402 than at Statin 401. Although these observations seem counterintuitive, they are likely the result of differences in the soil material present at the two sites. Station 401 is located on an interfluve elevated above two adjacent drainage channels where the soil surface is likely to be composed of coarser material. Station 402 is located in finer sediments at the playa edge and is also subject to dust from a dirt road only 500 m to the north. During prolonged high wind events, suspended dust concentrations at Station 401 peaked with the initial winds then decreased whereas dust concentrations at Station 402 peaked with each peak in the wind speed. This likely reflects a limited PM10 source that is quickly expended at Station 401 relative to an abundant PM10 source at Station 402. In CY2013, to facilitate comparisons between radiological analyses of collected dust, the filter media at all three stations will be standardized. In addition, a sequence of samples will be collected at Station 400 using both types of filter media to enable development of a mathematical relationship between the results derived from the two filter types. Additionally, having acquired approximately four years of observations at Stations 400 and 401 and a year of observations at Station 402, a period-of-record analysis of the radiological and airborne dust conditions will be undertaken.« less
Authors:
; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1091876
Report Number(s):
DOE 45250
DRI DOE/NV/0000939-08
DOE Contract Number:
DE-NA0000939
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Desert Research Institute, Nevada University, Reno, NV (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES In 1963, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), predecessor to the US Department of Energy (DOE), implemented Operation Roller Coaster on the Tonopah Test Range (TTR) and an adjacent area of the Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR) (formerly the Nellis Air Force Range (NAFR)). Operation Roller Coaster consisted of four tests in which chemical explosions were detonated in the presence of nuclear devices to assess the dispersal of radionuclides and evaluate the effectiveness of storage structures to contain the ejected radionuclides. These tests resulted in dispersal of plutonium over the ground surface downwind of the test ground zero. Three tests, Clean Slate 1, 2, and 3, were conducted on the TTR in Cactus Flat; the fourth, Double Tracks, was conducted in Stonewall Flat on the NTTR. DOE is working to clean up and close all four sites. Substantial cleaned up has been accomplished at Double Tracks and Clean Slate 1. Cleanup of Clean Slate 2 and 3 is on the DOE planning horizon for some time in the next several years. The Desert Research Institute installed two monitoring stations, number 400 at the Sandia National Laboratories Range Operations Center and number 401 at Clean Slate 3, in 2008 and a third monitoring station, number 402 at Clean Slate 1, in 2011 to measure radiological, meteorological, and dust conditions. The primary objectives of the data collection and analysis effort are to (1) monitor the concentration of radiological parameters in dust particles suspended in air, (2) determine whether winds are re-distributing radionuclides or contaminated soil material, (3) evaluate the controlling meteorological conditions if wind transport is occurring, and (4) measure ancillary radiological, meteorological, and environmental parameters that might provide insight to the above assessments.