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Title: Nevada National Security Site 2012 Waste Management Monitoring Report Area 3 and Area 5 Radioactive Waste Management Site

Environmental monitoring data are collected at and around the Area 3 and Area 5 Radioactive Waste Management Sites (RWMSs) at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS). These data are associated with radiation exposure, air, groundwater, meteorology, and vadose zone. This report summarizes the 2012 environmental data to provide an overall evaluation of RWMS performance and to support environmental compliance and performance assessment (PA) activities. Some of these data (e.g., radiation exposure, air, and groundwater) are presented in other reports (National Security Technologies, LLC, 2012; 2013a; 2013b). Direct radiation monitoring data indicate exposure levels at the RWMSs are within the range of background levels measured at the NNSS. Slightly elevated exposure levels outside the Area 3 RWMS are attributed to nearby historical aboveground nuclear weapons tests. Air monitoring data show tritium concentrations in water vapor and americium and plutonium concentrations in air particles are only slightly above detection limits and background levels. The measured levels of radionuclides in air particulates and moisture are below Derived Concentration Standards for these radionuclides. Groundwater monitoring data indicate the groundwater in the uppermost aquifer beneath the Area 5 RWMS is not impacted by RWMS operations. Results of groundwater analysis from wells around the Area 5more » RWMS were all below established investigation levels. Leachate samples collected from the leachate collection system at the mixed low-level waste cell were below established contaminant regulatory limits. The 133.9 millimeters (mm) (5.27 inches [in.]) of precipitation at the Area 3 RWMS during 2012 is 12% below the average of 153.0 mm (6.02 in.), and the 137.6 mm (5.42 in.) of precipitation at the Area 5 RWMS during 2012 is 11% below the average of 122.4 mm (4.82 in.). Water balance measurements indicate that evapotranspiration from the vegetated weighing lysimeter dries the soil and prevents downward percolation of precipitation more effectively than evaporation from the bare-soil weighing lysimeter. Automated vadose zone monitoring on Area 5 and Area 3 RWMS cell covers show no evidence of precipitation percolating through the cover to the waste. Moisture from precipitation did not percolate below 60 centimeters (cm) (2 feet [ft]) in the vegetated final cover on the U-3ax/bl disposal unit at the Area 3 RWMS, and moisture from precipitation and irrigation did not percolate below 45 cm (1.5 ft) on the 92-Acre Area final cover. Irrigation was applied to this cover for seed germination and plant growth. During 2012, there was no drainage through 2.4 meters (8 ft) of soil from the Area 3 drainage lysimeters that received only natural precipitation. Twenty percent of the applied precipitation and irrigation drained from the bare-soil drainage lysimeter that received 3 times natural precipitation. All 2012 monitoring data indicate that the Area 3 and Area 5 RWMSs are performing within expectations of the model and parameter assumptions for the facility PAs.« less
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Nevada Test Site/National Security Technologies, LLC (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
Contributing Orgs:
NSTec Environmental Management
Country of Publication:
United States
12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES environmental monitoring, groundwater, vadose, air, Area 3, Area 5, Radioactive Waste Management Sites