skip to main content

Title: GROUNDWATER RADIOIODINE: PREVALENCE, BIOGEOCHEMISTRY, AND POTENTIAL REMEDIAL APPROACHES

Iodine-129 ({sup 129}I) has not received as much attention in basic and applied research as other contaminants associated with DOE plumes. These other contaminants, such as uranium, plutonium, strontium, and technetium are more widespread and exist at more DOE facilities. Yet, at the Hanford Site and the Savannah River Site {sup 129}I occurs in groundwater at concentrations significantly above the primary drinking water standard and there is no accepted method for treating it, other than pump-and-treat systems. With the potential arrival of a 'Nuclear Renaissance', new nuclear power facilities will be creating additional {sup 129}I waste at a rate of 1 Ci/gigawatts energy produced. If all 22 proposed nuclear power facilities in the U.S. get approved, they will produce more {sup 129}I waste in seven years than presently exists at the two facilities containing the largest {sup 129}I inventories, ({approx}146 Ci {sup 129}I at the Hanford Site and the Savannah River Site). Hence, there is an important need to fully understand {sup 129}I behavior in the environment to clean up existing plumes and to support the expected future expansion of nuclear power production. {sup 129}I is among the key risk drivers at all DOE nuclear disposal facilities where {sup 129}Imore » is buried, because of its long half-life (16 million years), high toxicity (90% of the body's iodine accumulates in the thyroid), high inventory, and perceived high mobility in the subsurface environment. Another important reason that {sup 129}I is a key risk driver is that there is the uncertainty regarding its biogeochemical fate and transport in the environment. We typically can define {sup 129}I mass balance and flux at sites, but can not accurately predict its response to changes in the environment. This uncertainty is in part responsible for the low drinking water standard, 1 pCi/L {sup 129}I, and the low permissible inventory limits (Ci) at the Savannah River Site, Hanford Site, and the former Yucca Mountain disposal facilities. The objectives of this report are to: (1) compile the background information necessary to understand behavior of {sup 129}I in the environment, (2) discuss sustainable remediation approaches to {sup 129}I contaminated groundwater, and (3) identify areas of research that will facilitate remediation of {sup 129}I contaminated areas on DOE sites. Lines of scientific inquiry that would significantly advance the goals of basic and applied research programs for accelerating {sup 129}I environmental remediation and reducing uncertainty associated with disposal of {sup 129}I waste are: (1) Evaluation of amendments or other treatment systems that can sequester subsurface groundwater {sup 129}I. (2) Develop analytical techniques for measurement of total {sup 129}I that eliminate the necessity of collecting and shipping large samples of groundwater. (3) Develop and evaluate ways to manipulate areas with organic-rich soil, such as wetlands, to maximize {sup 129}I sorption, minimizing releases during anoxic conditions. (4) Develop analytical techniques that can identify the various {sup 129}I species in the subsurface aqueous and solid phases at ambient concentrations and under ambient conditions. (5) Identify the mechanisms and factors controlling iodine-natural organic matter interactions at appropriate environmental concentrations. (6) Understand the biological processes that transform iodine species throughout different compartments of subsurface waste sites and the role that these processes have on {sup 129}I flux.« less
Authors:
; ;
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
965394
Report Number(s):
SRNL-STI-2009-00463
TRN: US0903883
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC09-08SR22470
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
SRS
Sponsoring Org:
DOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES, AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; 29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY AND ECONOMY; BIOGEOCHEMISTRY; DRINKING WATER; ECOLOGICAL CONCENTRATION; HALF-LIFE; IODINE; IODINE 129; MASS BALANCE; NUCLEAR POWER; ORGANIC MATTER; PLUMES; PLUTONIUM; RESEARCH PROGRAMS; STRONTIUM; TECHNETIUM; THYROID; TOXICITY; URANIUM; WASTES; WETLANDS; YUCCA MOUNTAIN