Date: January 18, 2006
Creator: Shafer, D.; oung, M. Y; Zitzer, S.; McDonald, E. & Caldwell, T.
Description: Monolayer evapotranspiration (ET) covers are the baseline method for closure of disposal sites for low-level radioactive waste (LLW), mixed LLW, and transuranic (TRU) waste at the Nevada Test Site (NTS). The regulatory timeline is typically 1,000 years for LLW and 10,000 years for TRU waste. Covers for such waste have different technical considerations than those with shorter timelines because they are subject to environmental change for longer periods of time, and because the environmental processes are often coupled. To evaluate these changes, four analog sites (approximately 30, 1,000 to 2,000, 7,000 to 12,500, and 125,000 years in age) on the NTS were analyzed to address the early post-institutional control period (the youngest site), the 1,000-year compliance period for disposal of LLW, and the 10,000-year period for TRU waste. Tests included soil texture, structure, and morphology; surface soil infiltration and hydraulic conductivity; vegetation and faunal surveys; and literature reviews. Separate measurements were made in plant undercanopy and intercanopy areas. The results showed a progressive increase in silt and clay content of surface soils with age. Changes in soil texture and structure led to a fivefold decline in saturated hydraulic conductivity in intercanopy areas, but no change in undercanopies, which were subject ...
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