Tritium migration studies at the Nevada Test Site

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Emanation of tritium from waste containers is a commonly known phenomenon. Release of tritium from buried waste packages was anticipated, therefore a research program was developed to study both the rate of tritium release from buried containers and subsequent migration of tritium through soil. Migration of tritium away from low level radioactive wastes buried in Area 5 of the Nevada Test Site was studied. Four distinct disposal events were investigated. The oldest burial event studied was a 1976 emplacement of 3.5 million curies of tritium in a shallow land burial trench. Tritium transport to the atmosphere by plant transpiration was ... continued below

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Pages: (17 p)

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Schulz, R.K.; Romney, E.M.; Fujii, L.M.; Greger, P.D. (California Univ., Berkeley, CA (United States)); Kendall, E.W. & Hunter, R.B. (Reynolds Electrical and Engineering Co., Inc., Las Vegas, NV (United States)) August 1, 1991.

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Emanation of tritium from waste containers is a commonly known phenomenon. Release of tritium from buried waste packages was anticipated, therefore a research program was developed to study both the rate of tritium release from buried containers and subsequent migration of tritium through soil. Migration of tritium away from low level radioactive wastes buried in Area 5 of the Nevada Test Site was studied. Four distinct disposal events were investigated. The oldest burial event studied was a 1976 emplacement of 3.5 million curies of tritium in a shallow land burial trench. Tritium transport to the atmosphere by plant transpiration was determined to have risen sharply with the passage of time, and is now occurring at the rate of about 6 curies per year. The tritium being released from this waste has not resulted in elevated tritium levels in the urine of people working directly on the trench cap. Air samplers placed around the perimeter of the Area 5 site show no higher tritium levels than the Nevada Test Site in general. In another event, 248 thousand curies of tritium was disposed of in an overpack emplaced 6 meters below the floor of a low-level waste disposal pit. Measurement of the emanation rate of tritium out of 55 gallon drums to the overpack was studied, and an annual doubling of the emanation rate over a seven year period was found. No evidence of significant migration of tritium away from the overpack was found. In a third study, upward tritium migration in the soil was observed in a greater confinement disposal test. The movement was suspected largely to be the result of experimental anomalies and heat generated by other radionuclides present in the waste. Releases of tritium to the atmosphere were found to be insignificant. The fourth event consisted of burial of 2.2 million curies of tritium in a greater confinement disposal operation. No significant migration was found. 4 refs., 4 figs., 6 tabs.

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Pages: (17 p)

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OSTI; NTIS; INIS; GPO Dep.

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  • Other: DE92000278
  • Report No.: DOE/NV-345
  • Grant Number: AC08-89NV10755
  • DOI: 10.2172/5302465 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 5302465
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc1074739

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  • August 1, 1991

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Feb. 4, 2018, 10:51 a.m.

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  • March 5, 2018, 6:16 p.m.

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Schulz, R.K.; Romney, E.M.; Fujii, L.M.; Greger, P.D. (California Univ., Berkeley, CA (United States)); Kendall, E.W. & Hunter, R.B. (Reynolds Electrical and Engineering Co., Inc., Las Vegas, NV (United States)). Tritium migration studies at the Nevada Test Site, report, August 1, 1991; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1074739/: accessed May 26, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.