Distribution of fast hydrologic paths in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain

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Development and testing of conceptual flow and transport models for hydrologic systems are strengthened when natural environmental tracers are incorporated into the process. One such tracer is chlorine-36 ({sup 36}Cl, half-life, 301,000 years), a radioactive isotope produced in the atmosphere and carried underground with percolating groundwater. High concentrations of this isotope were also added to meteoric water during a period of global fallout from atmospheric testing of nuclear devices, primarily in the 1950s. This bomb-pulse signal has been used to test for the presence of fast transport paths in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain and to provide the basis ... continued below

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4 p.

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Fabryka-Martin, J.T.; Wolfsberg, A.V.; Levy, S.S.; Roach, J.L.; Winters, S.T.; Wolfsberg, L.E. et al. December 31, 1998.

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Development and testing of conceptual flow and transport models for hydrologic systems are strengthened when natural environmental tracers are incorporated into the process. One such tracer is chlorine-36 ({sup 36}Cl, half-life, 301,000 years), a radioactive isotope produced in the atmosphere and carried underground with percolating groundwater. High concentrations of this isotope were also added to meteoric water during a period of global fallout from atmospheric testing of nuclear devices, primarily in the 1950s. This bomb-pulse signal has been used to test for the presence of fast transport paths in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain and to provide the basis for a conceptual model for their distribution. Yucca Mountain is under investigation by the US Department of Energy as a potential site at which to host an underground high-level radioactive waste repository. Under wetter climatic conditions, fast-flow pathways will respond quickly to increases in infiltration and have the potential to become seeps in the tunnel drifts. The {sup 36}Cl data are also being used in numerical flow and transport models to establish lower bounds on infiltration rates, estimate ground water ages, and establish bounding values for hydrologic flow parameters governing fracture transport.

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4 p.

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INIS; OSTI as DE99002607

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  • High-level radioactive waste management, La Grange Park, IL (United States), 11-14 May 1998

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  • Other: DE99002607
  • Report No.: LA-UR--98-4083
  • Report No.: CONF-9805180--
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-36
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 350841
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc677168

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  • December 31, 1998

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  • July 25, 2015, 2:20 a.m.

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  • May 18, 2016, 5:41 p.m.

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Fabryka-Martin, J.T.; Wolfsberg, A.V.; Levy, S.S.; Roach, J.L.; Winters, S.T.; Wolfsberg, L.E. et al. Distribution of fast hydrologic paths in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, article, December 31, 1998; New Mexico. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc677168/: accessed September 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.