Evaluation of Recharge Potential at Crater U5a (WISHBONE)

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Description

Radionuclides are present both below and above the water table at the Nevada Test Site (NTS), as the result of underground nuclear testing. Mobilization and transport of radionuclides from the vadose zone is a complex process that is influenced by the solubility and sorption characteristics of the individual radionuclides, as well as the soil water flux. On the NTS, subsidence craters resulting from testing underground nuclear weapons are numerous, and many intercept surface water flows. Because craters collect surface water above the sub-surface point of device detonation, these craters may provide a mechanism for surface water to recharge the groundwater ... continued below

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46

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French, Richard H. & Hokett, Samuel L. November 1, 1998.

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Description

Radionuclides are present both below and above the water table at the Nevada Test Site (NTS), as the result of underground nuclear testing. Mobilization and transport of radionuclides from the vadose zone is a complex process that is influenced by the solubility and sorption characteristics of the individual radionuclides, as well as the soil water flux. On the NTS, subsidence craters resulting from testing underground nuclear weapons are numerous, and many intercept surface water flows. Because craters collect surface water above the sub-surface point of device detonation, these craters may provide a mechanism for surface water to recharge the groundwater aquifer system underlying the NTS. Given this situation, there is a potential for the captured water to introduce contaminants into the groundwater system. Crater U5a (WISHBONE), located in Frenchman Flat, was selected for study because of its potentially large drainage area, and significant erosional features, which suggested that it has captured more runoff than other craters in the Frenchman Flat area. Recharge conditions were studied in subsidence crater U5a by first drilling boreholes and analyzing the collected soil cores to determine the soil properties and moisture conditions. This information, coupled with a 32-year precipitation record, was used to conduct surface and vaodse zone modeling. Surface water modeling predicted that approximately 13 ponding events had occurred during the life of the crater. Vadose zone modeling indicated that since the crater's formation approximately 5,900 m3 of water were captured by the crater. Of this total, approximately 5,200 m3 of potential recahrge may have occurred, and the best estimates of annual average potential recharge rates lie between 36 and 188 cm of water per year. The term potential is used here to indicate that the water is not technically recharged because it has not yet reached the water table.

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46

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  • Other: DE00004352
  • Report No.: DOE/NV/11508-32
  • Report No.: 45160
  • Grant Number: AC08-95NV11508
  • DOI: 10.2172/4352 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 4352
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc683912

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  • November 1, 1998

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  • July 25, 2015, 2:20 a.m.

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  • July 25, 2016, 6:24 p.m.

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French, Richard H. & Hokett, Samuel L. Evaluation of Recharge Potential at Crater U5a (WISHBONE), report, November 1, 1998; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc683912/: accessed September 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.