Assessment of hydrologic transport of radionuclides from the Gnome underground nuclear test site, New Mexico

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is operating an environmental restoration program to characterize, remediate, and close non-Nevada Test Site locations that were used for nuclear testing. Evaluation of radionuclide transport by groundwater from these sites is an important part of the preliminary site risk analysis. These evaluations are undertaken to allow prioritization of the test areas in terms of risk, provide a quantitative basis for discussions with regulators and the public about future work at the sites, and provide a framework for assessing data needs to be filled by site characterization. The Gnome site in southeastern New Mexico was ... continued below

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Medium: P; Size: 45 p.

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Earman, S.; Chapman, J.; Pohlmann, K. & Andricevic, R. September 1, 1996.

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Description

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is operating an environmental restoration program to characterize, remediate, and close non-Nevada Test Site locations that were used for nuclear testing. Evaluation of radionuclide transport by groundwater from these sites is an important part of the preliminary site risk analysis. These evaluations are undertaken to allow prioritization of the test areas in terms of risk, provide a quantitative basis for discussions with regulators and the public about future work at the sites, and provide a framework for assessing data needs to be filled by site characterization. The Gnome site in southeastern New Mexico was the location of an underground detonation of a 3.5-kiloton nuclear device in 1961, and a hydrologic tracer test using radionuclides in 1963. The tracer test involved the injection of tritium, {sup 90}Sr, and {sup 137}Cs directly into the Culebra Dolomite, a nine to ten-meter-thick aquifer located approximately 150 in below land surface. The Gnome nuclear test was carried out in the Salado Formation, a thick salt deposit located 200 in below the Culebra. Because salt behaves plastically, the cavity created by the explosion is expected to close, and although there is no evidence that migration has actually occurred, it is assumed that radionuclides from the cavity are released into the overlying Culebra Dolomite during this closure process. Transport calculations were performed using the solute flux method, with input based on the limited data available for the site. Model results suggest that radionuclides may be present in concentrations exceeding drinking water regulations outside the drilling exclusion boundary established by DOE. Calculated mean tritium concentrations peak at values exceeding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency drinking water standard of 20,000 pCi/L at distances of up to almost eight kilometers west of the nuclear test.

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Medium: P; Size: 45 p.

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INIS; OSTI as DE97003545

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  • Other Information: PBD: Sep 1996

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  • Other: DE97003545
  • Report No.: DOE/NV/11508--11
  • Grant Number: AC08-95NV11508
  • DOI: 10.2172/442147 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 442147
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc687169

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  • September 1, 1996

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  • July 25, 2015, 2:21 a.m.

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  • June 14, 2016, 2:01 p.m.

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Earman, S.; Chapman, J.; Pohlmann, K. & Andricevic, R. Assessment of hydrologic transport of radionuclides from the Gnome underground nuclear test site, New Mexico, report, September 1, 1996; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc687169/: accessed November 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.