Continued investigations of the occurrence of water in Pahute Mesa emplacement holes

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Periodically, water has been observed in emplacement boreholes drilled for underground testing of nuclear weapons at Pahute Mesa, Nevada Test Site, and is often at levels elevated above the predicted local water table. Water which may provide a means to transport residual radionuclides away from weapon tests may originate as fluids introduced during drilling, from naturally perched groundwater draining into the borehole, or from penetration of the local groundwater table. Lithium-bromide (Li-Br) tracer is being used to evaluate both the origin and movement of these borehole waters. The drilling fluid used to drill the final 100 meters of borehole U-19bh ... continued below

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15 p.

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Hershey, R.L. & Brikowski, T.H. April 1, 1995.

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Description

Periodically, water has been observed in emplacement boreholes drilled for underground testing of nuclear weapons at Pahute Mesa, Nevada Test Site, and is often at levels elevated above the predicted local water table. Water which may provide a means to transport residual radionuclides away from weapon tests may originate as fluids introduced during drilling, from naturally perched groundwater draining into the borehole, or from penetration of the local groundwater table. Lithium-bromide (Li-Br) tracer is being used to evaluate both the origin and movement of these borehole waters. The drilling fluid used to drill the final 100 meters of borehole U-19bh was chemically labeled with LiBr tracer. Lack of significant increase in borehole Br inventory over time indicates that standing water in U-9bh is not returned drilling fluid. Possible sources for the standing water are drilling fluid infiltrated above the bottom 100 in or natural water from a perched or shallower-than-expected saturated zone. The minimum detectable Darcy velocity of water passing through U-19bh is 0.3 m/yr. Borehole U-19bk has a water level approximately 50 in above the predicted pre-drilling water level. Initial water samples were collected from U-19bk to characterize the borehole water quality prior to adding the tracer. The major-ion analytical results of U-19bk along with historical water quality analyses of Water Well 20 and water well UE-19c show that all three waters are similar in character and therefore the water in U-19bk may be either residual drilling fluids originating from Water Well 20 and UE-19c or naturally occurring Pahute Mesa groundwater. LiBr tracer was added to the U-19bk borehole and samples for tracer analysis were collected one month later. For the one month period, no detectable loss of Br was observed. Over this short time period, the minimum detectable Darcy velocity is 10.6 m/yr.

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15 p.

Notes

OSTI as DE95011583

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  • Other Information: PBD: Apr 1995

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  • Other: DE95011583
  • Report No.: DOE/NV/10845--52
  • Grant Number: AC08-90NV10845
  • DOI: 10.2172/64179 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 64179
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc698495

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  • April 1, 1995

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  • Aug. 14, 2015, 8:43 a.m.

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  • Nov. 19, 2015, 6:30 p.m.

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Hershey, R.L. & Brikowski, T.H. Continued investigations of the occurrence of water in Pahute Mesa emplacement holes, report, April 1, 1995; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc698495/: accessed August 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.