IN-SITU RADIONUCLIDE TRANSPORT NEAR THE NOPAL I URANIUM DEPOSIT AT PENA BLANCA, MEXICO: CONSTRAINTS FROM SHORT-LIVED DECAY-SERIES RADIONUCLIDES

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For nuclear waste management, an important mechanism by which radioactive waste components are isolated from returning to the human environment, the biosphere, is by the geological barrier in which the effectiveness of the barrier is characterized by in-situ retardation factor, i.e., the transport rate of a radionuclide relative to that of groundwater. As part of natural analog studies of the Yucca Mountain Project of the U. S. Department of Energy, we propose such characterization by using naturally-occurring decay-series radioisotopes as an analog. We collected large-volume (>1000 liters) groundwater samples from three wells (PB, Pozos, and PB4, respectively) near the Nopal ... continued below

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Luo, S.; Ku, T.L.; Todd, V.; Murrell, M.; Pineda, J. Alfredo Rodriguez; Dinsmoor, J. et al. July 11, 2005.

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For nuclear waste management, an important mechanism by which radioactive waste components are isolated from returning to the human environment, the biosphere, is by the geological barrier in which the effectiveness of the barrier is characterized by in-situ retardation factor, i.e., the transport rate of a radionuclide relative to that of groundwater. As part of natural analog studies of the Yucca Mountain Project of the U. S. Department of Energy, we propose such characterization by using naturally-occurring decay-series radioisotopes as an analog. We collected large-volume (>1000 liters) groundwater samples from three wells (PB, Pozos, and PB4, respectively) near the Nopal I Uranium Ore site at Pena Blanca, Mexico, by using an in-situ Mn-cartridge filtration technique for analysis of short-lived decay-series radionuclides. Results show that the activities of short-lived radioisotopes ({sup 228}Ra, {sup 224}Ra and {sup 223}Ra) and activity ratios of {sup 224}Ra/{sup 228}Ra and {sup 224}Ra/{sup 223}Ra are higher at PB and Pozos than at PB4. In contrast, the {sup 210}Po activity is much lower at PB and Pozos than at PB4. The high Ra activities and activities ratios at PB and Pozos are attributable to the high alpha-recoil input from the aquifer rocks, while the high {sup 210}Po activity at PB4 is due to the enhanced colloidal transport. Based on a uranium-series transport model, we estimate that the in-situ retardation factor of Ra is (0.43 {+-} 0.02) x 10{sup 3} at PB, (1.68 {+-} 0.08) x 10{sup 3} at Pozos, and (1.19 {+-} 0.08) x 10{sup 3} at PB4 and that the mean fracture width in the aquifer rocks is about 0.23 {micro}m at PB, 0.37 {micro}m at Posos, and 4.0 {micro}m at PB4, respectively. The large fracture width at PB4 as derived from the model provides an additional evidence to the inference from the Po measurements that particle-reactive radionuclides are transported mainly as colloidal forms through the large fractures in rocks. Our model also suggests that in addition to alpha recoil, decay of {sup 226}Ra from the adsorbed phases also contributes a significant source of {sup 222}Rn to groundwater. It appears that the information obtained from this study provides useful testing and validation for the Yucca Mountain total system performance assessment model (TSPA).

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  • Report No.: NA
  • Grant Number: NA
  • DOI: 10.2172/859189 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 859189
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc780482

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  • July 11, 2005

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  • Dec. 3, 2015, 9:30 a.m.

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  • Feb. 10, 2016, 2:59 p.m.

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Luo, S.; Ku, T.L.; Todd, V.; Murrell, M.; Pineda, J. Alfredo Rodriguez; Dinsmoor, J. et al. IN-SITU RADIONUCLIDE TRANSPORT NEAR THE NOPAL I URANIUM DEPOSIT AT PENA BLANCA, MEXICO: CONSTRAINTS FROM SHORT-LIVED DECAY-SERIES RADIONUCLIDES, report, July 11, 2005; Las Vegas, Nevada. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc780482/: accessed October 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.