Rapid Migration of Radionuclides Leaked from High-Level Waste Tanks: A Study of Salinity Gradients, Wetted Path Geometry and Water Vapor Transport

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The primary objective of this project is to develop a basic understanding of the fate and transport of caustic radioactive brines through the vadose zone. Research is focused primarily on migration of high level waste leaked from single-shell tanks under environmental conditions, and over temporal and spatial scales relevant to the Hanford Site. Understanding the fate and transport of these wastes through the vadose zone is critical to the development of a framework for evaluating different waste retrieval/remediation strategies and the associated health risks. The hypothesis underlying this project is that elevated surface tension of the leaked tank wastes will ... continued below

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Ward, Anderson L.; Gee, Glendon W. & Tyler, Scott W. June 1, 1999.

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Description

The primary objective of this project is to develop a basic understanding of the fate and transport of caustic radioactive brines through the vadose zone. Research is focused primarily on migration of high level waste leaked from single-shell tanks under environmental conditions, and over temporal and spatial scales relevant to the Hanford Site. Understanding the fate and transport of these wastes through the vadose zone is critical to the development of a framework for evaluating different waste retrieval/remediation strategies and the associated health risks. The hypothesis underlying this project is that elevated surface tension of the leaked tank wastes will strongly inhibit lateral contaminant spreading, giving rise to narrow fingers of infiltration through the vadose zone. The extent and persistence of these fingers will be enhanced by the water migrating into the saline zone in response to the osmotic potential gradient. To validate this hypothesis, this project combines a series of laboratory, field, and numerical experiments with the following specific objectives: (1) investigate the effect of elevated surface tension of highly saline fluids on wetting front instability, finger formation, and contaminant mobility; (2) investigate the conditions under which osmotically driven vapor flux is operative and quantify its impact on plume transport; and (3) develop and incorporate a theory describing these processes into an existing DOE-developed, numerical simulator to allow prediction of contaminant migration at realistic spatial and temporal scales.

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  • Other Information: PBD: 1 Jun 1999

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  • Report No.: EMSP-65410--1999
  • Grant Number: FG07-98ER14925
  • Grant Number: FG07-98ER14920
  • DOI: 10.2172/833277 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 833277
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc787910

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  • June 1, 1999

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  • Dec. 3, 2015, 9:30 a.m.

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  • April 21, 2016, 6:52 p.m.

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Ward, Anderson L.; Gee, Glendon W. & Tyler, Scott W. Rapid Migration of Radionuclides Leaked from High-Level Waste Tanks: A Study of Salinity Gradients, Wetted Path Geometry and Water Vapor Transport, report, June 1, 1999; Richland, Washington. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc787910/: accessed August 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.