Bomb-Pulse Chlorine-36 At The Proposed Yucca Mountain Repository Horizon: An Investigation Of Previous Conflicting Results And Collection Of New Data

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Previous studies by scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) found elevated ratios of chlorine-36 to total chloride ({sup 36}Cl/Cl) in samples of rock collected from the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF) and the Enhanced Characterization of the Repository Block (ECRB) at Yucca Mountain as the tunnels were excavated. The data were interpreted as an indication that fluids containing 'bomb-pulse' {sup 36}Cl reached the repository horizon in the {approx}50 years since the peak period of above-ground nuclear testing. Moreover, the data support the concept that so-called fast pathways for infiltration not only exist but are active, possibly through a combination of ... continued below

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Cizdziel, J. July 28, 2006.

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Previous studies by scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) found elevated ratios of chlorine-36 to total chloride ({sup 36}Cl/Cl) in samples of rock collected from the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF) and the Enhanced Characterization of the Repository Block (ECRB) at Yucca Mountain as the tunnels were excavated. The data were interpreted as an indication that fluids containing 'bomb-pulse' {sup 36}Cl reached the repository horizon in the {approx}50 years since the peak period of above-ground nuclear testing. Moreover, the data support the concept that so-called fast pathways for infiltration not only exist but are active, possibly through a combination of porous media, faults and/or other geologic features. Due to the significance of {sup 36}Cl data to conceptual models of unsaturated zone flow and transport, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) was requested by the Department of Energy (DOE) to design and implement a study to validate the LANL findings. The USGS chose to drill new boreholes at select locations across zones where bomb-pulse ratios had previously been identified. The drill cores were analyzed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) for {sup 36}Cl/Cl using both active and passive leaches, with the USGS/LLNL concluding that the active leach extracted too much rock-Cl and the passive leach did not show bomb-pulse ratios. Because consensus was not reached between the USGS/LLNL and LANL on several fundamental points, including the conceptual strategy for sampling, interpretation and use of tritium ({sup 3}H) data, and the importance and interpretation of blanks, in addition to the presence or absence of bomb-pulse {sup 36}Cl, an evaluation by an independent entity, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), using new samples was initiated. This report is the result of that study. The overall objectives of the UNLV study were to investigate the source or sources of the conflicting results from the previous validation study, and to obtain additional data to determine whether or not there are bomb-pulse isotopes at the repository horizon. To that en4 we have engaged in discussions with previous investigators, reviewed reports, and analyzed archived samples. We have also collected new samples of rock from the ESF, soil profiles from the surface of Yucca Mountain, and opportunistic samples of seep water from inside the south ramp of the ESF.

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  • Report No.: TR-06-002, Rev. 0
  • Grant Number: NA
  • DOI: 10.2172/894307 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 894307
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc881126

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  • July 28, 2006

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Dec. 2, 2016, 8:43 p.m.

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Cizdziel, J. Bomb-Pulse Chlorine-36 At The Proposed Yucca Mountain Repository Horizon: An Investigation Of Previous Conflicting Results And Collection Of New Data, report, July 28, 2006; Las Vegas, Nevada. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc881126/: accessed December 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.