Transport Models for Radioactive Carbon Dioxide at RWMC

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Radioactive carbon dioxide (formed by oxidation of carbon-14) is a highly mobile, radioactive contaminant released from solid wastes buried at the Subsurface Disposal Area (SDA) at the Radioactive Waste Management Complex (RWMC) at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL). Radioactive CO2 is chemically active in the environment, volatile, water soluble, and subject to adsorption on solids. For this reason, its fate must be understood and controlled to meet radiological requirements (protection of the atmosphere, aquifer, vadose zones, plants and animals). In the present work, the migration of carbon-14 as dissolved bicarbonate was studied using miscible displacement experiments in ... continued below

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Hull, Laurence Charles & Hohorst, Frederick August December 1, 2001.

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Radioactive carbon dioxide (formed by oxidation of carbon-14) is a highly mobile, radioactive contaminant released from solid wastes buried at the Subsurface Disposal Area (SDA) at the Radioactive Waste Management Complex (RWMC) at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL). Radioactive CO2 is chemically active in the environment, volatile, water soluble, and subject to adsorption on solids. For this reason, its fate must be understood and controlled to meet radiological requirements (protection of the atmosphere, aquifer, vadose zones, plants and animals). In the present work, the migration of carbon-14 as dissolved bicarbonate was studied using miscible displacement experiments in water-saturated columns containing sediments from RWMC. Dissolved carbon-14 was retarded relative to the movement of water by a factor of about 3.6, which translates to a partition coefficient (Kd) of 0.8 ml/g. Two different adsorption sites were identified, with one site possibly having a nonlinear adsorption isotherm. A conservative tracer gas, sulfur hexafluoride, was used to measure the tortuosity of sedimentary material for gaseous diffusion. The tortuosity of the RWMC sediment (Spreading Area B sediment) was determined to be 3.2, which is slightly greater than predicted by the commonly used Millington-Quirk equation. In terms of affecting the migration of carbon-14 to the aquifer, the relative importance of the parameters studied is: (1) natural moisture content of the sediments, (2) sediment tortuosity to gas-phase diffusion, and (3) adsorption onto solid phases.

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  • Report No.: INEEL/EXT-01-00894
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-99ID-13727
  • DOI: 10.2172/910680 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 910680
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc886996

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  • December 1, 2001

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Nov. 7, 2016, 7:50 p.m.

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Hull, Laurence Charles & Hohorst, Frederick August. Transport Models for Radioactive Carbon Dioxide at RWMC, report, December 1, 2001; [Idaho Falls, Idaho]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc886996/: accessed June 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.