Modeling of Groundwater Flow and Radionuclide Transport at the Climax Mine sub-CAU, Nevada Test Site

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The Yucca Flat-Climax Mine Corrective Action Unit (CAU) on the Nevada Test Site comprises 747 underground nuclear detonations, all but three of which were conducted in alluvial, volcanic, and carbonate rocks in Yucca Flat. The remaining three tests were conducted in the very different hydrogeologic setting of the Climax Mine granite stock located in Area 15 at the northern end of Yucca Flat. As part of the Corrective Action Investigation (CAI) for the Yucca Flat-Climax Mine CAU, models of groundwater flow and radionuclide transport will be developed for Yucca Flat. However, two aspects of these CAU-scale models require focused modeling ... continued below

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Pohlmann, K.; Ye, M.; Reeves, D.; Zavarin, M.; Decker, D. & Chapman, J. September 28, 2007.

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The Yucca Flat-Climax Mine Corrective Action Unit (CAU) on the Nevada Test Site comprises 747 underground nuclear detonations, all but three of which were conducted in alluvial, volcanic, and carbonate rocks in Yucca Flat. The remaining three tests were conducted in the very different hydrogeologic setting of the Climax Mine granite stock located in Area 15 at the northern end of Yucca Flat. As part of the Corrective Action Investigation (CAI) for the Yucca Flat-Climax Mine CAU, models of groundwater flow and radionuclide transport will be developed for Yucca Flat. However, two aspects of these CAU-scale models require focused modeling at the northern end of Yucca Flat beyond the capability of these large models. First, boundary conditions and boundary flows along the northern reaches of the Yucca Flat-Climax Mine CAU require evaluation to a higher level of detail than the CAU-scale Yucca Flat model can efficiently provide. Second, radionuclide fluxes from the Climax tests require analysis of flow and transport in fractured granite, a unique hydrologic environment as compared to Yucca Flat proper. This report describes the Climax Mine sub-CAU modeling studies conducted to address these issues, with the results providing a direct feed into the CAI for the Yucca Flat-Climax Mine CAU. Three underground nuclear detonations were conducted for weapons effects testing in the Climax stock between 1962 and 1966: Hard Hat, Pile Driver, and Tiny Tot. Though there is uncertainty regarding the position of the water table in the stock, it is likely that all three tests were conducted in the unsaturated zone. In the early 1980s, the Spent Fuel Test-Climax (SFT-C) was constructed to evaluate the feasibility of retrievable, deep geologic storage of commercial nuclear reactor wastes. Detailed mapping of fractures and faults carried out for the SFT-C studies greatly expanded earlier data sets collected in association with the nuclear tests and provided invaluable information for subsequent modeling studies at Climax. The objectives of the Climax Mine sub-CAU work are to (1) provide simulated heads and groundwater flows for the northern boundaries of the Yucca Flat-Climax Mine CAU model, while incorporating alternative conceptualizations of the hydrogeologic system with their associated uncertainty, and (2) provide radionuclide fluxes from the three tests in the Climax stock using modeling techniques that account for groundwater flow in fractured granite. Meeting these two objectives required two different model scales. The northern boundary groundwater fluxes were addressed using the Death Valley Regional Flow System (DVRFS) model (Belcher, 2004) developed by the U.S. Geological Survey as a modeling framework, with refined hydrostratigraphy in a zone north of Yucca Flat and including Climax stock. Radionuclide transport was simulated using a separate model confined to the granite stock itself, but linked to regional groundwater flow through boundary conditions and calibration targets.

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  • Report No.: DOE/NV/26383- 06
  • Report No.: 45226
  • Grant Number: AC52-06NA26383
  • DOI: 10.2172/922626 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 922626
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc894710

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • September 28, 2007

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Jan. 22, 2018, 1:34 p.m.

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Pohlmann, K.; Ye, M.; Reeves, D.; Zavarin, M.; Decker, D. & Chapman, J. Modeling of Groundwater Flow and Radionuclide Transport at the Climax Mine sub-CAU, Nevada Test Site, report, September 28, 2007; Nevada. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc894710/: accessed May 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.