Airborne Dust Cloud Measurements at the INL National Security Test Range

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On July 11, 2007, a surface, high-explosive test (<20,000 lb TNT-equivalent) was carried out at the National Security Test Range (NSTR) on the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) Site. Aircraft-mounted rapid response (1-sec) particulate monitors were used to measure airborne PM-10 concentrations directly in the dust cloud and to develop a PM-10 emission factor that could be used for subsequent tests at the NSTR. The blast produced a mushroom-like dust cloud that rose approximately 2,500–3,000 ft above ground level, which quickly dissipated (within 5 miles of the source). In general, the cloud was smaller and less persistence than expected, or that ... continued below

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Abbott, Michael L.; Stanley, Norm; Radke, Larry & Smeltzer, Charles September 1, 2007.

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On July 11, 2007, a surface, high-explosive test (<20,000 lb TNT-equivalent) was carried out at the National Security Test Range (NSTR) on the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) Site. Aircraft-mounted rapid response (1-sec) particulate monitors were used to measure airborne PM-10 concentrations directly in the dust cloud and to develop a PM-10 emission factor that could be used for subsequent tests at the NSTR. The blast produced a mushroom-like dust cloud that rose approximately 2,500–3,000 ft above ground level, which quickly dissipated (within 5 miles of the source). In general, the cloud was smaller and less persistence than expected, or that might occur in other areas, likely due to the coarse sand and subsurface conditions that characterize the immediate NSTR area. Maximum short time-averaged (1-sec) PM-10 concentrations at the center of the cloud immediately after the event reached 421 µg m-3 but were rapidly reduced (by atmospheric dispersion and fallout) to near background levels (~10 µg m-3) after about 15 minutes. This occurred well within the INL Site boundary, about 8 km (5 miles) from the NSTR source. These findings demonstrate that maximum concentrations in ambient air beyond the INL Site boundary (closest is 11.2 km from NSTR) from these types of tests would be well within the 150 µg m-3 24-hour National Ambient Air Quality Standards for PM-10. Aircraft measurements and geostatistical techniques were used to successfully quantify the initial volume (1.64E+9 m3 or 1.64 km3) and mass (250 kg) of the PM-10 dust cloud, and a PM-10 emission factor (20 kg m-3 crater soil volume) was developed for this specific type of event at NSTR. The 250 kg of PM-10 mass estimated from this experiment is almost seven-times higher than the 36 kg estimated for the environmental assessment (DOE-ID 2007) using available Environmental Protection Agency (EPA 1995) emission factors. This experiment demonstrated that advanced aircraft-mounted instruments operated by experienced atmospheric research groups, such as the INL and Airborne Research Consultants LLC team, can safely and effectively assess difficult air pollutant questions at the INL Site and elsewhere that cannot be otherwise answered. This site-specific, measurement-based assessment provides valuable input to stakeholders in judging the risks associated with these types of events and NSTR project staff in the development of future experimental design and environmental impact assessments.

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  • Report No.: INL/EXT-07-13173
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-99ID-13727
  • DOI: 10.2172/920410 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 920410
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc895672

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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.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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Creation Date

  • September 1, 2007

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

Description Last Updated

  • Nov. 7, 2016, 3:57 p.m.

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Abbott, Michael L.; Stanley, Norm; Radke, Larry & Smeltzer, Charles. Airborne Dust Cloud Measurements at the INL National Security Test Range, report, September 1, 2007; [Idaho Falls, Idaho]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc895672/: accessed May 26, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.