Environmental sampling and radionuclide analysis of the resulting material can be utilized as a supplemental approach in safeguarding practices and particularly for detection of undeclared nuclear activities. The production of nuclear weapons could be pursued by uranium enrichment processes to produce highly enriched U-235 or by nuclear reactor operations followed by chemical separations to produce Pu-239. The application of either of these processes results in the production of signature materials, some of which will be released to the environs. Results from the operations of the Hanford production facilities are discussed and indicate the type of signatures that may be expected from plutonium production facilities. These include noble gas emissions from the reactors and chemical separations processes, the production of radionuclides in reactor cooling water followed by their subsequent release to the Columbia River, and the release of mildly contaminated process water from the chemical processing facilities. These signature materials are carried by both gaseous and liqid effluents and enter various compartments of the environment. The types of signature materials which are most likely to be accumulated are discussed, together with examples of the quantities which have been released during past separations. There are numerous processes by which natural uranium may be enriched to produce highly enriched U-235. The most definitive signature of such processes is always a modification in uranium isotope ratios, and materials showing either enriched or depleted uranium in gaseous and liquid effluents provide the best indication that uramium enrichment processes are taking place. Therefore, techniques for sampling and analysis of airborne, waterborne, or deposited uranium in environmental matrices provide a means of detecting uranium enrichment which may lead to proliferation products.
This report contains the environmental setting information developed for 25 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) installations in support of the DOE`s Programmatic Environmental Impact Study (PEIS) and the Baseline Environmental Management Report (BEMR). The common objective of the PEIS and the BEMR is to provide the public with information about the environmental contamination problems associated with major DOE facilities across the country, and to assess the relative risks that radiological and hazardous contaminants pose to the public, onsite workers, and the environment. Environmental setting information consists of the site-specific data required to model (using the Multimedia Environmental Pollutant Assessment System) the atmospheric, groundwater, and surface water transport of contaminants within and near the boundaries of the installations. The environmental settings data describes the climate, atmospheric dispersion, hydrogeology, and surface water characteristics of the installations. The number of discrete environmental settings established for each installation was governed by two competing requirements: (1) the risks posed by contaminants released from numerous waste sites were to be modeled as accurately as possible, and (2) the modeling required for numerous release sites and a large number of contaminants had to be completed within the limits imposed by the PEIS and BEMR schedule. The final product is the result of attempts to balance these competing concerns in a way that minimizes the number of settings per installation in order to meet the project schedule while at the same, time providing adequate, if sometimes highly simplified, representations of the different areas within an installation. Environmental settings were developed in conjunction with installation experts in the fields of meteorology, geology, hydrology, and geochemistry.