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Incorporating long-term climate change in performance assessment for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant

Description: The United States Department of Energy (DOE) is developing the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in southeastern New Mexico for the disposal of transuranic wastes generated by defense programs. Applicable regulations (40 CFR 191) require the DOE to evaluate disposal-system performance for 10,000 yr. Climatic changes may affect performance by altering groundwater flow. Paleoclimatic data from southeastern New Mexico and the surrounding area indicate that the wettest and coolest Quaternary climate at the site can be represented by that at the last glacial maximum, when mean annual precipitation was approximately twice that of the present. The hottest and driest climates have been similar to that of the present. The regularity of global glacial cycles during the late Pleistocene confirms that the climate of the last glacial maximum is suitable for use as a cooler and wetter bound for variability during the next 10,000 yr. Climate variability is incorporated into groundwater-flow modeling for WIPP PA by causing hydraulic head in a portion of the model-domain boundary to rise to the ground surface with hypothetical increases in precipitation during the next 10,000 yr. Variability in modeled disposal-system performance introduced by allowing had values to vary over this range is insignificant compared to variability resulting from other causes, including incomplete understanding of transport processes. Preliminary performance assessments suggest that climate variability will not affect regulatory compliance.
Date: March 1, 1994
Creator: Swift, P.N.; Baker, B.L.; Economy, K.; Garner, J.W.; Helton, J.C. & Rudeen, D.K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Preliminary comparison with 40 CFR Part 191, Subpart B for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, December 1990

Description: The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) is planned as the first mined geologic repository for transuranic (TRU) wastes generated by defense programs of the United States Department of Energy (DOE). Before disposing of waste at the WIPP, the DOE must evaluate compliance with the United states Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Standard, Environmental Radiation Protection Standards for Management and Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel, High-Level and Transuranic Radioactive Wastes (40 CFR Part 191, US EPA, 1985). Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) is evaluating long-term performance against criteria in Subpart B of the Standard. Performance assessment'' as used in this report includes analyses for the Containment Requirements ({section} 191.13(a)) and the Individual Protection Requirements ({section} 191.15). Because proving predictions about future human actions or natural events is not possible, the EPA expects compliance to be determined on the basis of specified quantitative analyses and informed, qualitative judgment. The goal of the WIPP performance-assessment team at SNL is to provide as detailed and thorough a basis as practical for the quantitative aspects of that decision. This report summarizes SNL's late-1990 understanding of the WIPP Project's ability to evaluate compliance with Subpart B. 245 refs., 88 figs., 23 tabs.
Date: December 1, 1990
Creator: Bertram-Howery, S.G.; Marietta, M.G.; Rechard, R.P.; Anderson, D.R. (Sandia National Labs., Albuquerque, NM (USA)); Swift, P.N. (Tech. Reps., Inc., Albuquerque, NM (USA)); Baker, B.L. (Technadyne Engineering Consultants, Inc., Albuquerque, NM (USA)) et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department