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Archaeological data recovery at drill pad U19au, Nye County, Nevada

Description: Construction activities accompanying underground nuclear tests result in the disturbance of the surface terrain at the Nevada Test Site. In compliance with Federal legislation (National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (PL 89-665) and National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (PL 91-190)), the US Department of Energy (DOE), Field Office, Nevada, has long required that cultural resources studies must precede all land-disturbing activities on the Nevada Test Site. In accordance with 36 CFR Part 800, these studies consist of archaeological surveys conducted prior to the land-disturbing activities. The intent of these surveys is to identify and evaluate all cultural resources that might be adversely affected by the proposed construction activity. This report presents the final analysis of the data recovered from archaeological investigations conducted at the U19au drill site and access road. This report includes descriptions of the archaeological sites as recorded during the original survey, the research design used to guide the investigations, the method and techniques used to collect and analyze the data, and the results and interpretations of the analysis. 200 refs., 112 figs., 53 tabs.
Date: January 1, 1991
Creator: Henton, G.H. & Pippin, L.C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Assessment of hydrologic transport of radionuclides from the Rulison Underground Nuclear Test Site, Colorado

Description: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is operating an environmental restoration program to characterize, remediate, and close non-Nevada Test Site locations that were used for nuclear testing. Evaluation of radionuclide transport by groundwater from these sites is an important part of the preliminary risk analysis. These evaluations are undertaken to allow prioritization of the test areas in terms of risk, provide a quantitative basis for discussions with regulators and the public about future work at the sites, and provide a framework for assessing data needs to be filled by site characterization. The Rulison site in west-central Colorado was the location of an underground detonation of a 40-kiloton nuclear device in 1969. The test took place 2,568 m below ground surface in the Mesaverde Formation. Though located below the regional water table, none of the bedrock formations at the site yielded water during hydraulic tests, indicating extremely low permeability conditions. The scenario evaluated was the migration of radionuclides from the blast-created cavity through the Mesaverde Formation. Transport calculations were performed using the solute flux method, with input based on the limited data available for the site. Model results suggest that radionuclides from the test are contained entirely within the area currently administered by DOE. The transport calculations are most sensitive to changes in the mean groundwater velocity and the correlation scale of hydraulic conductivity, with transport of strontium and cesium also sensitive to the sorption coefficient.
Date: September 1, 1996
Creator: Earman, S.; Chapman, J. & Andricevic, R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

FY 1991 environmental research programs for the DOE Field Office, Nevada: Work plan and quarterly reports, fourth quarter report

Description: This research includes a wide range of research and support activities associated with the Weapons Testing Program conducted at the Nevada Test Site (NTS). Ongoing and new environmental research programs to be conducted by DRI over the period of this contract include archaeological studies, site mitigation plans, compliance activities, and historical research; offsite community radiation monitoring support; environmental compliance activities related to state and federal regulations; hydrologic assessment of containment of underground nuclear detonations; hydrology/radionuclide investigations designed to better understand and predict the possible subsurface movement of radionuclides at the NTS; and support of various statistical and data management and design, laboratory, field, and administrative activities. In addition to these, archaeological site characterization, flood hazards for rail transportation, and paleofaunal investigations will be carried out in support of the Yucca Mountain Project. Other areas of the overall program which required DRI support are classified security activities, radiation safety and training, quality assurance and control, computer protection and historical data management, review and classification of DRI documents, and preparation of any special reports, e.g., quarterly reports, not included in the requirements of the individual projects. A new set of programs funded by the Office of Technology Development will be in place by the third quarter of FY 1991. These projects will address environmental restoration and waste management concerns, among other related topics. In accordance with specific contract requirements for each activity, DRI will produce summary, status and final reports and, in some cases, journal articles which will present the results of specific research efforts. This document contains the work plan, including project descriptions, tasks, deliverables and quarterly progress reports on each project for FY 1991.
Date: October 1, 1991
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

FY 1992 work plan and technical progress reports

Description: The Desert Research Institute (DRI) is a division of the University of Nevada System devoted to multidisciplinary scientific research. For more than 25 years, DRI has conducted research for the US Department of Energy`s Nevada Field Office (DOE/NV) in support of operations at the Nevada Test Site (NTS). During that time, the research program has grown from an early focus on hydrologic studies to include the areas of geology, archaeology, environmental compliance and monitoring, statistics, database management, public education, and community relations. The range of DRI`s activities has also expanded to include a considerable amount of management and administrative support in addition to scientific investigations. DRI`s work plan for FY 1992 reflects a changing emphasis in DOE/NV activities from nuclear weapons testing to environmental restoration and monitoring. Most of the environmental projects from FY 1991 are continuing, and several new projects have been added to the Environmental Compliance Program. The Office of Technology Development Program, created during FY 1991, also includes a number of environmental projects. This document contains the FY 1992 work plan and quarterly technical progress reports for each DRI project.
Date: November 1, 1992
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Archaeological investigations on the Buckboard Mesa Road Project

Description: In 1986, the Desert Research Institute (DRI) conducted an archaeological reconnaissance of a new alignment for the Buckboard Mesa Road on the Nevada Test Site for the Department of Energy (DOE). During this reconnaissance, several archaeological sites of National Register quality were discovered and recorded including a large quarry, site 26Ny4892, and a smaller lithic scatter, site 26Ny4894. Analysis of the debitage at 26Ny4892 indicates that this area was used primarily as a quarry for relatively small cobbles of obsidian found in the alluvium. Lithic reduction techniques used here are designed for efficiently reducing small pieces of toolstone and are oriented towards producing flake blanks from small cores and bifacially reducing exhausted cores. Projectile point cross references indicate that the area has seen at least casual use for about 10,000 years and more sustained use for the last 3,000 years. Initial obsidian hydration measurements indicate sustained use of the quarry for about the last 3,000 years although the loci of activities appear to change over time. Based on this study, the DRI recommends that quarrying activities in the area of 26Ny4892 are sufficiently sampled and that additional investigations into that aspect of prehistoric activity in the area are not necessary. This does not apply to other aspects of prehistoric use. DRI recommends that preconstruction surveys continue to identify nonquarrying, prehistoric utilization of the area. With the increased traffic on the Buckboard Mesa Road, there is a greater potential for vandalism to sites of National Register-quality located near the road. The DRI recommends that during the orientation briefing the workers at the Test Site be educated about the importance of cultural resources and the need for their protection. 202 refs., 41 figs., 52 tabs.
Date: October 1, 1991
Creator: Amick, D.S.; Henton, G.H. & Pippin, L.C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Groundwater flow near the Shoal Site, Sand Springs Range, Nevada: Impact of density-driven flow

Description: The nature of flow from a highland recharge area in a mountain range in north-central Nevada to discharge areas on either side of the range is evaluated to refine a conceptual model of contaminant transport from an underground nuclear test conducted beneath the range. The test, known as the Shoal event, was conducted in 1963 in granitic rocks of the Sand Springs Range. Sparse hydraulic head measurements from the early 1960s suggest flow from the shot location to the east to Fairview Valley, while hydrochemistry supports flow to salt pans in Fourmile Flat to the west. Chemical and isotopic data collected from water samples and during well-logging arc best explained by a reflux brine system on the west side of the Sand Springs Range, rather than a typical local flow system where all flow occurs from recharge areas in the highlands to a central discharge area in a playa. Instead, dense saline water from the playa is apparently being driven toward the range by density contrasts. The data collected between the range and Fourmile Flat suggest the groundwater is a mixture of younger, fresher recharge water with older brine. Chemical contrasts between groundwater in the east and west valleys reflect the absence of re-flux water in Fairview Valley because the regional discharge area is distant and thus there is no accumulation of salts. The refluxing hydraulic system probably developed after the end of the last pluvial period and differences between the location of the groundwater divide based on hydraulic and chemical indicators could reflect movement of the divide as the groundwater system adjusts to the new reflux condition.
Date: September 1, 1994
Creator: Chapman, J.; Mihevc, T. & McKay, A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Review of present groundwater monitoring programs at the Nevada Test Site

Description: Groundwater monitoring at the Nevada Test Site (NTS) is conducted to detect the presence of radionuclides produced by underground nuclear testing and to verify the quality and safety of groundwater supplies as required by the State of Nevada and federal regulations, and by U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Orders. Groundwater is monitored at water-supply wells and at other boreholes and wells not specifically designed or located for traditional groundwater monitoring objectives. Different groundwater monitoring programs at the NTS are conducted by several DOE Nevada Operations Office (DOE/NV) contractors. Presently, these individual groundwater monitoring programs have not been assessed or administered under a comprehensive planning approach. Redundancy exists among the programs in both the sampling locations and the constituents analyzed. Also, sampling for certain radionuclides is conducted more frequently than required. The purpose of this report is to review the existing NTS groundwater monitoring programs and make recommendations for modifying the programs so a coordinated, streamlined, and comprehensive monitoring effort may be achieved by DOE/NV. This review will be accomplished in several steps. These include: summarizing the present knowledge of the hydrogeology of the NTS and the potential radionuclide source areas for groundwater contamination; reviewing the existing groundwater monitoring programs at the NTS; examining the rationale for monitoring and the constituents analyzed; reviewing the analytical methods used to quantify tritium activity; discussing monitoring network design criteria; and synthesizing the information presented and making recommendations based on the synthesis. This scope of work was requested by the DOE/NV Hydrologic Resources Management Program (HRMP) and satisfies the 1993 (fiscal year) HRMP Groundwater Monitoring Program Review task.
Date: September 1, 1993
Creator: Hershey, R. L. & Gillespie, D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Annotated bibliography of literature relating to wind transport of plutonium-contaminated soils at the Nevada Test Site

Description: During the period from 1954 through 1963, a number of tests were conducted on the Nevada Test Site (NTS) and Tonopah Test Range (TTR) to determine the safety of nuclear devices with respect to storage, handling, transport, and accidents. These tests were referred to as ``safety shots.`` ``Safety`` in this context meant ``safety against fission reaction.`` The safety tests were comprised of chemical high explosive detonations with components of nuclear devices. The conduct of these tests resulted in the dispersion of plutonium, and some americium over areas ranging from several tens to several hundreds of hectares. Of the various locations used for safety tests, the site referred to as ``Plutonium Valley`` was subject to a significant amount of plutonium contamination. Plutonium Valley is located in Area 11 on the eastern boundary of the NTS at an elevation of about 1036 m (3400 ft). Plutonium Valley was the location of four safety tests (A,B,C, and D) conducted during 1956. A major environmental, health, and safety concern is the potential for inhalation of Pu{sup 239,240} by humans as a result of airborne dust containing Pu particles. Thus, the wind transport of Pu{sup 239,240} particles has been the subject of considerable research. This annotated bibliography was created as a reference guide to assist in the better understanding of the environmental characteristics of Plutonium Valley, the safety tests performed there, the processes and variables involved with the wind transport of dust, and as an overview of proposed clean-up procedures.
Date: December 1, 1993
Creator: Lancaster, N. & Bamford, R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Evaluation of soil radioactivity data from the Nevada Test Site

Description: Since 1951, 933 nuclear tests have been conducted at the Nevada Test Site (NTS) and test areas on the adjacent Tonopah Test Range (TTR) and Nellis Air Force Range (NAFR). Until the early 1960s. the majority of tests were atmospheric, involving detonation of nuclear explosive devices on the ground or on a tower, suspended from a balloon or dropped from an airplane. Since the signing of the Limited Test Ban Treaty in 1963, most tests have been conducted underground, although several shallow subsurface tests took place between 1962 and 1968. As a result of the aboveground and near-surface nuclear explosions, as well as ventings of underground tests, destruction of nuclear devices with conventional explosives, and nuclear-rocket engine tests, the surface soil on portions of the NTS has been contaminated with radionuclides. Relatively little consideration was given to the environmental effects of nuclear testing during the first two decades of operations at the NTS. Since the early 1970s, however, increasingly strict environmental regulations have forced greater attention to be given to contamination problems at the site and how to remediate them. One key element in the current environmental restoration program at the NTS is determining the amount and extent of radioactivity in the surface soil. The general distribution of soil radioactivity on the NTS is already well known as a result of several programs carried out in the 1970s and 1980s. However, questions have been raised as to whether the data from those earlier studies are suitable for use in the current environmental assessments and risk analyses. The primary purpose of this preliminary data review is to determine to what extent the historical data collected at the NTS can be used in the characterization/remediation process.
Date: March 1, 1995
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Yucca Mountain program summary of research and technical review activities, July 1988--June 1989

Description: The Desert Research Institute (DRI), through its Water Resources Center (WRC), since 1984 has supported the State of Nevada Nuclear Waste Project Office`s activities related to the proposed high-level radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain on the Nevada Test Site (NTS). This effort is directed at providing the State Office with an unbiased evaluation of the Yucca Mountain Project (YMP) investigations performed by the US Department of Energy (DOE) and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The overall objective is to determine independently whether or not the site meets the performance criteria defined by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 and amendments for isolating and containing the wastes during emplacement and the proposed life of the repository. A particularly important area of concern with the proposed repository is the site`s hydrology. The faculty of the DRI have long been involved with research throughout the State and have particular expertise in groundwater studies related to radionuclide migration and hydrologic safety of underground nuclear testing by DOE and predecessor agencies. In addition, we utilize laboratory personnel for chemical and isotopic analyses in both of the DRI-WMC water chemistry laboratories.
Date: November 1, 1989
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department