Report on the performance monitoring system for the interim waste containment at the Niagara Falls Storage Site, Lewiston, New York
Description: The Niagara Falls Storage Site (NFSS) is an interim storage site for low-level radioactive waste, established by the US Department of Energy (DOE) at Lewiston, New York. The waste containment structure for encapsulating low-level radioactive waste at the NFSS has been designed to minimize infiltration of rainfall, prevent pollution of groundwater, preclude formation of leachate, and prevent radon emanation. Accurately determining the performance of the main engineered elements of the containment structure will be important in establishing confidence in the ability of the structure to retain the wastes. For this purpose, a waste containment performance monitoring system has been developed to verify that these elements are functioning as intended. The key objective of the performance monitoring system is the early detection of trends that could be indicative of weaknesses developing in the containment structure so that corrective action can be taken before the integrity of the structure is compromised. Consequently, subsurface as well as surface monitoring techniques will be used. After evaluating several types of subsurface instrumentation, it was determined that vibrating wire pressure transducers, in combination with surface monitoring techniques, would satisfactorily monitor the parameters of concern, such as water accumulation inside the containment facility, waste settlement, and shrinkage of the clay cover. Surface monitoring will consist of topographic surveys based on predetermined gridlines, walkover surveys, and aerial photography to detect vegetative stress or other changes not evident at ground level. This report details the objectives of the performance monitoring system, identifies the elements of the containment design whose performance will be monitored, describes the monitoring system recommended, and outlines the costs associated with the monitoring system. 5 refs., 4 figs., 3 tabs.
Date: October 1, 1985
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