Remote Sensing Analysis of the Sierra Blanca (Faskin Ranch) Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Site, Hudspeth County, Texas
Description: Remote sensing images provide useful physical information, revealing such features as geological structure, vegetation, drainage patterns, and variations in consolidated and unconsolidated lithologies. That technology has been applied to the failed Sierra Blanca (Faskin Ranch) shallow burial low-level radioactive waste disposal site selected by the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Authority. It has been re-examined using data from LANDSAT satellite series. The comparison of the earlier LANDSAT V (5/20/86) (30-m resolution) with the later new, higher resolution ETM imagery (10/23/99) LANDSAT VII data (15-m resolution) clearly shows the superiority of the LANDSAT VII data. The search for surficial indications of evidence of fatal flaws at the Sierra Blanca site utilizing was not successful, as it had been in the case of the earlier remote sensing analysis of the failed Fort Hancock site utilizing LANDSAT V data. The authors conclude that the tectonic activity at the Sierra Blanca site is much less recent and active than in the previously studied Fort Hancock site. The Sierra Blanca site failed primarily on the further needed documentation concerning a subsurface fault underneath the site and environmental justice issues. The presence of this fault was not revealed using the newer LANDSAT VII data. Despite this fact, it must be remembered that remote sensing provides baseline documentation for determining future physical and financial remediation responsibilities. On the basis of the two sites examined by LANDSAT remote sensing imaging, it is concluded that it is an essential, cost-effective tool that should be utilized not only in site examination but also in all nuclear-related facilities.
Date: February 26, 2002
Creator: LeMone, D. V.; Dodge, R.; Xie, H.; Langford, R. P. & Keller, G. R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department