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Assessing the performance of the proposed high-level radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, requires an understanding of the chemistry of the water that moves through the host rock. The uniaxial compression method used to extract pore water from samples of tuffaceous borehole core was successful only for nonwelded tuff. An ultracentrifugation method was adopted to extract pore water from samples of the densely welded tuff of the proposed repository horizon. Tests were performed using both methods to determine the efficiency of pore water extraction and the potential effects on pore water chemistry. Test results indicate that uniaxial compression is most efficient for extracting pore water from nonwelded tuff, while ultracentrifugation is more successful in extracting pore water from densely welded tuff. Pore water splits collected from a single nonwelded tuff core during uniaxial compression tests have shown changes in pore water chemistry with increasing pressure for calcium, chloride, sulfate, and nitrate. Pore water samples collected from the intermediate pressure ranges should prevent the influence of re-dissolved, evaporative salts and the addition of ion-deficient water from clays and zeolites. Chemistry of pore water splits from welded and nonwelded tuffs using ultracentrifugation indicates that there is no substantial fractionation of solutes.
Additional Publication Details
Methods for pore water extraction from unsaturated zone tuff, Yucca Mountain, Nevada
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11th International High Level Radioactive Waste Management Conference