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Numerical modeling of subsurface radioactive solute transport from waste seepage ponds at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory

Open-File Report 76-717

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Abstract

Aqueous chemical and low-level radioactive effluents have been disposed to seepage ponds since 1952 at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory. The solutions percolate toward the Snake River Plain aquifer (135 m below) through interlayered basalts and unconsolidated sediments and an extensive zone of ground water perched on a sedimentary layer about 40 m beneath the ponds. A three-segment numerical model was developed to simulate the system, including effects of convection, hydrodynamic dispersion, radioactive decay, and adsorption. Simulated hydraulics and solute migration patterns for all segments agree adequately with the available field data. The model can be used to project subsurface distributions of waste solutes under a variety of assumed conditions for the future. Although chloride and tritium reached the aquifer several years ago, the model analysis suggests that the more easily sorbed solutes, such as cesium-137 and strontium-90, would not reach the aquifer in detectable concentrations within 150 years for the conditions assumed. (Woodard-USGS)

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Numerical modeling of subsurface radioactive solute transport from waste seepage ponds at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
76-717
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1976
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey,
Description:
vi, 59, [39] leaves :ill., maps ;28 cm.