Evapotranspiration covers at uranium mill tailings sites

Vadose Zone Journal
By: , and 

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Abstract

Waste isolation is a key strategy for mitigating risk from municipal solid waste (MSW) and hazardous waste streams. Conventional covers at MSW facilities are designed for a 30-yr post-closure period where compacted soils and geosynthetics are used to minimize percolation into buried waste. Recently, evapotranspiration (ET) covers have shown beneficial use for MSW management. Evapotranspiration covers encourage infiltration, storage, and transpiration of precipitation to minimize percolation. Such covers may also have beneficial use for long-term waste issues, such as at Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act (UMTRCA) sites. These sites were covered by a clay radon barrier to create tortuous flow paths that allow radioactive decay and attenuation of short-lived, radon-222 gas. For long-term waste isolation, an ET-radon cover may provide greater resilience by exploiting natural processes instead of resisting them. This update presents a review of the current state-of-the-science regarding ET covers and considerations for long-term applications.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Evapotranspiration covers at uranium mill tailings sites
Series title Vadose Zone Journal
DOI 10.1002/vzj2.20222
Edition Online First
Year Published 2022
Language English
Publisher American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America
Contributing office(s) Nevada Water Science Center
Country United States
Other Geospatial Conterminous United States
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