Hydrologic conditions at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, Idaho, emphasis; 1974-1978

Open-File Report 81-526
By: , and 



Aqueous chemical and radioactive wastes have been discharged to shallow ponds and to shallow or deep wells on the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL) since 1952 and has affected the quality of the ground water in the underlying Snake River Plain aquifer. Ongoing studies conducted from 1974 through 1978 have shown the perpetuation of a perched ground-water zone in the basalt underlying the waste disposal ponds at the INEL 's Test Reactor Area and of several waste plumes in the regional aquifer created by deep well disposal at the Idaho Chemical Processing Plant (ICPP). The perched zone contains tritium, chromium-51, cobalt-60, strontium-90, and several nonradioactive chemicals. Tritium has formed the largest waste plume south of the ICPP, and accounts for 95 percent of the total radioacticity disposed of through the ICPP disposal well. Waste plumes with similar configurations and flowpaths contain sodium, chloride, and nitrate. Strontium-90, iodine-129, and cesium-137 are also discharged through the well but they are sorbed from solution as they move through the aquifer or are discharged in very small quantities. Strontium-90 and iodine-129 have formed small waste plumes and cesium-137 is not detectable in ground-water samples. Radionuclide plume size and concentrations therein are controlled by aquifer flow conditions, the quantity discharged, radioactive decay, sorption, dilution by dispersion, and perhaps other chemical reactions. Chemical wastes are subject to the same processes except for radioactive decay. (USGS)

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Hydrologic conditions at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, Idaho, emphasis; 1974-1978
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 81-526
DOI 10.3133/ofr81526
Edition -
Year Published 1981
Language ENGLISH
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey, Water Resources Division,
Description v, 122 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.