The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) requested that the U.S. Geological Survey conduct an independent technical review of the Interim Risk Assessment (IRA) and Contaminant Screening for the Waste Area Group 7 (WAG-7) Remedial Investigation, the draft Addendum to the Work Plan for Operable Unit 7-13/14 WAG-7 comprehensive Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS), and supporting documents that were prepared by Lockheed Martin Idaho Technologies, Inc.
The purpose of the technical review was to assess the data and geotechnical approaches that were used to estimate future risks associated with the release of the actinides americium, uranium, neptunium, and plutonium to the Snake River Plain aquifer from wastes buried in pits and trenches at the Subsurface Disposal Area (SDA). The SDA is located at the Radioactive Waste Management Complex in southeastern Idaho within the boundaries of the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory. Radionuclides have been buried in pits and trenches at the SDA since 1957 and 1952, respectively. Burial of transuranic wastes was discontinued in 1982.
The five specific tasks associated with this review were defined in a ?Proposed Scope of Work? prepared by the DOE, and a follow-up workshop held in June 1998. The specific tasks were (1) to review the radionuclide sampling data to determine how reliable and significant are the reported radionuclide detections and how reliable is the ongoing sampling program, (2) to assess the physical and chemical processes that logically can be invoked to explain true detections, (3) to determine if distribution coefficients that were used in the IRA are reliable and if they have been applied properly, (4) to determine if transport model predictions are technically sound, and (5) to identify issues needing resolution to determine technical adequacy of the risk assessment analysis, and what additional work is required to resolve those issues.