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Long-Term Performance Assessment for a Proposed High-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Site at Yucca Mountain - Explanation of the Shape of Release Curves

  • Sitakanta Mohanty (a1) and Robert W. Rice (a2)

Abstract

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Total-system Performance Assessment (TPA) code is a tool to independently evaluate the long-term performance of the proposed Yucca Mountain (YM) high-level radioactive waste (HLW) repository by modeling processes such as the dissolution of the spentnuclear fuel (SNF) and the subsequent transport through unsaturated and saturated highly heterogeneous fractured porous media to a hypothetical release into the biosphere. The release rates of radionuclides into the biosphere corresponding to some of the SNF dissolution models show a sinusoidal trend with an overall decrease in the rate with time; for other models the sinusoidal behavior is nonexistent. This study identifies two key mechanisms contributing to these trends: the spatial discretization of the repository into subareas and radionuclide-specific sorption properties in the saturated zone alluvium. Other mechanisms which might affect the release rates, such as solubility limits, radioactive decay and ingrowth, inventory depletion, and transport properties of the unsaturated zone (UZ), do not significantly contribute to these trends.

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1 Codell, R.B., Eisenberg, N., Fehringer, D., Ford, W., Margulies, T., McCartin, T., Park, J., and Randall, J., Initial Demonstration of the NRC's Capability to Conduct a Performance Assessment for a High-Level Waste Repository, NUREG- 1327, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC, 1992.
2 Wescott, R.G., Lee, M.P., Eisenberg, N.A., McCartin, T.J., and Baca, R.G., eds., NRC Iterative Performance Assessment Phase 2, NUREG– 1464, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC, 1995.
3 Mohanty, S. and McCartin, T.J., Total-system Performance Assessment (TPA) Version 3.2 Code: Module Description and User's Guide, Center for Nuclear Waste Regulatory Analyses, San Antonio, TX, 1998.
4 Mohanty, S., Codell, R., Rice, R.W., Weldy, J., Lu, Y., Byrne, R.M., McCartin, T.J., Jarzemba, M.S., and Wittmeyer, G.W., System-level Repository Sensitivity Analysis Using TPA Version 3.2 Code, NUREG (to be published), U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC: 1999.

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Long-Term Performance Assessment for a Proposed High-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Site at Yucca Mountain - Explanation of the Shape of Release Curves

  • Sitakanta Mohanty (a1) and Robert W. Rice (a2)

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