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Source-Term Constraints for the Proposed Repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevaida, Derived from the Natural Analog at PeÑa Blanca, Mexico

  • William M. Murphy (a1) and English C. Pearcy (a1)

Abstract

The source term for nuclear waste repository performance assessments can be constrained by the solubilities of radioelement-bearing solids and/or the rates of release of radioelements from nuclear waste forms. Both solubility and rate limits for the proposed repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, can be assessed using information from the natural analog at PeÑa Blanca, Mexico. Petrographic and field relations indicate that uraninite oxidation and transformation to secondary uranyl silicate minerals have been rapid relative to mass transport of uranium out of the PeÑa Blanca system. The rate limiting process for uranium removal is likely to be advective transport in groundwaters with uranium contents controlled by interactions with uranyl silicate minerals such as uranophane. A maximum limit on the rate of uraninite oxidation at PeÑa Blanca is calculated to be 0.032 tons of UO2 per year using geologic constraints on the amount of oxidation and the available time.

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Source-Term Constraints for the Proposed Repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevaida, Derived from the Natural Analog at PeÑa Blanca, Mexico

  • William M. Murphy (a1) and English C. Pearcy (a1)

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