Published online by Cambridge University Press: 09 February 2016
The assessment of construction sites for the new Visaginas Nuclear Power Plant (Visaginas NPP), including groundwater characterization, took place over the last few years. For a better understanding of the groundwater system, studies on radiocarbon; tritium; stable isotopes of hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon; and helium content were carried out at the location of the new NPP, at the Western and Eastern sites, as well as in the near-surface repository (NSR) site. Two critical depth zones in the Quaternary aquifer system were characterized by different groundwater residence times and having slightly different stable isotope features and helium content. The first shallow interval of the Quaternary multi-aquifer system consists of an unconfined aquifer and semiconfined aquifer. The second depth interval of the system is related to the lower Quaternary confined aquifer. Groundwater residence time in the first flow system was mainly based on tritium data and ranges from 6 to 60 yr. These aquifers are the most important in terms of safety assessment and are considered as a potential radionuclide transfer pathway in safety assessment. Groundwater residence time in the lower Quaternary aquifers based on 14C data varies from modern to several thousand years and in some intervals up to 10,500 yr.