Validation Analysis of the Shoal Groundwater Flow and Transport Model [electronic resource].
- Washington, D.C. : United States. Dept. of Energy, 2008.
Oak Ridge, Tenn. : Distributed by the Office of Scientific and Technical Information, U.S. Dept. of Energy.
- Additional Creators:
- University of Nevada System. Desert Research Institute
United States. Department of Energy
United States. Department of Energy. Office of Scientific and Technical Information
- Environmental restoration at the Shoal underground nuclear test is following a process prescribed by a Federal Facility Agreement and Consent Order (FFACO) between the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the State of Nevada. Characterization of the site included two stages of well drilling and testing in 1996 and 1999, and development and revision of numerical models of groundwater flow and radionuclide transport. Agreement on a contaminant boundary for the site and a corrective action plan was reached in 2006. Later that same year, three wells were installed for the purposes of model validation and site monitoring. The FFACO prescribes a five-year proof-of-concept period for demonstrating that the site groundwater model is capable of producing meaningful results with an acceptable level of uncertainty. The corrective action plan specifies a rigorous seven step validation process. The accepted groundwater model is evaluated using that process in light of the newly acquired data. The conceptual model of ground water flow for the Project Shoal Area considers groundwater flow through the fractured granite aquifer comprising the Sand Springs Range. Water enters the system by the infiltration of precipitation directly on the surface of the mountain range. Groundwater leaves the granite aquifer by flowing into alluvial deposits in the adjacent basins of Fourmile Flat and Fairview Valley. A groundwater divide is interpreted as coinciding with the western portion of the Sand Springs Range, west of the underground nuclear test, preventing flow from the test into Fourmile Flat. A very low conductivity shear zone east of the nuclear test roughly parallels the divide. The presence of these lateral boundaries, coupled with a regional discharge area to the northeast, is interpreted in the model as causing groundwater from the site to flow in a northeastward direction into Fairview Valley. Steady-state flow conditions are assumed given the absence of groundwater withdrawal activities in the area. The conceptual and numerical models were developed based upon regional hydrogeologic investigations conducted in the 1960s, site characterization investigations (including ten wells and various geophysical and geologic studies) at Shoal itself prior to and immediately after the test, and two site characterization campaigns in the 1990s for environmental restoration purposes (including eight wells and a year-long tracer test). The new wells are denoted MV-1, MV-2, and MV-3, and are located to the northnortheast of the nuclear test. The groundwater model was generally lacking data in the north-northeastern area; only HC-1 and the abandoned PM-2 wells existed in this area. The wells provide data on fracture orientation and frequency, water levels, hydraulic conductivity, and water chemistry for comparison with the groundwater model. A total of 12 real-number validation targets were available for the validation analysis, including five values of hydraulic head, three hydraulic conductivity measurements, three hydraulic gradient values, and one angle value for the lateral gradient in radians. In addition, the fracture dip and orientation data provide comparisons to the distributions used in the model and radiochemistry is available for comparison to model output. Goodness-of-fit analysis indicates that some of the model realizations correspond well with the newly acquired conductivity, head, and gradient data, while others do not. Other tests indicated that additional model realizations may be needed to test if the model input distributions need refinement to improve model performance. This approach (generating additional realizations) was not followed because it was realized that there was a temporal component to the data disconnect: the new head measurements are on the high side of the model distributions, but the heads at the original calibration locations themselves have also increased over time. This indicates that the ...
- Published through SciTech Connect.
J. Chapman; A. Hassan.
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