Modeling of Saturated Zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

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by M. P. Ahola, SwRI/CNWRA, San Antonio, United States,
B. Sagar, SwRI/CNWRA, San Antonio, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: High Level Radioactive Waste Management 1993

Abstract: This paper presents preliminary results of groundwater modeling of the saturated zone in the vicinity of Yucca Mountain. The analysis used both a regional (approximately 250 × 250 km) and subregional (50 × 50 km) finite difference model. Numerical simulations were conducted to determine the impact of various disruptive conditions that might take place over the life span of a potential repository located beneath Yucca Mountain on the saturated groundwater flow field, as well as changes in the water-table elevations. These conditions included increases in precipitation and groundwater recharge within the regional model, changes in permeability of existing hydrogeologic barriers, and the vertical intrusion of volcanic dikes at various orientations through the saturated zone. Based on the regional analysis, the rise in the water-table in the vicinity of Yucca Mountain due to various postulated conditions ranged from only a few meters to over 200 m in certain cases. The increase in evapotranspiration and surface runoff as the water table rises was neglected in this analysis. Results of the subregional model analysis, which was used to simulate intrusive dikes approximately 4 km in length in the vicinity of Yucca Mountain, showed water-table rises ranging from a few meters to as much as 103 m. Dikes orientated approximately north-south beneath Yucca Mountain produced the highest water-table rises. Some of the results from both the regional and subregional analysis are presented in this paper. A more complete discussion of the results and details of the analysis is given in a recent report by Ahola and Sagar.

Subject Headings: Radioactive wastes | Numerical models | Water table | Flow simulation | Computer models | Hydrologic models | Groundwater flow | Levees and dikes | Nevada | North America | United States

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