Three-Dimensional Plume Dynamics in the Vadose Zone: PORFLO-3 Modeling of a Defense Waste Leak at Hanford

by J. L. Smoot, Pacific Northwest Lab, United States,
B. Sagar, Pacific Northwest Lab, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: High Level Radioactive Waste Management 1990


In 1973, approximately 450 m3 of liquid containing radioactive and chemical wastes leaked from the 241-T-106 single-shell tank into the vadose zone at the U.S. Department of Energy's Hanford Site in south-central Washington State. The extent of the 137Cs, 144Ce, and 106Ru contaminant plumes in the vadose zone was estimated in 1973 and 1978 by gamma spectrometry in monitoring wells. Using site data and the PORFLO-3 computer model, a three-dimensional, transient plume migration model was developed for 106Ru and 137Cs. The model was calibrated to the 1973 measured plumes of 106Ru and 137Cs. The calibrated model was then used to study plume migration up to 1990. The simulated 106Ru distribution for 1978 extended deeper than reported values. The simulated distribution of 137Cs for 1978 approximated the measured distribution; the 1973 and 1978 137Cs distributions are similar because of the long half-life and high sorption coefficient of 137Cs.

Subject Headings: Three-dimensional models | Plumes | Chemical wastes | Vadose zone | Radioactive wastes | Fuels | Computer models | Washington | United States

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