Transport of Gaseous 14C in a Partially Saturated, Fractured, Porous Medium


We predict the transport of 14C from the proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain using a porous medium model. Use of this model is justified if the Peclet number, which indicates equilibrium between gas in fractures and liquid in rock pores, is much less than unity. For the assumed release rates, maximum predicted concentrations of 14CO2 in rock near the ground surface are comparable to the USNRC limit for unrestricted areas. Furthermore, dilution near the ground surface as the 14CO2 enters the atmosphere will lower the concentrations by several orders of magnitude. Travel times from the repository to the surface are predicted to be hundreds to thousands of years. For a wide range of the parameters, the release rate from the source has negligible effect on the maximum concentrations at the ground surface.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1.

    B. Ross, in Scientific Basis for Nuclear Waste Management XI, ed. M. J. Apted and R. E. Westerman (Mater. Res. Soc. Proc. 112, Pittsburgh, PA 1988) p. 23.

  2. 2.

    S. Amter, E. Behl and B. Ross, “Carbon-14 Travel Time at Yucca Mountain,” Disposal Safety Incorporated, Washington, D.C., 1988.

  3. 3.

    R. B. Knapp, UCRL-97805, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA, 1987.

  4. 4.

    W. Stumm and J. J. Morgan, Aquatic Chemistry, 2nd Ed. (John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1981).

  5. 5.

    S. L. Phillips, C. A. Phillips and J. Skeen, LBL-14996, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, Berkeley, CA, 1985.

  6. 6.

    Y. W. Tsang and K. Pruess, Water Resources Res. 23, 1958 (1987).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    R. T. Green and D. D. Evans, NUREG/CR-4654, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, 1987.

  8. 8.

    R. R. Peters, E. A. Klavetter, I. J. Hall, S. C. Blair, P. R. Heller, and G. W. Gee, SAND84-1471, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM, 1984.

  9. 9.

    U.S. Department of Energy, DOE/RW-0199,, 1988.

Download references

Author information



Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Light, W.B., Chambré, P.L., Lee, W.W.L. et al. Transport of Gaseous 14C in a Partially Saturated, Fractured, Porous Medium. MRS Online Proceedings Library 176, 761 (1989).

Download citation