Use of Isotope Hydrology to Characterize Groundwater Systems in the Vicinity of Nuclear Power Plants

Closed for proposals

Project Type

Coordinated Research Project

Project Code

F33022

CRP

2133

Approved Date

3 September 2015

Status

4 - Closed

Start Date

11 July 2016

Expected End Date

10 July 2020

Completed Date

19 November 2020

Participating Countries

Argentina
Brazil
China
Italy
Japan
Lithuania
Morocco
Pakistan
Ukraine
Viet Nam

Description

Nuclear energy remains the largest source of low-carbon electricity and the second largest source of energy in the world. Both developed and developing countries continue to express interest in nuclear energy and many have announced plans to acquire it. Several existing nuclear energy states, notably in Asia, are already building new Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs), while others are studying the possibilities. Although the NPPs site selection and operation follows very strict safety guidelines, there is always the case of unforeseen accidents, e.g., the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011 which triggered an extremely severe nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi, that caused severe damage to NPPs and resulted in the release of radioactive materials into the environment and the contamination of groundwater. During the IAEA/UNESCO Technical Meeting on Groundwater Contamination following the Fukushima Nuclear Accident, IAEA Headquarters, Vienna, 8 – 10 September 2014, it was strongly felt by the participants that characterization of groundwater in the vicinity of NPPs is one of the most serious challenges.IAEA safety standards are available in form of safety guides/requirements for hydrogeological investigations (IAEA 1984, 2002, 2003 and 2011). However, in these documents, no guidelines are available on techniques for proper characterization of groundwater in the vicinity of NPPs and generation of reliable information to plan countermeasures for protection of public and the environment in case of accidental release of radioactive materials. Hence a new CRP is proposed for the comprehensive characterization of groundwater systems in the vicinity of NPPs in order to better assess the groundwater dynamics and define the pathways by which radionuclides released, in case of accident, can migrate to open environment and locations where water may be used by or for the population in the region. By using environmental isotopes in water (e.g., 18O, 2H, 13C, 14C, 3H, noble gas isotopes etc.), this CRP aims to produce the guidelines for adequate groundwater characterization in the vicinity of NPPs contributing to optimal groundwater resources management and protection of general public and environment from accidental radioactive release.

Objectives

To develop guidelines for better hydrogeological characterisation of local and regional groundwater systems in the vicinity of nuclear power plants using environmental isotopes and conventional techniques.

Specific objectives

Assess and improve the use of environmental isotopes to investigate groundwater recharge source(s), recharge area, and recharge and discharge relationships in the proximity of NPPs.

Determine groundwater flow directions, ages near NPPs and velocity in order to define transport paths and travel times of radioactive material to reach the source of consumption from the point of release in case of an accident.

Prepare conceptual models and help in the development and calibration of mathematical models to simulate groundwater flow and contaminant mass transport (e.g., tritium) in the vicinity of NPPs.

Improve the interpretation of hydrological processes, pathways and interactions between groundwater and surface water bodies to determine their exchange regimes and to estimate corresponding amounts of the exchanges.

Impact

This project,
1. Promoted sharing of experiences in the fields of hydrology and isotopes techniques for groundwater management in the vicinity of NPPs between MSs.
2. Facilitated technical and scientific collaboration between institutes and universities and NPP professionals;
3. Enabled Ezeiza Atomic Center (CAE), Argentina to contribute to the IAEA´s GNIP database since 2018.
4. Enhanced the knowledge and experience in the application of noble gases and noble gas isotopes for groundwater age dating and groundwater recharge conditions;
5. Allowed Argonne National Laboratory, USA, to help the Vilnius University, Lithuania, in the analysis of a few samples for dating very old groundwater by noble gas isotope Kr-81 (by Atom Trap Trace Analysis - ATTA ). The data of Kr-81 was used in developing a map of groundwater resources of the world-large aquifer system.
6. Allowed a cooperation between Vilnius University, Lithuania, and the Institute of Geology of Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia, enabling the analysis of a few groundwater samples for stable isotopes of water.
7. Enabled cooperation between University of Science and Technology of China and East China University of Technology to carry out Kr-81 noble gas isotope analysis.
8. Facilitated cooperation between National Atomic Energy Commission, Argentina and CNESTEN, Morocco, and CDTN, Brazil, for the analysis of groundwater samples for environmental tritium.
9. Assisted in the collaboration between CNESTEN, Morocco and ATOMKI Laboratory, Hungary a few groundwater samples were analyzed for environmental C-14 by Accelerator Mass Spectrometry technique.
10. Generated isotope and hydrogeochemistry database from the various hydrogeological projects of the Vilnius University, Department of Hydrogeology and Engineering Geology, Lithuania and is open for all institutions for scientific purposes and Ignalina NPP and State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate (VATESI).

Relevance

Although IAEA safety standards already exist and are available in form of safety guides/requirements for hydrogeological investigations, however, in these documents, no guidelines are available on techniques for proper characterization of groundwater in the vicinity of NPPs. Through the CRP, application of various stable- and radioisotopes have been applied and tested for their ability to provide a sharper focus on some of the underlying hydrogeological processes in the vicinity of the NPP sites and based on the related guidelines have been made.

CRP Publications

Type

Scientific Conference Presentation

Year

2019

Publication URL

https://www.iaea.org/sites/default/files/19/05/cn-271-programme.pdf

Description

Conventional tritium method calibration with 3H/3He ratio in eastern Lithuania groundwater

Country/Organization

Lithuania/Vilnius University

Type

Scientific Publication (in Chinese)

Year

2019

Publication URL

https://kns.cnki.net/kcms/detail/detail.aspx?dbcode=CJFD&dbname=CJFDLAST2019&fil…

Description

Occurrence and migration of uranium in groundwater system

Country/Organization

China/East China University of Technology

Type

Scientific Publication

Year

2021

Publication URL

https://www.lmaleidykla.lt/ojs/index.php/physics/article/view/4407/3528

Description

Environmental isotopes and noble gas ages of the Deep groundwater with coupled flow modelling in The Baltic Artesian Basin

Country/Organization

Lithuania/Vilnius University

Type

Scientific Publication

Year

2018

Publication URL

https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041113

Description

Health Risk Assessment of Heavy Metals in Surface Water near a Uranium Tailing Pond in Jiangxi Province, South China

Country/Organization

China/East China University of Technology

Type

Scientific Publication

Year

2017

Publication URL

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2017.01.033

Description

Using 81Kr and noble gases to characterize and date groundwater and brines in the Baltic Artesian Basin on the 1 million years’ timescale

Country/Organization

Lithuania/Vilnius University

Type

Scientific Publication

Year

2020

Publication URL

https://doi.org/10.31717/2311-8253.20.2.10

Description

Methods for analyzing the hydrogeological characteristics of the aquifers in the vicinity of nuclear power plants using indicators

Country/Organization

Ukraine/Institute for Safety Problems of Nuclear Power Plants; National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

Type

Scientific Publication

Year

2018

Publication URL

https://www.webofscience.com/wos/woscc/full-record/WOS:000436522600012.

Description

Remediation of a uranium-contaminated groundwater using the permeable reactive barrier technique coupled with hydroxyapatite-coated quartz sands

Country/Organization

China/East China University of Technology

Type

Scientific Conference Presentation

Year

2019

Publication URL

https://www.iaea.org/sites/default/files/19/05/cn-271-programme.pdf

Description

Integrated studies of 4He and 81Kr noble gas ages of the deep aquifers with coupled particles track modelling in the Baltic artesian basin

Country/Organization

Lithuania/Vilnius University

Type

Scientific Publication (in Chinese)

Year

2019

Publication URL

http://www.cglhub.com/auto/db/detail.aspx?db=950001&rid=16893470&agfi=0&cls=0&un…

Description

Progress on the Migration of Key Radionuclides in Geological Materials.

Country/Organization

China/East China University of Technology

Type

Scientific Conference Presentation

Year

2019

Publication URL

https://www.iaea.org/sites/default/files/19/05/cn-271-programme.pdf

Description

Isotope hydrology: a tool for a better understanding of the hydrological processes of groundwater systems in the coastal basin of Akermoud (north of Essaouira city, Morocco)

Country/Organization

Morocco/Centre national de l'énergie, des sciences et des techniques nucléaires (CNESTEN)

Type

Scientific Conference Presentation

Year

2018

Publication URL

https://www.proceedings.com/content/042/042507webtoc.pdf

Description

Data analysis of radiation and hydroecological monitoring of ground waters located at the industrial site of Chornobyl NPP

Country/Organization

Ukraine/Institute for Safety Problems of Nuclear Power Plants; National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

Type

Scientific Publication

Year

2016

Publication URL

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apgeochem.2016.07.007

Description

The recharge of glacial meltwater and its influence on the geochemical evolution of groundwater in the Ordovician-Cambrian aquifer system, northern part of the Baltic Artesian Basin

Country/Organization

Lithuania/Vilnius University

Type

Scientific Conference Presentation

Year

2018

Publication URL

http://www.oxygenalia.chgf.vu.lt/oxygenalia-2018/programme/

Description

Oxygen isotope evolution of the Baltic artesian basin groundwater.

Country/Organization

Lithuania/Vilnius University

Type

Scientific Publication

Year

2019

Publication URL

https://doi.org/10.1051/e3sconf/20199809035

Description

Distribution characteristics of dissolved oxygen and stable isotope compositions of shallow groundwater in the vicinity of an inland nuclear power plant

Country/Organization

China/East China University of Technology

Type

Scientific Conference Presentation

Year

2019

Publication URL

https://www.proceedings.com/content/049/049289webtoc.pdf

Description

Distribution characteristics of dissolved oxygen and stable isotope compositions of shallow groundwater in the vicinity of an inland nuclear power plant, HK, China

Country/Organization

China/East China University of Technology

Type

Scientific Publication

Year

2021

Publication URL

https://doi.org/10.1007/s10967-020-07523-9

Description

Removal of uranium from groundwater using zero valent iron coated quartz sands

Country/Organization

China/East China University of Technology

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