Alternate Site Selection Process for the Falls City, Texas, Umtra Project

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1990

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Abstract

This evaluation of possible alternate disposal sites for the Falls City Uranium Mill Tailings Remediation Act (UMTRA) site in southeastern Texas (fig. 1) was undertaken in response to the requirements promulgated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for the remediation of UMTRA sites in accordance with the Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act of 1978. Primary objectives of this report are to (1) describe the general geology and hydrology of the areas that have been identified as containing potential alternate tailings sites and (2) describe the systematic process utilized to identify those areas that may contain potential alternate tailings disposal sites.

The alternate site selection process employed for the Falls City site generally follows the format established in the 1988 UMTRA-DOE/AL Document 200129.0007 R-4 titled "Alternate Site Selection Process for UMTRA Project Sites." Implementation of the final step of the alternate site selection process as described in the 1988 UMTRA-DOE document would, however, require the collection of detailed, site-specific lithologic and hydrologic data, and this is beyond the scope of the present study.

The site selection process used in the current study comprises three distinct phases: (1) designation of the search region and identification of the geologic formations exposed within this region; (2) screening of geologic units within the search region based upon broad geologic characteristics; and (3) application of geologic, hydrologic, environmental, and engineering criteria to the formation(s) not excluded by phase two of the process in order to identify the less favorable outcrop areas within these formations.

Implementation of this three-phase process reduced the original 7,850 mi2 alternate site search region to a final region of interest of less than 30 mi2. The geologic and hydrologic characteristics of the final region of interest suggest that it may contain one or more alternate tailings storage sites.

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