Geology and Geohydrology of the East Texas Basin- A Report on the Progress of Nuclear Waste Isolation Feasibility Studies

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Kreitler, Charles W.
Bracken, Bryan
Collins, Edward W.

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During FY81, studies of the East Texas salt domes continued to evaluate those problems that must be solved before approving a salt dome for burial of nuclear waste. Questions addressed were: (1) Will the integrity of the hydrologic system prevent a release and migration of radioactive isotopes to the biosphere? (2) Will either tectonic or structural instability preclude a secure repository? The U.S. Geological Survey (in Bredehoeft and others, 1978, p. 3), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) (1980, in NE-0007, table 11-9), and the U.S. Office of Nuclear Waste Isolation (ONWI) (1980, in ONWI 33(2), p. 9-17) recognize the same key questions, although they are expressed in different ways.

The purpose, method of approach, and conclusion of each generic task are described. It is hoped that conclusions will contribute a series of solutions, which, on integration with other researchers' efforts, will help answer the generic problems of deep burial of nuclear waste in a salt dome.

Solutions to problems are possible primarily because of the extensive data base available on the East Texas Basin. For example, reconstructing the history of the infilling of the East Texas Basin can be accomplished because of thousands of electric logs and miles of seismic and regional gravity coverage. Similarly, the hydrologic studies have been facilitated greatly by the computerized data bank of the Texas Department of Water Resources. These data resources in general are not available equally for the Mississippi or North Louisiana Basins, and because of limited data, the questions of hydrologic and tectonic stability of salt domes may be difficult to answer adequately in those other parts of the Gulf Basin. We hope that the information in this report will be applicable, in a generic sense, to domes in other basins.


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