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Government Document

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A nuclear-fuel reprocessing plant, a high-level radioactive liquid-waste tank complex, and related waste facilities occupy 100 hectares (ha) within the Western New York Nuclear Service Center near West Valley, N.Y. The facilities are underlain by glacial and postglacial deposits that fill an ancestrial bedrock valley. The main plant facilities are on an elevated plateau referred to as the north plateau. Groundwater on the north plateau moves laterally within a surficial sand and gravel from the main plant building to areas northeast, east, and southeast of the facilities. The sand and gravel ranges from 1 to 10 m thick and has a hydraulic conductivity ranging from 0.1 to 7.9 m/day. Two separate burial grounds, a 4-ha area for low-level radioactive waste disposal and a 2.9-ha area for disposal of higher-level waste are excavated into a clay-rich till that ranges from 22 to 28 m thick. Migration of an organic solvent from the area of higher level waste at shallow depth in the till suggests that a shallow, fractured, oxidized, and weathered till is a significant pathway for lateral movement of groundwater. Below this zone, groundwater moves vertically downward through the till to recharge a lacustrine silt and fine sand. Within the saturated parts of the lacustrine unit, groundwater moves laterally to the northeast toward Buttermilk Creek. Hydraulic conductivity of the till, based on field and laboratory analyses , ranges from 0.000018 to 0.000086 m/day. (USGS)


USGS Water-Resources Investigations Report: 85-4145