Haruko Wainwright, from Savannah River Site video

Savannah River National Laboratory has just released this video showing how they have developed an innovative remediation method for groundwater radioactive contaminants at the Savannah River Site. (The Savannah River Site is a national nuclear weapons site that shut down in the 1950s.) Their method has improved capture of contaminants, and at substantially lower cost than the prior approach. ESD’s Haruko Wainwright played an important role in this project.

Haruko applied modeling to evaluate the engineering used to reduce groundwater radioactive contaminants at the Savannah River Site.  The model used 30 years of Savannah River Site data on groundwater flows, underground structure, and geochemical reactions of contaminants to injected chemicals. This model was developed with the support of DOE’s ASCEM (Advanced Simulation Capability for Environmental Management) project. In the video you can view how the plume moves underground.

The image below was created using the subsurface flow and transport simulator Amanzi, which was developed with the support of DOE-EM’s ASCEM project. It shows the simulated tritium plume (blue) in the 3D flow and transport model at the Savannah River Site F-Area. The plume (blue) is extending from the seepage basin through the vadose zone and groundwater. The blocks of green, red and brown are the low-permeability barriers, which were constructed in 2004 to direct the plume into the treatment gates. At the gates, the treatment water is injected to immobilize uranium. The barriers are also intended to slow down the groundwater flow, and to increase the tritium decay before entering the stream at downgradient.

Model of plume (blue) under Savannah River Site, showing gates (green, brown and red) installed to reduce radioactive contaminants in plume. This image was created from the subsurface flow and transport simulator Amanzi, which was developed in DOE-EM's ASCEM project.