Banda Group International, LLC
Implementation of The Material Disposal Area T Moisture Monitoring Pilot Study
CLIENT: Newport Nuclear News BWXT – Los Alamos (N3B)
BGI conducted a pilot study to determine the progression of moisture within the subsurface lithology of MDA T. The goal of the project was to determine the most effective methods for conducting similar studies within the MDA T Nuclear Environmental Site (NES). Conducting this pilot test outside of the NES (a Category II Nuclear Facility) provided an opportunity for a “dry-run” to reduce some of the testing complexities and uncertainties in an area with fewer health and safety concerns.
The BGI Team drilled three angled boreholes without drilling fluids and collected core. Borehole drilling was followed by the installation of delicate moisture sensors (heat dissipation probes) down the boreholes with two different backfill materials (SiLiBeads® and crushed tuff) around the sensors to ensure good hydraulic contact with surrounding tuff and to avoid bridging of backfill. Water was ponded in a nearby trench so that a wetting front propagated through the moisture monitoring zone. In addition to downhole sensors, BGI utilized neutron logging to compare of the pros and cons of moisture monitoring with neutron probe versus using installed sensors.