Earth Sciences Division (ESD) Department of Energy (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)

The Yucca Mountain Project: Ambient Testing

Schematic Illustration of the ESF and ECRB Cross-Drift

Yucca Mountain ProjectThe unifying purpose of the Ambient Field Testing Program was to acquire a greater understanding of the paths moisture takes and the rate at which moisture travels through the different geological layers of Yucca Mountain. The results of these tests have been used to refine conceptual and numerical models of Yucca Mountain, ensuring that models such as the UZ site-scale and drift-scale mathematical models are as accurate and sophisticated as they need to be in order to faithfully represent and predict moisture flow within the mountain. All of these efforts have been combined to assess the performance of Yucca Mountain as a potential repository site.

The Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF) Main Drift and Enhanced Characterization of the Repository Block (ECRB) Cross Drift provided opportunities to evaluate the process of seepage into drifts at various length scales in three major rock units at the repository level. The field testing program was designed to address the phenomena of unsaturated flow and solute transport in fractured rock and seepage into waste emplacement drifts. A series of integrated tests were conducted within the ESF and ECRB, including the use of specially designed testing alcoves and niches, to evaluate these phenomena over a range of relevant length scales.

The Ambient Field Testing Program was conducted over the period 1997 through 2006 to obtain sufficient data for development and calibration of unsaturated zone models. This data is essential to support the credibility of unsaturated zone model outputs used for Total System Performance Assessment (TSPA) and other licensing requirements.

The following links provide information on specific tests conducted under the ambient field testing program:

For more information, please contact:

Jim Houseworth

Earth Sciences Division                       

Yucca Mountain Project Lead

Phone: (510) 486-6459

Fax: (510) 486-5686