A computer model developed by researchers in the Earth Sciences Division is helping the federal government move closer to selecting Nevada's Yucca Mountain as the site of a permanent underground repository for high-level radioactive waste.
The three-dimensional site-scale model is designed to characterize hydrogeologic conditions inside the mountain under a wide range of different scenarios. It has been successfully calibrated with early field tests and is showing the site to be a good choice.
"Based on field data and the predictions of our model, the conceptual ideas that led to the selection of Yucca Mountain as the first proposed burial site are real," says hydrogeologist Gudmundur "Bo" Bodvarsson, who co-leads the project with Yu-shu Wu. "We believe we are close to the end of the site characterization phase of our modeling and are ready to move on to the verification phase."
The 3-D model designed by Bodvarsson and his ESD colleagues is a tool for predicting the flow of moisture, gas, and heat through Yucca Mountain's "unsaturated zone"--the soil between the ground surface and the water table--based on data collected by the U.S. Geological Survey and Los Alamos and Sandia national labs. Not only will the model be used to characterize the site, it will also play a critical role in the design and engineering of the repository.
There are an estimated 24,000 metric tons of high-level radioactive waste in the United States as a result of decades of nuclear reactor operations. Even without the addition of any new nuclear power plants, this waste is expected to exceed 85,000 metric tons early in the next century. Current plans call for the Department of Energy to begin collecting and disposing of high-level nuclear waste in a permanent underground repository by about the year 2011.
Although Yucca Mountain is the site proposed for the first repository, decision-makers need to be certain that once the waste is buried, little if any will ever escape into the environment. This means that long-term hydrogeologic conditions at the repository site must be thoroughly understood. Geologic barriers must be able to isolate the waste for at least 10,000 years--a time span ranging from before construction of the Egyptian pyramids until the year 5000 AD.
"USGS approached us (Berkeley Lab) to develop the unsaturated zone model on the basis of our expertise in hydrological characterization of fractured rocks and numerical modeling," Bodvarsson says.
The unsaturated zone inside Yucca Mountain encompasses some 40 square kilometers and is bounded by major faults to the north, east and west. The 3-D model that Bodvarsson and colleagues designed had to account for flow patterns through the entire zone, even though the repository itself will be encased within an area of only about eight square kilometers.
Among the many issues, they had to prove they could accurately predict how much rainfall percolates through this zone and what its potential for picking up radionuclides would be. They also had to show how long it would take for escaped gas to reach the ground surface. This gas, which might be hot air or vaporized water, could potentially contain radionuclides and pose a substantial threat. Still another issue was predicting the effects of minor changes in atmospheric pressure on the flow of moisture and gas hundreds of meters below the mountain's surface.
"When storms passed over the site, we could see flow pattern changes deep inside the mountain, like the pressure of someone touching it with their hand," Bodvarsson says. "Our model had to be able to characterize these effects to provide confidence in its ability to model aqueous radionuclide transport."
Further complicating the challenge was the fact that, in addition to dealing with the effects of natural thermal conditions, Bodvarsson and colleagues had to allow for the enormous heat that will be introduced into the site when nuclear waste is finally buried.
"The buried waste will be creating an artificial geothermal zone with a temperature of around 200-300 degrees Celsius," he says. "We have to know what the hydrogeologic response will be to this change."
As many as 100 boreholes have now been drilled and sampled for moisture and air content. There is also a two-mile long tunnel through the center of the mountain that has been tested. Results of these tests have been in good agreement with predictions made using the model, particularly regarding gas flow. Yucca Mountain was the first choice as a site because it is in an arid climate and has a large unsaturated zone. It was thought there would be little moisture and gas flowing through this zone, and the predictions of the ESD model bear this out.
Bodvarsson says that more field testing will soon be under way to verify key elements of the model. If this phase of testing, which is expected to take place over the next four to five years, confirms that the predictions of the Berkeley Lab model (as well as other Yucca Mountain models) are reliable, he feels that DOE will be in a good position to make Yucca Mountain its final site selection. Once the repository is completed and begins accepting nuclear waste, all of the models could then be used to help monitor the site.
The 3-D site-scale model was developed in cooperation with USGS. Berkeley Lab researchers who worked with Bodvarsson on its development include Rick Ahlers, Mark Bandurraga, Gang Chen, and Charles Haukwa.
CAPTION: Earth Sciences' Gudmundur Bodvarsson (right) co-leads a project with colleague Yu-Shu Wu (left) to determine the suitability of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, as the site of an underground repository for high-level radioactive waste. Photo by Don Fike
Proposals seeking to develop areas of excellence that will best position the Laboratory for the future will receive special consideration. In FY97, a special area of emphasis will be computer and computational science associated with the National Energy Research Supercomputing Center. Multi-investigator initiatives which attack problems of scale, and support initiatives which span divisional boundaries will also be given special attention. As in the past, outstanding single-investigator research programs will be funded at a reduced level.
A call for proposals has been distributed to division directors and administrators. Principal investigators must submit proposals to division directors by Friday, April 12. After conducting an internal review and evaluation, division directors will forward the proposals to the Director's Office. Division directors will then present the proposals from their divisions to review committees composed of the Director, deputy directors, associate laboratory director, and other division directors. The Director will make the final decisions.
Support for the program comes from Laboratory overhead. Approximately $6 million in operating expenses is planned for FY97. The level of capital equipment funding, which is a separate allocation, is planned to be about $500,000. If capital equipment is requested, it must be an integral part of the submitted proposals as indicated in the guidance.
The call for proposals and forms are available electronically via Appleshare, Net R112 zone, Depdir PowerMac/Scanner Server, LDRD folder.
Tobias, a native of Budapest, Hungary, began his career at the Lab in 1955, having already established himself at UC Berkeley as the founder of the field of electrochemical engineering. He received his doctorate degree in chemical engineering in 1946 at Budapest's University of Technical Sciences, followed by a year of postgraduate work at UC Berkeley. He joined the faculty of the newly-formed Chemical Engineering Department in 1948. He was a professor of chemical engineering from 1950 to 1991, and department chair 1967-72.
Tobias' group was the first to use early digital computers to analyze current-distribution problems and to simulate cell processes. Later studies involved other scale-dependent electrochemical processes, among them gas evolution, conductance of heterogeneous systems and porous electrodes. Other efforts were directed to the introduction of new electrochemical processes.
He was president of the Electrochemical Society in 1970-71, and of the International Society of Electrochemistry in 1977-78. He gave time and expertise to numerous government advisory boards and was a much sought-after industrial consultant. He served in many editorial positions, and received many awards and honors, among them the Acheson, De Nora, and Linford Awards of the Electrochemical Society, the Miller Research Professorship at UC Berkeley, and membership in the National Academy of Engineering.
In addition to being a widely-honored scientist, educator and administrator, he was a professional-level musician, art expert, and connoisseur of food and wine.
"Charles Tobias had a deep interest in people and had a great influence on the lives of many of his collaborators as a role model and friend," said colleague Rolf Muller. "A true Renaissance Man, beloved by students and colleagues alike, he will be greatly missed."
Tobias is survived by his wife, Katalin Voros, daughter Carla Tobias-Cheek, sons Eric and Anthony Tobias, and step-daughters Eszti Pigniczky and Reka Pigniczky. His older brother, Cornelius, now retired from Berkeley Lab, is among the world leaders in radiation biophysics.
A funeral mass for Tobias was held on March 11, with interment at St. Mary Cemetery, Oakland. Donations in his name may be made to the American Hungarian Foundation, 300 Somerset St., New Brunswick, NJ 08903, and/or to the Department of Chemical Engineering, Gilman Hall, UC Berkeley.
A native of Toledo, Ohio, Henry worked at the Laboratory from 1981 to 1990. He started out as a patent advisor, and ultimately became manager of the Patent Department. During his career, he was responsible for the issuance of numerous patents.
Henry served in the Army during World War II, fighting with the Third Army in Europe. Following his discharge, he attended the University of Toledo and graduated with a degree in engineering in 1946. He received his law degree from the University of Toledo in 1955, after which he began his career as a patent attorney. His work primarily involved prosecution of patent applications in the chemical and mechanical art areas.
He was a life master in the American Contract Bridge League, and reached the master level in chess. He had a strong interest in theater and the arts, and was a long-time contributor to the American Conservatory Theatre.
Henry is survived by seven children, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. A private memorial service was held at his home on March 2.
Memorial donations may be made to The Nature Conservancy, 1815 N. Lynn St., Arlington, VA 22209, or to the California Marine Mammal Center, Marin Headlands, GGNRA, Sausalito, CA 94965.
Authorized employees throughout the Laboratory are reaching for plastic rather than paper as the Lab phases in its new Procurement Card (Procard) program.
The cards, issued by First National Bank of Chicago/MasterCard, allow cardholders to charge low-value items--under $5,000--directly from vendors in much the same way an individual uses a charge card. At the same time, the Laboratory is able to cut the costs of processing low-value items.
Because Accounts Payable has a direct electronic connection with the bank, much of the payment paperwork is eliminated. There are only two monthly invoices to process and no checks to issue. The program saves time for the cardholders, and suppliers receive payment much more quickly, usually within two to three days of the purchase.
"The Procard Program is a win-win situation for everyone," says Procurement manager Richard Arri. "The Laboratory lowers the costs, paperwork and time associated with processing low-value orders, and Procurement can concentrate on the higher dollar, value-added orders."
Chemical Sciences Division Administrator Linda Maio has been involved in the program since last summer. "The Procard has really made a difference in our division," she says. "We can get items to our investigators faster, and there are no hassles with vendors because of late payment. Our research groups definitely appreciate the quicker turnaround."
Since the pilot program began in July, 145 cards have been assigned to 96 trained cardholders Lab-wide. As of Feb. 29, more than 1,300 transactions had been processed under the program (see chart), at a value of more than $500,000.
In Phase One of the program, under way since December, divisions have identified accounts with high procurement activity and have selected cardholders for the accounts. Each card issued is tied to a single account/cardholder, and account number changes or ledger cost transfers are not permitted.
In Phase Two, scheduled to begin in June, cardholders will be able to use a single card to handle procurements against multiple division accounts. At this point, Arri says, the card should really become the preferred method for handling low-value transactions. Cardholders will also be able to view their transactions on-line, validate them, and send them electronically to the General Ledger.
"The Procurement Card Program was one of the recommendations of a Process Improvement Team that was charged with analyzing the Laboratory's procurement methods," says Klaus Berkner, deputy director for Operations, "It took a while to develop the program, but we are now on our way. If experience at other national labs is a guide, this will turn out to be a very popular program--one that simplifies and speeds up the purchasing process."
Employees are encouraged to participate in the program. To qualify as a cardholder--which requires submission of an application and participation in cardholder training--an employee must have career status and the approval of the appropriate division administrator.
For more information about the program (such as obtaining application forms), contact Procurement Card administrator Marguerite Fernandes (X5158, firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit the Procurement Web site (http://purch1.lbl.gov).
CAPTION: The Procard, touted by Deputy Director Klaus Berkner, Procurement's Richard Arri, and Chemical Sciences' Lindarae Aubert and Linda Maio, among many others, makes it easy to obtain low-value items with minimal paperwork and fast turnaround. Photo by Don Fike
CAPTION: Since the program began last year, more than 1,300 transactions have been made with the Procard. Graph by Linda Geniesse
Because the technology is so new, each publisher has a slightly different perspective on how to limit access to specific sites. For some titles you will be able to link to the title directly; for others you will be required to register and have your own ID and password. Even if you are asked to register individually, e.g., for journals published by the Institute of Physics, there will be no charge to you.
See the list at right for the electronic journals currently available to Berkeley Lab researchers. Nucleic Acids Research and the Journal de Physique series should be available by the end of the month.
The Library also provides links to many journals that do not require site agreements. Examples include Journal of Biological Chemistry, Astrophysical Journal Letters, and Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
All the journal titles are included under the "Full Text Books, Journals, and Reports" link on the Library's Homepage at http://www.lbl.gov/ICSD/Library/. To check out other new scientific resources on the Library's Web pages try the "Web InfoStop." New resources are added frequently.
Where: Robert's Landing Beach, San Leandro
When: 9-11 a.m., Saturday, March 23
Who: Green Team and all interested employees
The Laboratory's Green Team has scheduled another beach cleanup day at Robert's Landing Beach in San Leandro. The group adopted the beach last year as part of the California Adopt-a-Beach program.
Cleanup time is 9-11 a.m. on Saturday, March 23. All Lab employees, guests, and families are invited to participate. After the cleanup, volunteers will tabulate the amount and types of trash found. This data will become part of a statewide coastal pollution monitoring database maintained by the California Coastal Commission.
Robert's Landing is a restored coastal marsh and strip of beach that lies about one half mile south of the San Leandro Marina. Participants should plan to meet at the southern parking lot of the San Leandro Beach. Transportation will be provided from the parking lot down into Robert's Landing.
Volunteers should wear sturdy shoes, and bring work gloves, a windbreaker, sun hat, sunblock, and sunglasses. Trash bags and sodas will be provided. The City of San Leandro maintains a picnic area near the parking lot, where volunteers may wish to relax after the cleanup.
For more details and a map, contact Anne Kumaranayagam at X4962.
The cards can be printed through the Employee's Buying Service. Prepaid orders (including camera-ready art) will be picked up each Monday at 11 a.m. in the cafeteria, and delivered by 11:30 a.m. on Thursdays. Personal checks should be made out to Anto Printing and enclosed with the order. Quantities of 500 cost $35 for one color and $65 for two-color printing. Order forms are available from Helen Coleman in the cafeteria lobby.
Some UC elections for exclusive representation have been close. Although Berkeley Lab represents about 5 percent of the Technical Unit, it is possible that the Lab's portion of the votes could decide the outcome. If UPTE wins the election, all employees in the Research Support Unit will be bound by the terms of the labor contract, even if they do not vote.
Remember, your vote may decide the election. Mark your ballot and return it as soon as possible. In order for your vote to count, it must be received by PERB no later than Thursday, March 28.
The Berkeley Lab Calendar is published biweekly here on the World Wide Web and in Currents by the Public Information Department. Employees can list a meeting, class, or event in the Calendar by using this submission form. The deadline for submissions is 5 p.m. on Monday in the week that Currents is published.
In addition to the events listed below, Berkeley Lab's Washington, D.C. Projects office is hosting a Science and Technology Seminars series.Scientific Conferences
Radiation Protection - Fundamentals (EHS 400), 2:30 - 5 p.m., Bldg. 51-201
Hours of operation for the Employee Buying Service are 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. daily in the cafeteria foyer.
The measure would provide $3 billion in general obligation bonds for capital improvements in state public schools--K-12 schools, community colleges, the California State University system, and the University of California.
More than $2 billion of the bond funding would go toward capital improvements at the state's K-12 schools. In all, the nine-campus UC system would receive $325 million.
For the Berkeley campus, the bond would mean $54 million to fund seismic upgrades of seven buildings, including Hearst Memorial Mining Building, Doe Library, the Graduate School of Public Policy, McCone Hall, the Dance Facility on Bancroft Way, Barker Hall, and the San Pablo Avenue services facility. Hearst Mining would be the biggest project to benefit, as the bond would fund the state's $32 million pledge for seismic safety renovation of the building, was vacated more than a year ago.
The measure would upgrade fire safety systems in Sproul Hall and throughout campus, expand high-tech instructional facilities in Dwinelle Hall, upgrade two large classrooms in Evans Hall, and build a new and safer facility for storing hazardous waste.
The League of Women Voters has set up a table in Sproul Hall to register new voters and distribute information for requesting absentee ballots.
[Excerpted from "Engineering News"]
'85 WINNEBAGO Chieftan, 27 ft., 36K mi., 454 Chev, queen bed, awning, generator, microwave/convection, tow pkg, a/c, & extras, $17,500. Rich, X6015, 439-3418
'87 CHEVY Nova, a Toyota Corolla clone built in Fremont, blue, 4-dr, a/c, 5-spd, 108K mi., orig. owner, exc. cond., $2400. Michael, X5650, 947-1111
'87 FORD/MERCURY Lynx, needs clutch & battery, gd engine & tires, 70K mi., $800/b.o. 635-4417 (after 6 p.m.)
'87 TOYOTA Camry DLX sedan, 5-spd, 1 owner, a/c, CC, alarm, AM/FM/cass., 112K mi., exc. cond., $4800/b.o. X6207, 769-7400 (eve.)
'89 TOYOTA Corolla DX, 4-dr, a/t, a/c, 93K mi., exc. cond., $3700. Yong-ki, X4828, 528-2045
'91 PONTIAC Sunbird LE, red, 2-dr, a/t, a/c, AM/FM stereo/cass., cruise, aluminum wheels, V-6, 70K mi., $6700. Josh, X4584
MOTORCYCLE, '82 Yamaha Seca 650, exc. cond., $1800. Judy, X6540, 631-6642
WHEELS & TIRES, 14" Al mag wheels w/BFG 234/50 tires, exc. cond., $425/four. Stephen, 527-8210
GARAGE for an MG, needed from mid-April for 4 to 6 mos. Guy, X4703, Kathy, 548-0120
HEAT REGISTER, old-fashioned, 12"x13" w/2-1/4" depth at floor level or approx. sz., top $ paid. Ruth, 526-2007
SINGERS, sing madrigals with us, we meet Sun. eves. at a Berkeley home, for fun. Peter, X4574, Patricia, 525-4941, Bob, 536-3174
FREE-STANDING HEATER, Schwank-Perfection, model VC2500TN-R, 50K BTU, used twice, exc. cond., $450. Denny, 237-8171
GARAGE SALE, floor lamp, $30/b.o.; dishwasher, GE, convertible, very gd cond., $400/b.o.; antique vanity, $250/b.o.; Sears freeweights, $50/b.o.; upholstered arm chair, $75/b.o.; hardside suitcase, $30/b.o. Jim, X5967
GOLF CLUBS, set of "Sting", used twice, irons are 2 thru sand wedge, 3 metal woods, swing weight D-1, stiff shafts, standard grips, $650 new, sell for $450 firm. Kathy, 837-7062 (eve.)
JUICE EXTRACTOR, wheat grass, almost new, w/orig. carton, paid $150, asking $85. Anne/Peter, X7337, 531-7837
LIFT TICKET VOUCHERS, Squaw Valley, reg. $45, $39; men's ski boots, Nordica, blk, sz. 11, $100; ladies ski jumpsuit, white w/other colors, sz. 10, $50; water filters, NSA, sink models 50C & 100S. Marek, X5029, 582-5867
MOUNTAIN BIKE, alloy wheels, Campi equip., 21" frame, $100. Bob, 845-3753
MOVING SALE, 7 mo. old, Sony stereo, $140; RCA colortrak TV,14", $150; queen sz. mattress, $170; Dell LS15 color monitor, $150, (warranty still valid on all); coffee table, $25 & other things. Anders, X4601, 526-3374
MOVING SALE, full sz. futon, TV, tables, chairs, iron, shelves, kitchen appliances & more. Javier, X5446, 843-9534
ORGAN, console, Yamaha, walnut cabinet, 8 rhythm settings, $200. Monte, X6761
PAGER, Motorola Lifestyle, 1 yr. old, gray, 16 number memory, time-stamped msgs., tone/vibrate, light, clock, new $90, $70/b.o.; compact stereo, Magnavox, 4 yrs. old, 2-pcs., phono, turner w/16 presets, 3 band eq., dbl cass. deck, single CD player, new $400, $125/b.o. Lisa, X4166
SPEAKERS, BSR 3-way 10" woofer, exc. cond., 13x23", $75/pr. Debbey, X6430, 527-8210
WORK-SPACE/ARTIST STUDIO, Berkeley, 3K sq. ft. to share, incl. use of various machine tools & other metal & wood working equip., rent will depend on need, $100-$350/mo. + dep. X5869, 843-5052
BERKELEY, furn. 1-bdrm apt, nr Sac./Univ., avail. early April thru May (negot.), $500/mo. + util. + dep. Barbara, X7227
BERKELEY, Northside, furn. 1-bdrm apt, summer sublet, residential neighborhood, hardwd flrs, many closets, well maintained, avail. 5/14-8/20, $700/mo. incl. utils. Kristine, 843-0160
BERKELEY, 2 rms avail. in furn. home, nr UCB & Rose Garden, washer/dryer, views, frpl, hot tub, decks, $450 & $500/mo. David, 525-4470
BERKELEY HILLS, very priv. house on 3 securely fenced, wooded lots, 3-bdrm (1
2- bth, lg. living rm w/frpl., dining rm, hrdwd flrs, decks, washer/dryer, furn., bay view, avail. 6/96. $1,500. 548-0704.
BERKELEY HILLS, unfurn. studio apt, short walk to LBNL, LHS, AC bus, garden, view, non-smoker, $425/mo. incl. utils., plus occasional pet-sitting. John, X5307, 841-7875
NO. BERKELEY, rms in pvt home + breakfast & kitchen privs., convenient to LBNL, $185/wk, $550/mo. Helen, 527-3252
CASTRO VALLEY, 2 bdrms avail. in home, one w/pvt bth, laundry & kitchen privs., short/long term, rent + dep. negot. Marek, X5029, 582-5867
KENSINGTON, 3-bdrm, 1-1/2 bth house, GG view, deck, lg. front & back yds, avail. June rental, $1200. 524-1641 (msg.)
KENSINGTON, furn. 3-bdrm house, lg. garden, 1 cat, avail. 5/1 for duration of summer, $1200-$1300/mo. depending upon sz. of family. Ruth, 526-2007
MILL VALLEY/TIBURON, Strawberry area, unfurn./furn., lg. bdrm in spacious home, sep. bath, kitchen privs., bay view, 25 min. drive to LBNL, no pets, non-smoking, prefer female, avail. in March, $475/mo. incl. utils., 1 mo. sec. dep. 935-2285 (eve.)
OAKLAND, sunny, spacious, 1-bdrm apt in triplex, nr Rockridge shopping ctr., nr public trans. to UCB, no smoking, no pets, $485/mo. 655-9658, 428-1893
RICHMOND, well-maintained, partially furn. 3-bdrm, 2-bth, house, remodeled kitchen, nr E.C. Del Norte BART & I-80 between San Pablo & Arlington, nr shopping ctr., washer/dryer, 1-car garage, backyd w/deck, non-smokers, no pets, $980/mo. + dep. Rose, X7554, 233-8620 (msg./eve.)
WALNUT CREEK, unfurn. 2-bdrm, 1-bth apt, in duplex on hill, Mt. Diablo view, upper unit, washer/dryer installed, fully equipped kitchen, carport, a/c, lg. yd, dog or cat acceptable, 5-min. walk to BART, 1 yr. lease, avail. in March, $875/mo. + utils. & dep. Denise, 935-2285 (eve.)
WANTED: 3-bdrm house in Piedmont/Rockridge area, ASAP, for married couple working at LBNL & LLNL, 2 in-house cats. Christa & Harrie, X7770, 845-4980
WANTED: summer rental, July/Aug., 3-bdrm house in Berkeley, Kensington or No. Oakland for visiting prof. & family from CERN. Luanne, X5853
WANTED: house mid-June thru July for visiting French scientists. Fred, X4892
WANTED: immaculate, quiet, professional woman seeks cottage/spacious apt, prefer in the Claremont area. 422-9489
WANTED: visiting French scientist, spouse & 3 children, want to exchange 4-bdrm apt in center Paris for house near LBNL starting 6/20 until end of Aug., car exchange also possible. 33 1 43389440 (France), email@example.com
WANTED: 2-3 bdrm furn. house/apt for visiting Danish research fellow + husband (non-smokers) + 3 kids (1-9 yrs.), 4/5-6/31, pos. for extension to 12/31 w/another Danish family. Susanne, firstname.lastname@example.org, + 45 35323940 (FAX)
WANTED: furn. 3-bdrm house, preferably in Berkeley Hills, for LBNL guest scientist, spouse & 2 children, non-smokers, starting 8/1 for 1-2 yr. Glenda, X6304, Morris, X4403, email@example.com.
FOUND: set of keys on 3/13, at intersection near Bevatron call Lynellen Watson, X4551 to claim.
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Flea Market is now online at www.lbl.gov/fleamarket