Numerical Model of Subsurface Transport of Noble Gases in Fractured Geologic Media for Detection and Identification of Subsurface Nuclear Explosion Te
Surface detection of specific radioisotopes of the noble gases xenon and argon are essential for detection and discrimination of underground nuclear explosions. We propose a unique combination of numerical modeling and stable isotope release experiments to enhance the predictability of subsurface transport of the noble gases of interest. Our proposed research will identify and quantify the physical processes and mathematical variables necessary for accurate characterization and prediction of subsurface noble gas migration through fractured geologic media to the surface. We propose numerical modeling using the TOUGH2 subsurface transport code, which has been extensively validated on other subsurface mass transport phenomena. The code will be used in conjunction with the variable and well-documented geology of eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania to develop a set of innovative experiments for the subsurface release and surface detection of stable noble gas isotopes using abandoned deep coal mines Phase I Proof of Concept simulations of subsurface noble gas transport will be conducted, based on the local geology. The output of the PoC simulations will be compared with a Youngstown State University maintained database on area abandoned subsurface coal mines to develop a battery of tests to be conducted during Phase II for model validation.
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