Contact Information

James D. Prikryl
(210) 522-5667
jprikryl@swri.org

Mineralogic Studies of the Peña Blanca Natural Analog Project

image: Transmitted light photomicrograph of red-colored ianthinite filling open space within a breccia fragment. The ianthinite is being replaced by yellow-colored schoepite and uranophane. Scale - 0.8 mm across

Transmitted light photomicrograph of red-colored ianthinite filling open space within a breccia fragment. The ianthinite is being replaced by yellow-colored schoepite and uranophane. Scale - 0.8 mm across

Natural uraninite is similar in structure and composition to spent nuclear fuel. The presence of uraninite and its alteration to secondary uranium minerals at Nopal I is a fortuitous analogy in relation to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s proposed Yucca Mountain high-level waste repository.

Center for Nuclear Waste Regulatory Analyses (CNWRA) staff published information about uranium minerals found at Nopal I, their paragenesis, the composition of Nopal I uraninite, and a comparison of Nopal I uranium mineralogy to nuclear fuel corrosion experiments in Applied Geochemistry (Abstract). Studies of non-uranium minerals at Nopal I have been utilized to evaluate mechanisms and timing of uranium transport at the deposit. Details about uranium and non-uranium mineralogy are available (Abstract).

Related Terminology

Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)  •  Yucca Mountain Project (YMP)  •  Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM)  •  Sierra Peña Blanca  •  Nopal I uranium deposit  •  uraninite alteration  •  Yucca Mountain  •  performance assessment modeling of nuclear waste geologic repositories

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04/15/14