Mineralogic Studies of the Peña Blanca Natural Analog Project
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 Commissionâ€™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).
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