Challenge Team Interim Report

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    Team Number: 038

    School Name: Farmington High School

    Area of Science: Enviormental Science

    Project Title: The Various Effects of Storing Nuclear Waste at the WIPP Site

Final Report

We have decided to refine our project since we wrote our abstract. The title of our project is "The Various Effects of Storing Nuclear Waste at the WIPP Site". This is to include a scenario that shows the effects of a nuclear waste container rupturing and the movement of the waste through its environment. We will show this scenario using a simulation program. This program will be coded in C++. We hope to show how the waste will react in the mine and water table that is under this storage facility. Both long and short-term effects will be considered in this program. We will also evaluate the materials that are considered nuclear waste. Also in the course of our project we contacted a mentor that is available to us. We well use our mentor to validate any information that may be false. He will also help us with finding other people to answer any questions he can not.

Up to this point in our project we have done research and planned to continue so that we have up to date and accurate information. We have looked at what kind of container will be used in storing nuclear waste at WIPP. We have looked at how the nuclear waste would be transported to the WIPP site. We have read recent news articles that explain how the government of New Mexico is trying to plan the safest route to the WIPP site. We have consulted a couple of experts in what is stored in these containers. To our surprise it is not just green slime in these containers that is under the classification of nuclear waste. The category of nuclear waste includes such things as tools and suits that are used in working on reactors. The WIPP site was once a salt mine. This is a positive factor in storing nuclear waste at WIPP. Salt is somewhat dense, which would help contain the radiation if there was an accident.

The plan that we intend to follow for modeling the WIPP site will be very basic. The exact nature of the environment will be ascertained. After this the nature of the drums that contain the various waste products shall be determined. From this we will determine the strength of the containers in order to determine how long one of these drums will hold up under stress. The next step will be to determine how long the drum will maintain its integrity. This will be very important in determining at what point in time the WIPP might encounter any problems if they arise. Therefore we will have to determine the composition of the surrounding salt mine and determine what forces will act upon it. Next we will look at the various waste materials to determine how effectively the materials will permeate the surroundings. Also information as to whether the materials will reach any surrounding water tables or how man-made interference might affect this. Gathering and analyzing these factors and any possible factors that are relevant and not yet considered will allow us to establish an accurate model of the site.

We expect that our project will realistically show how waste is stored at WIPP. We believe our results will show that should an accident happen at WIPP, the contamination would nort go very far.

Team Members

Sponsoring Teachers

Project Advisor(s)