Abstract

The Savannah River Site (SRS) is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) facility that was set aside in the early 1950s as a controlled area for the production of nuclear materials. The disposal of used chlorinated solvents in the M-Area of SRS to an unlined settling basin and to a nearby tributary, along with spills at the solvent storage tank area, has created a significant subsurface contamination problem. SRS is located in west-central South Carolina, where the geology is dominated by sediments of the Coastal Plain physiographic province. The sediments are relatively flat-lying, irregular, interbedded sand and clay bodies deposited in marine to fluvio-deltaic environments. In 2000, a pilot field-scale steam flood began at a former solvent storage tank area (321 M SST) to demonstrate the proficiency of steam flooding in the geologic environment at SRS and to determine the feasibility of the process for the remediation of the M-Area settling basin. A multiphase flow numerical simulator was used to predict heating patterns of the steam flood at the solvent storage tank area. Although the simulations were not used to design the pilot test, comparisons of data from the actual steam flood with the simulation confirm the model's ability to predict steam front propagation in the heterogeneous media. The overall heating patterns are dominated by convective heat flows at early times, but thermal conduction appears to play a large role at longer times, dampening the effects of heterogeneities.

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