This paper describes an analytically based method for modeling the time-dependent radionuclide areal densities of contaminated soil surface layers when the soil experiences simultaneous leaching, surface erosion and chain radioactive decay. The model is used to predict time-dependent radionuclide areal densities in a volcanic ash blanket contaminated with spent nuclear fuel particles for the purpose of assessing the risks of radiation exposure from an extrusive volcanic event near a proposed high-level waste repository at Yucca Mountain. The method uses general analytical solutions (an expansion of the Bateman equations) for calculating serial decay, including non-radioactive decay loss terms, in order to calculate time-dependent radionuclide areal densities in the ash blanket. In the presented example, 43 "key" radionuclides are tracked and their concentrations in the blanket are displayed for a 10,000-y time period following the volcanic event. Although the analysis presented herein is for modeling contaminated volcanic ash blankets, the model would work equally well for modeling time-dependent radionuclide contamination of land surfaces in, for example, site decommissioning. It is suggested that the general solutions for serial decay (with non-radioactive decay loss terms) can also be used to model the release of radionuclides from the waste packages under anticipated repository conditions.
(C)1997Health Physics Society