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Simulation and Particle-Tracking Analysis of Selected Ground-Water Pumping Scenarios at Vogtle Electric Generation Plant, Burke County, Georgia

Progress and Significant Results, 2006—2007

  • An updated and calibrated MODFLOW ground-water flow model (Cherry, 2006) was used to simulate the effect of current and potential future pumping on ground-water levels and flowpaths near VEGP for a Base Case representing year 2002 conditions and three pumping scenarios (see table). The pumping scenarios focused on pumping increases at VEGP based on projected future demands and the addition of two electrical-generating reactor units. Scenarios simulated pumping increases at VEGP ranging from 1.09 to 3.42 million gallons per day (Mgal/d), with one of the scenarios simulating the elimination of 5.3 Mgal/d of pumping at the SRS. The largest simulated water-level changes at VEGP were for the scenario whereby pumping at the facility was more than tripled, resulting in drawdown exceeding 48 feet (ft) in the aquifers screened in the production wells. For the scenario that eliminated pumping at SRS, water-level rises of as much as 48 ft were simulated in the same aquifers at SRS.
  • Results of MODFLOW simulations were analyzed using the U.S. Geological Survey particle-tracking code MODPATH to determine the source of water and associated time of travel to VEGP production wells. For each of the scenarios, most of the recharge to VEGP wells originated in an upland area near the Burke and Jefferson County line. None of the recharge originated on the SRS or elsewhere in South Carolina. An exception occurs for the scenario whereby pumping at VEGP was more than tripled. For this scenario, some of the recharge originates in an upland area in eastern Barnwell County, South Carolina. Simulated mean time of travel from recharge areas to VEGP wells for the Base Case and the three other pumping scenarios was between about 2,700 and 3,800 years, with some variation related to changes in head gradients because of pumping changes.

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