The Ogaki Dam Reservoir is one of the principal irrigation dam reservoirs in the Fukushima Prefecture and its upstream river basin was heavily contaminated by radioactivity from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident. For the purpose of environmental assessment, it is important to determine the present condition of the water in the reservoir and to understand the behavior of sediment-sorbed radioactive cesium under different modes of operation of the dam, as these factors affect further contamination of arable farmlands downstream of the reservoir through sediment migration. This paper addresses this issue with numerical simulations of fluvial processes in the reservoir using the two-dimensional Nays2D code. We distinguish three grades of sediment (clay, silt, and sand), as cesium adherence depends on sediment grain size and surface area. Boundary conditions for the simulations were informed by monitoring data of the upstream catchment and by the results from a separate watershed simulation for sediment transport into the reservoir. The performance of the simulation method was checked by comparing the results for a typhoon flood in September 2013 against field monitoring data. We present results for sediment deposition on the reservoir bed and the discharge via the dam under typical yearly flood conditions, for which the bulk of annual sediment migration from the reservoir occurs. The simulations show that almost all the sand and silt that enter into the reservoir deposit onto the reservoir bed. However, the locations where they tend to deposit differ, with sand tending to deposit close to the entrance of the reservoir, whereas silt deposits throughout the reservoir. Both sand and silt settle within a few hours of entering the reservoir. In contrast, clay remains suspended in the reservoir water for a period as long as several days, thus increasing the amount that is discharged down- stream from the reservoir. Under the current operating mode of the dam, about three-quarters of clay that enters the reservoir during the flood is discharged downstream during and in the days following the flood. By raising the height of the dam exit, the amount of clay exiting the reservoir can be reduced by a factor of three. The results indicate that the dam can be operated to buffer radioactive cesium and limit the contamination spreading into lowland areas of the Ukedo River basin. These results should be a factor in considerations for the future operation of the Ogaki Dam, and will be of interest for other operators of dam reservoirs in areas contaminated by radioactive fallout.
S. Yamada, A. Kitamura, H. Kurikami, M. Yamaguchi, A. Malins & M. Machida
Environmental Research Letters 10, 014013 (2015)