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Here is a reading comprehension quiz over a Nuclear Water Contamination article
Science, Social Studies, Language Arts
9, 11, 12, 10
Title – Nuclear Contamination – Reading Comprehension
By – Frank Virzi
Primary Subject – Science
Secondary Subjects – Language Arts, Social Studies
Grade Level – 9-12
This is a set of reading comprehension questions to go along with the article “Concerns Arise Over Aquifer Near Nuclear Test Site” by MARTIN FORSTENZER (New York Times, March 21, 2000). This article is available online at
1. Underground water from Pahute Mesa is moving toward
(A) Yucca Flat (B) Death Valley National Park (C) Nellis Air Force Base (D) Las Vegas.
2. The most optimistic outlook for leakage of contaminated groundwater from the Nevada Test Site comes from (A) scientists at M.I.T. (B) Management officials at the Department of Energy (C) Randell Laczniak of the U.S. Geological Survey (D) Dr. Dennis Weber of U.N.L.V.
3. In which direction is Death Valley National Park relative to Pahute Mesa?
(A) northeast (B) northwest (C) southeast (D) southwest
4. What is a plume?
5. Monitoring well were drilled by (A) a government agency (B) a university (C)a multinational corporation (D) a citizens’ group in Beatty.
6 & 7. What two properties of plutonium-239 present the greatest risk to the town of Beatty?
8. Where did the radioactivity in Pahute Mesa come from?
9. What does the Federal Government plan to do at Yucca Mountain?
10. Which of the following statements is FALSE?
(A) The Nevada Test Site is bigger than the State of Rhode Island.
(B) Tritium is known to be present at Pahute Mesa.
(C) It costs about $2 million dollars to drill a well a little over a mile deep in south central Nevada.
(D) Very high levels of radiation are present in wells just south of Oasis Valley.
(E) Route 95 runs along the Amargosa River.
ANSWERS: 1-B; 2-B; 3-D; 4-an underground “cloud” (or contaminated area) of radioactivity; 5-A;
6 & 7 – its very long half-life of 24,100 years, and its tendency to become attached to
mobile colloids; 8-underground nuclear tests; 9-store high-level nuclear waste; 10-D
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