United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

A Comprehensive Strategy of Hydrogeologic Modeling and Uncertainty Analysis for Nuclear Facilities and Sites (NUREG/CR-6805)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: December 2002
Date Published:
July 2003

Prepared by:
S.P. Neuman and P.J. Wierenga

Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science
University of Arizona
Tucson, Arizona 85721

T.J. Nicholson, NRC Project Manager

Prepared for:
Division of Systems Analysis and Regulatory Effectiveness
Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

NRC Job Code W6790

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Abstract

This report describes a strategy that embodies a systematic and comprehensive approach to hydrogeologic conceptualization, model development and predictive uncertainty analysis. The strategy is comprehensive in that it considers all stages of model building and accounts jointly for uncertainties that arise at each of them. The stages include regional and site characterization, hydrogeologic conceptualization, development of conceptual-mathematical model structure, parameter estimation on the basis of monitored system behavior, and assessment of predictive uncertainty. In addition to parameter uncertainty, the strategy concerns itself with uncertainties arising from incomplete definitions of (a) the conceptual framework that determines model structure, (b) spatial and temporal variations in hydrologic variables that are either not fully captured by the available data or not fully resolved by the model, and (c) the scaling behavior of hydrogeologic variables. The strategy is generic but designed to be of practical use to NRC licensing staff in their review of decommissioning plans, and performance assessment of high-level and low-level radioactive waste disposal sites as well as uranium recovery facilities. An important component of the strategy is a systematic sequence of logical questions, guidelines and criteria with analytical methods appropriate for NRC review and performance evaluation.

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