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Proceeding Toward a License Application for U.S. Nuclear Waste Repository: Total System Performance Assessment Approach

[+] Author Affiliations
Jerry McNeish, Rob Howard

Bechtel SAIC, LLC, Las Vegas, NV

Peter Swift, David Sevougian, Donald Kalinich, Robert MacKinnon

Sandia National Laboratories

Paper No. ICEM2003-4956, pp. 1651-1658; 8 pages
  • ASME 2003 9th International Conference on Radioactive Waste Management and Environmental Remediation
  • 9th ASME International Conference on Radioactive Waste Management and Environmental Remediation: Volumes 1, 2, and 3
  • Oxford, England, September 21–25, 2003
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division and Environmental Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3732-7 | eISBN: 0-7918-3731-9


The development of a deep geologic repository system in the United States has progressed to the preparation of an application for a license from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The project received site recommendation approval from the U.S. President in early 2002. The next phase of the project involves development of the license application (LA) utilizing the vast body of information accumulated in study of the site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Development of the license application involves analyses of the total system performance assessment (TSPA) of the repository, the TSPA-LA. The TSPA includes the available relevant information and model analyses from the various components of the system (e.g., unsaturated geologic zone, engineered system (waste packaging and drift design), and saturated geologic zone) (see Fig. 1 for nominal condition components), and unites that information into a single computer model used for evaluating the potential future performance or degradation of the repository system. The primary regulatory guidance for the repository system is found in 10 CFR 63, which indicates the acceptable risk to future populations from the repository system. The performance analysis must be traceable and transparent, with a defensible basis. The TSPA-LA is being developed utilizing state-of-the-art modeling software and visualization techniques, building on a decade of experience with such analyses. The documentation of the model and the analyses will be developed with transparency and traceability concepts to provide an integrated package for reviewers. The analysis relies on 1000’s of pages of supporting information, and multiple software and process model analyses. The computational environment represents the significant advances in the last 10 years in computer workstations. The overall approach will provide a thorough, transparent compliance analysis for consideration by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in evaluating the Yucca Mountain repository.



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