A Computer-Generated Film of Repository Operations

by M. A. Duffy, Battelle Memorial Inst, Columbus, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: High Level Radioactive Waste Management 1993


For the past fifteen years, the same types of questions concerning nuclear waste repository operations have kept coming up over and over again. What should be the average throughput for spent nuclear fuel? How much lag storage capacity will be needed? Where are the potential bottlenecks for waste handling at the repository? How many shifts per day should the repository operate? Computer models can be developed which accurately simulate the proposed operations at hypothetical repositories. However, as with most complex computer models, only a very few people, other than the model developers, would be able to understand the model's logic and its simulated results. In a program such as the Department of Energy's (DOE) Civilian Radioactive Waste Management program, where public understanding and acceptance are so important, new ways must be found to simplify the mathematical maze of complex results. Through the explanatory power of computer animation, these shortcomings can be overcome. Back in the early 1980's, a computer simulation model was developed for analyzing the waste handling operations at a hypothetical nuclear waste repository. Although the model is based on the material flow and process times contained in the Conceptual Reference Repository Description (CRRD), an early generic repository design, it is still quite capable of answering many 'what if' types of questions concerning nuclear waste handling operations. Basically, the model tracks the movement of spent nuclear fuel and transuranic waste from their initial receipt at the repository to their ultimate emplacement underground. What sets this model apart from other repository simulation models is its computer animation capability. A computer-generated film, which was produced from the model output, was shown in the hope of stimulating a renewed interest in using computer simulation and animation to support repository design.

Subject Headings: Simulation models | Fuels | Mathematical models | Imaging techniques | Computing in civil engineering | Nuclear power | Waste management | Radioactive wastes

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