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FP5

Network to review natural analogue studies and their applications to repository safety assessment and public communication (NAnet), Synthesis Report

Project ID: FIKW-CT-2002-20204
Funded under: FP5-EAECTP C

Abstract

Analogue studies are investigations of natural, anthropogenic, archaeological or industrial systems which have some definable similarity with a radioactive waste repository and its surrounding environment.
No natural system is exactly like a repository in all aspects and, thus, there is no complete analogue. There are, nonetheless, many analogue systems which have close similarities to certain components of a repository or to processes that control repository evolution. By careful study of appropriate analogue systems, important lessons can be learnt which may be used to improve our conceptual understanding of short and long-term repository behaviour and our safety assessment modelling capability.
The study of natural analogues is a mature research area and there is a long list of analogue studies which have been undertaken in the last two decades. These have been performed on a wide range of natural systems, such as uranium ore deposits, natural fission reactors, native metal deposits, marine and lake sediments, ancient preserved forests and buried archaeological artefacts.
Many early studies were aimed quite specifically at the provision of numerical data (e.g. corrosion rates or sorption coefficients) that could be fed into safety assessment models. In general, such approaches were not very successful because it proved difficult to extract hard numerical data from complex natural systems subject to uncertain boundary conditions. Most recent analogue studies have taken a broader approach, and it is now generally acknowledged that their primary role in support of safety assessment is to provide qualitative information to help develop or confirm conceptual models by identifying which processes are responsible for the evolution of natural systems, how these processes operate and on what spatial and temporal scales, and how these processes are coupled.

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Record Number: 7278 / Last updated on: 2006-03-29
Category: MISC
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