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Title: Combined Estimation of Hydrogeologic Conceptual Model, Parameter, and Scenario Uncertainty with Application to Uranium Transport at the Hanford Site 300 Area

Abstract

This report to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) describes the development and application of a methodology to systematically and quantitatively assess predictive uncertainty in groundwater flow and transport modeling that considers the combined impact of hydrogeologic uncertainties associated with the conceptual-mathematical basis of a model, model parameters, and the scenario to which the model is applied. The methodology is based on a n extension of a Maximum Likelihood implementation of Bayesian Model Averaging. Model uncertainty is represented by postulating a discrete set of alternative conceptual models for a site with associated prior model probabilities that reflect a belief about the relative plausibility of each model based on its apparent consistency with available knowledge and data. Posterior model probabilities are computed and parameter uncertainty is estimated by calibrating each model to observed system behavior; prior parameter estimates are optionally included. Scenario uncertainty is represented as a discrete set of alternative future conditions affecting boundary conditions, source/sink terms, or other aspects of the models, with associated prior scenario probabilities. A joint assessment of uncertainty results from combining model predictions computed under each scenario using as weight the posterior model and prior scenario probabilities. The uncertainty methodology was applied to modeling of groundwatermore » flow and uranium transport at the Hanford Site 300 Area. Eight alternative models representing uncertainty in the hydrogeologic and geochemical properties as well as the temporal variability were considered. Two scenarios represent alternative future behavior of the Columbia River adjacent to the site were considered. The scenario alternatives were implemented in the models through the boundary conditions. Results demonstrate the feasibility of applying a comprehensive uncertainty assessment to large-scale, detailed groundwater flow and transport modeling and illustrate the benefits of the methodology I providing better estimates of predictive uncertiay8, quantitative results for use in assessing risk, and an improved understanding of the system behavior and the limitations of the models.« less

Authors:
; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
921264
Report Number(s):
NUREG/CR-6940; PNNL-16396
401001060; TRN: US0800942
DOE Contract Number:
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; 58 GEOSCIENCES; HANFORD RESERVATION; GROUND WATER; URANIUM; RADIONUCLIDE MIGRATION; COLUMBIA RIVER; FLOW MODELS; HYDROLOGY; GEOLOGIC MODELS; DATA COVARIANCES; GEOCHEMISTRY; hydrogeologic; US Nuclear Regulatory Commission; conceptual model; groundwater flow; Columbia River; Hanford Site; 300 Area

Citation Formats

Meyer, Philip D., Ye, Ming, Rockhold, Mark L., Neuman, Shlomo P., and Cantrell, Kirk J. Combined Estimation of Hydrogeologic Conceptual Model, Parameter, and Scenario Uncertainty with Application to Uranium Transport at the Hanford Site 300 Area. United States: N. p., 2007. Web. doi:10.2172/921264.
Meyer, Philip D., Ye, Ming, Rockhold, Mark L., Neuman, Shlomo P., & Cantrell, Kirk J. Combined Estimation of Hydrogeologic Conceptual Model, Parameter, and Scenario Uncertainty with Application to Uranium Transport at the Hanford Site 300 Area. United States. doi:10.2172/921264.
Meyer, Philip D., Ye, Ming, Rockhold, Mark L., Neuman, Shlomo P., and Cantrell, Kirk J. 2007. "Combined Estimation of Hydrogeologic Conceptual Model, Parameter, and Scenario Uncertainty with Application to Uranium Transport at the Hanford Site 300 Area". United States. doi:10.2172/921264. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/921264.
@article{osti_921264,
title = {Combined Estimation of Hydrogeologic Conceptual Model, Parameter, and Scenario Uncertainty with Application to Uranium Transport at the Hanford Site 300 Area},
author = {Meyer, Philip D. and Ye, Ming and Rockhold, Mark L. and Neuman, Shlomo P. and Cantrell, Kirk J.},
abstractNote = {This report to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) describes the development and application of a methodology to systematically and quantitatively assess predictive uncertainty in groundwater flow and transport modeling that considers the combined impact of hydrogeologic uncertainties associated with the conceptual-mathematical basis of a model, model parameters, and the scenario to which the model is applied. The methodology is based on a n extension of a Maximum Likelihood implementation of Bayesian Model Averaging. Model uncertainty is represented by postulating a discrete set of alternative conceptual models for a site with associated prior model probabilities that reflect a belief about the relative plausibility of each model based on its apparent consistency with available knowledge and data. Posterior model probabilities are computed and parameter uncertainty is estimated by calibrating each model to observed system behavior; prior parameter estimates are optionally included. Scenario uncertainty is represented as a discrete set of alternative future conditions affecting boundary conditions, source/sink terms, or other aspects of the models, with associated prior scenario probabilities. A joint assessment of uncertainty results from combining model predictions computed under each scenario using as weight the posterior model and prior scenario probabilities. The uncertainty methodology was applied to modeling of groundwater flow and uranium transport at the Hanford Site 300 Area. Eight alternative models representing uncertainty in the hydrogeologic and geochemical properties as well as the temporal variability were considered. Two scenarios represent alternative future behavior of the Columbia River adjacent to the site were considered. The scenario alternatives were implemented in the models through the boundary conditions. Results demonstrate the feasibility of applying a comprehensive uncertainty assessment to large-scale, detailed groundwater flow and transport modeling and illustrate the benefits of the methodology I providing better estimates of predictive uncertiay8, quantitative results for use in assessing risk, and an improved understanding of the system behavior and the limitations of the models.},
doi = {10.2172/921264},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2007,
month = 7
}

Technical Report:

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  • The objective of the research described in this report is the development and application of a methodology for comprehensively assessing the hydrogeologic uncertainties involved in dose assessment, including uncertainties associated with conceptual models, parameters, and scenarios. This report describes and applies a statistical method to quantitatively estimate the combined uncertainty in model predictions arising from conceptual model and parameter uncertainties. The method relies on model averaging to combine the predictions of a set of alternative models. Implementation is driven by the available data. When there is minimal site-specific data the method can be carried out with prior parameter estimates basedmore » on generic data and subjective prior model probabilities. For sites with observations of system behavior (and optionally data characterizing model parameters), the method uses model calibration to update the prior parameter estimates and model probabilities based on the correspondence between model predictions and site observations. The set of model alternatives can contain both simplified and complex models, with the requirement that all models be based on the same set of data. The method was applied to the geostatistical modeling of air permeability at a fractured rock site. Seven alternative variogram models of log air permeability were considered to represent data from single-hole pneumatic injection tests in six boreholes at the site. Unbiased maximum likelihood estimates of variogram and drift parameters were obtained for each model. Standard information criteria provided an ambiguous ranking of the models, which would not justify selecting one of them and discarding all others as is commonly done in practice. Instead, some of the models were eliminated based on their negligibly small updated probabilities and the rest were used to project the measured log permeabilities by kriging onto a rock volume containing the six boreholes. These four projections, and associated kriging variances, were averaged using the posterior model probabilities as weights. Finally, cross-validation was conducted by eliminating from consideration all data from one borehole at a time, repeating the above process, and comparing the predictive capability of the model-averaged result with that of each individual model. Using two quantitative measures of comparison, the model-averaged result was superior to any individual geostatistical model of log permeability considered.« less
  • We describe the development and application of a methodology to systematically and quantitatively assess predictive uncertainty in groundwater flow and transport modeling that considers the combined impact of hydrogeologic uncertainties associated with the conceptual-mathematical basis of a model, model parameters, and the scenario to which the model is applied. The methodology is based on an extension of a Maximum Likelihood implementation of Bayesian Model Averaging. Model uncertainty is represented by postulating a discrete set of alternative conceptual models for a site with associated prior model probabilities that reflect a belief about the relative plausibility of each model based on itsmore » apparent consistency with available knowledge and data. Posterior model probabilities are computed and parameter uncertainty is estimated by calibrating each model to observed system behavior; prior parameter estimates are optionally included. Scenario uncertainty is represented as a discrete set of alternative future conditions affecting boundary conditions, source/sink terms, or other aspects of the models, with associated prior scenario probabilities. A joint assessment of uncertainty results from combining model predictions computed under each scenario using as weights the posterior model and prior scenario probabilities.« less
  • A tight cluster of 35 new wells was installed over a former waste site, the South Process Pond (316-1 waste site), in the Hanford Site 300 Area in summer 2008. This report documents the details of the drilling, sampling, and well construction for the new array and presents a summary of the site hydrogeology based on the results of drilling and preliminary geophysical logging.
  • Final Deliverable under GWP-HQ-LMT-02 contract for Hanford Sci. & Tech. Gp. to BHI. The scope of work covered laboratory analyses and gephysical logging for 299-W19-43 near the 200 West U Plant. Other isotopic analyses were conducted for holes around 216-U-1&2, including U-236.
  • Gable Gap is a structural and topographic depression between Gable Mountain and Gable Butte within the central Hanford Site. It has a long and complex geologic history, which includes tectonic uplift synchronous with erosional downcutting associated with the ancestral Columbia River during both Ringold and Cold Creek periods, and by the later Ice Age (mostly glacial Lake Missoula) floods. The gap was subsequently buried and partially backfilled by mostly coarse-grained, Ice Age flood deposits (Hanford formation). Erosional remnants of both the Ringold Formation and Cold Creek unit locally underlie the high-energy flood deposits. A large window exists in the gapmore » where confined basalt aquifers are in contact with the unconfined suprabasalt aquifer. Several paleochannels, of both Hanford and Ringold Formation age, were eroded into the basalt bedrock across Gable Gap. Groundwater from the Central Plateau presently moves through Gable Gap via one or more of these shallow paleochannels. As groundwater levels continue to decline in the region, groundwater flow may eventually be cut off through Gable Gap.« less