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Geological Environment Stability with Disposal of Radioactive Waste


The Development of Information Technology of Geological Environment Stability Assessment with Long-Term Storage and Disposal of Radioactive Waste in Geological Formations

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-WDS/Waste Disposal/Environment
  • INF-OTH/Other/Information and Communications
  • OBS-GEO/Geology/Other Basic Sciences

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Wol'f O V

Leading Institute
VNIPI Promtechnology, Russia, Moscow

Supporting institutes

  • Institute of Physics of the Earth, Russia, Moscow


  • Deutsche Gesellschaft zum Bau und Betrieb von Endlagern für Abfastoffe mbH (DBE), Germany, Peine\nInstitut de Physique du Globe, France, Paris\nCODATA, France, Paris

Project summary

The safety of long-term storage and disposal of radioactive waste is ensured by multilevel protection system. The impervious geological environment is the major and strongest protecting barrier assured against an environmental contamination by radioactive waste. Geodynamics evolution of the earth crust and seismic activity can change the protected properties of geological formation with time and a long-term prediction of impermeability of geological formation that contains storage and disposal of radioactive waste is important.

The goal of the project is the creation of information technology for expert assessment of the suitability of the use of selected location for long-term underground storage and disposal of high-level radioactive waste (HLRW). The proposed expert system is based on data of time-space monitoring of a tested area, on computer modeling of geodynamic processes and on expert knowledge base.

The first HLRW repositories in the territory of the Russian Federation are planned to be constructed in the regions of Krasnoyarsk, Novaya Zemlya and the Far East. These areas are the objects of application of proposed expert system. The areas are named below as the tested areas.

The project includes three tasks:

Task 1. Collecting data on tectonic, hydrological, seismological and geodynamic environment of the tested areas; constructing databases of the tested areas and a knowledge base on geological environment stability characteristics; elaborating prognostic functions and major criteria of geological environment stability assessment.

Task 2. Elaborating algorithms of computer modeling of geodynamic evolution of the tested earth crust areas. Developing the expert system tools based on modern mathematical methods of analysis of a complex system in the case of insufficient and indefinite information (artificial intelligence, vague logic etc.).

Task 3. Estimating geological environment suitability of the regions of planning location of long-term repositories of HLRW; predicting the geoecological risk of HLRW repositories location in these areas.

The sources of background experimental information: the results of laboratory experiments and field observations carried out by the VNIPI Promtechnology, JIPE RAS, and also of structure JIPE RAS – Geophysical Center and Center of Geophysical Data Studies and Telematics Applications. A part of the data has already been collected.

In their form, data on each object will be presented by four classes:

1. Initial data on paper (maps, catalogs of events, tables, time series, textual reports, photographs and others);
2. Formalized data in electronic form in format ArcView 3.2 GIS (vectors, raster, points);
3. Prior knowledge (criteria, limiting conditions);
4. Expert hypothesis (models, cartographic charts, logical constructions).

These data are characterized by insufficient information and provide us with the descriptive nature knowledge on the processes going on in the geological environment. Frequently information is based only on the intuition of experts. Therefore the approach to data analysis must be based on new ideas summing up the principles of decision-making theory, and indistinct logic and mathematical modeling in the case of insufficient information.

The mathematical approaches include adaptation of methods of mathematical statistics, artificial intelligence, and fuzzy logic to the process of formalization of expert knowledge related to the studied problems. It is planned to use the algorithm RODIN for gradation of large data sets and the algorithm DRAS (Physics of the Solid Earth, 2002. No.7) for a useful signal identification. The algorithm RODIN is based on the geometrical approach to the studies of objects centering in a finite metric space. In the algorithm DRAS, interpreter's logic is modeled in the analyses of any record; the interpreter skims over the record, locally assessing the activity of small fragments of the record, memorizes these assessments and then makes one or another aggregated solution.

The tools of expert system based on these algorithms will be used for solving problems such as separating quasi-linear anomalies of geophysical fields (gravimetry, aeromagnetic survey and others) against the noise background, identification of anomalous areas related to the zones of active tectonic structures, estimating the influence of exogenous and morphological factors on the geological environment stability, expert rating of areas by stability criteria on the basis of the study of various fields and geological environment features distribution (time series of local GPS measurements, time-space dynamics of weak seismicity, etc.).

Mathematical problems listed above, methods of the analysis and geophysical and tectonic substantiation of the expert system tools will the elaborated by joint research team of scientists of VNIPI Promtechnology and JIPE RAS, and their colleagues from foreign countries as well.

The safe isolation of radioactive waste is a very urgent and complicated scientific and technological problem and the proposed information technology will allow us to ensure the safe conditions of operating HLRW repositories in conformity with modern requirements of ecology. The mathematical approaches, expert system tools and the results of complex analysis and interpretation will be novel and will have no analogs either in Russian or in foreign literature.

In the work, great potentialities are proposed to be used of scientists and engineers who were engaged in the research of the nuclear arm tests, aiming those potentialities at ensuring ecological safety of population and the environment.

In the course of the Project, we plan to obtain the following major results, which are of fundamental and applied significance: A problem-oriented expert information system will be elaborated and will be used for analysis of regions of planning location of long-term repositories of HLRW. The result of this analysis will be the assessment of the geoecology risk of location of long-term underground storage and disposal of high-level radioactive waste in the tested areas in the case insufficient information about properties of geological and geophysical environment. It allows also making the optimal choice of the locations where geological environment ensures reliable and ecologically safe isolation of radioactive waste of various activities.

The stages of the work are as follows:

- Retrospective data and new field observation data collection. (Data on geology, tectonics, modern movements of an earth's crust, geophysical fields, hydrogeology, relief etc.).
- Preliminary data analysis; digitations of analogues information and input data in database.
- Constructing the data base management system and knowledge base tools on the basis of analytical GIS.
- Formalization of expert knowledge on the criteria of geological environment stability; knowledge base formation.
- Constructing the object-oriented interactive computer models.
- Selecting the training material for optimizing expert criteria and mathematical models parameters; rating the forecasting potential of available information; selecting parameters of optimal scenario of geoecology risk forecasting.
- The assessment of geoecology risk of real long-term underground storage and disposal of HLRW in the tested areas.

The results obtained will be used by the Ministry of Atomic Energy of the Russian Federation and the State Atomic Surveillance of the Russian Federation bodies controlling ecological safety.

Foreign collaborators will make the contribution in:

- Specification of the research plans of the Project;
- Specification of software tools and developing the software;
- Optimization of expert criteria and mathematical model parameters on the basis of training material;
- Preparation of reports and joint publications;
- Dissemination of the results of the research on the basis of agreement between participants of the project;
- In circulating information on the results of research on international scale on the basis of relations with international scientists.

The modern telecommunication technologies will be used for the contacts between participants of the project. In particular, teleconference tools will be used for real-time discussion of intermediate results.

The realization of the Project will help the specialists of VNIPI Promtechnology to keep their high scientific and professional standards and provide them with new effective tools for solving civil problems.

The cooperation with foreign colleagues in the frame of the Project will help integrate the specialists of VNIPI Promtechnology into international scientific community.


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