Process Simulation to Support Design of a Radioactive Waste Handling Facility
A radioactive waste repository would consist of a sub-surface facility for storing the waste, and a surface facility for receiving and packaging the waste into containers that are to be place in the tunnels. GoldSim was used to model the surface and sub-surface facility designs for the proposed Yucca Mountain Repository. The primary objectives of these models were: 1) to provide a tool to help verify that the high-level design requirements were complete, integrated, and robust, 2) to identify the robustness of the design to meet throughput requirements, and 3) to provide a tool for evaluating alternative scenarios and operating strategies.
The flexibility of GoldSim allowed for the development of a fairly complex discrete event simulation model of how the design would perform. The model tracked several key metrics including how rapidly nuclear waste transport casks could be processed through the facility, the rate that waste could be made ready for emplacement in the proposed repository, and estimates of required capacity for staging nuclear waste inside the facility. The model aided in the identification of operational constraints. Project engineers used this information to refine the design to make it more efficient.