Quintessa has provided biosphere assessment support to the UK geological disposal programme since 2007. This has included multiple strands of work including:
- screening of radionuclides included within the national inventory to identify those warranting explicit consideration from the perspective of long term safety assessment;
- review of catchment scale hydrological modelling with MIKE SHE and SHETRAN to interpret the degree of mixing between shallow aquifers and deeper, potentially contaminated groundwater;
- review of biosphere characterisation activities undertaken in other national programmes;
- consideration of climate and environmental change, working with Bristol University in support of RWM’s participation in Working Group 6 of the IAEA’s MODARIA programme;
- updating RWM’s model for radionuclide releases to terrestrial and freshwater biosphere systems, including introduction of explicit representation of different climate states;
- developing new biosphere models to represent potential impacts arising from contaminant releases to estuarine, coastal and marine systems; and
- leading the authorship of the report describing the way in which the biosphere is treated within the 2010 Disposal System Safety Case (DSSC).