Welcome to the Winter 2015/2016 edition of AMBER Update, the electronic newsletter for the AMBER software tool that allows users to build their own deterministic and probabilistic dynamic compartment models to represent the migration, degradation and fate of contaminants in environmental and engineered systems.

AMBER 6.0 Released

Quintessa is very pleased to announce that the latest version of AMBER was released to existing customers with software maintenance agreements in December 2015. AMBER 6.0 represents the culmination of several years of intensive work that has resulted in:

  • spatial awareness and 3D visualisation of AMBER models, capabilities that are unparalleled in this calibre of contaminant transport and risk assessment code;
  • a complete update to the user interface that further improves its user-friendliness, while being consistent with the look and feel of previous versions of AMBER; and
  • additional features, including intelligent text input for the building of expressions.

The new capabilities were featured in the summer 2015 AMBER update.

Demonstration Version and Educational Tool

A demonstration version of AMBER 6.0 is available to download for free. It allows new users to explore example models implemented in AMBER and to implement a tutorial model for themselves. The tutorial model represents a relatively simple total-system model for radioactive waste disposal, allowing the user to include contaminant release and transport in groundwater as well as potential human exposure.

The free demonstration version is designed to be used as an educational tool for exploring issues relating to contaminant transport and risk assessment. Users are able to implement and/or extend the example and tutorial models, e.g. to introduce parameter distributions and undertake probabilistic calculations in the tutorial model.

Example Cases

Six new of example cases have been included with AMBER 6.0, including five based on International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) models.

  • The Vault Test Case from the IAEA’s guidance on Improving Safety Assessment Methodologies (ISAM). This provides an example of a model for groundwater transport and subsequent exposure arising from a vault-based design for near-surface disposal of radioactive waste.
  • A model demonstrating the application of AMBER for calculating Waste Acceptance Criteria (WAC) for another vault-based design for near-surface disposal of radioactive waste. This case is also based on IAEA documentation.
  • An example model representing groundwater and erosive releases from near-surface disposal of wastes containing naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM). The model reflects one of the scenarios considered within the IAEA programme on Environmental Modelling for Radiation Safety (EMRAS).
  • A model for a further EMRAS scenario, representing atmospheric dispersion and subsequent deposition of radionuclides from NORM discharges via a chimney stack for a coal-fired power station.
  • A biosphere model for radionuclide transport with groundwater discharges to a small lake catchment and subsequent exposures. The model represents one of the cases from the IAEA report on Biosphere Modelling and Assessment (BIOMASS).
  • A novel model for migration of carbon dioxide and methane from landfill disposal of municipal wastes to an overlying house, including calculations of concentrations within the building.

Four of the new example cases, along with the pre-existing trench disposal example, include associated spatial models, allowing the new spatial awareness and 3D visualisation capabilities included with AMBER 6.0 to be explored in the demonstration version.

Future Enhancements

Quintessa is committed to the long-term development and support of AMBER, with on-going development and new software updates every year. The new spatial awareness and 3D visualisation capabilities included in AMBER 6.0 pave the way for future enhancements that will continue to keep AMBER at the forefront of contaminant transport and risk assessment codes. These developments include allowing spatial models to evolve with time (e.g. to represent erosion in long-term assessments), and rendering outputs and results onto the 3D view (e.g. allowing users to ‘play’ through movies of evolving spatial concentrations).

We very much welcome feedback about AMBER, including ideas and suggestions for further developments that would help to maintain its utility and applicability to a wide range of contaminant transport and risk assessment situations.

AMBER Support

Quintessa supports AMBER, both through applying the software to safety and performance assessment studies of contaminants in the environment and in supporting the AMBER user base. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about AMBER, its application and/or about our support programme.