Welcome to the Spring 2017 edition of AMBER Update, the electronic newsletter for the AMBER software tool that allows users to build their own 3D deterministic and probabilistic dynamic compartment models to represent the migration, degradation and fate of contaminants in environmental and engineered systems.

AMBER 6.1 Released

The latest version of AMBER was released to existing customers with software maintenance agreements in September 2016. Its new features include:

  • full support for Linux as well as Windows;
  • an 'Apply' button on parameter tabs, allowing the effect of changes to be viewed via 'Show Values' while the tab remains open; and
  • top surface areas and donor compartment lengths are now automatically calculated in spatial models.

AMBER Spatial Model

If you have a valid software maintenance agreement, please Download AMBER 6.1. If not, feel free to Download AMBER 6.1 Demo.

If you would like to renew your maintenance agreement, please contact us.

Modelling Tips

In this edition of the AMBER Update, a workflow is provided for developing a spatial model in AMBER.

Spatial Model XY Coordinates

First, the boundaries of the spatial model need to be defined. The X-Y coordinates can then be defined in the X-Y Point Selection mode. After this, groups of points can be joined into cells, each having at least three X-Y points. Finally, Z-depths for each cell can be defined in the Z Point Selection mode. The spatial model can then be viewed in the Shape Preview mode and individual cells highlighted, shown or hidden via the check-boxes. This whole process is described in detail in Section 8 of the Reference Manual and a step-by-step tutorial is provided in Section 8 of the User Guide.

Spatial Model Z CoordinatesSpatial Model Preview

Cells within the spatial model are linked to compartments within the contaminant transport model by name. Spatial properties of those cells then become available for use as parameters in the contaminant transport model, including cell volumes, interface areas, lengths of compartments and distances between the centroids of adjoining cells.

AMBER training in the Philippines

In May 2016, Quintessa delivered AMBER training to the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) in Quezon City through an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) technical cooperation programme.

AMBER Training Philippines

PNRI are using AMBER to assess the post-closure safety of potential borehole disposal of disused sealed radioactive sources. The training covered the context of modelling within a safety assessment methodology, the theory behind compartment modelling, exercises in using AMBER, as well as sessions reviewing the host organisation’s borehole disposal concept. Three Filipinos subsequently visited Quintessa for a week in August 2016, to develop their associated assessment further as part of an IAEA fellowship.

AMBER provides a powerful generic modelling platform; however, it is the models and data that are implemented in the software that help determine the outcome and level of confidence in a quantitative assessment. In addition to help-desk support, Quintessa delivers support to AMBER users through training in quantitative assessment methodologies as well as in the use of the software. Contact us if you have any questions about training course options.

Future Enhancements

Quintessa is fully committed to the long-term development and support of AMBER, with on-going development and annual software updates. For AMBER 6.2, we plan to enhance AMBER’s spatial awareness and 3D visualisation capabilities further with the rendering of outputs and results onto the 3D view. This would allow users to ‘play’ through movies of evolving spatial concentrations. Other developments planned for the future include allowing spatial models to evolve with time (e.g. to represent erosion in long-term assessments).

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. Recent suggestions include having the GUI identify when the underlying text case file has been updated and ask the user if they want to 'refresh' the model displayed in the GUI (or at least have a manual 'refresh' option), and ensuring that it is clear in the individual transfer dialogs when transfers are picking-up default expressions. Please contact us to provide any comments you have.

AMBER Support

Quintessa continues to support AMBER, both through directed support to licence holders and by 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.