Skip to main content

Second Waste Package Probabilistic Criticality Analysis: Generation and Evaluation of Internal Criticality Configurations

J. K. McCoy
P. Gottlieb
John R. Massari
Publication Date


This analysis is prepared by the Mined Geologic Disposal System (MGDS) Waste Package Development (WPD) department to provide an evaluation of the criticality potential within a waste package having some or all of its contents degraded by corrosion and removal of neutron absorbers. This analysis is also intended to provide an estimate of the consequences of any internal criticality, particularly in terms of any increase in radionuclide inventory. These consequence estimates will be used as part of the WPD input to the Total System Performance Assessment. The ultimate objective of this analysis is to augment the information gained from the Initial Waste Package Probabilistic Criticality Analyses (Ref. 5.8 and 5.9, hereafter referred to as IPA) to a degree which will support preliminary waste package design recommendations intended to reduce the risk of waste package criticality and the risk to total repository system performance posed by the consequences of any criticality. The IPA evaluated the criticality potential under the assumption that the waste package basket retained its structural integrity, so that the assemblies retained their initial separation, even when the neutron absorbers had been leached from the basket. This analysis is based on the more realistic condition that removal of the neutron absorbers is a consequence of the corrosion of the steel in which they are contained, which has the additional consequence of reducing the structural support between assemblies. The result is a set of more reactive configurations having a smaller spacing between assemblies, or no inter-assembly spacing at all. Another difference from the IPA is the minimal attention to probabilistic evaluation given in this study. Although the IPS covered a time horizon to 100,000 years, the lack of consideration of basket degradation modes made it primarily applicable to the first 10,000 years. In contrast, this study, by focusing on the degraded modes of the basket, is primarily applicable to the post 10,000 year time horizon.

Category of Content
Associated Sites