The U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE) Office of Environmental Management (EM), Office of Soil and Groundwater (EM-12), is supporting development of the Advanced Simulation Capability for Environmental Management (ASCEM). ASCEM is a state-of-the-art scientific tool and approach that is currently aimed at understanding and predicting contaminant fate and transport in natural and engineered systems. ASCEM is a modular and open source high-performance computing tool. It will be used to facilitate integrated approaches to modeling and site characterization, and provide robust and standardized assessments of performance and risk for EM cleanup and closure activities.

The ASCEM project continues to make significant progress in development of capabilities, with current emphasis on integration of capabilities in FY12. Capability development is occurring for both the Platform and Integrated Toolsets and High-Performance Computing (HPC) multiprocess simulator. The Platform capabilities provide the user interface and tools for end-to-end model development, starting with definition of the conceptual model, management of data for model input, model calibration and uncertainty analysis, and processing of model output, including visualization. The HPC capabilities target increased functionality of process model representations, toolsets for interaction with Platform, and verification and model confidence testing. The integration of the Platform and HPC capabilities were tested and evaluated for EM applications in a set of demonstrations as part of Site Applications Thrust Area activities in 2012.

The current maturity of the ASCEM computational and analysis capabilities has afforded the opportunity for collaborative efforts to develop decision analysis tools to support and optimize radioactive waste disposal. Recent advances in computerized decision analysis frameworks provide the perfect opportunity to bring this capability into ASCEM. This will allow radioactive waste disposal to be evaluated based on decision needs, such as disposal, closure, and maintenance. Decision models will be used in ASCEM to identify information/data needs, and model refinements that might be necessary to effectively reduce uncertainty in waste disposal decisions. Decision analysis models start with tools for framing the problem, and continue with modeling both the science side of the problem (for example, inventories, source terms, fate and transport, receptors, risk, etc.), and the cost side of the problem, which could include costs of implementation of any action that is chosen (e.g., for disposal or closure), and the values associated with those actions. The cost side of the decision problem covers economic, environmental and societal costs, which correspond to the three pillars of sustainability (economic, social, and environmental). These tools will facilitate stakeholder driven decision analysis to support optimal sustainable solutions in ASCEM.

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