January 19, 2023
Conference Paper

Verification and Validation of START: A Spent Nuclear Fuel Routing and Decision Support Tool


The Stakeholder Tool for Assessing Radioactive Transportation (START) is a web-based geospatial decision-support tool being developed by the US Department of Energy’s Office of Integrated Waste Management (IWM) to support federal interim storage for spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and associated transportation. START provides many functions for the IWM program including: serving as a communications tool for conveying geospatial data and information, an options analysis tool for exploring potential transport modes and routes for transporting SNF from nuclear power plants to future federal interim storage facilities, an emergency response planning tool for Tribes and States to identify training needs along potential SNF transport corridors, an environmental analysis tool for estimating potential radiation dose exposure from incident-free and incident-case SNF transport conditions, and a systems analysis support tool providing route-related inputs for system throughput analysis. As part of the START development process, a verification and validation (V&V) effort is being undertaken. In the initial V&V phase, several outputs of the START tool were checked such as the total distance, population and population densities within the buffer zone, and incident free dose. The V&V process is fluid as it will be utilized after each version change to ensure that the core functionalities of the tool are maintained and the results are consistent with the previous versions. Efforts have also been put into developing scripts to aid in the process of automating certain sections of the V&V work. As some of the V&V efforts use Environmental Systems Research Institute’s (ESRI) tools upon which the START framework is built, the START data were compared against outputs from tools like Quantum Geographic Information System (QGIS) for buffer zone populations and route lengths to ensure independence of the V&V process. Good agreement was observed between the START results and the independent V&V studies with the majority of the differences falling between 1% and 5% for populations within the buffer zone and route distance. This presentation describes the development and design of the START tool, V&V methods employed for various metrics of interest and their respective results, and future plans.

Published: January 19, 2023


Condon C.A., M. Abkowitz, H. Gadey, R. Claypool, S.J. Maheras, M.R. Feldman, and E. Bickford. 2022. Verification and Validation of START: A Spent Nuclear Fuel Routing and Decision Support Tool. In International High Level Radioactive Waste Management Conference, November 13-17, 2022, Phoenix, AZ, 115-119. La Grange Park, Illinois:American Nuclear Society. PNNL-SA-174406.

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