Berkeley Lab

Modeling & Prediction

Contaminant_FluxesCharacterizing and Predicting Contaminant Fluxes in the Environment

  • Development and deployment of effective means to predict changes, either sudden or over time.
  • Data integration, analyses, and visualization
  • On radiological resilience: Mechanistic modeling approaches for radionuclides over multiple scales
  • Berkeley local points-of-contact: Dr. Jens Birkholzer and Dr. Carl Steefel

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An important aspect of efficiently responding to radiological and nuclear accidents is understanding and predicting the long-term transport of radionuclides within and between different environmental compartments, such as farmland and forests, rivers, lakes and reservoirs, and soil and groundwater.

Analysis of complex transport phenomena includes characterizing, quantifying, and predicting radionuclide flow and transport pathways in surface waters, plants, soils, sediments, and groundwater. Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley have developed advanced mechanistic models that couple hydrological-biogeochemical processes that range from the molecular to the field scale with different environmental pathways to describe the transport of radionuclide contaminants. Research relies on linking controlled laboratory experiments with field observations, particularly at sites expected to be at elevated risk due to the impacts of persistent metal and radionuclide contamination.

In combination with various interaction mechanisms, this detailed and quantitative analysis can inform the necessary multi-scale modeling simulations required for planning incident response and designing relevant cleanup measures for surface and subsurface systems.