BIOPROTA is an international collaborative forum designed to support resolution of key issues in biosphere aspects of assessments of the long-term impact of contaminant releases associated with radioactive waste management.
Participation is aimed at national authorities and agencies with responsibility for achieving safe and acceptable radioactive waste management, both regulators and operators. At the outset, it was recognised that there are radioecological and other data and information issues that are common to specific assessments required in many countries.
The project focuses on key radionuclides and the key biosphere migration and accumulation mechanisms relevant to those radionuclides. Collaboration through projects focused on mutual research needs is intended to make efficient use of skills and resources, and provide a common, transparent and traceable basis for the choices of modelling approaches and parameter values, as well as for the wider interpretation of information used in assessments.
The primary objectives of BIOPROTA are:
- to provide a forum for exchange of information to support the resolution of key issues in biosphere aspects of assessments of the long-term impact of contaminant releases associated with radioactive waste disposal and contaminated land management; and,
- to make available the best sources of information to justify modelling assumptions made within long-term safety assessments.
Particular emphasis is placed on key data for the assessment of long-lived radionuclide migration and accumulation in the biosphere, and the associated radiological impact, following discharge or release to the surface environment.
The work is driven by assessment needs, as identified from previous and on-going assessment projects. Where common needs are identified within different assessment projects in different countries, a collaborative effort can efficiently be applied to finding consistent solutions.
The results of BIOPROTA may range from relatively precise suggestions on what data to apply to particular modelling approaches for specific assessment situations, to the provision of advice on more generic types of information that should be taken into account when making assessment and modelling assumptions.
The modelling assumptions to be considered include the treatment of various features, events and processes (FEPs) of the systems under investigation, the mathematical representation of those FEPs and the choice of parameter values to adopt within those mathematical representations.
The forum is very focused on key data requirements identified by a top down evaluation of assessment needs, and not a simple generic compilation of available information. If initial review shows that the information required by assessments is not available, then collaboratively funded projects are used to undertake associated research in a cost-effective manner to meet that need.