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**of nuclear waste disposal
**

Chang-Ju Lee

a,

*

, Kun Jai Lee

b,1

a

Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety, P.O. Box 114, Yuseong, Daejeon 305-600, South Korea

b

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, 373-1 Kuseong, Yuseong, Daejeon 305-701, South Korea

Received 24 April 2004; accepted 16 March 2005

Available online 25 May 2005

Abstract

The scenario in a risk analysis can be deﬁned as the propagating feature of speciﬁc initiating event which can go to a wide range of

undesirable consequences. If we take various scenarios into consideration, the risk analysis becomes more complex than do without them.

A lot of risk analyses have been performed to actually estimate a risk proﬁle under both uncertain future states of hazard sources and

undesirable scenarios. Unfortunately, in case of considering speciﬁc systems such as a radioactive waste disposal facility, since the behaviour

of future scenarios is hardly predicted without special reasoning process, we cannot estimate their risk only with a traditional risk analysis

methodology. Moreover, we believe that the sources of uncertainty at future states can be reduced pertinently by setting up dependency

relationships interrelating geological, hydrological, and ecological aspects of the site with all the scenarios. It is then required current

methodology of uncertainty analysis of the waste disposal facility be revisited under this belief.

In order to consider the effects predicting from an evolution of environmental conditions of waste disposal facilities, this paper proposes a

quantitative assessment framework integrating the inference process of Bayesian network to the traditional probabilistic risk analysis. We

developed and veriﬁed an approximate probabilistic inference program for the speciﬁc Bayesian network using a bounded-variance

likelihood weighting algorithm. Ultimately, speciﬁc models, including a model for uncertainty propagation of relevant parameters were

developed with a comparison of variable-speciﬁc effects due to the occurrence of diverse altered evolution scenarios (AESs). After providing

supporting information to get a variety of quantitative expectations about the dependency relationship between domain variables and AESs,

we could connect the results of probabilistic inference from the Bayesian network with the consequence evaluation model addressed. We got

a number of practical results to improve current knowledge base for the prioritization of future risk-dominant variables in an actual site.

q 2005 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Keywords: Scenario; Probabilistic risk assessment; Bayesian network; Probabilistic inference; Causal dependency; Likelihood weighting algorithm;

Uncertainty propagation; Waste disposal

1. Introduction

The notion of ‘risk’ represents a possibility of potential

harm against human beings. Over past two decades, we have

provided this notion in many different ways to assess any

hazards from daily activities. Kaplan and Garrick provided a

conceptual guidance on the risk analyses by introducing

general notions of risk [1,2]. According to their deﬁnition,

the concept of ‘sets of triplets’, i.e. the scenario, the

likelihood, and the consequence are emerged. Actually, it is

well known that a formal decomposition of risk can be given

by three queries—what can happen; how likely things are to

happen; and what are the end point’s measures from sets of

occurrences [2]. This has become a standard approach for

predicting the risk.

A nuclear risk generally relates with regular emissions of

radioactive nuclides or possible accidental releases of

radioactivity [3]. In a nuclear aspect, the risk has been

deﬁned as an exceeding expectation of the magnitude of

undesirable radioactive releases, e.g. the product of

probability and consequence of an accident [4]. The end

point’s measures of the nuclear risk prediction may be

expressed with some measures such as core damage

Reliability Engineering and System Safety 91 (2006) 515–532

www.elsevier.com/locate/ress

0951-8320/$ - see front matter q 2005 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

doi:10.1016/j.ress.2005.03.011

* Corresponding author. Tel.: C82 42 868 0149; fax: C82 42 861 1700.

E-mail addresses: cjlee@kins.re.kr (C.-J. Lee), kunjailee@kaist.ac.kr

(K.J. Lee).

1

Tel.: C82 42 869 3818; fax: C82 42 869 3810.

frequency, exposure dose of humans, or the number of

casualty. They can be used to interpret the various

contributors to the risk with which are compared and

ranked [5]. We can identify, these measures with limiting

(or regulatory) indicators which affect about humans or

environment.

The results of a deterministic approach are usually

judged in view of speciﬁc measures known as performance

criteria. The performance criteria used to facilitate com-

parison with speciﬁc conservative regulatory criteria.

Unfortunately, we are not sure that the performance criteria

produce best-estimate values under incomplete analysts’

knowledge bases. On the other hand, a probabilistic

approach in quantifying the risk, generally known as a

probabilistic risk assessment (PRA), has been used to

provide a probability distribution of the end point’s

measures in various ﬁelds such as nuclear reactor operation,

environmental forecasting, space accident prediction, etc.

[6–8]. The subjective probability distribution represents an

uncertainty against the impact of such a lack of knowledge

or stochastic processes. The uncertainty must be practically

treated in the estimation of the end point’s measures. The

depth of uncertainty depends upon our total state of

knowledge; upon all the evidence, data, and experience

with similar courses of actions in the past [1]. Therefore, a

number of factors affect a variation of the risk results.

Especially, long periods of evolution in natural environment

facing diverse stochastic processes have inﬂuence on the

uncertainty [9]. Evolution examples coming from stochastic

processes in the environment involve potential changes of

weather, hydraulic proﬁle, geological form, and ecological

condition, and so on. Since the prediction for such an

evolution is extremely difﬁcult, a knowledge base might not

be easily provided. Due to both lack of the knowledge and

stochastic features, the potential risks to future generations

may be subjected to complex uncertainty propagation

assessment via PRA techniques.

Diverse approaches for categorizing uncertainty have set

forth last two decades. Most risk analysts [10–12] agree that

all the variables used in the risk analysis models contain

both epistemic and aleatory uncertainty because of their

unique nature. In estimating, the variables in a model

domain (called here as ‘domain variables’), therefore, we

had to consider a system-speciﬁc feature originating from a

very broad range of aleatory and epistemic uncertainties,

besides an issue of numerical solution error due to the

mathematical modelling approximations and temporal

discretization in simulations, as denoted by Oberkampf

[13]. The issue of numerical solution error has been

generally ignored in risk analysis, which is also beyond

our concerns. Recently, some remarkable studies have been

conducted, which focussed on uncertainty propagation with

emphasis on the separation principle for both uncertainty

types in every variables. This approach has been widely

introduced by Hoffman [14], Hofer [15], Siu [16], and

Helton [17] etc., and known as so-called ‘divide and

conquer’ concept.

A lot of risk analyses have been performed to actually

estimate a risk proﬁle from both uncertain future states of

hazard sources and undesirable scenarios. These risk

prediction would require a systematic process for the

scenarios or accident sequences. In addition, a comprehen-

sive risk prediction needs a complete listing of scenarios and

estimation of their frequencies, as well as rankings of

occurrence probability of the scenarios. The scenarios will

be formed by combining both initiating events and

mitigating capabilities. Therefore, the scenario in the risk

analysis can be deﬁned as a propagating feature of speciﬁc

initiating event which can go to a wide range of undesirable

consequences [18], which answers to the question, ‘What

can go wrong?’

If we imagine an initial stage of scenario, a hazard source

itself can be a trigger for speciﬁc end point’s measures.

Various hazard sources exist in diverse natural or man-made

systems. In terms of treating scenarios, we can classify

states of systems with two—active and passive. First, the

state of system is called ‘active’ if an event can be directly

controlled according to its happening simultaneously,

whose risk has been easily assessed using a traditional

PRA technique. The operating risk from nuclear power

plants is categorized into this case. In this case, through a lot

of operating experience, as well as by taking the support of

standardized and enhanced evaluation techniques, the risk

from scenarios can be systematically predicted. Next, on the

other hand, the state of system is called ‘passive’ if any

event cannot be directly controlled according to its

happening simultaneously, whose risk then scarcely has

assessed via the traditional PRA technique. The future risk

from radioactive waste disposal facilities will be categor-

ized into this case. In this case, with natural hazards being

considered, the risk under any of the scenarios should be

estimated.

With a view to preventing exposure or unacceptable risk

to human health, which includes an adverse impact to the

natural environment, a waste disposal facility has to be

isolated from natural circumstances. Furthermore, it is just

necessary to demonstrate that waste disposal treatment is

reliable and that both man and environment can be

adequately protected. The risk assessment of a disposal

site includes speciﬁc models for addressing the major

pathways of radionuclides ill-affected human beings. Since

the system performance in the passive state is very sensitive

depending on a variety of scenarios, a temporal evolution by

change in both external and internal environmental

conditions becomes a fundamental factor in estimating the

risk. However, since the release of risk-dominant radio-

nuclides from a disposal site is expected to occur after

hundreds or even thousands years, usually there are no

direct methods of assuring the credibility of the evolution.

The risk proﬁle coming from combination of likelihood

and consequences of future transport and exposure depends

C.-J. Lee, K.J. Lee / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 91 (2006) 515–532 516

on aleatory uncertainty, as well as epistemic uncertainty. In

addition, sources of the uncertainty at future states can be

reduced by pertinently setting up dependency relationships

interrelating geological, hydrological, and ecological

aspects of the site with all the scenarios. It is then obvious

that current methodology of uncertainty analysis of a waste

disposal site should be revisited with these diverse

considerations. The uncertainties arisen from different

evolutions should be adequately propagated throughout

the analysis. Interpreting the signiﬁcance of results of a PRA

in view of the uncertainties is also important if the PRA

results are applied to make meaningful risk-informed

decisions. Subjective probability distributions on the

numerical results are given by uncertainty analysis and are

used to represent the conﬁdence level where a risk criterion

is being met. While it is important to characterize the overall

uncertainty, it is equally worth understanding well what

factors or variables mainly propagate the uncertainty [19].

It is required to explicitly consider distribution functions of

random variables that deﬁne both aleatory and epistemic

uncertainty associated with each variable in a scenario

evaluation. In some variables, only epistemic uncertainty

may be treated [20–24].

After a survey of relevant studies [9,18,20,25,26], we

found most scenarios developed for a disposal site, without

considerations on above-mentioned dependency treatment

required, were not practically linked to the PRA. Further-

more, as to the evolution modelling for stochastic domain

variables under adversely-environmental conditions in

waste repositories, scenario analyses up to the present

have not given a speciﬁc and realistic approach. These

ﬁndings notice us not to lose sight of how dominating

domain variables contribute to the uncertainty of the risk in

relation with diverse complex phenomena and/or scenarios.

Therefore, the ﬁrst and the second terms used in ‘sets of

triples’ of risk deﬁnition are delineated in detail in this

paper. The last term of ‘sets of triples’, i.e. the consequence,

may be easily identiﬁed using deterministic evaluation

models. In order to consider the effects owing to the

evolution of environmental conditions of waste disposal

facilities, this paper proposes a quantitative assessment

framework combining an inference process of Bayesian

network with a traditional risk analysis.

The remainder of this paper consists of four sections.

Section 2 provides the methodology framework for using

Bayesian network in the study. The probabilistic inference

algorithm employed is explained in Section 3 in detail.

A deterministic model of radioactive waste disposal,

including an explanation of the dependency between

scenarios and domain variables is presented in Section 4.

This section provides an overview of scenario categoriz-

ation, as well as characteristics of the domain variables.

A major portion of Section 4 is devoted to the development

of the evaluation models in relation with the information

given in Section 3. This section also provides some

illustrative results and discussion. The last section summar-

izes and concludes the study.

2. Framework development for the risk assessment using

Bayesian networks

2.1. Overview

Bayesian network also known as belief networks,

probabilistic networks, Markov random ﬁelds, and causal

networks, is a new concept for reasoning complex uncertain

problems, where network means a graphical model. In

utilizing Bayesian networks, it is general to communicate

qualitative assumptions about cause-effect relationships and

to derive causal inferences from a combination of diverse

assumptions. Bayesian networks have been applied to

diverse technical or societal problems, including medical

diagnosis (e.g. PathFinder, QMR [Quick Medical Refer-

ence]), map learning, real-time monitoring, language

understanding, pattern classiﬁcation, forecasting, heuristic

search (e.g. Microsoft troubleshooter), etc. [27]. In addition,

in terms of providing decision analysis and expert systems

using artiﬁcial intelligence (AI), they have been popularly

utilized [28].

Since Bayesian network constitutes a model of reasoning

process in a system, answers to a variety of queries are

required. For example, a system analyst may want knowing

whether or not it is worthwhile to reinforce engineering

protection features in order to defence a random hazard (e.g.

an initiating event). The use of Bayesian networks helps to

answer such the queries even when no experiment about the

effects of reinforced protection is available.

The reasoning processes can be operated by propagating

probabilistic evidence in any directions, where various

forms of reasoning [29] such as prediction, abduction, and

‘explaining away’ are made: for example, if a forward

direction of reasoning from a cause (i.e. a predecessor) to an

effect (i.e. a descendant) is occurred, then prediction is

formed; if a backward direction of reasoning from an effect

(i.e. a descendant) to a cause (i.e. a predecessor) is occurred,

then abduction is formed; on the other hand, if we have

more than two causes and one of those causes is found, then

that reduces the likelihood of causes of the others, so called

it as ‘explaining away’. As these reasoning processes with

useful evidence are made, Bayesian network can provide a

basis to perform uncertainty propagation of query variables.

In order to build overall reasoning processes for Bayesian

networks, following three steps are generally engaged:

† Structuring the graphical models for causality

representation.

† Learning the structure or deﬁning parameters of the

query variables.

† Estimating the probability of the query variables by any

inference algorithm.

C.-J. Lee, K.J. Lee / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 91 (2006) 515–532 517

As explained by Heckerman [30], Bayesian networks

have been explicitly applied as a popular graphical

modelling language to represent the causality under

uncertain relational situations in a real world. However, as

addressed in the above, a whole reasoning process is

deemed to be a complex task in itself. Unfortunately, since a

practical implementation of Bayesian networks requires

complex modelling of the inter-relationships between

various initiating events and engineered mitigating features

which diversify the risk proﬁle, they are far from popular in

the nuclear PRA. Accordingly, after considering the

causality from the initiating events to the engineered

features, which will be explained in the following sections,

we propose a conceptual framework to apply Bayesian

networks to the nuclear PRA. In the PRA adopting Bayesian

networks, it is kept in mind that an initiating event simply

means a conditional initiation for any occurrence of the

scenarios.

2.2. Representation of the cause-effect dependency

In this section, we suggest a special technique for

applying the general reasoning concept of Bayesian net-

works to the PRA of a nuclear facility. Since our approach

mainly focuses on connecting scenarios (i.e. causes) to

consequences (i.e. their effects), we are mainly interested in

the direct representation of the real circumstance, not in a

full reasoning process of Bayesian networks.

A structure of Bayesian network is generally represented

by an annotated directed acyclic graph (DAG) G, where

some nodes denote variables of interest, and arcs, i.e.

linking lines, realize a probabilistic and causal dependence

between random variables that they connect. Usually, arcs

are drawn from a cause to an effect. Incomplete DAGs

encode expert knowledge in the form of missing arrows.

Therefore, the DAGs are regarded as a substantial language

for communicating conditional independence assumptions,

and for representing qualitative causal inferences [25].

Since the DAGs represent high dimensional uncertainty

distributions, construction of Bayesian networks helps to

capture engineer’s intuitive understanding of complex

systems or problems. Once the network is conﬁgured,

subsequent computations are pursued by symbolic manipu-

lation of probabilistic expressions. In general, after assign-

ing a probability (or its distribution) to a node conditional on

that node’s predecessors, the joint probability (or its

distribution) over the whole network is determined [26].

Presented with a step-by-step decomposition of the

network structure for solving a problem (e.g. for describing

the performance of a system), Fig. 1 shows an overall

process for making DAG G which ﬁnally gives a causality

between random variables of E denoting a cause (input like

an occurrence of any initiating event) and R denoting an

effect (output like a response of given problem). As a ﬁrst

step for representing G, we can ﬁgure a problem to a simple

structure as outlined in Fig. 1(a). However, it seems that we

cannot provide any practical reasoning for the problem only

with this structure. If we want resolving the causality (i.e.

relationship of cause and effect) in detail, then we have to

make a further expansion in G. With this desire, the

structure in G is divided into two modules providing with

decomposing paths—‘from E to V’ and ‘from V to R’,

shown with dotted boxes in Fig. 1(b). A random variable V

denotes a trigger (a kind of ﬁltering interaction) reﬂecting

the fact that the input E cannot always produce the output

R. In other words, by introducing the upper module (i.e. a

trigger) in the decomposition of Fig. 1(b), we can consider a

possible interaction to hinder a direct impact from

insigniﬁcant causes. The trigger V remains in a hidden

state. Moreover, we can represent this idea by expanding the

upper module in Fig. 1(b). Fig. 1(c) shows a result using

AND gate and NOT operator, where M denotes an

inhibitory indicator (or mechanism) that prevents any

cause E from giving an effect R and thus has two states—

true (on) and false (off). As a last step for ﬁguring G, we

Fig. 1. The causality represented in four decomposition steps: (a) a basic

DAG simply representing a cause and an effect; (b) more extended DAG

consisting of 2 modules; (c) module 1: a detailed DAG between E and V

using a concept of M; (d) module 2: a detailed DAG between V and R with

n-elements of X. (Note: All the symbols in a node represent random

variables. E denotes an occurrence of any initiating event while R denotes a

response of given problem. V denotes a trigger or a ﬁltering interaction

which reﬂects the fact that the cause E cannot always produce the effect R.

M denotes an inhibitory indicator or mechanism that prevents any cause E

from giving an effect R. X

k

is an actual system performance indicator

corresponding to a domain variable k under the dependency of initiating

events).

C.-J. Lee, K.J. Lee / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 91 (2006) 515–532 518

have to fully represent the lower module of Fig. 1(b) as

shown in Fig. 1(d). In the ﬁgure, we also introduce some

random variables which can give a system response R

following after the instantiation (it commonly means that a

random variable becomes a true state) of triggering;

therefore, let a random variable X

k

an actual system

performance indicator corresponding to a domain variable

k under the dependency of initiating events.

With the above-mentioned decomposition steps, we can

fully represent the causal relationships from the occurrence

of initiating events to the system response. In the general

graphical representation it is noted that the circle nodes

denote continuous random variables, squares denote

discrete; furthermore, a clear node indicates a hidden state

and a shaded represents an observed. The states of unshaded

nodes in the ﬁgures, therefore, cannot be observed in an

actual circumstance.

2.3. Modelling considerations for building

a network structure

In a graphical structure adopted in Bayesian networks

causality plays a great role. Practically, when identifying

direct physical connections we should consult a graphical

structure. According to this consideration, Bayesian net-

works take advantage of expressing a graphical description

of the dependencies between random variables. It is also

noted that when we make a network structure, the nodes

must always be numbered in topological order, i.e. ancestors

before descendants, to express the causality. Using this

variable ordering and a concept of conditional independen-

cies, we can usually conﬁgure the network structure.

We always want making a graphical structure predict

responses and infer causes from evidence. To do this,

Bayesian network needs a corresponding database and a set

of explicit assumptions about our prior probabilistic

knowledge of a domain. It is noted that almost all the

observed things can be represented with the evidence, i.e.

available information about the states of nodes. By way of

interfacing structure model to data, all kinds of evidences

can be propagated within the structure.

With this modelling concept, we attempted to represent a

more general structure model for application of a nuclear

PRA. Fig. 2 shows a fully-speciﬁed Bayesian network

corresponding with an actual inference problem. For the

purpose of showing an illustration, a multiply-connected

network with four query nodes is outlined in Fig. 2. The

network structure has a characteristic to encode conditional

independencies among random variables. Therefore, in the

selected graphical models, a missing edge explicitly means

that there is an independent relationship between random

variables. Absence of a direct link between any E and R, for

example, reveals that there is no direct inﬂuence of initiating

events on the ﬁnal system status. In describing Bayesian

networks, we use a lower-case letter to represent any single

state of a random variable and an upper-case letter as a set of

state of a random variable. We also write xZk, for example,

to denote that variable x is in state k. When we observe every

state of a variable in any set X, we call it a state of X.

The logic of the structure provided in Fig. 2 is explained

in detail. E

i

in a root node represents the happening of an

initiating event i which affects physical domain variables of

given system. As a descendant node is affected by different

trigger nodes, diverse connections from any jth node of V

(V

j

) to any kth node of X (X

k

) exist depending on their causal

characteristics. For instance, in some variables there is only

one connection, but in others, 3 or 4 connections are

possible. As far as the response R from an instantiation of X

k

is concerned, we may deﬁne it as an adverse impact on the

system or any other consequential measure of the system.

Direct inference of the network structure shown in Fig. 2

is not easy to solve and requires numerous probability

distributions because a causal complexity exists between

both ancestors and descendants. For the purpose of

simplifying the inference after structuring of the model,

we may take up the concept of a noisy-OR gate [28,31],

speciﬁed by a speciﬁc function incorporating independen-

cies between nodes relevant to the converging path. Let’s

take an example for expressing this case. As denoted in

Fig. 1(c), if an individual trigger (V

j

following E

i

) occurs

together with its corresponding inhibitory indicator M, the

instantiation of their descendant (X

k

) in Fig. 1(d) is given

only that input is present, i.e. P

j

ZP(X

k

íV

j

only), where the

expression P(X

k

íV

j

only) means a conditional probability of

kth X node given only V

j

node. In addition, because the

process which prevents the input signal from being

sufﬁcient is independent of the others, we can easily assume

that the causal mechanism in the connection path from V

j

to X

k

is mutually independent. Therefore, if this assumption

is accepted, the noisy-OR gate model can be selected.

Fig. 2. A Bayesian network with fully treating causal relationships in PRA

problems (As an illustrative purpose, four Es, Vs, and Xs are conﬁgured as

nodes, respectively. Three R nodes are also provided for the states of the

end point’s measure).

C.-J. Lee, K.J. Lee / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 91 (2006) 515–532 519

In the noisy-OR gate model, each input variable has a

probability of being sufﬁcient to cause an output variable.

Given any combination of the input, the probability of a

descendant is expressed with a form of minimal cut upper

bound (using a principle of inclusion–exclusion) as

Pr(X

k

íV

1

; V

2

; .; V

n

) Z1 K(1 Kp

V

1

)(1 Kp

V

2

).(1 Kp

V

n

)

(1)

where the left expression speciﬁes the probability distribution

of X

k

conditional on its parents of V

1

, V

2

, ., V

n

; n denotes a

maximum number of V node; p

Vj

means the input probability

of the parents V

j

to X

k

given an arbitrary number j, jZ1,2,.,n.

It is well known that the principle of inclusion–exclusion can

compensate the combined belief of outcome by the degree of

belief that is common to a different set of causes. The main

advantage of the noisy-OR gate model is that the number of

parameters in the variables of interest may be reduced

proportionally to the number of causes (n), while it is

exponentially increased (2

n

with binary state) in the

application of other general gate types. As a consequence,

the noisy-OR gate simpliﬁes knowledge acquisition, saves

memory space, and allows evidence propagation in time

proportional to the number of parents of each variable [32].

When modelling a real world, we often encounter

situations where an effect has many potential causes.

However, if we practically consider the actual occurrence

of initiating events, since it may be reasonable that multiply-

occurring initiating events are relatively rare under the time

span considered, we can reduce Eq. (1) to an equation with

ﬁrst order probability. Furthermore, with adopting assump-

tion about mutually exclusive situation for preventing dual

initiating events, the above reduced equation can be further

reduced to a single term but disjunctive element on the

possibility of each initiating event. As a result, we can

simplify the structure of Bayesian networks with one root

node. Given the response R shown in Fig. 3, only one end

effect is also proposed for the purpose of illustrative

application.

3. Approaches for a probabilistic inference in Bayesian

network

As denoted by Henrion [28], the notion of probability is

known for the best way to actualize uncertain beliefs, and its

role in Bayesian network is to provide a belief basis about

qualitative encoding of a network structure. Overlooking

based on our available knowledge base, expressing our

beliefs for the random variables’ states in a term of

probability, is quite a demanding task. In solving various

real problems, most values of the probability would be

obtained by engineering judgment rather than by insufﬁcient

empirical data.

3.1. Representation of variable states

Generally, random variables have been regarded as a

matter of state. In an ideal case, they can have two simple

states—true and false. However, this is not ﬁt for a general

case. Actually, a node can be gone to diverse states

representing continuous values.

As discussed by Heckerman [31], it is well acknowl-

edged that, in complex networks, parents’ inputs should be

carefully treated so as not to induce an impractical problem.

Suppose n parents X

1

, X

2

,., X

n

bearing on a descendant R

can have m states, respectively. According to the charac-

teristic of Bayesian networks, we must specify the

probability distribution of R conditional on every state of

its parents. Thus, we have to specify m

n

probability

distributions for representing this causality. Let’s take

another example for continuous random variable; the

value of root nodes given in Fig. 3 might be a Poisson-

distributed probability with parameters depending on their

occurrence frequencies.

Any random variable is represented by either a

continuous scalar or a set of discrete values. In Bayesian

networks, however, it is usual that a lot of variables such

as a decision variable are inherently discrete. Even

though a variable representing time-dependent situations

may be inherently continuous, it can be also treated as

discrete in the simulation for the convenience of

computation.

If a set YZ{Y

1

, Y

2

,.,Y

n

} is composed of n nodes of

discrete random variable Y

i

, iZ1,2,.,n and given a

speciﬁed DAG G in a Bayesian network, a joint probability

distribution over the set can be represented by the product of

the individual probability distributions over each Y

i

conditional on its parents. In other words, the causal

independence relationship in a graphical model informs us

how a global high-dimensional probability distribution over

all the variables can be factored into a product of local

probability distributions over lower dimensional spaces.

Fig. 3. Asimpliﬁed DAG of Bayesian network for considering non-multiple

initiating events in PRA (For the purpose of showing an illustration, n nodes

for random variable Xs and one node for a state of the endpoint’s measure

are provided).

C.-J. Lee, K.J. Lee / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 91 (2006) 515–532 520

If we denote the parents’ set of any ith variable Y

i

in G by

Pa

i

ZlPa

i

1

; .; Pa

i

m

i

¦ where m

i

is the number of parents of

Y

i

, and assign their values with a corresponding probability

set f

i

Zlf

i

1

; .; f

i

m

i

¦, Bayesian network deﬁnes a prob-

ability distribution over the possible assignments of values

to all the variables as

Pr(YíG) Z

Y

n

iZ1

Pr(Y

i

Zy

i

íPa

i

1

Zf

i

1

; .; Pa

i

m

i

Zf

i

m

i

; G):

(2)

Eq. (2) implies that, given the parents’ sets and G, each

variable Y

i

is conditionally independent of the other parents,

which implicitly provides a well-known deﬁnition of

‘d-separation (directional separation)’ [33] in Bayesian

network model.

3.2. Conditional probability estimation

In Bayesian networks, coming into existence of any

states of random variables is termed an instantiation. The

probability of each instantiation can be simply calculated as

the product of the conditional probabilities of its prede-

cessors. Therefore, we need specifying a complete joint

probability distribution (JPD) over all the random variables.

Full JPD over a given domain can be provided with a

combination of conditional independencies in network

structure and local probability models. From the rules of

probability, if we will apply Fig. 3 as an example, we have

the conditional probability as

Pr(xír) Z

Pr(x; r)

Pr(r)

Z

P

e;v

Pr(e; v; x; r)

P

e;v;x

Pr(e; v; x; r)

: (3)

In the above equation, Pr(e,v,x,r) is the joint probability

distribution of a set of random variables e, v, set of x, and r

determined from the overall network structure. In reality,

since this distribution may not be feasible to estimate, it is

desirable to efﬁciently utilize an alternative approach with

the consideration of conditional independence assumption.

The expression of Eq. (3) can be expanded in a way that

reﬂects the structure of Bayesian network itself [29]. It is

also noted that all the classical and logical operators can be

brought when deﬁning unknown parameters in Bayesian

networks. In the case of Fig. 3, if n-element Xs are identiﬁed

in network, the JPD can be expressed, based on the chain

rule of probability:

Pr(e

i

; v

j

; x; r) ZPr(e

i

íq

e

)Pr(v

j

íe

i

; q

v

)Pr(ríx; q

r

)

Y

k

Pr(x

k

ív

j

; q

x

k

)

(4)

As explained previously, lowercase letters are commonly

used here to represent particular instantiations of variables.

A bold lowercase letter x represents a set of instantiations of

X elements. Each q shown in right side terms of Eq. (4)

denotes the parameter of each query node. We can state that

the variables of X

k

are conditionally independent of V

because the dependence between X

i

and X

j

is conditional on

the certainty of V, where isj. If we expand the Eq. (3) by

applying Eq. (4), we can obtain an explicit form of the

conditional probability:

Pr(xír)

Z

Pr(ríx;q

r

)

P

e

Pr(e

i

íq

e

)

P

v

Pr(v

j

íe

i

;q

v

)

Q

k

Pr(x

k

ív

j

;q

x

k

)

P

e

Pr(e

i

íq

e

)

P

v

Pr(v

j

íe

i

;q

v

)

P

x

Pr(ríx;q

r

)

Q

k

Pr(x

k

ív

j

;q

x

k

)

(5)

In functional and logical determinations, the state values

of the descendant node are wholly determined by the values

of the parent nodes. Under the circumstances of diverging

connections in Fig. 3, for example, where any of the paths

from one parent node V to descendant nodes Xs remain

unchanged, information can be transmitted from any X

k

node to the other X

k

/ node through the parent V unless V is

instantiated. On the other hand, in case of converging

connections where any of the paths from parent nodes Xs to

descendant node R also remain unchanged, if nothing is

known about R, then R’s parents (Xs) are being inter-

independent so that no information can be transmitted

between them.

3.3. Simulation algorithm for a probabilistic inference

In performing a traditional PRA, a variety of sensitivity

analysis are generally used to examine the importance of

various parameters and assumptions for risk modelling,

including speciﬁc risk attributes. On the other hand, in

Bayesian networks it is possible to use a learning process

supported by data on the structure and parameters of

variables. In a learning process with ﬁxed graphical

structure, a parameter ﬁtting problem is exposed and it

can be resolved with available reasoning process considered

[34]. Many structure identiﬁcation methods or learning

algorithms are also used to optimize a structure, which is a

process for structure learning. However, since we let a ﬁxed

structure in the study, methodology adoption for structure

learning is out of scope.

A key point of practical reasoning is to take the evidence

propagation by computing the answer probabilistically for

particular queries about the domain, which is generally

referred to as a probabilistic inference. Therefore, in order to

obtain an adequate solution on the reasoning with parameter

ﬁtting, it is necessary to consider an appropriate probabil-

istic inference algorithm [35]. The probabilistic inference

focuses on estimating the posterior distributions of random

variables when relevant evidences are observed. There are

two kinds of probabilistic inferences; observing the effect(s)

of a given model and trying to estimate the causes is termed

a diagnostic reasoning; observing the root(s) of a given

model and trying to forecast the effect is termed a predictive

reasoning. Both forms of reasoning can be selected in

Bayesian networks. The probabilistic inference should give

C.-J. Lee, K.J. Lee / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 91 (2006) 515–532 521

an adequate answer to a query in a reasonable amount of

time. It has been frequently provided to query problems

within the speciﬁed bounds.

A lot of efﬁcient methodology or algorithms for evidence

propagation in Bayesian networks have been proposed [36].

Various exact inference algorithms have been also devel-

oped for the probabilistic inference [37]. However, since an

exact inference solution in real-world networks seems to be

impractical, approximate probabilistic inferences have been

widely surveyed by many researchers. A wide variety of

approximate inference algorithms for Bayesian networks

share many common traits. They have realized utilizing

stochastic simulation-based, search-based, and variational-

based techniques [38], and so on. As a special case, search-

based approximation algorithms, which search for high

probability conﬁgurations through a space of possible

values, have appeared as an alternative to the overall

algorithms in Bayesian networks with extreme probabilities

[39]. Variational-based inference methods, meanwhile, use

a special technique, which exploits the law of large numbers

to approximate large sums of random variables by their

means [40].

One of the categories in approximate inference

algorithms, stochastic simulation-based algorithms such

as direct sampling, rejection sampling, likelihood weight-

ing algorithm, and Markov Chain Monte Carlo algorithm

(sometimes Gibbs sampling) are popularly used, although

they depend on the characteristics given a problem.

Advantage of the Monte Carlo algorithms includes their

simplicity of implementation and theoretical guarantees

of convergence. Disadvantages of the Monte Carlo

approach are that it can be slow to converge and be

hard to diagnose its convergence. The accuracy of

stochastic simulation-based algorithms generally depends

on the size of samples, irrespective of the structure of

Bayesian network. However, these algorithms have a

little disadvantage, as they converge very slowly if there

are extreme probabilities in the conditional probability

tables (CPTs) [37].

Finding a sufﬁcient and effective inference algorithm

in static Bayesian networks is desirable with a computing

efﬁciency of simulation considered. Based on the

consideration for characteristics of the study, it may be

reasonable to apply a simple simulation-based algorithm.

However, since general marginalization using joint

probabilities requires exponential time in the probabilistic

inference, we had to consider more efﬁcient methods. To

meet the above demands, we ﬁnally selected the best out

of a lot of inference algorithms, i.e. likelihood weighting

algorithm, emerged as a variation of stochastic logic

simulation for the purpose of giving an algorithm speed-

up. Instead of randomly choosing a value, the algorithm

takes values with conditional probability as a likelihood

weight. For instance, in the likelihood weighting, each

sample has a weight, and a ﬁnal ratio is used to compute

the probability. The following explicit advantages have

given to the algorithm:

† It can be applicable to any type of nodes, discrete or

continuous.

† It avoids the inefﬁciency of rejection sampling by

generating only events that are consistent with the

evidence. That is, it ﬁxes the values on evidence

variables and samples only query variables left.

† Each event generated is consistent with an evidence.

Also, it weights each sample by the product of the

conditional probabilities of the evidence variables,

given its parents.

Furthermore, it is noted that the algorithm displays

much faster convergence time than a simple stochastic

simulation, but is still slow under extremely small

conditional probability values. For applying to Bayesian

networks with extreme conditional probabilities, Dagum

[38] proposed a bounded-variance likelihood weighting

algorithm to provide efﬁcient probabilistic inference in

polynomial time. This updated algorithm is adopted in the

study.

The weights in a network make local assertions about

the relationship between neighbouring nodes. Inference

algorithms turn these local assertions into global assertions

about the relationships between nodes. In the following

discussions, let E denote a set of observed node, Y the

nodes not contained in E. It is remarkable that a

probabilistic inference problem can be easily solved if

we have a JPD of the random variables involved. To

provide an inference probability Pr(YZyíEZe) which is an

extended expression of similar term as denoted in Eq. (3),

we must generate the relative approximation of two

probabilities Pr(YZy,EZe) and Pr(EZe), respectively,

with a relative error 3. In order to make these approxi-

mations, the likelihood weighting algorithm utilizes a

technique to decompose the full joint probability Pr(YZy,

EZe) into a path probability distribution p(y,e) and a

weight distribution u(y,e) presented by

p(y; e) Z

Y

Y

i

2Y

Pr[Y

i

íPa(Y

i

\E)]

YZy;EZe

; (6)

and

u(y; e) Z

Y

E

i

2E

Pr[E

i

íPa(E

i

)]

YZy;EZe

; (7)

where the expressions are conditioned, for example

Q

Pr[E

i

íPa(E

i

)]

YZy;EZe

, to denote an instantiation of their

arguments, in this case Y to y, and E to e; also, Y

i

\E denotes

ith arbitrary node which is contained in a set Y but not

included in the evidence subset E. Next, in order to use the

algorithm, let’s deﬁne a new binary random variable c(y,e)

that is equal to ‘true’ if YZy instantiates the node X to x,

C.-J. Lee, K.J. Lee / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 91 (2006) 515–532 522

and is equal to ‘false’ otherwise:

c(y; e) Z

True; if X Zx in y;

False; if Xsx in y:

(

Then the expectation of the random variable

c(y,e)u(y,e) becomes

E[c$u] Z

X

y2U

c(y; e)p(y; e)u(y; e) ZPr[Y Zy; E Ze];

where a sample space U for Y contains all the instantiations

of YZy. Also the expectation of weight distribution is

represented by

E[u] Z

X

y2U

p(y; e)u(y; e) Z

X

y2U

c(y; e)p(y; e)u(y; e)í

c(y;e)ZTrue

C

X

y2U

c(y; e)p(y; e)u(y; e)í

c(y;e)ZFalse

ZPr[EZe]:

Therefore, if we sample the distribution p(y,e) in

sufﬁcient counts, the limiting ratio of c(y,e)u(y,e) and

u(y,e) can converge to a desired inference probability. The

simulation of the algorithm uses a random number

generator to uniformly select values for given subset of

evidence nodes and subsequently propagates them to pick

values for the other query nodes. Statistics are then

maintained by the corresponding values that the nodes

take out, and this process gives a desired answer. In

obtaining the simulation output, a key feature seems to

make a practical estimation of the query variable whose

parameters are an unknown function even under the

simulation inputs.

4. An example application to an environmental transfer

model of the nuclear facility

The application involves an example for estimating the

risk in a nuclear facility, particularly in association with a

radiological waste disposal facility. Near surface disposal is

one of the preferred options for comparatively large volumes

of low and intermediate-level wastes, which arise during

nuclear power plant operation, and also for wastes arising

from radionuclide applications in hospitals and research

establishments. Especially, the disposal system is a good

domain example for this study because its performance

potentially depends on a variety of scenarios. The end point’s

measure of interest can be simply deﬁned as a peak dose to a

person drinking from a biosphere well. It is noted that the

likelihood of a peak dose can be also represented as an end

point’s measure resulting from the scenario evaluation.

4.1. Model inputs

Release pathways strongly depend on both a location and

design of a repository. Once the repository has been

determined, release pathway models should be assembled

so that they can represent radionuclide transport from the

repository to the environment and ultimately to the human

being. A normal exposure pathway in the post-closure

repository is generally deﬁned by the non-accidental

leaching of radionuclides from the repository to human

beings. Key exposure pathways can be deﬁned with the

consideration of both a likelihood and signiﬁcance.

However, with respect to the risk concept, it may be unable

to identify the key exposure pathway because both high

likelihood and a great consequence cannot generally come

together. Several key factors such as delay times from

different engineered barriers, a transport of radionuclides

through groundwater in the geological formation, and

inventory uses by a critical human group are considered in

the model of exposure pathways.

4.1.1. Radionuclide release characteristics

A simple, hypothetic site with an engineered vault design

is adopted to the environmental transfer model. Wastes are

normally disposed at or near the ground surface, generally

not below 50 m in depth at near surface disposal repository.

In general, both natural and engineered systems form a

series of multiple and potentially independent barriers

against the release of waste [41]. The engineered barriers, as

well as waste containers and surrounding materials, and

backﬁlls within the vault, can also contribute to the

repository performance. Various processes in the under-

ground environment (i.e. geosphere) such as dispersion,

retention by geologic media, and holdup in sub-layer aquifer

usually relate to the release amount of radioactive materials

to accessible environment (i.e. biosphere). Also, the release

timing is greatly affected by the assumptions concerning

occurrence time of breach of the engineered barriers.

Therefore, unavoidable uncertainties remain unsolved in

the time when waste packages are breached and in the way

how the radionuclides are released.

Source terms describe the release of radionuclides from

the repository to the pathways through the geosphere and far

ﬁeld, which can ultimately go to the biosphere. From a

geochemical standpoint, there are several considerations in

deﬁning the source terms; the rate and extent of container

degradation which determines when and how much waste is

exposed to the leaching and the other release mechanisms;

the rate how much radionuclides are released into the media

where they are transported; and local retardation of nuclide

movement on container debris, backﬁll materials, or other

engineered barriers etc. Altogether, these considerations are

important in the determination of a delay time of release. In

other words, in spite of the engineered features, a normal

delay of the source terms will occur because a delay from

breach of waste container and a relatively-slow leaching are

usually expected.

A basic mechanism governing the release in underground

media is the mass transfer in a porous medium where pore

water is a main agent for radionuclide transfer. After an

C.-J. Lee, K.J. Lee / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 91 (2006) 515–532 523

elapse of a delay period, the groundwater system becomes

an important part of pathway for radionuclide transfer. The

degree of saturation of medium, ﬂow of the groundwater

system, and chemical properties of radionuclides may be

key uncertain elements in determining the release rate.

4.1.2. Deterministic pathway model

We adopted a deterministic model in the pathway

analysis, which was prepared by the National Council on

Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) [42]. Since

the main objective of the NCRP model is to give a simple

means in predicting the results for screening analyses,

conservative approaches and parameters with effective dose

factors for 826 radionuclides were proposed in many

environmental transport pathways. The model gives a

screening technique that can be employed to demonstrate

compliance with environmental standards or other admin-

istratively-set reference levels against releases of radio-

nuclides to the biosphere. The screening dose assessment

gives a defensible basis for making regulatory decisions

because resulting dose is likely to be overestimated rather

than underestimated.

Only a groundwater ingestion pathway is considered in

this paper. The others such as direct irradiation, inhalation,

and soil and vegetable ingestion pathways are not addressed

because any given pathway model has no problem for

fulﬁlling the objective of the study. According to the NCRP

model, with only one time burial assumed, the average

yearly fraction of the initial inventory of the parent

radionuclide X

0

left from time t

delay

to t

delay

CT

av

is derived

as

X

0

Z

[1 Ke

K(l

L

Cl

r

0

)T

av

]e

Kt

delay

l

r

0

T

av

(l

L

Cl

r

0

)

(8)

where

l

L

leach rate (y

K1

)

l

r

0

radiological decay constant of parent (y

K1

)

T

av

averaging time

t

delay

delay time for release (y)

The leach rate deﬁned in the NCRP model is

l

L

Z

I

R H n

(9)

where

R retardation coefﬁcient (dimensionless)

I groundwater inﬁltration rate (m y

K1

)

H thickness of the layer of buried soil (m)

n soil porosity (dimensionless).

The considerable domain variables in Eq. (9) are the

inﬁltration rate and the retardation coefﬁcients for each

radionuclide of interest. For nuclides with signiﬁcant

progeny, average fractions of each progeny appeared from

the parent nuclide over whole lifetime is also provided in

Ref. [42]. With consideration of the screening factor for the

groundwater ingestion pathway, we can calculate the

screening dose rate D

i

, i.e. annual committed effective

dose of radionuclide i as:

D

i

ZM

0;i

$l

L

T

0

U

DW

V

X

N

iZ0

X

i

$DF

ing;i

(10)

where

M

0,i

initial source term inventory (Bq)

T

0

maximum leaching period (y)

l

L

leach rate of the parent nuclide (y

K1

)

U

DW

consumption of drinking water, taken to be

800 L y

K1

V dilution volume, i.e. total volume of water in the

aquifer (L y

K1

)

DF

ing,i

ingestion dose factor for radionuclide i (Sv Bq

K1

)

X

i

decay correction factor (dimensionless)

Basic site data are adopted from the study conducted with

the IAEA research program on the safety assessment of near

surface radioactive waste disposal facilities [43]. Thus, we

get a lot of system information; the repository is located in a

stable geological formation with an approximate depth of

3 m; the length of the facility becomes perpendicular to

the direction of groundwater ﬂow; all the soil layers are

composed of saturated zone, which implicitly means the

properties of unsaturated soil layer such as partition

coefﬁcient or bulk density are the same as those of saturated

soil layer; the geosphere is also characterized as an

unconﬁned sand aquifer with deﬁned properties. Although

this adoption would intentionally limit the work scope, yet

there is sufﬁcient realism to identify the feasibility of

modelling approach suggested in this paper.

4.1.3. Scenario classiﬁcation

The combination of events, features, and processes

causing diverse natural phenomena can be taken as a

scenario. Sometimes aggregation of events and correspond-

ing special situations can go into scenarios. We introduce

the concept of ‘altered evolution scenarios (AESs)’ here as

one of extreme and special types of the scenarios. For

convenience’ sake, AESs are deﬁned as unusual happenings

that can cause signiﬁcant alteration or momentary changes

of underground geochemical, hydrological, and/or mechan-

ical properties which are directly linked with the system

performance. Therefore, signiﬁcant initiating events and

concurrent responses resulting in adverse disturbance of the

systems concerned can go to the major AESs. In this paper,

disturbance means an abnormal state departed from the

normal state. Any scenarios leading to similar consequences

can be grouped into the same category of AES.

Referring to previous scenario studies [44,45], it may be

enough to classify the scenarios with four major AES

C.-J. Lee, K.J. Lee / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 91 (2006) 515–532 524

categories, as outlined in Table 1, for applying to the waste

disposal repository. In general, the AESs has a stochastic

behaviour, and may depend on a time-dependent character-

istic [46].

(1) Geological AES. Earthquake or tectonic displacements

(i.e. faults) have been regarded to be critical in the

geological stochastic analysis. It is noted that large

faults causing a direct release of radionuclides are

expected to be improbable because of the plastic

behaviour and self-sealing capabilities of clay. Never-

theless such the faults with low or intermediate level

may be responsible for local disturbances in the

properties of geological barrier, so result in altering a

normal evolution of the system. The primary hazard

considered is the rupture of waste canisters induced by

the faults. Observing many historical surface fault

ruptures, McGuire [47] indicates that often the map-

view width of the fault zone during an earthquake is not

restricted to a narrow zone along the primary fault but a

fault zone that is wide up to kilometers. He also notes

that changes in ground stress following an earthquake

can induce pore pressure changes and groundwater

ﬂow, as well as water table changes. It is assumed that

the geological AES can, therefore, strongly inﬂuence

two variables of the system, i.e. delay time for release

and dilution volume. We can include a human intrusion

scenario in this AES.

(2) Climatological AES. The AES representing a climatic

variation can cause medium level perturbations in the

geosphere. The major consequences in this case will

probably be a reduction of inﬁltration rate or aquifer

ﬂow. It is well acknowledged that the inﬁltration rate is

highly dependent upon the weather; spatial and temporal

variations (soil erosion) in precipitation have the greatest

effect on the inﬁltration rate. Another possible conse-

quence will be the variation of aquifer ﬂow, which

becomes a considerable increase or decrease in the

aquifer characteristic, ultimately changing the release

quantity of radionuclides. Therefore, we need determin-

ing how much the inﬁltration rate or an aquifer ﬂow can

change from a nominal value due to the AES.

(3) Surface hydrological AES. A lot of phenomena such as

freshwater sediment transport and deposition, natural

thermal effects, and site ﬂooding have the potential to

change regional hydrological properties over time

scales of hundreds years. The phenomena are combined

with the normal evolution pathway creating a lumped

scenario, surface hydrological AES. This AES may

greatly inﬂuence the groundwater recharge and dis-

charge. The quantity changes of a water table and/or an

aquifer can also occur resulting from the disturbances of

local surface hydrological behaviour due to this AES.

Adverse effects of this case result in a considerable

decrease in the dilution volume, causing an increase in

the release quantity of radionuclides.

(4) Ecological AES. Vegetative progression is expected to

occur near surface disposal after a loss of waste control.

This causes two effects; a biotic intrusion is consider-

ably increased, even though its likelihood depends on

root depths; also a water budget can be changed.

Progression toward trees, for instance, may lead to

larger canopy hold-up, which can alter the amount of

water available for inﬁltration. Progression may tend to

either increase or decrease the inﬁltration [48]. The

extreme water consumption by ﬂoras can also cause to

reduce the width of a water table or an aquifer. The

soil/liquid partition coefﬁcients of radionuclides can be

derived from soil-to-plant concentration ratios for

speciﬁc plants and types of soil. Sheppard and Thibault

[49] deﬁned a partition coefﬁcient correlation of leafy

vegetables based on plant-to-soil concentration ratios.

Consulting this correlation, we assume that the AES

indirectly inﬂuence the change of plant-to-soil concen-

tration ratios, ultimately the soil partition coefﬁcients.

4.1.4. Consideration of domain variables

Nominal parameters of the domain variables are mainly

adopted from available references [43,50], as given in

Table 2. Adopted values for the parameters depend on

assigned subjective distributions. ‘Fixed but unknown’

distributions represent the epistemic uncertainty about

characteristics at a particular site unless site-speciﬁc

information is available for the corresponding parameters.

To develop a subjective distribution of the parameters in the

model, reported available data must be implicitly inter-

preted. Uncertainty in a variable is also treated as ‘aleatory’

when the distribution is determined from a random process.

Table 1

Example compilation of events, features, and processes for the classiﬁcation of AESs

Geological AES (AES-1) Climatological AES (AES-2) Surface hydrological AES (AES-3) Ecological AES (AES-4)

Seismicity Precipitation River ﬂow and lake level changes Plant uptake/evolution

Fault activation Glaciation Site ﬂooding Animal uptake/evolution

Fracturing Deep weathering Recharge to groundwater Uptake by deep rooting species

Regional Tectonics Transient greenhouse-gas induced

warming

Freshwater sediment transport and

deposition

Microbial interactions

(Human intrusion) River, stream, channel erosion

(downcutting)

Effects of terrestrial ecological

development on hydrology

Natural thermal effects

C.-J. Lee, K.J. Lee / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 91 (2006) 515–532 525

Furthermore, stochastic effects and data uncertainty can be

considered altogether in a set of the distributions. Taking

this consideration along with the epistemic uncertainty of

the parameters, we can outline a domain variable with ‘true

but unknown’ distributions.

All upper and lower bounds for the parameters of the

domain variables given in Table 2 are assumed in the

illustrative application, partly based on available infor-

mation addressed in the followings. In particular, in case of

handling the domain variables with both epistemic and

aleatory uncertainties, we assume that a variance of the

epistemic distribution closes to a mode of speciﬁc

representative, which intends solving an issue that how we

can provide the parameters of the domain variables when we

have a lack of critical data set for them. By giving high

conﬁdence on the variance of the epistemic distribution like

this, we can focus on the problems desired to be solved.

† Delay time. In this paper, the time between initial burial

and the beginning time of concrete structure failure is

deﬁned as the delay time (T

delay

) for release. Waste form

hold-up and container lifetime cause a natural delay and

then a reduction in the vault release terms. The delay

time of the release varies depending on adsorption of

waste and concrete. It is noted that while a probable

failure mode of concrete may be a gradual failure, there

is more or less a possibility of a rapid failure. It is

assumed that a geological AES can directly affect the

integrity of concrete structure. Minimum T

delay

is

determined to be around 10 years. Maximum T

delay

is

determined by the maximum time of the simulation.

† Retardation coefﬁcient. The delay in release can be

described by a variety of analytic models. For example,

leaching by dissolution or adsorption by buffer material

is one of the models. The delay mechanism and its

relevant time scales are the most critical data. It is usual

to assume that groundwater transport processes are

dominated by various phenomena such as advection,

diffusion, and sorption, etc. All the heterogeneous

phenomena can be lumped together into a model for

retardation coefﬁcient. Partition coefﬁcients of radio-

nuclides need calculating the retardation coefﬁcient of

soil layer. As a domain variable, the soil partition

coefﬁcient (SPC) can inﬂuence mass transfer between

soil and an aquifer, and consequently the radionuclide

concentrations in drinking water consumed by human

beings are affected by this. Uniform distribution for this

epistemic parameter uncertainty is assumed with lower

and upper bounds for each speciﬁc radionuclide.

† Inﬁltration rate. The source terms can be provided by

estimating a ﬂux of groundwater near the repository.

Estimating the ﬂux directly consists in ﬁnding the

amount of water that inﬁltrates into soils, redistributes,

and enters the disposal unit as a function of time. It is

noted that the inﬁltration rate (IR) is very site speciﬁc

[51] and depends on a natural stochastic process. It is also

well known that soil hydraulic conductivity is a critical

factor for deriving the inﬁltration rate and Darcy

inﬁltration velocity can be limited by the speciﬁed

hydraulic conductivity of the vault roof [43]. Beyeler et

al. [50] have a speciﬁc model that the inﬁltration rate is

the product of application rate (AR) and fraction of the

applied water that will percolate deeply beneath a root

zone and become inﬁltration. They estimated a minimum

irrigation water requirement, which uses an empirical

relationship between soil permeability and the proportion

of water developed by the US Bureau of Reclamation.

Based on this consideration, we guess that the scenarios

such as climatological AES or ecological AES may

greatly affect the inﬁltration rate.

† Dilution volume. The contribution to an ingestion dose

from the use of groundwater depends on many domain

variables. One of the major domain variables, dilution

volume (DV) directly relates with a transport modelling

of several contaminants through an underground hydro-

logical system. All the radionuclides released from the

buried waste are assumed to be diluted in the volume of

aquifer deﬁned as equivalent tube stream area times

transverse length of the aquifer to a well. If a time period

long enough to change the groundwater resources is

provided, it is accepted to consider a lot of natural

stochastic processes directly or indirectly affecting the

volume of aquifer. Reference data from Beyeler et al.

[50] is adopted again for choosing a nominal value in this

paper.

4.2. Evaluations associated with information gained from

the probabilistic inference of Bayesian network

This section devotes our concerns to combine the

probabilistic inference of Bayesian network with

the estimation of parameters. Likelihood estimation of

Table 2

Subjective probability distributions representing the state of knowledge about ﬁxed but uncertain parameters in using default values for Th-230 in the model

Fixed quantity (units) T

delay

(yr) SPC (m

3

/kg) IR (mean) (m/yr) IR (s.d.) (m/yr) DV (mean) (m

3

) DV (s.d.) (m

3

)

Epistemic distribution LU U U LU T U

Min 10 3.0!10

3

0.1 1!10

K3

6.0!10

4

1.5!10

4

Mode – – – – 9.1!10

4

–

Max 1000 3.4!10

3

0.3 2.4!10

K2

1.22!10

5

2.5!10

4

T

delay

, delay time; SPC, soil partition coefﬁcient; IR, inﬁltration rate; DV, dilution volume; s.d., standard deviation; LU, loguniform; U, uniform; T, triangular.

C.-J. Lee, K.J. Lee / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 91 (2006) 515–532 526

the AESs is a starting point in the analysis. As a practical

assumption, an AES stochastically occurs in space and in

time so that the underlying measure of interest (e.g. the

occurrences of an AES in a speciﬁed time interval) is faced

with a stochastic process. Therefore, a frequency estimation

of AES occurrence is related to the realization of aleatory

characteristics of the parameters. The occurrences of AESs

for non-overlapping intervals are independent of each other.

As summarized by Siu [52], the Poisson distribution is

commonly used in parameter estimation problems to model

all processes where events are generated over all the time.

Considering this perspective, the probability of observing N

events in a time period T is given by

PlN events in time Tíl(t)¦ Z

ll(t)$T¦

N

N!

e

Kl(t)$T

; (11)

where l(t) is an expected occurrence rate of an AES. Given

the jth AES occurrence rate, l

j

(t), we can estimate the

probability of occurrence of a ﬁrst time event within a

speciﬁed time interval t:

p(nR1) Z1 KexplKl

j

(t)$t¦: (12)

Thus, if the expected occurrence rate is provided,

Eq. (12) easily calculates a scenario probability. A best-

estimate value may be taken to each occurrence rate of

AESs. However, it is noted that the occurrence rate of an

AES should be estimated with the support of empirical

database and/or expert judgment. Historical data collection

and relevant methodology development are then necessary

in order to establish a reliable data base about stochastic

information of AES, which is beyond the scope of this

study. Instead of choosing insufﬁcient empirical data, the

frequency about AES likelihood is just estimated based on

the subjective engineering judgment which uses a concept

of categorized selection criterion, as denoted in Table 3. For

preparing each likelihood category of Table 3, we set each

occurrence interval and median occurrence frequency. As

explained in the previous section, by referring to the survey

of relevant information, we made a decision to choose the

likelihood category for each AES, which resulted in suitable

designation so as category 3 (‘intermediate’ likelihood) for

AES-1 and AES-3, and category 2 (‘likely’ likelihood) for

AES-2 and AES-4, respectively.

As recognized by Frank [8], owing to environmental

circumstances by many phenomena in the groundwater

during the release of radioactive materials, the

consequences such as an exposure dose will involve both

epistemic and aleatory uncertainties. Also, it is already

identiﬁed that the subjective probability distributions

representing parameter uncertainties may undergo changes

over the time owing to the scenarios causing perturbations

[53]. We are sure that, in the consideration of environmental

transfer models, there are strong dependencies between

environmental scenarios and the characteristics of the

geosphere’s and biosphere’s domain variables. Therefore,

we assume that the subjective parameters of the domain

variables, which are critical for estimating the end point’s

measure of ground release of radionuclides, can vary

according to the occurrence of various AESs.

As explained earlier, it is reasonable to assume that the

occurrence of AESs directly inﬂuences estimating uncertain

parameters of the domain variables. If that is the case, the

dependency between scenarios and variables can obviously

affect all the input types of a model. However, no precisely-

deﬁned methodology exists in identifying adequate input

types and standardizing the inputs. Very often, while there is

an incomplete database, the analyst tends to resort to

subjective inputs by some experts who make full use of their

experience or the literatures published.

The informal approach for performing uncertainty

analyses involves a technique varying one parameter or

set of parameters at ﬁrst and then observing the deviation

from a base-case prediction [22]. This kind of approach was

considered in the study so as to obtain reasonable

uncertainty estimates based on the dependency between

scenarios and domain variables.

In order to realize this consideration, we adopted a

so-named ‘mixture prior’ concept. This concept refers to a

special approach using correction factors for representing

the parameter uncertainty. By introducing the ‘mixture

prior’ we can articulate the effects of uncertain parameters

under the occurrence of AESs. The term ‘contamination’ is

addressed in a ‘mixture prior’. The ‘contamination’ means a

generation of ‘contaminated prior’. The ‘contaminated

prior’ represents a variety of input parameters which reﬂect

the previously-mentioned dependency. Therefore, the

‘mixture prior’ shows a mixing status of a normal prior

(as termed for representing ordinary uncertainty distribution

in this paper) and the ‘contaminated prior’.

Under those representations, ﬁrst, we deﬁne an arbitrary

prior set G to elicit a linear estimator of an uncertain

parameter q. Next, the priors p(q) ‘close’ to a single normal

prior p

0

(q) can be realized with a class of possible

‘contamination’ [54]:

G Zlp : p(q) Z(1 K4)p

0

(q) C4q(q); q2J¦; (13)

where J is a class of possible ‘contamination’, and 4 is an

adjustable correction factor with 0%4!1 which reﬂects

how p closes to p

0

. Next, if we attempt to give the prior

class q(q) with a maximum likelihood estimator (MLE) for

reﬂecting a possible ‘contamination’, then Eq. (13) becomes

Table 3

Categorization of AES likelihood in the frequency estimation

Degree of likelihood Estimated occurrence

interval

Occurrence

frequency (median)

(1) Highly likely 0–10

2

y post-closure 2.0!10

K2

/yr

(2) Likely 10

2

–10

3

y post-closure 2.0!10

K3

/yr

(3) Intermediate 10

3

–10

4

y post-closure 2.0!10

K4

/yr

(4) Unlikely 10

4

–10

5

y post-closure 2.0!10

K5

/yr

(5) Highly unlikely 10

5

–10

6

y post-closure 2.0!10

K6

/yr

C.-J. Lee, K.J. Lee / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 91 (2006) 515–532 527

a similar form of a convex combination of the MLE of the

‘contaminated prior’ and a best estimate of the normal prior

[55]. Furthermore, the factor 4 will give a quantitative

measure for showing a possibility of MLE of the

‘contaminated prior’.

As modelled in Section 2, the information gained from

the probabilistic inference of Bayesian network, i.e.

probabilities on the query random variables obtained from

evidential reasoning can be used to approximately predict

the factor 4. However, in fact, the prediction of MLE of the

‘contaminated prior’ requires engineering/scientiﬁc knowl-

edge speciﬁc to the problem, as well as probabilistic

modelling expertises.

4.3. Results of example application and discussion

The previous section indicates that we can connect the

results of probabilistic inference from Bayesian network

with the consequence evaluation model addressed. In a

practical matter, we had to provide some supporting

information to get a variety of quantitative expectations

about the relationship between domain variables and AESs.

As a previous step for estimating the risk from future

evolution, supporting information is directly used in the

program input of Bayesian inference algorithm.

Preparing speciﬁc information on the CPTs used in the

inference program seems not to be an easy task. None-

theless, based on current knowledge of the relationship

between domain variables and scenarios, which are usually

gathered from relevant experts, we can do that. This kind of

solution can be explained from the other case. When we

consider a traditional level 2 PRA for nuclear power plants

particularly in the determination of containment progression

event branch, we believe that it is unavoidable to give a

single representative estimate of the qualitative probability

based on user’s degree-of-belief on corresponding severe

accident phenomena [56]. Even though the PRA considers

interval probabilities covering the uncertainty in the

expressions of branch possibility, only nominal point

estimate values primarily based on engineering judgments

are used in the quantiﬁcation. This is similar to the approach

adopted for getting the CPTs in this paper.

As a general assumption, each individual AES must last

for sufﬁcient period so as to cause signiﬁcant characteristic

changes to the domain variables. Multiple dependencies

may occur by the simultaneous AESs. However, since its

consideration needs doing complex graphical represen-

tations in Bayesian network, it is not treated for simplifying

the problem.

4.3.1. Conditional probabilities

We had primarily considered the dependencies between

4 domain variables and 4 AESs with the information

explained in Section 4.1. While keeping this consideration

in mind, conditional probabilities for representing these

relationships were determined using single representative

estimate. Furthermore, we had already addressed an

approximate inference program with a bounded-variance

likelihood weighting algorithm in order to calculate the

conditional probability of query nodes of Bayesian network.

Before practically using the program, we decided to apply a

popular network structure with four simple nodes—the

so-called ‘WetGrass’ problem [37], for the purpose of doing

veriﬁcation and showing actualization of applied inference

algorithm. We found a very fast convergence during the

veriﬁcation process, where the convergence was checked

with the following stopping rule provided by the developers

of the algorithm [38,57]:

S

T

R

4l(1 C3)

3

2

ln

2

d

(14)

where T is a number of samples; 3 is a relative error; d is a

failure probability; and l is a deﬁned constant. We obtained

values for the query nodes that were close to the exact

probability within an error of G0.005, with 3Z0.1 and

dZ0.05.

Next, we let the program apply to actual simulations

when the network structure was given. In preparing a

simulation input for CPTs, we deﬁned a dependency matrix

with an ad hoc basis, where the dependency relationships

with four grades—high, medium, low, and zero—were

assumed. All the random variables were simulated con-

currently with each AES. Fig. 4 provides two running

outlines from the simulation of all the AESs, where the

convergence in the iteration of Monte Carlo sampling is

desired. The simulation easily reached a stable state except

initial transitions. Also, in most cases, the simulation made a

progression quickly and ended within 30,000 times’

iteration. With the acceptance of this simulation on

approximate probabilistic inference, therefore, we can

provide the solutions of the query random variables

depending on each AES, as denoted in Fig. 5.

Fig. 5 provides some remarkable insights, acquired in the

simulation results, on the relationship between random

variables used in Bayesian network and various AESs. First,

the random variable corresponding to a disturbance of T

delay

seems to have a great causal inﬂuence to the occurrence of

AES-1 (geological AES); similar insights are followed with

that of IR to the AES-2 (climatological AES) and with that

of DV to the AES-3 (surface hydrological AES), respect-

ively. Second, even though we let any strong dependency of

random variables to the AES-4 (ecological AES) provide,

which seems to be usual in case of the random variable for

SPC, signiﬁcant results are hardly shown in representing

relative importance of the random variables against the

AES-4. Last, compared with the others, the random variable

for SPC reveals relatively-small conditional probabilities; it

seems that low conﬁdence of the degree-of-belief to the

disturbance of this variable is reﬂected in its likelihood

against all the AESs.

C.-J. Lee, K.J. Lee / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 91 (2006) 515–532 528

4.3.2. Prediction examples of the end point’s measures

By making a mixed prior directly by taking the

information given in the form of Eq. (13), we can move

on a ﬁrst step to estimate the end point’s measures of the

environmental transfer model. Since the contaminated prior

is provided in the evaluation process following after

occurrences of AESs, the effects of AESs must be reﬂected

in the parameters of random variables. The parameters of

the random variables were prepared by approximating

values referred to a maximum or minimum bound of normal

parameters depending on their probability distributions. For

instance, an upper bound of delay time would be extremely

reduced according to the existence of AES-1, provided the

dependency between geological phenomena and degra-

dation of engineered barrier of repository is considered. On

the other hand, an upper bound of the location parameter in

a domain variable may be near to the best estimate of a

normal prior depending on speciﬁc situation. Similar

considerations were given for the other domain variables,

where a variable-speciﬁc treatment was done.

Historically, a form of complementary cumulative

distribution functions (CCDFs) has been used as a favourite

form for portraying uncertainty results of risk. CCDF is an

easily-plotted risk curve, where an exceeding probability

against an end point’s measure can be expressed. In this

study, the CCDF construction process with a Monte Carlo

sampling technique was adopted from Ref. [25].

Before making the simulations, we must identify the

endpoint’s measure of this paper with a screening factor

(SF) as it was suggested by the NCRP [42] for representing

the consequence (e.g. exposure dose). The screening factor

has the dimension of committed effective dose (Sv) for a

unit concentration of radioactivity (Bq) in the media, ﬁnally

has a unit of Sv/Bq as provided in the NCRP model. Only

Th-230 was selected for the purpose of illustrative

evaluation. We also tried to usually get 10,000 times’

simulation with all the combinations of AESs. Next, the

comparative results between normal (i.e. non-AES) case

and abnormal (i.e. occurrence of AES) cases were

illustratively provided. Even though the frequencies of the

occurrence of AESs in Table 3 were reasonably assumed, it

is necessary to conﬁrm that the adopted values do not cause

any problem in predicting the end point’s measures. We

performed a sensitivity study to extensively survey the

effects of frequency variation. This sensitivity study can be

potentially used to check the importance of the AES

frequency. Fig. 6 indicates that the variation of occurrence

frequency of AES-2 has no strong inﬂuence on the results

such as mean values of the end point’s measure. In other

words, although an extremely-frequent occurrence of AES-

2 is assumed, the deviation against the case of non-AES is

only 29% approximately. For the purpose of giving our

conﬁdence to this insight, however, it may further need

determining the most limiting case in that the scenario

frequency inﬂuences the uncertainty propagation.

Various CCDF fractiles (i.e. fractions of percentile) for

exceeding probabilities of the end point’s measure are

shown in Fig. 7, which gives us good insights in the

uncertainty propagation for non-AES case. It is noted that,

Fig. 4. Convergence representation of Bayesian inference program for the cases of AES-1 and AES-4.

Fig. 5. Comparison chart in the estimation of conditional probability of

random variables from the Bayesian inference program, classiﬁed with

each AES. (Note: variable 1Ztime delay, variable 2ZSPC, variable 3ZIR,

variable 4ZDV, respectively).

C.-J. Lee, K.J. Lee / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 91 (2006) 515–532 529

in terms of estimating an end point’s measure, there is no

big difference between the uncertainty output (e.g. mean of

mean CCDF) and the deterministically-calculated value by

the NCRP. In the case of a subjective conﬁdence interval,

however, Fig. 7 reveals that there is a great possibility for

showing a wide band. For instance, the end point’s measure

stands at about 2.5 times’ difference in the interval between

95 and 5% (i.e. 90% conﬁdence interval) at a credible

exceeding possibility limit of 0.05.

Since we are interested in the ranking for the importance

of AESs to the impacts of the end point’ measure, a focused-

down analysis on each AES has been conducted. The mean

CCDF curves of the AESs resulted from the uncertainty

propagation are depicted in Fig. 8. The results are made with

nominal frequencies given in Table 3. Compared with

the non-AES case, we can easily identify the relative

importance of AESs at any subjective conﬁdence level.

In particular, the occurrence of AES-2 has a strong impact

on the outcomes of the end point’ measure because high

dependency of AES-2 on the domain variables such as IR

and DV has been already anticipated as shown in Fig. 5. On

the other hand, the results for AES-1 and AES-3 curves are

almost the same; this is partly because there were no big

differences of conditional probability between AES-1 and

AES-3 except only for the variable of ‘delay time’, as shown

in Fig. 5, and partly because we had already let same

likelihood category for both AES-1 and AES-3, as

previously explained.

To investigate the importance of the parameters of the

delay time, we have performed another sensitivity study.

Just after deﬁning two cases with ﬁxed inputs for the delay

time, i.e. one for 10 years and the other for 300 years,

we made a separate simulation and ultimately compared

with a standard case having previously-given distribution.

In this case, randomly occurrence of AESs was assumed

with the other domain variables remained unchanged. Fig. 9

shows an outstanding proﬁle for the case of Cs-137.

Fig. 6. Dose in unit of screening factor and occurrence rate of AES

according to a variation of the AES-2 frequency. Arithmetic means of 5%,

mean, and 95% fractiles are shown. (Occurrence rate of AES means the

AES occurrence counts per total simulation times. SF denotes the screening

factor).

Fig. 7. Comparison of uncertainty propagation results for non-occurrence

AES case.

Fig. 8. Mean values according to the AESs, including non-occurrence of

AES.

Fig. 9. Mean values according to random AES occurrences, showing

sensitivity results for the delay time (Radionuclide: Cs-137).

C.-J. Lee, K.J. Lee / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 91 (2006) 515–532 530

Wide band of the end point’s measure is derived from the

input variation of delay time. According to this result, we

can assert that it is more desirable for the uncertainty

analysis of relatively-short lived radionuclides to prepare a

best-estimate value of dominant domain variable (i.e. the

delay time in this case).

5. Summary and conclusions

Since Bayesian networks can contribute to identify the

causality of an uncertain system’s behaviour, we introduced

its inference process quantitatively estimating the depen-

dency between stochastic scenarios and affected domain

variables of the system. A general approach integrating

the Bayesian network concept to the nuclear risk assessment

was proposed and illustratively demonstrated. After simpli-

fying the network corresponding with a problem-speciﬁc

structure, we developed and veriﬁed an approximate

probabilistic inference program using bounded-variance

likelihood weighting algorithm, ﬁnally shown to be

adequate in the veriﬁcation test for clarifying the depen-

dency relationships under different problem queries. In

addition, in estimating the consequence of example pathway

problem, i.e. environmental transfer of radionuclides from

radioactive waste disposal, a Monte Carlo simulation

process accounting for epistemic and aleatory uncertainties

was provided. Ultimately, speciﬁc models, including a

model for propagating uncertainty of relevant parameters,

were developed with a comparison of variable-speciﬁc

effects due to the occurrence of diverse altered evolution

scenarios (AESs). After deﬁning and identifying the terms

for speciﬁc AES, we classiﬁed them into four major

categories.

While analysing the outcomes of the illustrative

evaluation of the environmental transfer pathway, we

could identify exceeding probabilities of the end point’s

measure and importance ranking on each AES. The domain

variables important in the consideration of causality were

found, and also dominant contributors to the uncertainty

propagation might be identiﬁed.

Not a few remarkable features appeared in applying the

proposed approach; the knowledge base for establishing

dependency relationships was prepared and enhanced

during the simulation; it was worthwhile to establish

deﬁnite rationale on the dependency information for getting

general insights through probabilistic inference modelling

in the prediction of future uncertain state of a system.

Therefore, further researches need enhancing the knowl-

edge base of various modelling areas, especially in the

prediction of the occurrence frequency of AESs and in

the assessment of causality between domain variables and

stochastic scenarios. We have also an understanding that

more appropriate data for domain variables should be

provided to reﬁne the results. A systematic technique for

expert knowledge survey and utilization, as well as the use

of experimental results, can support to enhancing the

predictability. However, if the epistemic uncertainty in the

distribution of event occurrence frequencies will be

addressed in this study, a more complicated simulation

process may be required.

While taking a modelling approach proposed in this

paper, we made a causal inference process including

uncertainty estimates, also got a number of results to

improve the current knowledge base for prioritizing future

risk-signiﬁcant variables in an actual site. The identiﬁed

speciﬁc results presented will probably be useful in making

the prediction of future system states. Furthermore, the

proposed approach will probably give a general and ﬂexible

structure for doing further extension studies and appli-

cations. For instance, this study can be extensively applied

to the evaluation of all the exposure pathway models,

provided the relationships between AESs and domain

variables are searched in detail. The evaluation can be

also intensively done for any speciﬁc scenarios such as a

speciﬁc phenomenon categorized in this paper.

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C.-J. Lee, K.J. Lee / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 91 (2006) 515–532 532

This approach has been widely introduced by Hoffman [14]. K. environmental forecasting. a number of factors affect a variation of the risk results. data. Lee. generally known as a probabilistic risk assessment (PRA). the risk from scenarios can be systematically predicted. Since the prediction for such an evolution is extremely difﬁcult. the risk under any of the scenarios should be estimated. Unfortunately. The scenarios will be formed by combining both initiating events and mitigating capabilities. Hofer [15]. and so on. some remarkable studies have been conducted. The future risk from radioactive waste disposal facilities will be categorized into this case. Evolution examples coming from stochastic processes in the environment involve potential changes of weather. we can classify states of systems with two—active and passive. has been used to provide a probability distribution of the end point’s measures in various ﬁelds such as nuclear reactor operation. etc. through a lot of operating experience. which includes an adverse impact to the natural environment. a waste disposal facility has to be isolated from natural circumstances. and ecological condition. we are not sure that the performance criteria produce best-estimate values under incomplete analysts’ knowledge bases. The performance criteria used to facilitate comparison with speciﬁc conservative regulatory criteria. and experience with similar courses of actions in the past [1]. In addition. Next. The depth of uncertainty depends upon our total state of knowledge. since the release of risk-dominant radionuclides from a disposal site is expected to occur after hundreds or even thousands years. However. or the number of casualty. Therefore. therefore. as denoted by Oberkampf [13]. The results of a deterministic approach are usually judged in view of speciﬁc measures known as performance criteria. Therefore. Especially. The subjective probability distribution represents an uncertainty against the impact of such a lack of knowledge or stochastic processes. on the other hand. a knowledge base might not be easily provided. as well as by taking the support of standardized and enhanced evaluation techniques. ‘What can go wrong?’ If we imagine an initial stage of scenario. These risk prediction would require a systematic process for the scenarios or accident sequences. They can be used to interpret the various contributors to the risk with which are compared and ranked [5]. a hazard source itself can be a trigger for speciﬁc end point’s measures. Siu [16]. hydraulic proﬁle. exposure dose of humans. the state of system is called ‘active’ if an event can be directly controlled according to its happening simultaneously. geological form. with natural hazards being considered. [6–8]. and known as so-called ‘divide and conquer’ concept. and Helton [17] etc. In terms of treating scenarios.J. Furthermore.516 C. With a view to preventing exposure or unacceptable risk to human health. the state of system is called ‘passive’ if any event cannot be directly controlled according to its happening simultaneously. a probabilistic approach in quantifying the risk. space accident prediction.-J. it is just necessary to demonstrate that waste disposal treatment is reliable and that both man and environment can be adequately protected. a temporal evolution by change in both external and internal environmental conditions becomes a fundamental factor in estimating the risk. Various hazard sources exist in diverse natural or man-made systems. the scenario in the risk analysis can be deﬁned as a propagating feature of speciﬁc initiating event which can go to a wide range of undesirable consequences [18]. usually there are no direct methods of assuring the credibility of the evolution. Since the system performance in the passive state is very sensitive depending on a variety of scenarios. The operating risk from nuclear power plants is categorized into this case. A lot of risk analyses have been performed to actually estimate a risk proﬁle from both uncertain future states of hazard sources and undesirable scenarios. which focussed on uncertainty propagation with emphasis on the separation principle for both uncertainty types in every variables. which answers to the question. Diverse approaches for categorizing uncertainty have set forth last two decades. these measures with limiting (or regulatory) indicators which affect about humans or environment. the variables in a model domain (called here as ‘domain variables’). Lee / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 91 (2006) 515–532 frequency. a comprehensive risk prediction needs a complete listing of scenarios and estimation of their frequencies. we had to consider a system-speciﬁc feature originating from a very broad range of aleatory and epistemic uncertainties. The issue of numerical solution error has been generally ignored in risk analysis. In this case. long periods of evolution in natural environment facing diverse stochastic processes have inﬂuence on the uncertainty [9]. On the other hand. whose risk has been easily assessed using a traditional PRA technique. The risk assessment of a disposal site includes speciﬁc models for addressing the major pathways of radionuclides ill-affected human beings. Due to both lack of the knowledge and stochastic features. We can identify. as well as rankings of occurrence probability of the scenarios. The risk proﬁle coming from combination of likelihood and consequences of future transport and exposure depends . the potential risks to future generations may be subjected to complex uncertainty propagation assessment via PRA techniques. Most risk analysts [10–12] agree that all the variables used in the risk analysis models contain both epistemic and aleatory uncertainty because of their unique nature. upon all the evidence.. besides an issue of numerical solution error due to the mathematical modelling approximations and temporal discretization in simulations. In estimating. which is also beyond our concerns. The uncertainty must be practically treated in the estimation of the end point’s measures. whose risk then scarcely has assessed via the traditional PRA technique. In this case. First. Recently.

It is then obvious that current methodology of uncertainty analysis of a waste disposal site should be revisited with these diverse considerations.g. a system analyst may want knowing whether or not it is worthwhile to reinforce engineering protection features in order to defence a random hazard (e. including medical diagnosis (e. forecasting. they have been popularly utilized [28]. language understanding.C. Subjective probability distributions on the numerical results are given by uncertainty analysis and are used to represent the conﬁdence level where a risk criterion is being met. then that reduces the likelihood of causes of the others. In order to consider the effects owing to the evolution of environmental conditions of waste disposal facilities.g. Furthermore. These ﬁndings notice us not to lose sight of how dominating domain variables contribute to the uncertainty of the risk in relation with diverse complex phenomena and/or scenarios. This section provides an overview of scenario categorization. heuristic search (e.e. 2. The uncertainties arisen from different evolutions should be adequately propagated throughout the analysis.1. † Estimating the probability of the query variables by any inference algorithm. Interpreting the signiﬁcance of results of a PRA in view of the uncertainties is also important if the PRA results are applied to make meaningful risk-informed decisions. so called it as ‘explaining away’. Microsoft troubleshooter). As these reasoning processes with useful evidence are made. While it is important to characterize the overall uncertainty. After a survey of relevant studies [9. the consequence. . map learning.g. For example. The reasoning processes can be operated by propagating probabilistic evidence in any directions. Overview Bayesian network also known as belief networks. an initiating event). this paper proposes a quantitative assessment framework combining an inference process of Bayesian network with a traditional risk analysis. were not practically linked to the PRA. The last term of ‘sets of triples’. where network means a graphical model.e. A deterministic model of radioactive waste disposal. † Learning the structure or deﬁning parameters of the query variables.e. the ﬁrst and the second terms used in ‘sets of triples’ of risk deﬁnition are delineated in detail in this paper. may be easily identiﬁed using deterministic evaluation models. abduction. hydrological.e. The remainder of this paper consists of four sections. Bayesian networks have been applied to diverse technical or societal problems. It is required to explicitly consider distribution functions of random variables that deﬁne both aleatory and epistemic uncertainty associated with each variable in a scenario evaluation.e. In order to build overall reasoning processes for Bayesian networks. as to the evolution modelling for stochastic domain variables under adversely-environmental conditions in waste repositories.-J. K. The last section summarizes and concludes the study. answers to a variety of queries are required. and ‘explaining away’ are made: for example. Therefore. if a forward direction of reasoning from a cause (i. as well as characteristics of the domain variables. it is equally worth understanding well what factors or variables mainly propagate the uncertainty [19]. a descendant) is occurred. The probabilistic inference algorithm employed is explained in Section 3 in detail. The use of Bayesian networks helps to answer such the queries even when no experiment about the effects of reinforced protection is available. and causal networks. Lee. only epistemic uncertainty may be treated [20–24]. In some variables. including an explanation of the dependency between scenarios and domain variables is presented in Section 4. QMR [Quick Medical Reference]). in terms of providing decision analysis and expert systems using artiﬁcial intelligence (AI). Since Bayesian network constitutes a model of reasoning process in a system. we found most scenarios developed for a disposal site. In addition. In addition. In utilizing Bayesian networks. PathFinder. and ecological aspects of the site with all the scenarios.20. where various forms of reasoning [29] such as prediction. Markov random ﬁelds. sources of the uncertainty at future states can be reduced by pertinently setting up dependency relationships interrelating geological. pattern classiﬁcation. without considerations on above-mentioned dependency treatment required. scenario analyses up to the present have not given a speciﬁc and realistic approach. a predecessor) to an effect (i. i. This section also provides some illustrative results and discussion.J. is a new concept for reasoning complex uncertain problems. a descendant) to a cause (i. as well as epistemic uncertainty. Framework development for the risk assessment using Bayesian networks 2.25. it is general to communicate qualitative assumptions about cause-effect relationships and to derive causal inferences from a combination of diverse assumptions. if a backward direction of reasoning from an effect (i. then prediction is formed. A major portion of Section 4 is devoted to the development of the evaluation models in relation with the information given in Section 3. on the other hand. Lee / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 91 (2006) 515–532 517 on aleatory uncertainty.26]. Bayesian network can provide a basis to perform uncertainty propagation of query variables. following three steps are generally engaged: † Structuring the graphical models for causality representation. if we have more than two causes and one of those causes is found. [27]. then abduction is formed. etc. probabilistic networks.18. Section 2 provides the methodology framework for using Bayesian network in the study. a predecessor) is occurred. real-time monitoring.

Moreover. Fig. after assigning a probability (or its distribution) to a node conditional on that node’s predecessors. (d) module 2: a detailed DAG between V and R with n-elements of X. Xk is an actual system performance indicator corresponding to a domain variable k under the dependency of initiating events). where M denotes an inhibitory indicator (or mechanism) that prevents any cause E from giving an effect R and thus has two states— true (on) and false (off). the joint probability (or its distribution) over the whole network is determined [26]. we can consider a possible interaction to hinder a direct impact from insigniﬁcant causes. construction of Bayesian networks helps to capture engineer’s intuitive understanding of complex systems or problems. their effects). 1(b). and arcs.e. they are far from popular in the nuclear PRA. Accordingly. which will be explained in the following sections. since a practical implementation of Bayesian networks requires complex modelling of the inter-relationships between various initiating events and engineered mitigating features which diversify the risk proﬁle. A random variable V denotes a trigger (a kind of ﬁltering interaction) reﬂecting the fact that the input E cannot always produce the output R. In the PRA adopting Bayesian networks. As a last step for ﬁguring G. arcs are drawn from a cause to an effect.e. a whole reasoning process is deemed to be a complex task in itself. Lee / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 91 (2006) 515–532 As explained by Heckerman [30]. it seems that we Fig. (c) module 1: a detailed DAG between E and V using a concept of M. Incomplete DAGs encode expert knowledge in the form of missing arrows. subsequent computations are pursued by symbolic manipulation of probabilistic expressions. However. then we have to make a further expansion in G. K. not in a full reasoning process of Bayesian networks.e. A structure of Bayesian network is generally represented by an annotated directed acyclic graph (DAG) G. linking lines. it is kept in mind that an initiating event simply means a conditional initiation for any occurrence of the scenarios. If we want resolving the causality (i. we propose a conceptual framework to apply Bayesian networks to the nuclear PRA. The causality represented in four decomposition steps: (a) a basic DAG simply representing a cause and an effect. 1. With this desire.J. i. Unfortunately. the structure in G is divided into two modules providing with decomposing paths—‘from E to V’ and ‘from V to R’. Lee. Fig. for describing the performance of a system). As a ﬁrst step for representing G. realize a probabilistic and causal dependence between random variables that they connect. as addressed in the above. E denotes an occurrence of any initiating event while R denotes a response of given problem. Bayesian networks have been explicitly applied as a popular graphical modelling language to represent the causality under uncertain relational situations in a real world. Presented with a step-by-step decomposition of the network structure for solving a problem (e. In general. the DAGs are regarded as a substantial language for communicating conditional independence assumptions. Representation of the cause-effect dependency In this section. 1(b). a trigger) in the decomposition of Fig. cannot provide any practical reasoning for the problem only with this structure. after considering the causality from the initiating events to the engineered features. we can ﬁgure a problem to a simple structure as outlined in Fig. and for representing qualitative causal inferences [25]. 1(b). relationship of cause and effect) in detail. we . shown with dotted boxes in Fig. (Note: All the symbols in a node represent random variables. In other words. we suggest a special technique for applying the general reasoning concept of Bayesian networks to the PRA of a nuclear facility. causes) to consequences (i.e. V denotes a trigger or a ﬁltering interaction which reﬂects the fact that the cause E cannot always produce the effect R.g. we are mainly interested in the direct representation of the real circumstance.e. Usually. we can represent this idea by expanding the upper module in Fig. M denotes an inhibitory indicator or mechanism that prevents any cause E from giving an effect R. 1(a). 1 shows an overall process for making DAG G which ﬁnally gives a causality between random variables of E denoting a cause (input like an occurrence of any initiating event) and R denoting an effect (output like a response of given problem). However. Once the network is conﬁgured. Therefore. Since our approach mainly focuses on connecting scenarios (i.518 C. 2. where some nodes denote variables of interest. Since the DAGs represent high dimensional uncertainty distributions. (b) more extended DAG consisting of 2 modules. The trigger V remains in a hidden state. 1(c) shows a result using AND gate and NOT operator. by introducing the upper module (i.2.-J.

a multiply-connected network with four query nodes is outlined in Fig. Vs. i. if this assumption is accepted. PjZP(XkjVj only). to denote that variable x is in state k. for example. In the general graphical representation it is noted that the circle nodes denote continuous random variables. Ei in a root node represents the happening of an initiating event i which affects physical domain variables of given system. Direct inference of the network structure shown in Fig. K.3. we may take up the concept of a noisy-OR gate [28. For instance. state of a random variable. we can usually conﬁgure the network structure. . furthermore. 1(d) is given only that input is present. According to this consideration. a clear node indicates a hidden state and a shaded represents an observed.e. Bayesian networks take advantage of expressing a graphical description of the dependencies between random variables.C. Bayesian network needs a corresponding database and a set of explicit assumptions about our prior probabilistic knowledge of a domain. It is also noted that when we make a network structure. in some variables there is only one connection. 2. i. and Xs are conﬁgured as nodes. For the purpose of showing an illustration. Modelling considerations for building a network structure In a graphical structure adopted in Bayesian networks causality plays a great role. squares denote discrete. The logic of the structure provided in Fig. we can easily assume that the causal mechanism in the connection path from Vj to Xk is mutually independent. i. To do this. In describing Bayesian networks. 2 is not easy to solve and requires numerous probability distributions because a causal complexity exists between both ancestors and descendants. when identifying direct physical connections we should consult a graphical structure. As denoted in Fig.-J. where the expression P(XkjVj only) means a conditional probability of kth X node given only Vj node. ancestors before descendants. but in others. Using this variable ordering and a concept of conditional independencies. we also introduce some random variables which can give a system response R following after the instantiation (it commonly means that a random variable becomes a true state) of triggering. 1(c). to express the causality. By way of interfacing structure model to data. We also write xZk. With this modelling concept. therefore. It is noted that almost all the observed things can be represented with the evidence.31]. if an individual trigger (Vj following Ei) occurs together with its corresponding inhibitory indicator M. the instantiation of their descendant (Xk) in Fig.J. we can fully represent the causal relationships from the occurrence of initiating events to the system response. four Es. 2 shows a fully-speciﬁed Bayesian network corresponding with an actual inference problem. The network structure has a characteristic to encode conditional independencies among random variables. As far as the response R from an instantiation of Xk is concerned. We always want making a graphical structure predict responses and infer causes from evidence. Therefore. for example.e. Fig. Lee. In addition. we call it a state of X. 1(d). The states of unshaded nodes in the ﬁgures. therefore. Three R nodes are also provided for the states of the end point’s measure). 2. the nodes must always be numbered in topological order.e. 2 is explained in detail. For the purpose of simplifying the inference after structuring of the model. In the ﬁgure. because the process which prevents the input signal from being sufﬁcient is independent of the others. 3 or 4 connections are possible. Practically. Let’s take an example for expressing this case. Absence of a direct link between any E and R. we may deﬁne it as an adverse impact on the system or any other consequential measure of the system. When we observe every state of a variable in any set X. we use a lower-case letter to represent any single state of a random variable and an upper-case letter as a set of Fig. available information about the states of nodes. Therefore. the noisy-OR gate model can be selected. all kinds of evidences can be propagated within the structure. a missing edge explicitly means that there is an independent relationship between random variables. we attempted to represent a more general structure model for application of a nuclear PRA. diverse connections from any jth node of V (Vj) to any kth node of X (Xk) exist depending on their causal characteristics. reveals that there is no direct inﬂuence of initiating events on the ﬁnal system status. As a descendant node is affected by different trigger nodes. Lee / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 91 (2006) 515–532 519 have to fully represent the lower module of Fig. With the above-mentioned decomposition steps. in the selected graphical models. let a random variable Xk an actual system performance indicator corresponding to a domain variable k under the dependency of initiating events. speciﬁed by a speciﬁc function incorporating independencies between nodes relevant to the converging path. 1(b) as shown in Fig. cannot be observed in an actual circumstance. respectively. 2. A Bayesian network with fully treating causal relationships in PRA problems (As an illustrative purpose.

Thus. It is well known that the principle of inclusion–exclusion can compensate the combined belief of outcome by the degree of belief that is common to a different set of causes.. Vn Þ Z 1 K ð1 K pV1 Þð1 K pV2 Þ. they can have two simple states—true and false. Actually.ð1 K pVn Þ (1) where the left expression speciﬁes the probability distribution of Xk conditional on its parents of V1. the notion of probability is known for the best way to actualize uncertain beliefs. we often encounter situations where an effect has many potential causes. . since it may be reasonable that multiplyoccurring initiating events are relatively rare under the time span considered. 3 might be a Poissondistributed probability with parameters depending on their occurrence frequencies.n. Suppose n parents X1. with adopting assumption about mutually exclusive situation for preventing dual initiating events.. only one end effect is also proposed for the purpose of illustrative application. pVj means the input probability of the parents Vj to Xk given an arbitrary number j. Vn. However. According to the characteristic of Bayesian networks. Given any combination of the input. K. we can simplify the structure of Bayesian networks with one root node.. As a result. X2.J. in complex networks. and allows evidence propagation in time proportional to the number of parents of each variable [32].. each input variable has a probability of being sufﬁcient to cause an output variable. a joint probability distribution over the set can be represented by the product of the individual probability distributions over each Yi conditional on its parents. however. 3. if we practically consider the actual occurrence of initiating events. while it is exponentially increased (2n with binary state) in the application of other general gate types. we must specify the probability distribution of R conditional on every state of its parents. parents’ inputs should be carefully treated so as not to induce an impractical problem.1. the probability of a descendant is expressed with a form of minimal cut upper bound (using a principle of inclusion–exclusion) as PrðXk jV1 . In other words.2. Given the response R shown in Fig. a node can be gone to diverse states representing continuous values. . (1) to an equation with ﬁrst order probability. it is usual that a lot of variables such as a decision variable are inherently discrete. this is not ﬁt for a general case. the noisy-OR gate simpliﬁes knowledge acquisition. and its role in Bayesian network is to provide a belief basis about qualitative encoding of a network structure. Let’s take another example for continuous random variable. V2 . Approaches for a probabilistic inference in Bayesian network As denoted by Henrion [28].. 3. the causal independence relationship in a graphical model informs us how a global high-dimensional probability distribution over all the variables can be factored into a product of local probability distributions over lower dimensional spaces. Furthermore.. In an ideal case. the above reduced equation can be further reduced to a single term but disjunctive element on the possibility of each initiating event. is quite a demanding task.n and given a speciﬁed DAG G in a Bayesian network. we have to specify mn probability distributions for representing this causality. Xn bearing on a descendant R can have m states. However. A simpliﬁed DAG of Bayesian network for considering non-multiple initiating events in PRA (For the purpose of showing an illustration. jZ1. Representation of variable states Generally. Y2. iZ1. As discussed by Heckerman [31]. If a set YZ{Y1. the value of root nodes given in Fig.520 C. respectively. In solving various real problems. random variables have been regarded as a matter of state. Fig. 3. saves memory space. The main advantage of the noisy-OR gate model is that the number of parameters in the variables of interest may be reduced proportionally to the number of causes (n). n nodes for random variable Xs and one node for a state of the endpoint’s measure are provided). Lee / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 91 (2006) 515–532 In the noisy-OR gate model.. most values of the probability would be obtained by engineering judgment rather than by insufﬁcient empirical data. . V2. Lee. Even though a variable representing time-dependent situations may be inherently continuous.-J. we can reduce Eq. Overlooking based on our available knowledge base.. As a consequence.. it can be also treated as discrete in the simulation for the convenience of computation. expressing our beliefs for the random variables’ states in a term of probability. it is well acknowledged that.. In Bayesian networks.Yn} is composed of n nodes of discrete random variable Yi. 3.2. Any random variable is represented by either a continuous scalar or a set of discrete values. n denotes a maximum number of V node. When modelling a real world.

Therefore.x. Paimi g where mi is the number of parents of Yi. Therefore. Paimi Z fimi .C. we need specifying a complete joint probability distribution (JPD) over all the random variables. if nothing is known about R. x. since we let a ﬁxed structure in the study.qv Þ x Prðrjx. Lee. we have the conditional probability as P Prðe.2.-J. If we expand the Eq. which implicitly provides a well-known deﬁnition of ‘d-separation (directional separation)’ [33] in Bayesian network model. coming into existence of any states of random variables is termed an instantiation. and assign their values with a corresponding probability set fi Z ffi1 . . which is a process for structure learning. The expression of Eq. fimi g. observing the effect(s) of a given model and trying to estimate the causes is termed a diagnostic reasoning.qxk Þ k (4) As explained previously.qr Þ Prðxk jvj .qv Þ k Prðxk jvj . . In the case of Fig. v. a parameter ﬁtting problem is exposed and it can be resolved with available reasoning process considered [34]. On the other hand. rÞ In the above equation. Conditional probability estimation In Bayesian networks. we can obtain an explicit form of the conditional probability: PrðxjrÞ P P Q Prðrjx.v. 3. Bayesian network deﬁnes a probability distribution over the possible assignments of values to all the variables as PrðYjGÞ Z n Y iZ1 because the dependence between Xi and Xj is conditional on the certainty of V.qr Þ k Prðxk jvj . the JPD can be expressed. The probability of each instantiation can be simply calculated as the product of the conditional probabilities of its predecessors.. 3. if we will apply Fig.v. the state values of the descendant node are wholly determined by the values of the parent nodes. x.v : (3) PrðrÞ e. Full JPD over a given domain can be provided with a combination of conditional independencies in network structure and local probability models. There are two kinds of probabilistic inferences. if n-element Xs are identiﬁed in network. Under the circumstances of diverging connections in Fig. in case of converging connections where any of the paths from parent nodes Xs to descendant node R also remain unchanged. where isj. However. v.x. lowercase letters are commonly used here to represent particular instantiations of variables. and r determined from the overall network structure. (4) denotes the parameter of each query node...rÞ ZPrðei jqe ÞPrðvj jei . it is desirable to efﬁciently utilize an alternative approach with the consideration of conditional independence assumption. 3 as an example. set of x. (4). (3) by applying Eq. where any of the paths from one parent node V to descendant nodes Xs remain unchanged. in order to obtain an adequate solution on the reasoning with parameter ﬁtting. observing the root(s) of a given model and trying to forecast the effect is termed a predictive reasoning. In a learning process with ﬁxed graphical structure. then R’s parents (Xs) are being interindependent so that no information can be transmitted between them.vj . (2) implies that.r) is the joint probability distribution of a set of random variables e.qv ÞPrðrjx. From the rules of probability. in Bayesian networks it is possible to use a learning process supported by data on the structure and parameters of variables. including speciﬁc risk attributes. based on the chain rule of probability: Y Prðei . Pr(e.3.x Prðe.J. (3) can be expanded in a way that reﬂects the structure of Bayesian network itself [29]. In reality. A bold lowercase letter x represents a set of instantiations of X elements.qxk Þ P P Q ZP e Prðei jqe Þ v Prðvj jei . Each q shown in right side terms of Eq. The probabilistic inference focuses on estimating the posterior distributions of random variables when relevant evidences are observed. it is necessary to consider an appropriate probabilistic inference algorithm [35]. 3. rÞ Prðx.qr Þ e Prðei jqe Þ v Prðvj jei . Lee / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 91 (2006) 515–532 521 If we denote the parents’ set of any ith variable Yi in G by Pai Z fPai1 . rÞ PrðxjrÞ Z Z P e. The probabilistic inference should give PrðYi Z yi jPai1 Z fi1 . which is generally referred to as a probabilistic inference. 3. methodology adoption for structure learning is out of scope. On the other hand. for example. v. Simulation algorithm for a probabilistic inference In performing a traditional PRA. Many structure identiﬁcation methods or learning algorithms are also used to optimize a structure. given the parents’ sets and G.qxk Þ (5) In functional and logical determinations. each variable Yi is conditionally independent of the other parents. It is also noted that all the classical and logical operators can be brought when deﬁning unknown parameters in Bayesian networks. K. information can be transmitted from any Xk node to the other Xk0 node through the parent V unless V is instantiated. A key point of practical reasoning is to take the evidence propagation by computing the answer probabilistically for particular queries about the domain. . GÞ: (2) Eq. a variety of sensitivity analysis are generally used to examine the importance of various parameters and assumptions for risk modelling. since this distribution may not be feasible to estimate. We can state that the variables of Xk are conditionally independent of V . Both forms of reasoning can be selected in Bayesian networks.

e) and a weight distribution u(y. it weights each sample by the product of the conditional probabilities of the evidence variables. and Markov Chain Monte Carlo algorithm (sometimes Gibbs sampling) are popularly used. in this case Y to y. eÞ Z Y Ei2E Pr½Ei jPaðEi ÞYZy. This updated algorithm is adopted in the study. They have realized utilizing stochastic simulation-based. given its parents. To provide an inference probability Pr(YZyjEZe) which is an extended expression of similar term as denoted in Eq. Furthermore. It is remarkable that a probabilistic inference problem can be easily solved if we have a JPD of the random variables involved. respectively. likelihood weighting algorithm. have appeared as an alternative to the overall algorithms in Bayesian networks with extreme probabilities [39]. use a special technique. (7) where the expressions are conditioned. approximate probabilistic inferences have been widely surveyed by many researchers. it ﬁxes the values on evidence variables and samples only query variables left. which exploits the law of large numbers to approximate large sums of random variables by their means [40]. also. i. The accuracy of stochastic simulation-based algorithms generally depends on the size of samples. For applying to Bayesian networks with extreme conditional probabilities. The weights in a network make local assertions about the relationship between neighbouring nodes. . in the likelihood weighting. Variational-based inference methods. in order to use the algorithm. However. That is. EZe) into a path probability distribution p(y. rejection sampling. Based on the consideration for characteristics of the study. and E to e. meanwhile. It has been frequently provided to query problems within the speciﬁed bounds. and so on. Disadvantages of the Monte Carlo approach are that it can be slow to converge and be hard to diagnose its convergence. (6) and uðy. as they converge very slowly if there are extreme probabilities in the conditional probability tables (CPTs) [37]. since general marginalization using joint probabilities requires exponential time in the probabilistic inference. The following explicit advantages have given to the algorithm: † It can be applicable to any type of nodes.EZe) and Pr(EZe). it is noted that the algorithm displays much faster convergence time than a simple stochastic simulation. In the following discussions.EZe .522 C. As a special case. discrete or continuous. Next. and a ﬁnal ratio is used to compute the probability. although they depend on the characteristics given a problem. these algorithms have a little disadvantage. let E denote a set of observed node. Also.e) that is equal to ‘true’ if YZy instantiates the node X to x. irrespective of the structure of Bayesian network. One of the categories in approximate inference algorithms. A wide variety of approximate inference algorithms for Bayesian networks share many common traits. K.EZe .J. Finding a sufﬁcient and effective inference algorithm in static Bayesian networks is desirable with a computing efﬁciency of simulation considered. we ﬁnally selected the best out of a lot of inference algorithms. to denote an instantiation of their arguments. Instead of randomly choosing a value. Y the nodes not contained in E. Yi\E denotes ith arbitrary node which is contained in a set Y but not included in the evidence subset E. eÞ Z Y Yi2Y Pr½Yi jPaðYi nEÞYZy. the likelihood weighting algorithm utilizes a technique to decompose the full joint probability Pr(YZy. stochastic simulation-based algorithms such as direct sampling. However. (3). Various exact inference algorithms have been also developed for the probabilistic inference [37]. However. likelihood weighting algorithm. with a relative error 3. In order to make these approximations. each sample has a weight. Lee. we must generate the relative approximation of two probabilities Pr(YZy. and variationalbased techniques [38]. for example Q Pr½Ei jPaðEi ÞYZy. but is still slow under extremely small conditional probability values. which search for high probability conﬁgurations through a space of possible values. Advantage of the Monte Carlo algorithms includes their simplicity of implementation and theoretical guarantees of convergence. it may be reasonable to apply a simple simulation-based algorithm. since an exact inference solution in real-world networks seems to be impractical. let’s deﬁne a new binary random variable c(y. searchbased approximation algorithms.e. For instance.e) presented by pðy. Inference algorithms turn these local assertions into global assertions about the relationships between nodes. A lot of efﬁcient methodology or algorithms for evidence propagation in Bayesian networks have been proposed [36]. † Each event generated is consistent with an evidence.EZe .-J. Lee / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 91 (2006) 515–532 an adequate answer to a query in a reasonable amount of time. † It avoids the inefﬁciency of rejection sampling by generating only events that are consistent with the evidence. we had to consider more efﬁcient methods. the algorithm takes values with conditional probability as a likelihood weight. Dagum [38] proposed a bounded-variance likelihood weighting algorithm to provide efﬁcient probabilistic inference in polynomial time. To meet the above demands. search-based. emerged as a variation of stochastic logic simulation for the purpose of giving an algorithm speedup.

However. Also. eÞ Z False. release pathway models should be assembled so that they can represent radionuclide transport from the repository to the environment and ultimately to the human being. A basic mechanism governing the release in underground media is the mass transfer in a porous medium where pore water is a main agent for radionuclide transfer. From a geochemical standpoint. Near surface disposal is one of the preferred options for comparatively large volumes of low and intermediate-level wastes.C.eÞjcðy. and also for wastes arising from radionuclide applications in hospitals and research establishments. if X Z x in y.e) becomes X E½c$u Z cðy. it may be unable to identify the key exposure pathway because both high likelihood and a great consequence cannot generally come together. In general. In other words. Radionuclide release characteristics A simple. which can ultimately go to the biosphere. particularly in association with a radiological waste disposal facility. 4. if we sample the distribution p(y. The simulation of the algorithm uses a random number generator to uniformly select values for given subset of evidence nodes and subsequently propagates them to pick values for the other query nodes. hypothetic site with an engineered vault design is adopted to the environmental transfer model. The engineered barriers. Model inputs Release pathways strongly depend on both a location and design of a repository. E Z e.e)u(y.e) in sufﬁcient counts. generally not below 50 m in depth at near surface disposal repository. which arise during nuclear power plant operation. the rate how much radionuclides are released into the media where they are transported. Key exposure pathways can be deﬁned with the consideration of both a likelihood and signiﬁcance. these considerations are important in the determination of a delay time of release. Lee.e. and backﬁlls within the vault. a normal delay of the source terms will occur because a delay from breach of waste container and a relatively-slow leaching are usually expected. geosphere) such as dispersion. retention by geologic media. with respect to the risk concept.J. as well as waste containers and surrounding materials.eÞpðy. Wastes are normally disposed at or near the ground surface. Lee / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 91 (2006) 515–532 523 and is equal to ‘false’ otherwise: ( True. cðy.eÞpðy.eÞZFalse ZPr½E Ze: determined. and local retardation of nuclide movement on container debris. It is noted that the likelihood of a peak dose can be also represented as an end point’s measure resulting from the scenario evaluation. if X sx in y: Then the expectation of the random variable c(y.e) and u(y. Also the expectation of weight distribution is represented by X X E½u Z pðy. Statistics are then maintained by the corresponding values that the nodes take out. and inventory uses by a critical human group are considered in the model of exposure pathways. Once the repository has been . in spite of the engineered features.eÞZTrue y2U X y2U y2U C cðy. and this process gives a desired answer. The end point’s measure of interest can be simply deﬁned as a peak dose to a person drinking from a biosphere well. After an Therefore. Various processes in the underground environment (i.1. eÞuðy.e)u(y. a transport of radionuclides through groundwater in the geological formation. In obtaining the simulation output.1. Therefore. both natural and engineered systems form a series of multiple and potentially independent barriers against the release of waste [41]. K.e) can converge to a desired inference probability. Source terms describe the release of radionuclides from the repository to the pathways through the geosphere and far ﬁeld. Especially. can also contribute to the repository performance. and holdup in sub-layer aquifer usually relate to the release amount of radioactive materials to accessible environment (i.1.eÞuðy. 4.eÞuðy. backﬁll materials. eÞpðy. the release timing is greatly affected by the assumptions concerning occurrence time of breach of the engineered barriers. An example application to an environmental transfer model of the nuclear facility The application involves an example for estimating the risk in a nuclear facility. the disposal system is a good domain example for this study because its performance potentially depends on a variety of scenarios.-J. Altogether. a key feature seems to make a practical estimation of the query variable whose parameters are an unknown function even under the simulation inputs. biosphere).eÞ Z cðy. 4. A normal exposure pathway in the post-closure repository is generally deﬁned by the non-accidental leaching of radionuclides from the repository to human beings.eÞuðy. there are several considerations in deﬁning the source terms. or other engineered barriers etc. the limiting ratio of c(y. Several key factors such as delay times from different engineered barriers. eÞ Z Pr½Y Z y.e. y2U where a sample space U for Y contains all the instantiations of YZy. the rate and extent of container degradation which determines when and how much waste is exposed to the leaching and the other release mechanisms.eÞjcðy. unavoidable uncertainties remain unsolved in the time when waste packages are breached and in the way how the radionuclides are released.

Any scenarios leading to similar consequences can be grouped into the same category of AES.i $lL T0 where initial source term inventory (Bq) maximum leaching period (y) leach rate of the parent nuclide (yK1) consumption of drinking water. we can calculate the screening dose rate Di. taken to be 800 L yK1 V dilution volume. AESs are deﬁned as unusual happenings that can cause signiﬁcant alteration or momentary changes of underground geochemical. Only a groundwater ingestion pathway is considered in this paper. inhalation. all the soil layers are composed of saturated zone.e. ﬂow of the groundwater system.524 C. and soil and vegetable ingestion pathways are not addressed because any given pathway model has no problem for fulﬁlling the objective of the study. Sometimes aggregation of events and corresponding special situations can go into scenarios. we get a lot of system information. annual committed effective dose of radionuclide i as: Di Z M0. (9) are the inﬁltration rate and the retardation coefﬁcients for each radionuclide of interest.i ingestion dose factor for radionuclide i (Sv BqK1) Xi decay correction factor (dimensionless) Basic site data are adopted from the study conducted with the IAEA research program on the safety assessment of near surface radioactive waste disposal facilities [43]. Therefore. According to the NCRP model. the groundwater system becomes an important part of pathway for radionuclide transfer. the length of the facility becomes perpendicular to the direction of groundwater ﬂow.J. Scenario classiﬁcation The combination of events. The model gives a screening technique that can be employed to demonstrate compliance with environmental standards or other administratively-set reference levels against releases of radionuclides to the biosphere. and processes causing diverse natural phenomena can be taken as a scenario. which was prepared by the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) [42].e. Lee / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 91 (2006) 515–532 elapse of a delay period. signiﬁcant initiating events and concurrent responses resulting in adverse disturbance of the systems concerned can go to the major AESs. the repository is located in a stable geological formation with an approximate depth of 3 m.i V iZ0 i (10) (8) where R I H n retardation coefﬁcient (dimensionless) groundwater inﬁltration rate (m yK1) thickness of the layer of buried soil (m) soil porosity (dimensionless). The degree of saturation of medium. the average yearly fraction of the initial inventory of the parent radionuclide X0 left from time tdelay to tdelayCTav is derived as X0 Z where lL leach rate (yK1) lr radiological decay constant of parent (yK1) 0 Tav averaging time tdelay delay time for release (y) The leach rate deﬁned in the NCRP model is lL Z I RHn (9) ½1 K eKðlLCl0 ÞTav eKtdelay l0 Tav ðlL C lr Þ 0 r r the parent nuclide over whole lifetime is also provided in Ref.1. and chemical properties of radionuclides may be key uncertain elements in determining the release rate. it may be enough to classify the scenarios with four major AES M0. i. Although this adoption would intentionally limit the work scope. 4. the geosphere is also characterized as an unconﬁned sand aquifer with deﬁned properties. [42]. Thus. With consideration of the screening factor for the groundwater ingestion pathway. 4. hydrological. K. features. Since the main objective of the NCRP model is to give a simple means in predicting the results for screening analyses. Referring to previous scenario studies [44.3. average fractions of each progeny appeared from .45]. total volume of water in the aquifer (L yK1) DFing. disturbance means an abnormal state departed from the normal state.-J. which implicitly means the properties of unsaturated soil layer such as partition coefﬁcient or bulk density are the same as those of saturated soil layer. For nuclides with signiﬁcant progeny. The considerable domain variables in Eq. We introduce the concept of ‘altered evolution scenarios (AESs)’ here as one of extreme and special types of the scenarios. yet there is sufﬁcient realism to identify the feasibility of modelling approach suggested in this paper. with only one time burial assumed.i T0 lL UDW N UDW X X $DFing. The others such as direct irradiation. and/or mechanical properties which are directly linked with the system performance.2. In this paper. i. Deterministic pathway model We adopted a deterministic model in the pathway analysis. For convenience’ sake. conservative approaches and parameters with effective dose factors for 826 radionuclides were proposed in many environmental transport pathways. Lee. The screening dose assessment gives a defensible basis for making regulatory decisions because resulting dose is likely to be overestimated rather than underestimated.1.

causing an increase in the release quantity of radionuclides. It is noted that large faults causing a direct release of radionuclides are expected to be improbable because of the plastic behaviour and self-sealing capabilities of clay. The primary hazard considered is the rupture of waste canisters induced by the faults. also a water budget can be changed.e. which can alter the amount of water available for inﬁltration.e. A lot of phenomena such as freshwater sediment transport and deposition. natural thermal effects. ultimately the soil partition coefﬁcients. Observing many historical surface fault ruptures. a biotic intrusion is considerably increased. 4. the AESs has a stochastic behaviour.1. ‘Fixed but unknown’ distributions represent the epistemic uncertainty about characteristics at a particular site unless site-speciﬁc information is available for the corresponding parameters. The phenomena are combined with the normal evolution pathway creating a lumped scenario. Adverse effects of this case result in a considerable decrease in the dilution volume. Lee. strongly inﬂuence two variables of the system. even though its likelihood depends on root depths. stream. We can include a human intrusion scenario in this AES. i. reported available data must be implicitly interpreted. (2) Climatological AES. The soil/liquid partition coefﬁcients of radionuclides can be derived from soil-to-plant concentration ratios for speciﬁc plants and types of soil. The extreme water consumption by ﬂoras can also cause to reduce the width of a water table or an aquifer. Adopted values for the parameters depend on assigned subjective distributions.4. as given in Table 2. which becomes a considerable increase or decrease in the aquifer characteristic. and processes for the classiﬁcation of AESs Geological AES (AES-1) Seismicity Fault activation Fracturing Regional Tectonics (Human intrusion) Climatological AES (AES-2) Precipitation Glaciation Deep weathering Transient greenhouse-gas induced warming Surface hydrological AES (AES-3) River ﬂow and lake level changes Site ﬂooding Recharge to groundwater Freshwater sediment transport and deposition River. faults) have been regarded to be critical in the geological stochastic analysis. and may depend on a time-dependent characteristic [46]. as well as water table changes. we need determining how much the inﬁltration rate or an aquifer ﬂow can change from a nominal value due to the AES. Progression toward trees. This AES may greatly inﬂuence the groundwater recharge and discharge. Another possible consequence will be the variation of aquifer ﬂow. for instance.-J.50]. channel erosion (downcutting) Natural thermal effects Ecological AES (AES-4) 525 Plant uptake/evolution Animal uptake/evolution Uptake by deep rooting species Microbial interactions Effects of terrestrial ecological development on hydrology categories. The quantity changes of a water table and/or an aquifer can also occur resulting from the disturbances of local surface hydrological behaviour due to this AES. In general. He also notes that changes in ground stress following an earthquake can induce pore pressure changes and groundwater ﬂow.C. Therefore. It is well acknowledged that the inﬁltration rate is highly dependent upon the weather. and site ﬂooding have the potential to change regional hydrological properties over time scales of hundreds years. Earthquake or tectonic displacements (i. McGuire [47] indicates that often the mapview width of the fault zone during an earthquake is not restricted to a narrow zone along the primary fault but a fault zone that is wide up to kilometers. The major consequences in this case will probably be a reduction of inﬁltration rate or aquifer ﬂow. therefore. The AES representing a climatic variation can cause medium level perturbations in the geosphere. as outlined in Table 1. It is assumed that the geological AES can. Uncertainty in a variable is also treated as ‘aleatory’ when the distribution is determined from a random process. Lee / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 91 (2006) 515–532 Table 1 Example compilation of events. we assume that the AES indirectly inﬂuence the change of plant-to-soil concentration ratios. Progression may tend to either increase or decrease the inﬁltration [48]. (1) Geological AES. (3) Surface hydrological AES. so result in altering a normal evolution of the system. . may lead to larger canopy hold-up. delay time for release and dilution volume. Consulting this correlation. ultimately changing the release quantity of radionuclides. spatial and temporal variations (soil erosion) in precipitation have the greatest effect on the inﬁltration rate. Vegetative progression is expected to occur near surface disposal after a loss of waste control. Sheppard and Thibault [49] deﬁned a partition coefﬁcient correlation of leafy vegetables based on plant-to-soil concentration ratios.J. surface hydrological AES. (4) Ecological AES. Consideration of domain variables Nominal parameters of the domain variables are mainly adopted from available references [43. features. This causes two effects. Nevertheless such the faults with low or intermediate level may be responsible for local disturbances in the properties of geological barrier. for applying to the waste disposal repository. To develop a subjective distribution of the parameters in the model. K.

inﬁltration rate. standard deviation. Uniform distribution for this epistemic parameter uncertainty is assumed with lower and upper bounds for each speciﬁc radionuclide. The delay in release can be described by a variety of analytic models. SPC. One of the major domain variables. s. They estimated a minimum irrigation water requirement. † Dilution volume. Based on this consideration. LU. in case of handling the domain variables with both epistemic and aleatory uncertainties. Taking this consideration along with the epistemic uncertainty of the parameters. Furthermore.5!104 – 2. [50] is adopted again for choosing a nominal value in this paper. The delay mechanism and its relevant time scales are the most critical data.0!10 – 3. If a time period long enough to change the groundwater resources is provided. Maximum Tdelay is determined by the maximum time of the simulation. It is assumed that a geological AES can directly affect the integrity of concrete structure. etc.) (m/yr) LU 1!10 – 2. it is accepted to consider a lot of natural stochastic processes directly or indirectly affecting the volume of aquifer. we can outline a domain variable with ‘true but unknown’ distributions. soil partition coefﬁcient. † Inﬁltration rate. partly based on available information addressed in the followings. † Delay time. The delay time of the release varies depending on adsorption of waste and concrete. For example.5!104 Tdelay. U. which intends solving an issue that how we can provide the parameters of the domain variables when we have a lack of critical data set for them. we can focus on the problems desired to be solved. which uses an empirical relationship between soil permeability and the proportion of water developed by the US Bureau of Reclamation. triangular. All the heterogeneous phenomena can be lumped together into a model for retardation coefﬁcient. [50] have a speciﬁc model that the inﬁltration rate is the product of application rate (AR) and fraction of the applied water that will percolate deeply beneath a root zone and become inﬁltration. we guess that the scenarios such as climatological AES or ecological AES may greatly affect the inﬁltration rate. the soil partition coefﬁcient (SPC) can inﬂuence mass transfer between soil and an aquifer. Waste form hold-up and container lifetime cause a natural delay and then a reduction in the vault release terms. It is noted that the inﬁltration rate (IR) is very site speciﬁc [51] and depends on a natural stochastic process. The contribution to an ingestion dose from the use of groundwater depends on many domain variables. Partition coefﬁcients of radionuclides need calculating the retardation coefﬁcient of soil layer. leaching by dissolution or adsorption by buffer material is one of the models. redistributes. As a domain variable.1 – 0.d. † Retardation coefﬁcient.526 C.2. loguniform.-J. It is usual to assume that groundwater transport processes are dominated by various phenomena such as advection. It is noted that while a probable failure mode of concrete may be a gradual failure. Estimating the ﬂux directly consists in ﬁnding the amount of water that inﬁltrates into soils. Reference data from Beyeler et al. DV. Lee.1!104 1. Likelihood estimation of . In particular. T. All the radionuclides released from the buried waste are assumed to be diluted in the volume of aquifer deﬁned as equivalent tube stream area times transverse length of the aquifer to a well.4!10K2 K3 DV (mean) (m3) T 6.. and consequently the radionuclide concentrations in drinking water consumed by human beings are affected by this. Evaluations associated with information gained from the probabilistic inference of Bayesian network This section devotes our concerns to combine the probabilistic inference of Bayesian network with the estimation of parameters. the time between initial burial and the beginning time of concrete structure failure is deﬁned as the delay time (Tdelay) for release. Beyeler et al. and enters the disposal unit as a function of time. IR. dilution volume. and sorption. Minimum Tdelay is determined to be around 10 years. we assume that a variance of the epistemic distribution closes to a mode of speciﬁc representative. uniform.0!10 9. 4.J.4!103 3 IR (mean) (m/yr) U 0. there is more or less a possibility of a rapid failure. It is also well known that soil hydraulic conductivity is a critical factor for deriving the inﬁltration rate and Darcy inﬁltration velocity can be limited by the speciﬁed hydraulic conductivity of the vault roof [43]. dilution volume (DV) directly relates with a transport modelling of several contaminants through an underground hydrological system. stochastic effects and data uncertainty can be considered altogether in a set of the distributions. All upper and lower bounds for the parameters of the domain variables given in Table 2 are assumed in the illustrative application. By giving high conﬁdence on the variance of the epistemic distribution like this. delay time.22!105 4 DV (s. In this paper. diffusion. K. The source terms can be provided by estimating a ﬂux of groundwater near the repository.d.3 IR (s.) (m3) U 1. Lee / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 91 (2006) 515–532 Table 2 Subjective probability distributions representing the state of knowledge about ﬁxed but uncertain parameters in using default values for Th-230 in the model Fixed quantity (units) Epistemic distribution Min Mode Max Tdelay (yr) LU 10 – 1000 SPC (m3/kg) U 3.d.

For preparing each likelihood category of Table 3.-J. A bestestimate value may be taken to each occurrence rate of AESs. Considering this perspective. Lee / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 91 (2006) 515–532 527 the AESs is a starting point in the analysis. This kind of approach was considered in the study so as to obtain reasonable uncertainty estimates based on the dependency between scenarios and domain variables.0!10K2/yr 2. we can estimate the probability of occurrence of a ﬁrst time event within a speciﬁed time interval t: pðnR 1Þ Z 1 K expfKlj ðtÞ$tg: (12) Thus. (12) easily calculates a scenario probability. while there is an incomplete database. it is already identiﬁed that the subjective probability distributions representing parameter uncertainties may undergo changes over the time owing to the scenarios causing perturbations [53]. the Table 3 Categorization of AES likelihood in the frequency estimation Degree of likelihood (1) Highly likely (2) Likely (3) Intermediate (4) Unlikely (5) Highly unlikely Estimated occurrence interval 0–102 y post-closure 102–103 y post-closure 103–104 y post-closure 104–105 y post-closure 105–106 y post-closure Occurrence frequency (median) 2. q 2Jg. the Poisson distribution is commonly used in parameter estimation problems to model all processes where events are generated over all the time. which is beyond the scope of this study. In order to realize this consideration.0!10K6/yr consequences such as an exposure dose will involve both epistemic and aleatory uncertainties. The ‘contamination’ means a generation of ‘contaminated prior’. Lee. As recognized by Frank [8]. the probability of observing N events in a time period T is given by PfN events in time TjlðtÞg Z flðtÞ$TgN KlðtÞ$T e . as denoted in Table 3. Therefore. Historical data collection and relevant methodology development are then necessary in order to establish a reliable data base about stochastic information of AES. which resulted in suitable designation so as category 3 (‘intermediate’ likelihood) for AES-1 and AES-3. (13) becomes . Under those representations. it is noted that the occurrence rate of an AES should be estimated with the support of empirical database and/or expert judgment. respectively. However. it is reasonable to assume that the occurrence of AESs directly inﬂuences estimating uncertain parameters of the domain variables. If that is the case. and 4 is an adjustable correction factor with 0%4!1 which reﬂects how p closes to p0.C. can vary according to the occurrence of various AESs. if the expected occurrence rate is provided. the analyst tends to resort to subjective inputs by some experts who make full use of their experience or the literatures published. by referring to the survey of relevant information. no preciselydeﬁned methodology exists in identifying adequate input types and standardizing the inputs. K. and category 2 (‘likely’ likelihood) for AES-2 and AES-4. if we attempt to give the prior class q(q) with a maximum likelihood estimator (MLE) for reﬂecting a possible ‘contamination’. The ‘contaminated prior’ represents a variety of input parameters which reﬂect the previously-mentioned dependency. Given the jth AES occurrence rate.0!10K3/yr 2. The informal approach for performing uncertainty analyses involves a technique varying one parameter or set of parameters at ﬁrst and then observing the deviation from a base-case prediction [22]. an AES stochastically occurs in space and in time so that the underlying measure of interest (e. By introducing the ‘mixture prior’ we can articulate the effects of uncertain parameters under the occurrence of AESs. which are critical for estimating the end point’s measure of ground release of radionuclides. Next. we made a decision to choose the likelihood category for each AES. Very often. the ‘mixture prior’ shows a mixing status of a normal prior (as termed for representing ordinary uncertainty distribution in this paper) and the ‘contaminated prior’. Also. we set each occurrence interval and median occurrence frequency. We are sure that. The occurrences of AESs for non-overlapping intervals are independent of each other. This concept refers to a special approach using correction factors for representing the parameter uncertainty. However. lj(t). As a practical assumption. then Eq. Next.0!10K5/yr 2. Therefore. we deﬁne an arbitrary prior set G to elicit a linear estimator of an uncertain parameter q. we assume that the subjective parameters of the domain variables. ﬁrst. the dependency between scenarios and variables can obviously affect all the input types of a model.g. the frequency about AES likelihood is just estimated based on the subjective engineering judgment which uses a concept of categorized selection criterion. the occurrences of an AES in a speciﬁed time interval) is faced with a stochastic process. in the consideration of environmental transfer models. Instead of choosing insufﬁcient empirical data. a frequency estimation of AES occurrence is related to the realization of aleatory characteristics of the parameters. we adopted a so-named ‘mixture prior’ concept. Therefore.0!10K4/yr 2. (13) where J is a class of possible ‘contamination’. the priors p(q) ‘close’ to a single normal prior p0(q) can be realized with a class of possible ‘contamination’ [54]: G Z fp : pðqÞ Z ð1 K 4Þp0 ðqÞ C 4qðqÞ. As explained earlier. N! (11) where l(t) is an expected occurrence rate of an AES. Eq.J. As summarized by Siu [52]. owing to environmental circumstances by many phenomena in the groundwater during the release of radioactive materials. The term ‘contamination’ is addressed in a ‘mixture prior’. there are strong dependencies between environmental scenarios and the characteristics of the geosphere’s and biosphere’s domain variables. As explained in the previous section.

Nonetheless. Preparing speciﬁc information on the CPTs used in the inference program seems not to be an easy task. However. it is not treated for simplifying the problem. Lee. the simulation made a progression quickly and ended within 30. In a practical matter. We found a very fast convergence during the veriﬁcation process. 4 provides two running outlines from the simulation of all the AESs. the prediction of MLE of the ‘contaminated prior’ requires engineering/scientiﬁc knowledge speciﬁc to the problem. which seems to be usual in case of the random variable for SPC. When we consider a traditional level 2 PRA for nuclear power plants particularly in the determination of containment progression event branch. probabilities on the query random variables obtained from evidential reasoning can be used to approximately predict the factor 4. it seems that low conﬁdence of the degree-of-belief to the disturbance of this variable is reﬂected in its likelihood against all the AESs. Before practically using the program. As modelled in Section 2. While keeping this consideration in mind.1. we deﬁned a dependency matrix with an ad hoc basis.005.1 and dZ0. we can do that. This is similar to the approach adopted for getting the CPTs in this paper. As a previous step for estimating the risk from future evolution. In preparing a simulation input for CPTs.J. as denoted in Fig. Furthermore. in most cases. acquired in the simulation results. and zero—were assumed. on the relationship between random variables used in Bayesian network and various AESs. 5 provides some remarkable insights.528 C. This kind of solution can be explained from the other case. based on current knowledge of the relationship between domain variables and scenarios.000 times’ iteration. low. All the random variables were simulated concurrently with each AES. Next. the information gained from the probabilistic inference of Bayesian network. we can provide the solutions of the query random variables depending on each AES. only nominal point estimate values primarily based on engineering judgments are used in the quantiﬁcation.e. we let the program apply to actual simulations when the network structure was given. as well as probabilistic modelling expertises. compared with the others. With the acceptance of this simulation on approximate probabilistic inference. each individual AES must last for sufﬁcient period so as to cause signiﬁcant characteristic changes to the domain variables.05. 4. 4. we had to provide some supporting information to get a variety of quantitative expectations about the relationship between domain variables and AESs. the factor 4 will give a quantitative measure for showing a possibility of MLE of the ‘contaminated prior’. where the convergence in the iteration of Monte Carlo sampling is desired. we had already addressed an approximate inference program with a bounded-variance likelihood weighting algorithm in order to calculate the conditional probability of query nodes of Bayesian network.57]: 4lð1 C 3Þ 2 ln d 32 ST R (14) where T is a number of samples. the random variable corresponding to a disturbance of Tdelay seems to have a great causal inﬂuence to the occurrence of AES-1 (geological AES).3. Lee / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 91 (2006) 515–532 a similar form of a convex combination of the MLE of the ‘contaminated prior’ and a best estimate of the normal prior [55].3. . Fig. we believe that it is unavoidable to give a single representative estimate of the qualitative probability based on user’s degree-of-belief on corresponding severe accident phenomena [56]. Furthermore. similar insights are followed with that of IR to the AES-2 (climatological AES) and with that of DV to the AES-3 (surface hydrological AES). since its consideration needs doing complex graphical representations in Bayesian network. Even though the PRA considers interval probabilities covering the uncertainty in the expressions of branch possibility. 3 is a relative error. First. respectively. K. However. with 3Z0. medium. even though we let any strong dependency of random variables to the AES-4 (ecological AES) provide.-J. therefore. where the convergence was checked with the following stopping rule provided by the developers of the algorithm [38. d is a failure probability. The simulation easily reached a stable state except initial transitions. Second. i.1. 5. Also. conditional probabilities for representing these relationships were determined using single representative estimate. We obtained values for the query nodes that were close to the exact probability within an error of G0. supporting information is directly used in the program input of Bayesian inference algorithm. for the purpose of doing veriﬁcation and showing actualization of applied inference algorithm. and l is a deﬁned constant. in fact. we decided to apply a popular network structure with four simple nodes—the so-called ‘WetGrass’ problem [37]. Multiple dependencies may occur by the simultaneous AESs. the random variable for SPC reveals relatively-small conditional probabilities. Conditional probabilities We had primarily considered the dependencies between 4 domain variables and 4 AESs with the information explained in Section 4. where the dependency relationships with four grades—high. As a general assumption. signiﬁcant results are hardly shown in representing relative importance of the random variables against the AES-4. Fig. which are usually gathered from relevant experts. Last. Results of example application and discussion The previous section indicates that we can connect the results of probabilistic inference from Bayesian network with the consequence evaluation model addressed.

Historically. Next. Convergence representation of Bayesian inference program for the cases of AES-1 and AES-4. On the other hand. For the purpose of giving our conﬁdence to this insight. provided the dependency between geological phenomena and degradation of engineered barrier of repository is considered. Before making the simulations. (13). It is noted that.-J. it is necessary to conﬁrm that the adopted values do not cause any problem in predicting the end point’s measures. The parameters of the random variables were prepared by approximating values referred to a maximum or minimum bound of normal parameters depending on their probability distributions. We also tried to usually get 10. 4. we can move on a ﬁrst step to estimate the end point’s measures of the environmental transfer model. Even though the frequencies of the occurrence of AESs in Table 3 were reasonably assumed. .2. where an exceeding probability against an end point’s measure can be expressed. an upper bound of the location parameter in a domain variable may be near to the best estimate of a normal prior depending on speciﬁc situation. variable 4ZDV. (Note: variable 1Ztime delay. where a variable-speciﬁc treatment was done. although an extremely-frequent occurrence of AES2 is assumed. exposure dose). Prediction examples of the end point’s measures By making a mixed prior directly by taking the information given in the form of Eq. classiﬁed with each AES. Fig. We performed a sensitivity study to extensively survey the effects of frequency variation. variable 3ZIR.g. the deviation against the case of non-AES is only 29% approximately. Similar considerations were given for the other domain variables. In other words. 4.e. occurrence of AES) cases were illustratively provided. Since the contaminated prior is provided in the evaluation process following after occurrences of AESs. fractions of percentile) for exceeding probabilities of the end point’s measure are shown in Fig. CCDF is an easily-plotted risk curve. 7. a form of complementary cumulative distribution functions (CCDFs) has been used as a favourite form for portraying uncertainty results of risk. ﬁnally has a unit of Sv/Bq as provided in the NCRP model. For instance. Only Th-230 was selected for the purpose of illustrative evaluation. Various CCDF fractiles (i. Lee / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 91 (2006) 515–532 529 Fig. K.000 times’ simulation with all the combinations of AESs.J. Lee.C. The screening factor has the dimension of committed effective dose (Sv) for a unit concentration of radioactivity (Bq) in the media. 6 indicates that the variation of occurrence frequency of AES-2 has no strong inﬂuence on the results such as mean values of the end point’s measure. the CCDF construction process with a Monte Carlo sampling technique was adopted from Ref. it may further need determining the most limiting case in that the scenario frequency inﬂuences the uncertainty propagation.e. This sensitivity study can be potentially used to check the importance of the AES frequency.3. 5. the comparative results between normal (i. variable 2ZSPC. we must identify the endpoint’s measure of this paper with a screening factor (SF) as it was suggested by the NCRP [42] for representing the consequence (e. which gives us good insights in the uncertainty propagation for non-AES case. however. an upper bound of delay time would be extremely reduced according to the existence of AES-1. Comparison chart in the estimation of conditional probability of random variables from the Bayesian inference program. Fig. respectively). [25].e. the effects of AESs must be reﬂected in the parameters of random variables. non-AES) case and abnormal (i. In this study.

as previously explained. we can easily identify the relative importance of AESs at any subjective conﬁdence level.5 times’ difference in the interval between 95 and 5% (i. a focuseddown analysis on each AES has been conducted. randomly occurrence of AESs was assumed with the other domain variables remained unchanged. 7 reveals that there is a great possibility for showing a wide band. Fig. On the other hand. For instance. 90% conﬁdence interval) at a credible exceeding possibility limit of 0. The mean CCDF curves of the AESs resulted from the uncertainty propagation are depicted in Fig.530 C. 8. however. and partly because we had already let same likelihood category for both AES-1 and AES-3. Dose in unit of screening factor and occurrence rate of AES according to a variation of the AES-2 frequency. Fig. we have performed another sensitivity study. In particular.e. Arithmetic means of 5%. this is partly because there were no big differences of conditional probability between AES-1 and AES-3 except only for the variable of ‘delay time’. 9 shows an outstanding proﬁle for the case of Cs-137. 5. To investigate the importance of the parameters of the delay time. 7. there is no big difference between the uncertainty output (e. showing sensitivity results for the delay time (Radionuclide: Cs-137). The results are made with nominal frequencies given in Table 3.J. Lee / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 91 (2006) 515–532 Fig. Lee. (Occurrence rate of AES means the AES occurrence counts per total simulation times. . SF denotes the screening factor). Mean values according to random AES occurrences. 5. i. the end point’s measure stands at about 2. Fig. In the case of a subjective conﬁdence interval.e. one for 10 years and the other for 300 years. Just after deﬁning two cases with ﬁxed inputs for the delay time. K.g. Fig. mean. Fig. 8. in terms of estimating an end point’s measure. including non-occurrence of AES. Compared with the non-AES case. Mean values according to the AESs. we made a separate simulation and ultimately compared with a standard case having previously-given distribution. In this case. 9. and 95% fractiles are shown. 6. as shown in Fig.-J. Since we are interested in the ranking for the importance of AESs to the impacts of the end point’ measure. the occurrence of AES-2 has a strong impact on the outcomes of the end point’ measure because high dependency of AES-2 on the domain variables such as IR and DV has been already anticipated as shown in Fig. the results for AES-1 and AES-3 curves are almost the same.05. mean of mean CCDF) and the deterministically-calculated value by the NCRP. Comparison of uncertainty propagation results for non-occurrence AES case.

Diegert KV. Reliab Eng Syst Saf 2000. a more complicated simulation process may be required. we could identify exceeding probabilities of the end point’s measure and importance ranking on each AES. Alvin KF. Cheok MC.1(1). if the epistemic uncertainty in the distribution of event occurrence frequencies will be addressed in this study. environmental transfer of radionuclides from radioactive waste disposal.54:95–111. we can assert that it is more desirable for the uncertainty analysis of relatively-short lived radionuclides to prepare a best-estimate value of dominant domain variable (i. Probabilistic risk assessment of agrochemicals in the environment. Treatment of uncertainty in space nuclear risk assessment with examples from Cassini mission applications. ﬁnally shown to be adequate in the veriﬁcation test for clarifying the dependency relationships under different problem queries. Furthermore. When to separate uncertainties and when not to separate. Chistie RF. However. Lee / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 91 (2006) 515–532 531 Wide band of the end point’s measure is derived from the input variation of delay time. can support to enhancing the predictability. The treatment of climate-driven environmental change and associated uncertainty in post-closure assessments. [15] Hofer E. A probabilistic risk assessment for accidental releases from nuclear power plants in Europe. Reliab Eng Syst Saf 2002.-J. we classiﬁed them into four major categories.e. the knowledge base for establishing dependency relationships was prepared and enhanced during the simulation. as well as the use of experimental results. et al. and also dominant contributors to the uncertainty propagation might be identiﬁed. [13] Oberkampf WL. it was worthwhile to establish deﬁnite rationale on the dependency information for getting general insights through probabilistic inference modelling in the prediction of future uncertain state of a system. According to this result. 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