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International Society for Environmental Information Sciences

Environmental Informatics Archives

ISSN 1811-0231 / ISEIS Publication Series Number P002

Copyright © 2006 ISEIS. All rights reserved.



  Paper EIA06-025, Volume 4 (2006), Pages 289-296 = complimentary

GIS-based Hierarchy Process for the Suitability Analysis of Nuclear Waste Disposal Site

L. X. Huang1*, G. Sheng2 and L. Wang3

1. Department of Earth and Space Science, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M3J 1P3. *Corresponding author: laurah@yorku.ca.

2. Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M3J 1P3.

3. Department of Geography, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M3J 1P3.



In Canada, the burial of radioactive wastes from nuclear power generation in an underground facility is considered the appropriate long term solution for nuclear waste management. It is crucial to evaluate the characteristics of a set of potential sites for building facilities to safely store or dispose high-level nuclear waste. This paper presents a geographic information system (GIS) based hierarchical approach for site suitability assessment in the Canadian Shield of Ontario. A large volume of multi-source data including those describing hydrogeologic, geologic, and environmental characteristics are pre-processed, stored and analyzed in a geospatial database. The hierarchical process consists of locating, screening and evaluating potential sites in three stages. In the first stage, the entire province of Ontario is screened to locate suitable and unsuitable areas based on inclusionary and exclusionary criteria associated with water bodies, town centers and protected areas on a large scale. At the second stage, potential suitable areas identified from the first stage are classified into recharge, discharge and midpoint areas combining with digital elevation model at medium scale. At the third stage, the recharge areas, which are the most suitable for situating a nuclear waste disposal site (compared to discharge and midpoint areas), are further divided into parcels with different suitability values based on further inclusionary and exclusionary criteria for site selection. Potential sites for nuclear waste disposal are characterized and evaluated utilizing a suitability index based on selected factors and constrains, including land use, ground slope, geology, distance to water bodies, distance to major roads, distance to town centers, and parcel size. An Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) is applied to quantify the relative significance of each factor before determining potential suitable sites.

Keywords: analytic hierarchy process, geographic information system, radioactive waste disposal, site suitability assessment


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