Date of Award

12-2002

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Mechanical Engineering

Major Professor

Reid Kress

Committee Members

William R. Hamel, Gary V. Smith

Abstract

The purpose of this thesis was to construct a discrete event model of the waste handling activities inside of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in order to examine "what-if" scenarios designed to increase the rate at which waste is disposed.

The discrete event modeling software EXTEND was chosen by Sandia National Laboratories (Sandia) because of its ease of use, flexibility, ability to customize, and low cost. Historical and observed data were used to construct, verify, and validate the resulting model. Verification ensures that the model works as programmed, and validation ensures the real world system is truly being modeled to some degree of accuracy. After determining that the system was modeled correctly, scenarios were evaluated to determine what could increase the waste throughput, and tests were preformed to determine to what resources within the model throughput are most sensitive.

Results from the model include a two month run generated by a historical shipping schedule and data collected from the scenarios examined, such as increasing shipments, adding equipment, and varying the available labor pools. Resulting in a recommendation to add a second shift.

From the results it is concluded that the model does successfully simulate the current system at WIPP, and it offers insightful data regarding system modifications.

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