Updating Numerical Thermal Models to Ensure Regulatory Compliance
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The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) manages a large system which includes fossil and nuclear plants, dams, and reservoirs.

TVA uses a series of numerical models to evaluate water temperature and water quality in its river-reservoir reaches to help meet regulatory criteria and identify potential regulatory issues and solutions. The modeling tools used by the TVA include CE-QUAL-W2, ADYN-RQUAL, and an internally developed model (BETTER). As part of a larger evaluation of its system-wide modeling tools, TVA retained Geosyntec to assist them in updating their numerical thermal models used for the river-reservoir reaches with fossil plants to ensure the most appropriate tools and latest versions are being used.

Geosyntec's Scope of Services

Geosyntec began by updating the CE-QUAL-W2 models to the most recent version of the code. We compared the updated model output to measured data and adjusting the model calibration, as necessary. We evaluated customized code developed by TVA employees as well as their current post processing and additional available tools.

We then provided recommendations for future study and model upgrades and provided extensive training to TVA staff on the use of the CE-QUAL-W2 models to ensure that the TVA gets as much value from the models as possible.

Notable Accomplishments

This project required detailed technical modeling expertise such as knowledge of general modeling concepts and extensive familiarity with particular modeling tools (including understanding of the underlying source code). Geosyntec has updated several of these models for high priority reaches to the latest version of CE-QUAL-W2 and ensured the model output matches measured data as closely as possible. We worked with TVA to ensure that the modeling tools for its highest priority reaches are robust, reliable, and tailored to meet their specific needs. In addition, we improved the accuracy of some of the models to improve their ability to predict water temperature changes and assist with maintaining regulatory compliance while maximizing energy system production.

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Project Summary

  • Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Client: Tennessee Valley Authority
  • Project Practice Areas: Geotechnical
  • Type of Facility: Reservoirs
  • Services Provided: Model evaluation, Model updating, Model calibration and validation, Code review, Technical memoranda
  • Type of Work: Thermal modeling
  • Governing Regulation: NPDES regulations