The safety assessments of potential geological repositories for spent nuclear fuel in Sweden are supported by modelling of groundwater flow in rock, to predict locations (exit points) where radionuclides from the deep repository may enter land, surface waters and associated ecosystems above the rock. This modelling includes detailed rock descriptions, but simplifies the upper part of the flow domain, including representations of meteorological processes and interactions with hydrological objects at the surface. Using the Laxemar candidate site as example, this paper investigates some potentially important consequences of these simplifications. Specifically, it compares particle tracking results obtained by a deep-rock groundwater flow model (CONNECTFLOW) and by MIKE SHE-MIKE 11, which contains detailed descriptions of near-surface/surface water flow. Overall, the models predict similar exit point patterns, occurring as clusters along streams in valleys, at a lake, and in sea bays. However, on a detailed level there are some prediction differences, which may be of importance for biosphere-focused safety assessments. CONNECTFLOW essentially predicts flow paths through the repository that follow fractures and deformation zones, outcropping in valleys. In comparison, MIKE SHE-MIKE 11 provides more detailed information on near-surface water flow paths, including the associated exit points and inputs to assessments of radionuclide retention.

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