The strategies for waste package (WP) performance validation will be based on site specific geologic and hydrogeochemical information plus models which can be used to predict potential WP lifetimes. The development and application of such models will include the evaluation of natural analogues (NA). These analogues are needed to resolve issues related to the validation of models. Natural analogues have not had extensive use or widespread acceptance in the area of waste package failure prediction. This lack of acceptance is due to the anticipated choice of alloys for waste package containers. Few of these alloys are similar to naturally occurring metals, and the proposed HLW repositories are in general in geologic settings not very similar to those in which naturally occurring metals are generally found.
Natural and archaeological analogues can be used, however, in analysis of possible waste package failures as a means of testing proposed models for failure. In fact, the analogues are the only available mechanisms for testing models of long-term waste package behavior. A strategy is outlined for incorporating natural and archaeological analogue studies into waste package research, and examples are discussed. The natural/archaeological analogues approach which appears most promising is to use archaeological and mineral samples to develop an understanding of the identities and rates of the mineral alteration reactions at or near the surface of the package, improving present capability for estmating the lifetimes of metallic waste package containers.