National Risk Assessment Partnership


The National Risk Assessment Partnership (NRAP) — an initiative within DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy and led by the National Energy Technology Laboratory—applies DOE’s core competency in science-based prediction for engineered–natural systems to the long-term storage of carbon dioxide (CO2). The science-based prediction of engineered–natural systems is a core competency that cross cuts many of today’s energy challenges. Over decades, DOE has built a unique set of resources for predicting how these complex and heterogeneous systems behave under extreme conditions and over large ranges in time.


The National Risk Assessment Partnership (NRAP) has joined international efforts to develop the risk assessment tools needed for safe, permanent geologic CO2 storage. NRAP members include five national DOE laboratories that have been conducting collaborative research for the Office of Fossil Energy’s Carbon Sequestration Program for many years: NETL, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Members of the NETL-Regional University Alliance (NETL-RUA) also collaborate on this effort.

The NRAP program receives input from industry, government, non-government organizations, and academia regarding research needs for large-scale CO2 storage deployment. The NRAP collaborative also keeps abreast of international developments by participating in collaborations like the International Energy Agency Greenhouse Gas Research and Development Programme’s Risk Assessment Network.

The NRAP research effort is divided into five technical components:

  • Development of a methodology and computational platform for quantifying risk profiles (the increase and decrease of risk over time) based on integrated assessment models and uncertainly quantification.
  • Targeted scientific investigations at the laboratory and field scale to calibrate component behavior and reduce uncertainties in predicted risk profiles.
  • Integration of risk-based monitoring and mitigation strategies to reduce uncertainty and overall risk.
  • Potential additional field-scale tests of specific processes to validate predicted behaviors of natural systems.
  • Incorporation of phenomena specific to potential risks associated with storage of CO2 captured from industrial facilities (other than coal-fired power plants).

Potential Receptors: The focus of the NRAP work on potential receptors is to develop tools for predicting and assessing the behavior of and potential impacts on groundwater resources and surface receptors (such as the atmosphere).

Wellbores & Seals Integrity: The focus of the NRAP work on wellbores and seals is to develop tools for predicting and assessing the integrity of key components that ensure CO2 is contained in the reservoir, including wellbores, faults, and fractures.

Reservoir: The focus of the NRAP reservoir work is to develop tools for the rapid prediction of pressures and saturations at the reservoir—seal interface.

Induced Seismicity: The focus of the NRAP work on induced seismicity is to develop tools for predicting and assessing the potentia The focus of the NRAP work on induced seismicity is to develop tools for predicting and assessing the potential for fluid injection to induce events that result in ground motion at Earth's surface.

Strategic Monitoring:The focus of the NRAP work on monitoring is to develop a protocol for risk-based strategic monitoring and mitigation as part of a risk management plan to reduce uncertainties and risk at a site.  The work includes analysis of (1) key signals to monitor, (2) potential needs for baseline monitoring, and (3) the expected benefit to lowering risk and/or uncertainties that results from strategic monitoring.


George Guthrie, Technical Director,

Tom Richard, Deputy Technical Director,

Don DePaolo, Chair, Executive Committee,

Susan Maley, Technology Manager, Crosscutting Research,

Regis Conrad, Director, Crosscutting Research Program,

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