The Probability of Detection (PoD) curve method has emerged as an important tool for the assessment of the performance of NDE techniques, a topic of particular interest to the nuclear industry where inspection qualification is very important. The conventional experimental means of generating PoD curves though, can be expensive, requiring large data sets (covering defects and test conditions), and equipment and operator time. Several methods of achieving faster estimates for PoD curves using physics-based modelling have been developed to address this problem. Numerical modelling techniques are also attractive, especially given the ever-increasing computational power available to scientists today. Here we develop procedures for obtaining PoD curves, assisted by numerical simulation and based on Bayesian statistics. Numerical simulations are performed using Finite Element analysis for factors that are assumed to be independent, random and normally distributed. PoD curves so generated are compared with experiments on austenitic stainless steel (SS) plates with artificially created notches. We examine issues affecting the PoD curve generation process including codes, standards, distribution of defect parameters and the choice of the noise threshold. We also study the assumption of normal distribution for signal response parameters and consider strategies for dealing with data that may be more complex or sparse to justify this. These topics are addressed and illustrated through the example case of generation of PoD curves for pulse-echo ultrasonic inspection of vertical surface-breaking cracks in SS plates. © 2015 AIP Publishing LLC.