Microbial colonization of cementitious geodisposal facilities, and potential “biobarrier” formation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Most disposal concepts dictate that higher radioactive waste will be disposed of in a geological disposal facility (GDF) using a cementitious engineered barrier system (EBS), designed to retain radionuclides for the lifetime of the GDF. Overtime, the GDF is expected to be colonized heterogeneously by microorganisms that can survive in micro-niches within the GDF, gradually increasing in numbers and activity through the EBS and into the far field, where physical and (biogeo)chemical conditions become more moderate. Here, microbial activity may influence the fate of radionuclides through a complex range of processes including biomineralization reactions, while also metabolizing excess gases (e.g., hydrogen and methane) and organic chelates produced through chemical and biological processes in the GDF. The interplay between microbes and radionuclides is expected to result in a zonation inside the GDF that will extend into the far-field environment, potentially contributing a “biobarrier” that will augment the EBS.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Microbiology of Nuclear Waste Disposal
EditorsJonathan R. Lloyd, Andrea Cherkouk
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherElsevier BV
Number of pages36
ISBN (Electronic)9780128186961
ISBN (Print)9780128186954
Publication statusPublished - 22 Oct 2020

Publication series

NameThe Microbiology of Nuclear Waste Disposal


  • Nuclear waste disposal
  • Nuclear waste


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