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Laboratory and Modelling Studies of Microbial Activity in the Near Field of a HLW Repository

  • Julia M West (a1), Ian G McKinley (a2), Helen A Grogan (a2) and Susan C Arme (a1)


Microbial effects are one of the possible perturbations to the expect-ed performance of a deep geological repository which must be examined as part of a comprehensive safety analysis. Recent literature surveys (eg [1, 2] ) and reconnaisance sampling studies [3, 4] have concluded that: a) microbial contamination of a repository is inevitable b) even for high level nuclear waste, conditions in the near-field are insufficiently extreme to ensure complete sterilisation.



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1. West, J. M., McKinley, I. G. 1984. The geomicrobiology of nuclear waste disposal. Proc. Boston MRS Meeting, 1983. Scientific basis for nuclear waste management VII, McVay, G. (ed.) North Holland, 487–494.
2. West, J. M., Christofi, N., McKinley, I. G. 1985. An overview of recent microbiological research relevant to the geological disposal of nuclear waste. Radioactive Waste Management and the Nuclear Fuel Cycle, 6, 7995.
3. Christofi, N., West, J. M., Philp, J. C., Robbins, J. E. 1984. The geomicrobiology of used and disused mines in Britain. Rep. Brit. Geol. Surv., FLPU 84–5.
4. Christofi, N., West, J. M., Philp, J. C. 1985. The geomicrobiology of European Mines relevant to nuclear waste disposal. Rep. Brit. Geol. Surv., FLPU 85–1.
5. West, J. M., Arme, S. C. 1985. Tolerances of micro-organisms to extreme environmental conditions. Prog. Rep. August 1984- February 1985. Rep. Brit. Geol. Surv. FLPU 85–14.
6. McKinley, I. G., West, J. M., Grogan, H. A. 1985. An analytical overview of the consequences of microbial activity in a Swiss HLW repository. NAGRA NTB 85–43.
7. Thauer, R. K., Morris, J. G. 1984. Metabolism of chemotrophic unaerobes: old views and new aspects. The Microbe, 1984 (Kelly, D. P. and Carr, N. G., Eds.) Cambridge University Press, 123168.


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