In the horizontal emplacement concept (KBS-3H) for the disposal of radioactive waste, which is being developed in Sweden and Finland, copper canisters with cast iron inserts will be surrounded by bentonite buffer and mounted in perforated carbon steel support structures in boreholes within the bedrock. The groundwater will be reducing, leading to anaerobic corrosion of the ferrous material. It is important to understand both the effect of bentonite on the corrosion behaviour of the steel and the effect of the corrosion products on the performance of the bentonite. Previous work on the corrosion of steel in bentonite was extended to investigate a wider range of conditions, including the possible effects of alkaline plumes released from concrete support structures and the effect of chloride concentration and temperature on the corrosion rate of steel in bentonite. Corrosion rates were measured by collecting hydrogen produced by the anaerobic corrosion of iron. In addition, a range of analytical techniques was applied to study the composition and morphology of the corrosion products and the distribution and chemical state of the iron released into the bentonite. Comparison was also made between corrosion in compacted bentonite and artificial bentonite porewater. In the presence of bentonite, the corrosion product layer was relatively thin compared to fully aqueous conditions, probably because the ferrous ions released by corrosion exchanged with the bentonite interlayer or attached to the surface of the bentonite grains, rather than forming a separate iron oxide phase.