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Title: Amplicon Sequencing Reveals Microbiological Signatures in Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Basins

Abstract

Water quality is an important determinant for the structural integrity of alloy cladded fuels and assemblies during long-term wet storage. Detailed characterization of a water filled storage basin for spent nuclear reactor fuel was performed following the formation and proliferation of an amorphous white flocculent. White precipitant was sampled throughout the storage basin for chemical and spectroscopic characterization, and eDNA was extracted for pyrosequencing of bacterial rRNA gene diversity. Accordingly, spectroscopic analyses indicated the precipitant to be primarily amorphous to crystalline aluminum (oxy) hydroxides with minor associated elemental components including Fe, Si, Ti, and U. High levels of dissolved carbon were co-localized with the precipitant relative to bulk water. Bacterial densities were highly variable between sampling locations and with depth; cell numbers (log scale) ranged from 5.6 to 4.89 cells / mL. Bacterial diversity that was physically associated with the aluminum (oxy) hydroxide complexes exceeded an estimated 4,000 OTUs / amplicon library (3% cutoff) and the greatest percent majority of sequences were aligned to the families Burkholderiales (23%), Nitrospiraceae (23%), Hyphomicrobiaceae (17%), and Comamonadaceae (6%). We surmise that episodic changes in the physical and chemical properties of the basin contribute to the polymerization of aluminum (oxy) hydroxides, which in turnmore » can chemisorb nutrients, carbon ligands and bacterial cells from the surrounding bulk aqueous phase. As such, these precipitants should establish favorable microhabitats for bacterial colonization and growth. Comparative analyses of 16S rRNA gene amplicon libraries across diverse environmental landscapes were performed and microbiological signatures unique to the spent nuclear fuel storage basin environment were revealed. These insights could spur the development of tractable bioindicators that are specific of and diagnostic for water quality at discrete locations and finer scales of resolution, marking an important contribution for improved water quality and management of spent nuclear fuel storage facilities.« less

Authors:
; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1455254
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-130553
Journal ID: ISSN 1664-302X
DOE Contract Number:  
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Frontiers in Microbiology; Journal Volume: 9
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
Bacterial diversity; spent nuclear fuel; aluminum; amplicon

Citation Formats

Bagwell, Christopher E., Noble, Peter A., Milliken, Charles E., Li, Dien, and Kaplan, Daniel I. Amplicon Sequencing Reveals Microbiological Signatures in Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Basins. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2018.00377.
Bagwell, Christopher E., Noble, Peter A., Milliken, Charles E., Li, Dien, & Kaplan, Daniel I. Amplicon Sequencing Reveals Microbiological Signatures in Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Basins. United States. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2018.00377.
Bagwell, Christopher E., Noble, Peter A., Milliken, Charles E., Li, Dien, and Kaplan, Daniel I. Fri . "Amplicon Sequencing Reveals Microbiological Signatures in Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Basins". United States. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2018.00377.
@article{osti_1455254,
title = {Amplicon Sequencing Reveals Microbiological Signatures in Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Basins},
author = {Bagwell, Christopher E. and Noble, Peter A. and Milliken, Charles E. and Li, Dien and Kaplan, Daniel I.},
abstractNote = {Water quality is an important determinant for the structural integrity of alloy cladded fuels and assemblies during long-term wet storage. Detailed characterization of a water filled storage basin for spent nuclear reactor fuel was performed following the formation and proliferation of an amorphous white flocculent. White precipitant was sampled throughout the storage basin for chemical and spectroscopic characterization, and eDNA was extracted for pyrosequencing of bacterial rRNA gene diversity. Accordingly, spectroscopic analyses indicated the precipitant to be primarily amorphous to crystalline aluminum (oxy) hydroxides with minor associated elemental components including Fe, Si, Ti, and U. High levels of dissolved carbon were co-localized with the precipitant relative to bulk water. Bacterial densities were highly variable between sampling locations and with depth; cell numbers (log scale) ranged from 5.6 to 4.89 cells / mL. Bacterial diversity that was physically associated with the aluminum (oxy) hydroxide complexes exceeded an estimated 4,000 OTUs / amplicon library (3% cutoff) and the greatest percent majority of sequences were aligned to the families Burkholderiales (23%), Nitrospiraceae (23%), Hyphomicrobiaceae (17%), and Comamonadaceae (6%). We surmise that episodic changes in the physical and chemical properties of the basin contribute to the polymerization of aluminum (oxy) hydroxides, which in turn can chemisorb nutrients, carbon ligands and bacterial cells from the surrounding bulk aqueous phase. As such, these precipitants should establish favorable microhabitats for bacterial colonization and growth. Comparative analyses of 16S rRNA gene amplicon libraries across diverse environmental landscapes were performed and microbiological signatures unique to the spent nuclear fuel storage basin environment were revealed. These insights could spur the development of tractable bioindicators that are specific of and diagnostic for water quality at discrete locations and finer scales of resolution, marking an important contribution for improved water quality and management of spent nuclear fuel storage facilities.},
doi = {10.3389/fmicb.2018.00377},
journal = {Frontiers in Microbiology},
number = ,
volume = 9,
place = {United States},
year = {Fri Mar 09 00:00:00 EST 2018},
month = {Fri Mar 09 00:00:00 EST 2018}
}