This paper discusses the occurrence of native copper as found in geological formations as a stability analogue of copper canisters that are planned to be used for the disposal of spent nuclear fuel in the Finnish bedrock. A summary of several publications on native copper occurrences is presented. The present geochemical and geohydrological conditions in which copper is met with in its metallic state show that metallic copper is stable in a wide range of temperatures. At low temperatures native copper is found to be stable where groundwater has moderate pH (about 7), low Eh (< +100 mV), and low total dissolved solids, especially chloride. Microscopical and microanalytical studies were carried out on a dozen of rock samples containing native copper. The results reveal that the metal shows no significant alteration. Only the surface of copper grains is locally coated. In the oldest samples there exist small corrosion cracks; the age of the oldest samples is over 1,000 million years. A review of several Finnish groundwater studies suggests that there are places in Finland where the geohydrological conditions are favourable for native copper stability. (orig.).
Marcos, N 
- Helsinki Univ. of Technology, Otaniemi (Finland). Dept. of Materials Science and Rock Engineering