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Title: Review of Concrete Biodeterioration in Relation to Buried Nuclear Waste

Long-term storage of low level radioactive material in below ground concrete disposal units (DUs) (Saltstone Disposal Facility) is a means of depositing wastes generated from nuclear operations of the U.S. Department of Energy. Based on the currently modeled degradation mechanisms, possible microbial induced effects on the structural integrity of buried low level wastes must be addressed. Previous international efforts related to microbial impacts on concrete structures that house low level radioactive waste showed that microbial activity can play a significant role in the process of concrete degradation and ultimately structural deterioration. This literature review examines the recent research in this field and is focused on specific parameters that are applicable to modeling and prediction of the fate of concrete vaults housing stored wastes and the wastes themselves. Rates of concrete biodegradation vary with the environmental conditions, illustrating a need to understand the bioavailability of key compounds involved in microbial activity. Specific parameters require pH and osmotic pressure to be within a certain range to allow for microbial growth as well as the availability and abundance of energy sources like components involved in sulfur, iron and nitrogen oxidation. Carbon flow and availability are also factors to consider in predicting concrete biodegradation.more » The results of this review suggest that microbial activity in Saltstone, (grouted low level radioactive waste) is unlikely due to very high pH and osmotic pressure. Biodegradation of the concrete vaults housing the radioactive waste however, is a possibility. The rate and degree of concrete biodegradation is dependent on numerous physical, chemical and biological parameters. Results from this review point to parameters to focus on for modeling activities and also, possible options for mitigation that would minimize concrete biodegradation. In addition, key chemical components that drive microbial activity on concrete surfaces are discussed.« less
Authors:
;
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1056463
Report Number(s):
SRNL-STI-2012-00435
TRN: US1300005
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC09-08SR22470
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Savannah River Site (SRS), Aiken, SC (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES Cement; grout; Saltstone; concrete; biodegradation