Review of Concrete Biodeterioration in Relation to Buried Nuclear Waste

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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 ... continued below

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Turick, C & Berry, C. October 15, 2012.

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  • Savannah River Site (S.C.)
    Publisher Info: Savannah River Site (SRS), Aiken, SC (United States)
    Place of Publication: Aiken, South Carolina

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Description

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. 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.

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  • Report No.: SRNL-STI-2012-00435
  • Grant Number: DE-AC09-08SR22470
  • DOI: 10.2172/1056463 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1056463
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc827952

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • October 15, 2012

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 9:45 a.m.

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  • Dec. 1, 2016, 4:38 p.m.

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Turick, C & Berry, C. Review of Concrete Biodeterioration in Relation to Buried Nuclear Waste, report, October 15, 2012; Aiken, South Carolina. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc827952/: accessed April 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.