Description: Microorganisms play a significant role in the transformation of the radioactive waste and waste forms disposed of at shallow-land burial sites. Microbial degradation products of organic wastes may influence the transport of buried radionuclides by leaching, solubilization, and formation of organoradionuclide complexes. The ability of indigenous microflora of the radioactive waste to degrade the organic compounds under aerobic and anaerobic conditions was examined. Leachate samples were extracted with methylene chloried and analyzed for organic compounds by gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. In general, several of the organic compounds in the leachates were degraded under aerobic conditions. Under anaerobic conditions, the degradation of the organics was very slow, and changes in concentrations of several acidic compounds were observed. Several low-molecular-weight organic acids are formed by breakdown of complex organic materials and are further metabolized by microorganisms; hence these compounds are in a dynamic state, being both synthesized and destroyed. Tributyl phosphate, a compound used in the extraction of metal ions from solutions of reactor products, was not degraded under anaerobic conditions.
Date: June 1, 1980
Creator: Francis, A.J.
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