Secondment for flow thorough bioreduction columns: towards environmental bioremediation at the Sellafield nuclear site

There is a substantial legacy of radioactive contaminated land and groundwater at the Sellafield nuclear site. The majority of the contamination derives from the on-site "separation area". This area is a complex of several buildings that have received and stored irradiated nuclear fuels from the 1970s onwards. The irradiated fuels are stored in "silos" and "ponds" and these provide far from optimal containment; indeed, during their lifetime, the corrosion of fuel coupled to decay of the buildings and infrastructure has led to accidental releases of radionuclide containing effluents into the separation area sub-surface. Currently, the Sellafield Ltd. Land Quality Team is responsible for long-term management and stewardship of the site and is at the stage where it is characterising the extent and scope of contaminated ground and groundwater and examining options for treatment of the mobile contamination in the sub-surface. Currently the need for intervention strategies to control the flux of radioactive contaminants in the sub-surface is of interest to the Land Quality Team. This project is focussed on providing critical data on a promising groundwater treatment technique, stimulated bioreduction, that has the potential to treat subsurface redox-active and non redox-active contaminant radionuclides, namely technetium and strontium.

Investigators

Prof. Katherine Morris (PI)

Prof. Jon Lloyd

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