Abstract: The long-term storage of nuclear waste poses a series of scientific and technical challenges. One question to resolve is how we can best minimize and predict the release of radioactive contaminants into the environment after waste canisters have degraded. Environmental risk assessments for nuclear waste repositories will have to cover wide field scales and a timespan over at least 100,000 years. Hence, predictive radionuclide transport models will have to include a series of chemical and physical parameters and processes that may be changing over time and space.
In our research, we specifically focus on the transport of uranium from nuclear waste canisters across engineered barrier systems (EBS) at future nuclear waste repositories. In these systems, bentonite, a geologic media mainly consisting of montmorillonite clay, will provide highly reactive surfaces and low permeability to minimize radionuclide mobility.
In this talk, I will provide a brief introduction to engineered barrier systems and the related environmental challenges. Based on case studies, I will then present how lab-scale experiments, spectroscopic analyses and geochemical modeling efforts can help us to address these questions.
View the recording of this seminar here.