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Microbial degradation studies with ion exchange resin sample subjected to Radiolysis
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Low- and intermediate- level radioactive wastes (L/ILW) generated from nuclear power plants, industries, hospitals, and research institutions contain a variety of radionuclides and a large fraction of biodegradable organic materials such as contaminated paper, rubber gloves, shoes, cotton, spent resins, cartridge filters, etc. These wastes are typically packaged in 55- gallon steel drums and stored or disposed of in the subsurface facility. Degradation of organic matter by microbes in L/ILW and corrosion of steel drums can generate gas which has the potential to compromise the integrity of waste drums and release the radionuclides and other contaminants into the environment. Especially nuclear power-plants use ion-exchange resins in process of separating nuclide ion in reactor cooling water, in radioactive waste, and in reprocessing facility. In this process, these resins can undergo radiolysis that makes some physical or chemical changes to resins. Therefore, it is interesting to examining how resin sample which is subjected to radiolysis with different dose can be degraded by microbes.

Gas generation from Biodegradation of TRU Waste (WIPP)

  • Seventy-percent of the TRU waste at WIPP is cellulose.
  • Biodegradation under hypersaline conditions produce CO2 and also affect actinide solubility.
  • Gases generated from biodegradation of TRU wastes can compromise repository integrity and containment.
  • Microbial corrosion of the waste canisters is a concern.
  • CO2 production in anaerobic, brine-inundated cellulose samples.  The accumulation of CO2 in each set of samples displays two distinct gas generation phases:  a rapid increase in the first 500 days followed by a long period of slow accumulation (Gillow and Francis 2011)

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