Understanding radionuclide behaviour in the natural environment is essential to the sustainable development of the nuclear industry and key to assessing potential environmental risks reliably. Minimising those risks is essential to enhancing public confidence in nuclear technology. Scientific knowledge in this field has developed greatly over the last decade.Radionuclide behaviour in the natural environment provides a comprehensive overview of the key processes and parameters affecting radionuclide mobility and migration.

After an introductory chapter, part one explores radionuclide chemistry in the natural environment, including aquatic chemistry and the impact of natural organic matter and microorganisms. Part two discusses the migration and radioecological behavior of radionuclides. Topics include hydrogeology, sorption and colloidal reactions as well as in-situ investigations. Principles of modelling coupled geochemical, transport and radioecological properties are also discussed. Part three covers application issues: assessment of radionuclide behaviour in contaminated sites, taking Chernobyl as an example, estimation of radiological exposure to the population, performance assessment considerations related to deep geological repositories, and remediation concepts for contaminated sites.

With its distinguished editors and international team of expert contributors, Radionuclide behaviour in the natural environment is an essential tool for all those interested or involved in nuclear energy, from researchers, designers and industrial operators to environmental scientists. It also provides a comprehensive guide for academics of all levels in this field.

Key Features

  • Provides a comprehensive overview of the key processes and parameters affecting radionuclide mobility and migration
  • Explores radionuclide chemistry in the natural environment
  • Discusses the migration and radioecological behaviour of radionuclides


Nuclear operators; Nuclear and environmental scientists and researchers, research and development managers; Academics in this field

Table of Contents

Contributor contact details

Woodhead Publishing Series in Energy


Chapter 1: Overview of radionuclide behaviour in the natural environment


1.1 Introduction

1.2 Radionuclides of interest

1.3 Environmental compartments to be considered

1.4 References

Part I: Radionuclide chemistry in the natural environment

Chapter 2: Fundamentals of aquatic chemistry relevant to radionuclide behaviour in the environment


2.1 Introduction

2.2 Composition of natural waters

2.3 Dissolution and precipitation

2.4 Aqueous complexes

2.5 Surface sorption

2.6 Colloids

2.7 Redox reactions

2.8 References

Chapter 3: Aquatic chemistry of the actinides: aspects relevant to their environmental behavior


3.1 Introduction

3.2 Oxidation states of actinides in aqueous solution

3.3 Actinide solid phases and solubility phenomena

3.4 Actinide complexation reactions

3.5 Chemical modeling tools and thermodynamic databases

3.6 Recommended literature

3.7 References

Chapter 4: Aquatic chemistry of long-lived mobile fission and activation products in the context of deep geological disposal


4.1 Introduction

4.2 The effects of the near field in high-level radioactive waste disposal

4.3 Solution and interfacial chemistry of selected radionuclides

4.4 Summary

4.5 References

Chapter 5: Impacts of humic substances on the geochemical behaviour of radionuclides


5.1 Introduction to humic substances

5.2 The ‘humic acid molecule’

5.3 Discrete models of metal ion–humic interactions

5.4 Multiligand and macromolecular models of metal ion–humic interactions

5.5 Kinetic models of metal ion–humic interac


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© 2012
Woodhead Publishing
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About the editors

Christophe Poinssot

Professor Christophe Poinssot is Head of the Radiochemistry and Processes Department at the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and Professor at the National Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (INSTN), France.

Horst Geckeis

Professor Horst Geckeis is Director of the Institute for Nuclear Waste Disposal at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany.