Radionuclide Behaviour in the Natural Environment

Radionuclide Behaviour in the Natural Environment

Science, Implications and Lessons for the Nuclear industry

1st Edition - September 20, 2012

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  • Editors: Christophe Poinssot, Horst Geckeis
  • eBook ISBN: 9780857097194

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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

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    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 interactions

    5.6 Impacts of humic substances on radionuclide transport in different sites worldwide

    5.7 Conclusions and future trends

    5.8 References

    Chapter 6: Impacts of microorganisms on radionuclides in contaminated environments and waste materials


    6.1 Introduction

    6.2 Biotransformation of uranium

    6.3 Biotransformation of plutonium

    6.4 Biosorption and bioaccumulation of uranium and plutonium

    6.5 Biotransformation of other actinides and related elements

    6.6 Biotransformation of fission and activation products

    6.7 Microbiological studies of low- and intermediate-level wastes, and high-level waste repository sites

    6.8 Conclusion

    6.9 Acknowledgments

    6.11 References

    Part II: Radionuclide migration

    Chapter 7: Hydrogeological features relevant to radionuclide migration in the natural environment


    7.1 Introduction

    7.2 The water content of the subsoil

    7.3 Groundwater movement in the soil and subsoil

    7.4 Aquifer systems

    7.5 Groundwater flow equations for aquifer systems

    7.6 Solving the flow equations for aquifer systems

    7.7 References

    Chapter 8: Radionuclide retention at mineral–water interfaces in the natural environment


    8.1 Introduction

    8.2 Macroscopic studies of radionuclide sorption

    8.3 Sorption models

    8.4 Spectroscopic techniques

    8.5 Future developments

    8.6 Acknowledgements

    8.7 References

    Chapter 9: Radionuclide migration: coupling transport and chemistry


    9.1 Introduction

    9.2 The transport phenomenon

    9.3 Coupling chemistry to transport

    9.4 Application examples

    9.5 References

    Chapter 10: Impact of colloidal transport on radionuclide migration in the natural environment


    10.1 Introduction

    10.2 Geochemistry and sorption behavior of radionuclides

    10.3 Nature and origin of colloids

    10.4 Colloid characteristics

    10.5 Laboratory experiments of colloid-facilitated radionuclide transport

    10.6 Field studies of radionuclide migration

    10.7 Conclusion and future trends

    10.8 Acknowledgments

    10.9 References

    Chapter 11: Natural analogues of nuclear waste repositories: studies and their implications for the development of radionuclide migration models


    11.1 Introduction

    11.2 Nature and limitations of natural analogues

    11.3 Selected natural analogue sites

    11.4 Lessons on radionuclide (RN) geochemistry and migration from main natural analogues studies

    11.5 Conclusion

    11.6 Acknowledgement

    11.7 References

    Chapter 12: Studying radionuclide migration on different scales: the complementary roles of laboratory and in situ experiments


    12.1 Introduction

    12.2 Designing laboratory studies at different scales on radionuclide diffusion in underground environments

    12.3 Studies at different scales on diffusion in Swiss Opalinus Clay

    12.4 Studies at different scales on diffusion in French Callovo-Oxfordian claystone

    12.5 Laboratory experiments at the decimetre-scale on the transport of radionuclides in non-consolidated porous media

    12.6 Conclusions and future trends

    12.7 References

    12.8 Appendix: definitions and abbreviations

    Chapter 13: Radionuclide transfer processes in the biosphere


    13.1 Introduction

    13.2 Radionuclide speciation and interactions with biological ligands

    13.3 Transfer to plants and biodistribution

    13.4 Transfer to animal species and biodistribution

    13.5 Transfer to man

    13.6 Effect on metabolic pathways

    13.7 Transfers through epithelial barriers: the digestive barrier

    13.8 Membrane transport

    13.9 Intracellular mechanisms: homeostasis and stress

    13.10 Future trends

    13.11 Acknowledgements

    13.12 References

    Part III: Environmental impact and remediation

    Chapter 14: Modelling radionuclide transport in the environment and calculating radiation doses


    14.1 Introduction

    14.2 Modelling radionuclide transport in the environment

    14.3 Assessing radiation doses to humans

    14.4 Assessing radiation doses to non-human biota

    14.5 Achieving a comprehensive assessment

    14.6 Conclusion and future trends

    14.7 References

    Chapter 15: Quantitative assessment of radionuclide migration from near-surface radioactive waste burial sites: the waste dumps in the Chernobyl exclusion zone as an example


    15.1 Introduction

    15.2 The Chernobyl Pilot Site in the Red Forest

    15.3 Modelling radionuclide migration in the aquifer considering stationary hydrodynamic and geochemical conditions

    15.4 Prediction of 90Sr migration, assuming non-stationary hydro-biogeochemical conditions

    15.5 Conclusions and future trends

    15.6 Acknowledgements

    15.7 References

    Chapter 16: Remediation of sites contaminated by radionuclides


    16.1 Introduction

    16.2 Potential sources of radionuclide release

    16.3 Methods of cleaning contaminated sites

    16.4 Environmental monitoring tools

    16.5 Modelling tools for planning clean-up

    16.6 Risk assessment studies of hazardous sites and clean-up measures

    16.7 Examples of remediation of contaminated sites

    16.8 Sources of further information

    16.9 References

    Chapter 17: Safety assessment of nuclear waste repositories: a radionuclide migration perspective


    17.1 Introduction

    17.2 Repository concepts

    17.3 Safety assessment (SA) methodology

    17.4 Integration of the main radionuclide migration processes and parameters in the safety assessment (SA) models

    17.5 Gaps in understanding and the qualification and quantification of the safety assessment (SA) models

    17.6 Conclusions

    17.7 Acknowledgements

    17.8 References


Product details

  • No. of pages: 744
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Woodhead Publishing 2012
  • Published: September 20, 2012
  • Imprint: Woodhead Publishing
  • eBook ISBN: 9780857097194

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.

Affiliations and Expertise

CEA Marcoule, France

Horst Geckeis

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

Affiliations and Expertise

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany

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