Memorias de investigación
Communications at congresses:
Bioremediation of Radiactive Water in Nuclear Power Plants: Gamma-Ray Spectrometry Study

Research Areas
  • Microbiology

Previous investigations carried out in the Cofrentes Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) showed that in the water of the Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF) pools there were microorganisms which could colonize metallic materials immersed in the pools and form biofilms in their surfaces, and these biofilms could retain radionuclides, so they could be used to decontaminate radioactive water. In order to analyze the effectiveness and the economic viability of this bioremediation process two bioreactors have been placed on-line in the Cofrentes NPP. They take water from the SNF pools through a pipe in a temporal modification of the system in the fuel building. The flow through the bioreactors is about two litres per minute and one of them has an ultraviolet lamp connected. Inside each bioreactor 12 stainless steel balls were installed at the beginning of the research, twenty one months ago. They were removed periodically to analyze the radioactivity accumulation by the biofilms developed on the surface of the metallic material and at this moment all of them have been removed. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) revealed that the stainless steel balls were progressively colonized by filamentous and long rod-shaped bacteria. Later on, 15 months approximately, biofilm got old and corrosion products could be observed on the material, and after 580 days no bacteria could be seen on the stainless steel surface and the appearance of the material was very damaged. The radioactivity accumulation by the biofilm developed on the surface of the stainless steel balls appeared after 3 months and was increasing until about 300 days when it started to decrease. After 635 days radioactivity came back to almost the initial levels, probably due to the biofilm detachment as the SEM images demonstrated.
COST Action D33 Working Group 3 Meeting: Nanoscale Electrochemical and Bio-processes at Solid-Aqueous Interfaces of Industrial Materials
Madrid, Spain
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Abstracts CD

Research Group, Departaments and Institutes related
  • Creador: Grupo de Investigación: Grupo de Inv. en Bioingeniería y Materiales (BIO-MAT)
  • Departamento: Ingeniería y Ciencia de los Materiales