Radioactive waste

As well as the current requirement for a long-term strategy for dealing with Britain's high-level radioactive waste legacy, any future nuclear power programme will require a method of safe storage of waste, throughout the radioactive lifetime of the material. Plans for the deep geological burial of high-level radioactive waste are being made in a number of EC countries and a framework has now been laid out for the implementation of such an approach in the UK.

BGS undertakes research relating to the geological disposal of radioactive waste within both of its laboratory centres of excellence. Ongoing studies include experimental determination of gas migration through mudrocks and engineered bentonite, the role of microbial activity in enhancing/retarding migration through geological materials and various techniques to help determine and understand past groundwater flows. Methods include the use of traditional and novel tracers to identify fluid/gas pathways through low-permeability materials, column experiments to study biological processes, including biofilm development, that influence fluid flow through geological materials and the examination of trace elements in fracture infills to determine the flow history of fractures.

Selected research

Tracking organic matter in groundwaterTracking organic matter in groundwater

Using organic matter as a groundwater tracer in geological repository conditions.