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Fracture Sealing

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This research investigates the use of urea hydrolysing bacteria (Sporocarcina pasteuri) to reliably reduce the fracture porosity of rocks, thus altering their permeability, in order to minimise fluid flow in nuclear waste repositories, as a strategy for inhibiting the migration of radionuclides in the subsurface. To investigate the feasibility of such a technique, experimental investigations are being carried out in: (i) batch tests (kinetic tests) focussed on the chemical and biological aspects of the mineralisation process, (ii) laboratory tests investigating the influence of physical aspects of fluid flow (sealing artificial fractures) and the strength of the precipitated carbonates (core sealing) and in (iii) field tests. Furthermore numerical models are being developed which can simulate the influence of the microbial mineralisation process on fracture flow pathways.

Fracture sealing using biomineralisation

Last Updated on Monday, 18 July 2011 14:21