2009:28 Biogeochemistry of Redox at Repository Depth and Implications for the Canister

The present groundwater chemical conditions at the candidate sites for a spent nuclear fuel repository in Sweden (the Forsmark and Laxemar sites) and processes affecting its future evolution comprise essential conditions for the evaluation of barrier performance and long-term safety. This report reviews available chemical sampling information from the site investigations at the candidate sites, with a particular emphasis on redox active groundwater components and microbial populations that influence redox affecting components. Corrosion of copper canister material is the main barrier performance influence of redox conditions that is elaborated in the report. One section addresses native copper as a reasonable analogue for canister materials and another addresses the feasibility of methane hydrate ice accumulation during permafrost conditions. Such an accumulation could increase organic carbon availability in scenarios involving microbial sulphate reduction.

The purpose of the project is to evaluate and describe the available knowledge and data for interpretation of geochemistry, microbiology and corrosion in safety assessment. A conclusive assessment of the sufficiency of information can, however, only be done in the future context of a full safety assessment.