Clays in Natural and Engineered Barriers for Radioactive Waste Confinement

James Wilson and Claire Watson recently attended the 5th International Meeting 'Clays in Natural and Engineered Barriers for Radioactive Waste Confinement' in Montpellier, France.  This series of meetings, held every 2-3 years, brings together specialists from the many different disciplines related to clays and clay minerals and their use in radioactive waste disposal.

With over 500 participants this conference covers a wide range of topics, from engineering through to molecular dynamics, and the oral and poster presentations describe work undertaken at the very forefront of science in this area.  James presented on two topics: his recent work on modelling iron-bentonite interactions with JAEA, using a more realistic simulation of the iron-bentonite interface; and reactive-transport modelling (undertaken for NWMO) of bentonite-based shaft seals in shale host rocks with saline groundwaters, implementing the Pitzer approach to model solute activity.  Claire presented a poster on modelling work undertaken as part of the Long-Term Cement Studies (LCS) project, based on the cement-clay industrial analogue at Tournemire.  This work was funded by NDA RWMD and was carried out in collaboration with our Associate, Dave Savage.

Image courtesy of the Mineralogical Society. Montmorillonite showing a rose like texture, Miocene arkose, Madrid Basin, Spain. Fesharaki, O.; García-Romero, E.; Cuevas-González, J.; López-Martínez, N. (2007) Clay mineral genesis and chemical evolution in the Miocene sediments of Somosaguas, Madrid Basin, Spain DOI: 10.1180/claymin.2007.042.2.05