IAEA COORDINATED RESEARCH PROJECT (CRP): The use of selected safety indicators (concentrations; fluxes) in the assessment of radioactive waste disposal. Report 6: Site-specific natural geochemical concentrations and fluxes at the Palmottu U-Th mineralisation (Finland) for use as indicators of nuclear waste repository safety

J. Kaija, Kari Rasilainen, R. Blomqvist

    Research output: Book/ReportReport

    Abstract

    Research activities focused on field studies at the Palmottu U-Th mineralisation at Nummi-Pusula in southwestern Finland in order to increase the data on groundwater chemistry of the overburden, to gather additional information of the Quaternary deposit concentrations of the previously recognised Eastern Flow System and Palmottu Brook valley. Also U inventories were estimated for a 300 m x 500 m x 250 bedrock block. From the Palmottu uranium-thorium-mineralisation there are a lot of geochemical data available from mineral phases, bedrock, peat, soil cover, lake sediments, groundwater both in the overburden and in bedrock. Especially data about the uranium concentrations in different media is comprehensive. This data can be used for the PA repository performance assessment and related calculations. The main important contributions for the performance assessment of repositories for radioactive waste are summarized in the following: 1) there are indications in the oxygen isotope composition of the groundwater, which suggest that the site may have been subjected to deep (several hundred metres) penetration of glacial melt water. This melt water does not appear to have changed the reducing conditions prevailing below the upper hydraulically active zone. Another possible process, capable to generate the depleted oxygen isotope values is a freezing front under permafrost conditions, 2) Modelling of the redox and pH controls in a flow system supported that the rock would have sufficient redox buffering capacity to counteract deep penetration of oxidising conditions. Moreover, measured present-day redox potentials demonstrate that if oxidising conditions had penetrated to depth, the conditions have been restored to reducing, 3) Based on the occurrence of young uranophanes and uranium accumulations in association with fracture calcites, it can be concluded that a continuous alteration and oxygenating process is in progress at Palmottu. This process was also manifested by high concentrations of dissolved uranium in bicarbonate groundwater, 4) The secondary uranium deposits may reflect significant mass accumulation of uranium and could constitute important sources to groundwater, 5) The dominant part of the uranium has remained in the ancient U(IV) phases, uraninite and coffinite, throughout its geological history for 1700-1800 Ma, demonstrating that reducing conditions have prevailed in the bedrock for most of its existence, 6) Although the mineralisation has been subject to supergene processes for millions of years, the dispersion of uranium has been very limited. This indicates that the bedrock itself has a very effective reducing capacity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationEspoo
    PublisherGeological Survey of Finland
    Number of pages45
    ISBN (Print)951-690-858-6
    Publication statusPublished - 2003
    MoE publication typeD4 Published development or research report or study

    Publication series

    SeriesReport YST
    Number114
    ISSN0783-3555

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