Diffusion-driven transport in clayrock formations

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  • Scott Altmann
  • Christophe Tournassat
  • Florence Goutelard
  • Jean-Claude Parneix
  • Thomas Gimmi
  • Norbert Maes

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Clay mineral-rich sedimentary formations are currently under investigation to evaluate their potential use as host formations for installation of deep underground disposal facilities for radioactive waste (e.g. Boom Clay (BE), Opalinus Clay (CH), Callovo–Oxfordian argillite (FR)). The ultimate safety of the corresponding repository concepts depends largely on the capacity of the host formation to limit the flux towards the biosphere of radionuclides (RN) contained in the waste to acceptably low levels. Data for diffusion-driven transfer in these formations shows extreme differences in the measured or modelled behaviour for various radionuclides, e.g. between halogen RN (36Cl, 129I) and actinides (238,235U, 237Np,232Th, etc.), which result from major differences between RN of the effects on transport of two phenomena: diffusion and sorption. This paper describes recent research aimed at improving understanding of these two phenomena, focusing on the results of studies carried out during the EC Funmig IP on clayrocks from the above three formations and from the Boda formation (HU).


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-478
JournalApplied Geochemistry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012


  • diffusion, sorption, clay, radionuclide transport

ID: 280484