Project 11

Distribution of uranium and radium in groundwater and rock in the Forsmark area

Lead partner: Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company, Sweden
Marie Curie fellow: Lindsay Krall, USA (ESR, PhD student)

Understanding the interaction of U, metals and related radioactive tracers with mineral phases from bedrock fracture fillings in water-conducting fracture systems is crucial for safety analysis of low- and intermediate radioactive waste depositories. The distribution of U in groundwaters from the Forsmark area in east central Sweden has been the focus of much discussion. Possible sources for U, as well as other metals, include U mineralisation along the bedrock fractures. Understanding of U behaviour in itself is important, but can be used to constrain the behaviour of associated metals as well.

Through laboratory and field studies, the groundwater/mineral interactions in crystalline carbonate minerals, amorphous minerals, and colloidal particles will be studied to understand possible mechanisms and time scales for retention and transport of metals and U. U-series nuclides, including Ra, will be used to obtain age information of the U phases and determine transport rates that will be applied to metal transport in these aquifers. SKB will provide access to sites and provide background information.