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Research Themes > Geomicrobiology of radioactive waste

Geomicrobiology of Radioactive Waste


    With colleagues in the Centre for Radiochemistry Research and the Research Centre for Radwaste and Decommissioning and the National Nuclear Laboratory, we are studying the geomicrobiology of a wide range of radioactive wasteforms.  A significant focus has been on the biotransformations of a range of fission products and actinides, which have a dramatic impact on radionuclide mobility. Milestones include the first reports on the reduction of key actinides including Np(V) and the fission product Tc(VII), the development of the first bioprocess to treat Tc(VII)-contaminated water, the characterization of the full redox cycle of technetium and Np and the identification of pentavalent uranium as a key intermediate during the bioreduction of U(VI). Recent studies funded by NERC have focused on the mechanism of reduction of U, Np and Pu by a wide range of anaerobic prokaryotes, the biogeochemistry of depleted uranium, and novel biotechnological routes to remediating soils contaminated with Pu. We are also involved in a major EPSRC-funded project DIAMOND: Decommissioning, Immobilisation And Management Of Nuclear wastes for Disposal and a large NERC consortium “BIGRAD” focusing on the biogeochemistry of the alkali disturbed zone, which will develop around a radwaste geodisposal facility. 

Recent Publications



Law GTW, Geissler A, Lloyd JR, Livens, FR, Boothman, C, Begg, JDC, Denecke, MA, Rothe, J., Dardenne, K., Burke, IT, CHarnock, JM and Morris, K (2010) Geomicrobiological Redox Cycling of the Transuranic Element Neptunium. Environmental Science and Technology 44 8924-8929
Handley-Sidhu S, Keith-Roach MJ, Lloyd JR and Vaughan, DJ. (2010) A review of the environmental corrosion, fate and bioavailability of munitions grade depleted uranium. Science of the Total Environment 408 5690-5700
Wilkins, M.J., Livens, F.R., Vaughan, D.J., Beadle, I., Small, J.S. and Lloyd, J.R. (2010) Fe(III) Reduction in the Subsurface at a Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Site. Geomicrobiology Journal 27 231-239
Geissler, A., Selenska-Pobell, S, Morris, K, Burke, I.T., Livens, F.R. & Lloyd, J.R. (2010) The microbial ecology of land and water contaminated with radioactive waste; towards the development of bioremediation options for the nuclear industry. In Batty, L.C., Hallberg, K., Jarvis, A.P. (Eds) The Ecology of Industrial Pollution: restoration, remediation and preservation. Cambridge University Press, UK pp 226-241
Ian T. Burke, Francis R. Livens, Jonathan R. Lloyd, Andrew Brown, Gareth T. W. Law, Joyce M. McBeth, Beverley Ellis, Richard S. Lawson, and Katherine Morris (2010) The Fate of Technetium in Reduced Estuarine Sediments: Combining Direct and Indirect Analyses. Applied Geochemistry 25 233-241
Cutting, R.S., Coker, V.S., Telling, N.D., Kimber, R.L, Pearce, C.I., Ellis, B.L., Lawson, R.S., van der Laan, G., Pattrick, R.A.D., Vaughan, D.J., Arenholz, E. and Lloyd, J.R. (2010) Optimizing Cr(VI) and Tc(VII) remediation through nano-scale biomineral engineering. Environmental Science and Technology 44 2577–2584
Law, G.T.W. Geissler, A, Boothman, C., Burke, I.T., Livens, F.R., Lloyd, J.R., Morris, K. (2010). Role of nitrate in conditioning aquifer sediments for technetium bioreduction Environmental Science and Technology, 44, 150–155 DOI 10.1021/es9010866
Lear, G., McBeth, J.M., Boothman, C., Gunning, D., Ellis, B.L., Lawson, R.S., Morris, K., Burke, I.T., Bryan, N.D., Brown, A.P., Livens, F.R. & Lloyd, J.R. (2010). Probing the Biogeochemical Behavior of Technetium Using a Novel Nuclear Imaging Approach. Environmental Science and Technology 44 156–162 doi 10.1021/es802885r
Stephanie Handley-Sidhu, Paul J. Worsfold, Francis R. Livens, David J. Vaughan, Jonathan R. Lloyd, Christopher Boothman, Mustafa Sajih, Rebeca Alvarez and Miranda J. Keith-Roach (2009) Biogeochemical Controls on the Corrosion of Depleted Uranium Alloy in Subsurface Soils. Environ. Sci and Technology DOI: 10.1021/es901276e 43 6177–6182
Renshaw, J.C., Law, N., Geissler, A.G., Livens, F.R. and Lloyd, J.R. (2009) Impact of the Fe(III)-reducing bacteria Geobacter sulfurreducens and Shewanella oneidensis on the speciation of plutonium. Biogeochemistry. 94 191-196 DOI 10.1007/s10533-009-9318-8
Handley-Sidhu, S., Worsfold, P.J., Boothman, C., Lloyd, J.R., Alvarez, R., Livens, F.R., Vaughan, D.J. and Keith-Roach, M. (2009) Corrosion and fate of depleted uranium penetrators under progressively anaerobic conditions in estuarine sediment Environ. Sci and Technology 43 (2), 350-355 DOI: 10.1021/es8021842
Morris, K., F.R. Livens, J.M. Charnock, I.T. Burke, J. M. McBeth, J. D. C. Begg, C. Boothman and J.R. Lloyd (2008) An X-ray absorption study of the fate of technetium in reduced and reoxidised sediments and mineral phases. Applied Geochemistry. 23 603–617
Wilkins, M.J., Livens, F.R., Vaughan, D.J., Beadle, I. and Lloyd, J.R. (2007) The Influence of Microbial Redox Cycling on Radionuclide Mobility in the Subsurface at a Low-Level Radioactive Waste Storage Site Geobiology 5 293–301
McBeth, J.M., Lear, G., Morris K., Burke,, I.T. Livens, F.R. and Lloyd, J.R. (2007). Technetium Reduction and Reoxidation in Aquifer Sediments. Geomicrobiology Journal 24 189–197
Morris, K., F.R. Livens, J. M. Charnock, I.T. Burke, J.M. McBeth, C. Boothman, J.R. Lloyd (2007) Microbially driven transformations of technetium. Nuclear Science 71-81
Renshaw, J.C., J.R. Lloyd and F.R. Livens (2007) Microbial interactions with actinides and long-lived fission products. Comptes Rendus Chimie 10 1067-1077
Fox, J.R., Morris, K., Mortimer, R.J.G., Lear, G., Lloyd, J.R., and Beadle, I. (2006). The Biogeochemical Behaviour of U(VI) in the Simulated Near-field of a Low-level Waste Repository. Applied Geochemistry 21 1539-1550 2006) Processes affecting transport of uranium in a suboxic aquifer Physics and Chemistry of the Earth 31 548-555
Burke, I.T., Boothman, C., Lloyd, J.R., Livens, F.R., Charnock, J.M., McBeth, J.M., Mortimer, R.J.G. and Morris, K. (2006) Redoxidation behaviour of technetium, iron and sulfur in estuarine sediments. Environmental Science and Technology 40 3529 - 3535
Wilkins, M.W., Livens, F.R., Vaughan, D.J. and Lloyd, J.R. (2006) The impact of Fe(III)-reducing bacteria on uranium mobility Biogeochemistry 78 125-150
Khijniak , T.V., A.I. Slobodkin, V. Coker, J. C. Renshaw, F.R. Livens, E.A. Bonch-Osmolovskaya, N.-K. Birkeland, N.N. Medvedeva-Lyalikova, J.R. Lloyd (2005) Reduction of Insoluble Uranium(VI) Phosphate During Growth of The Thermophilic Bacterium Thermoterrabacterium ferrireducens. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 71 6423-6426
Burke, I.T., Boothman, C., Lloyd, J.R., Mortimer, R.J.G. and Morris, K. (2005) Technetium solubility during the onset of progressive anoxia. Environmental Science and Technology 39 4109 – 4116
Renshaw, J.C. Laura J. C. Butchins, Francis R. Livens, Iain May, John M. Charnock and Jonathan R. Lloyd (2005) Bioreduction of uranium: environmental implications of a pentavalent intermediate. Environmental Science and Technology 39 15 5657-5660
Lloyd, J.R. and Renshaw, J.C. (2005) Bioremediation of radioactive waste: radionuclide-microbe interactions in laboratory and field-scale studies. Current Opinion In Biotechnology 16 254-260
Lloyd, J.R., Renshaw, J.C., May, I., Livens, F.R., Burke, I.T., Mortimer, R.G.T. and Morris, K. (2005) Biotransformation of actinides: Microbial reduction of actinides and fission products. Journal of Nuclear and Radiochemical Research Journal of Nuclear and Radiochemical Science. 6 17-20
J.R. Lloyd and J. C. Renshaw, Microbial Transformations of Radionuclides: Fundamental Mechanisms and Biogeochemical Implications (2005) in "Biogeochemical Cycles", Vol. 43 of Met. Ions Biol. Syst. (A. Sigel, H. Sigel, and R. K. O. Sigel, eds.), M. Dekker, New York, 205-240
Lloyd, J.R., Anderson, R.T., Macaskie, L.E. (2005) Bioremediation of metals and radionuclides. In “Bioremediation: Applied Microbial Solutions to Real-World Environmental Cleanup” Ed by R. Atlas and J. Philp ASM Press Washington 293-317

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