Projects per year
Carbon-14 (C-14) is a key radionuclide in the assessment of a geological disposal facility (GDF) for radioactive waste. In the UK a significant proportion of the national C-14 inventory is associated with reactor-core graphite generated by the decommissioning of the UK's Magnox and AGR reactors. There are a number of uncertainties associated with the fate and transport of C-14 in a post-closure disposal environment that need to be considered when calculating the radiological impacts of C-14-containing wastes. Some of these uncertainties are associated with the distribution of C-14-containing gaseous species such as 14CH4 and 14CO2 between the groundwater and gaseous release pathways. As part of the C14-BIG programme, a modelling framework has been developed to investigate these uncertainties. This framework consists of a biogeochemical near-field evolution model, incorporating a graphite carbon-14 release model, which interfaces with a geosphere/biosphere model. The model highlights the potential impact of the microbial reduction of 14CO2 to 14CH4, through the oxidation of H2, on C-14 transport. The modelling results could be used to inform the possible segregation of reactor graphite from other gasgenerating wastes.