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Environmental Remediation and Restoration of Contaminated Nuclear and Norm Sites
2015, Pages: 185–236

In situ and ex situ bioremediation of radionuclide-contaminated soils at nuclear and norm sites

A.J. Francis, Y.V. Nancharaiah

Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY, USA.

Abstract

Radioactive contamination of the environment is a global problem arising from generating nuclear power, nuclear accidents, from testing nuclear weapons, and from disposing of nuclear waste. Microorganisms potentially can solubilize and immobilize a wide range of naturally occurring radionuclides, actinides, and fission products. Their ability to do so encompasses several mechanisms, such as oxidation–reduction reactions, the production of sequestering agents, bioaccumulation, and biocrystallization. Currently, such microbial processes are exploited to remediate radionuclide-contaminated environments. In this chapter we briefly review the key microbial processes and the mechanisms underlying the biotransformation of radionuclides of concern, and consider their potential application for in situ or ex situ bioremediation of radionuclide-contaminated soils, sediments, and wastes.

Keywords: Bioaccumulation; Biocrystallization; Bioremediation; Contaminated soils; Ex situ; In situ; Norm sites; Nuclear sites; Radionuclides.

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