Development and characterization of biofilms on stainless steel and titanium in spent nuclear fuel pools
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The aim of the present research was to study the biofilms developed in a Spanish nuclear power plant and their ability to entrap radionuclides. In order to carry this out, a bioreactor, which was then submerged in a spent nuclear fuel pool, was designed. To characterise the biofilm on two different metallic materials (stainless steel and titanium), standard culture microbiological methods and molecular biology tools, as well as epifluorescence and scanning electron microscopy were used. The bacterial composition of the biofilm belongs to several phylogenetic groups (α, β, and γ-Proteobacteria, Actinobacteridae, and Firmicutes). The radioactivity of the biofilms was measured by gamma-ray spectrometry. Biofilms were able to retain radionuclides from radioactive water, especially 60Co. The potential use of these biofilms in bioremediation of radioactive water is discussed.
KeywordsBiofilm Radioactive water Nuclear power plant Spent nuclear fuel pool
We are grateful to the Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology (Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología, CICYT-FEDER-2FD97-0530-MAT) and Iberdrola Generación, S.A. (6276-99) for their financial support. M. Isabel Sarró is very grateful to the Technical University of Madrid (UPM) and to the Madrid Community (Comunidad de Madrid) for receiving a grant so as to be able to do her Doctoral thesis. We would like to thank Juan de Dios Sánchez, Gabriel Mora and José Antonio Pérez Molina (NPP Cofrentes, Valencia, Spain) for their help, technical assistance, and sample processing at the nuclear power plant.
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