This research addresses the potential of microbial implications in bentonite for use as a buffer and backfill material in final disposal site for low-level radioactive waste (LLRW) in Taiwan, where has a special island-type climate. Microbe activities naturally present in this site were analyzed, and buffer materials (BM) consisted of 100%, 70% or 50% bentonite were prepared for laboratory studies. A total of 39 microbial strains were isolated, and the predominant strains included four bacterial, one yeast and four fungal strains. Growth inhibition was not detected in any tested strain cultured in a radiation field with a dose rate of 0.2 Gy/h. Most of the isolated strains grew under a dose rate of 1.4 Gy/h. The D10 values of the tested strains ranged from 0.16 to 2.05 kGy. The mycelia of tested fungal strains could spread over 5 cm during six months of inoculation in BM. The spreading activity of the tested bacteria was less than that of the fungi. Moreover, biofilms were observed on the surfaces of the BM. Since a large and diverse population of microbes is present in Taiwan, microbes may contribute to the mobilization of radionuclides in the disposal site.

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