Session: Environmental Impacts of Nuclear Energy: The New Challenges

The environmental impact of radionuclides must be assessed at the various stages of the nuclear cycle, from mining to decommissioning and waste management. Mineralogical and geochemical processes play a major role in these impacts, by controlling the migration and transport of actinides and fission products and their interaction with the bio- and geosphere. These data feed a modeling of the behavior of toxic elements in the near- and far-field, needed for a quantitative risk assessment. Much progress has been accomplished in the last years, the emergence of new tools resulting in a wide variety of new concepts, generally linking mineralogy and geochemistry. For instance, molecular scale processes are now recognized to govern the migration behavior of radionuclides, allowing their integration in a multiscale modeling.

This session intends to bring together experimental and modeling contributions to improve our understanding of the environmental aspects of the nuclear cycle. This concerns a wide range of questions regarding the legacy wastes around mining and uranium production sites, the decommissioning of nuclear power plants, the decontamination technologies, the waste forms (from their elaboration to their aging under irradiation and/or alteration), the safe disposal of high-level nuclear waste in deep geological repositories (including the natural analogues) or the investigation of forensics in relation to nuclear security. Some examples of hot topics include the speciation of radionuclides, the role of nanos, the importance of microbial processes, the waste form performance, the migration of radionuclides in the near- and far-field, the repository concepts or the performance and risk assessment within the context of nuclear waste management (in a broad sense).

Session convenor

Professor Georges Calas (France)

University Pierre and Marie Curie


  • Professor Rodney C. Ewing