Title: SRS nuclear growth “biological,” but what does it eat?
Source: Augusta Chronicle
Author: Rob Pavey
Date: Sept. 6, 2012 4:23 PM
A mysterious, cobweblike growth with a fondness for Savannah River Site’s spent nuclear fuel has been identified – but not formally named.
The “white, stringlike” substance was first observed in October among old fuel assemblies
“We were able to identify a large portion of the bacteria making up the cobwebs, but there were certainly some where the DNA sequencing came back as unknown,” [Christopher Berry, the senior technical adviser of the Savannah River National Labortory (sic)] said.
Although rare, bacterial colonies have been observed in a few nuclear environments, including a Canadian reactor and at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, where a growth developed in the site’s spent fuel basin after its 1979 accident.
“Right now we are trying to figure out what these bacteria are using for food,” Berry said.
Water in which spent fuel is stored is carefully filtered, treated and deionized