Diffusion of HTO, Br-, I-, Cs+, Sr-85(2+) and Co-60(2+) in a clay formation: Results and modelling from an in situ experiment in Opalinus Clay

Wersin, Paul; Soler, J. M.; Van Loon, L.; Eikenberg, J.; Baeyens, B.; Grolimund, D.; Gimmi, Thomas; Dewonck, S. (2008). Diffusion of HTO, Br-, I-, Cs+, Sr-85(2+) and Co-60(2+) in a clay formation: Results and modelling from an in situ experiment in Opalinus Clay. Applied geochemistry, 23(4), pp. 678-691. Pergamon 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2007.11.004

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The migration of radioactive and chemical contaminants in clay materials and argillaceous host rocks is characterised by diffusion and retention processes. Valuable information on such processes can be gained by combining diffusion studies at laboratory scale with field migration tests. In this work, the outcome of a multi-tracer in situ migration test performed in the Opalinus Clay formation in the Mont Terri underground rock laboratory (Switzerland) is presented. Thus, 1.16 x 10(5) Bq/L of HTO, 3.96 x 10(3) Bq/L of Sr-85, 6.29 x 10(2) Bq/L of Co-60, 2.01 x 10(-3) mol/L Cs, 9.10 x 10(-4) mol/L I and 1.04 x 10(-3) mol/L Br were injected into the borehole. The decrease of the radioisotope concentrations in the borehole was monitored using in situ gamma-spectrometry. The other tracers were analyzed with state-of-the-art laboratory procedures after sampling of small water aliquots from the reservoir. The diffusion experiment was carried out over a period of one year after which the interval section was overcored and analyzed. Based on the experimental data from the tracer evolution in the borehole and the tracer profiles in the rock, the diffusion of tracers was modelled with the numerical code CRUNCH. The results obtained for HTO (H-3), I- and Br- confirm previous lab and in situ diffusion data. Anionic fluxes into the formation were smaller compared to HTO because of anion exclusion effects. The migration of the cations Sr-85(2+), Cs+ and Co-60(2+) was found to be governed by both diffusion and sorption processes. For Sr-85(2+), the slightly higher diffusivity relative to HTO and the low sorption value are consistent with laboratory diffusion measurements on small-scale samples. In the case of Cs+, the numerically deduced high diffusivity and the Freundlich-type sorption behaviour is also supported by ongoing laboratory data. For Co, no laboratory diffusion data were yet available for comparison; however, the modelled data suggests that Co-60(2+) sorption was weaker than would be expected from available batch sorption data. Overall, the results demonstrate the feasibility of the experimental setup for obtaining high-quality diffusion data for conservative and sorbing tracers. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences > Applied Rock-Water-Interaction

UniBE Contributor:

Wersin, Paul, Gimmi, Thomas


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology








Thomas Gimmi

Date Deposited:

22 Sep 2014 14:59

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:31

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