Microbial fouling and corrosion of carbon steel in deep anoxic alkaline groundwater
Understanding the corrosion of carbon steel materials of low and intermediate level radioactive waste under repository conditions is crucial to ensure the safe storage of radioactive contaminated materials. The waste will be in contact with the concrete of repository silos and storage containers, and eventually with groundwater. In this study, the corrosion of carbon steel under repository conditions as well as the microbial community forming biofilm on the carbon steel samples, consisting of bacteria, archaea, and fungi, was studied over a period of three years in a groundwater environment with and without inserted concrete. The number of biofilm forming bacteria and archaea was 1,000-fold lower, with corrosion rates 620-times lower in the presence of concrete compared to the natural groundwater environment. However, localized corrosion was detected in the concrete–groundwater environment indicating the presence of local microenvironments where the conditions for pitting corrosion were favorable.