Host rock formations (rock salt, mudstone, crystalline)

Research

Host rock formations (rock salt, mudstone, crystalline)
Image: Thomas Hies/Docuvista Filmproduktion

Key aspects

Bioremediation
Bioremediation is used to treat contaminated media
Host rock formations (rock salt, mudstone, crystalline)
Deep geological disposal of high-level nuclear waste
Geothermal power plant Iceland
Exploration and utilization of geothermal reservoirs
REM image of dust particles on spider webs
Small particles in the sub mm range are important actors
Aufschluß Schlackenkegel mit aufgepressten tertiären Tonen
Surface morphodynamics
Core migration setup
Interactions between fluid transport and hydrobiogeochemistry

Current Projects

  • AquaDiva
    Fig. 1, 2: Schematic illustration of the processes planned to be investigated in the project. (Taken from AquaDiva proposal)
    Fig. 1, 2: Schematic illustration of the processes planned to be investigated in the project. (Taken from AquaDiva proposal)
    Illustration: Angewandte Geologie

    Retroaction of geochemical perturbations and critical zone media reactivity on trace elements speciation and transport parameters (C07)

    DFG grant 218627073

    Duration: July 2021 - June 2025

    Project leader: Prof. Dr. Thorsten Schäfer

    Personnel in charge: Ruth Ewouame, Dr. Dirk Merten

    Coordinating: Collaborative Research Centre 1076 AquaDiva.

     https://www.aquadiva.uni-jena.de/

    Description:

    Groundwaters are threatened by different events such as lands use, extreme weather events (heavy rains, snow melt), especially with the climate change. The fluid infiltration during weather events is an important way for the transport of solutes, colloids, and nanoparticles from the surface to the subsurface (groundwater). This is of high importance since clay nanoparticles are known as great adsorbers of metallic pollutants due to their negative surface charge and their large specific surface.

    Our principal research aim is to investigate the stability and the mobility of Clay nanoparticles by using Engineered Clay Nanoparticles (Zn-Ni Montmorillonite) in the Hainich CZE and the SESO wells water, and to investigate the role of extreme weather events (snow melt, heavy rains) and local geology in the mobility of the clay nanoparticles and associated-trace metals speciation.

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  • Concert_CCair

    Component additive approach to predict Cement paste Rheology considering Secondary Cementitious Materials and their special effect on thixotropy and concrete de-airing behaviour (CONCERT-CCair)

    SPP2005 DFG grant SCHA 1854/7-1

    Duration: March 2021‒2024

    Project leader: Univ. Prof. Dr. habil. Thorsten Schäfer

    Person in charge: Steffen Hellmann

    Key words: CSH phases, calcined clays, air-bubble de-airing, spICP-MS, AFM, surface complexation models

    Description: The cement industry is stirring its research towards Secondary Cementitious Materials (SCMs) that will allow reducing the CO2 footprint of concrete. The goal of this project is to identify promising SCM alternatives such as calcined clays (CCs) and limestone powders (LSP). The first approach is to characterize the rheological behaviour of fresh cement admixtures with these SCM during the early stages of hydration in casting process. The second one focuses on their potential role in avoiding unwanted air-bubble entrapment before hardening. Experimental approaches involve characterization of particle interactions and paste rheology in model and realistic systems via a national collaboration between FSU, KIT, BUW and LUH.

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  • EVIDENT

    Erosion of bentonite under in-situ conditions by the action of natural waters in deep geological repositories

    BMWi grant 02 E 12153A

    Duration: 01.06.2023 till 30.05.2026

    Project leader: Prof. Thorsten Schäfer

    Personnel in charge: Léon Frederic Van Overloop

    Key words: bentonite, multi-barrier system, Na-montmorillonite, accessory minerals, erosion, colloids, CFM-iBET, CFM-LIT, effect of thermal stress                           

    Description: 

    The overall objective of the project is to increase the mechanistic understanding of the processes critical for the integrity of the geotechnical barrier under near-natural, repository-relevant conditions in fractured granite systems and to provide a robust predictive modeling of the bentonite buffer and colloid-borne radionuclide transport.

    The work is embedded in the CFM project at the Grimsel Rock Laboratory and builds in part on the findings obtained in Kollorado-e³ (FKZ: 02 E 11759A), but also considers completely new aspects.

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  • FluviMag
    Susceptibility  measuring station
    Susceptibility measuring station
    Image: Michael Pirrung

    Fluviatile Transport of magnetominerals

    Duration: since 2011

    Project leader: Dr. Michael Pirrung

    Person in charge: Dr. Michael Pirrung

    Key words: physical properties, fluvial sediments

    Description: 

    The petrophysical parameter magnetic susceptibility is investigated on source rocks and recent sediments of fluvial systems. Aim is a better understandig of transport dynamics and –in preferred combination with geochemical data – of anthropogenic impacts like that of urban areas, mine heaps and eolian dust on drainage systems. 

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  • MykoBEst
    Short rotation forestry field experiment on the test site Gessenwiese in July 2021 (second growing phase).
    Short rotation forestry field experiment on the test site Gessenwiese in July 2021 (second growing phase).
    Image: Sarah Nettemann

    Influence of the mycorrhizosphere of trees on soil development and erosion reduction of uranium mining landscapes

    BMBF FORKAExternal link  grant 15S9445A-C

    Duration: 01.07.2023 – 30.06.2026

    Project leader:
    Prof. Erika Kothe  de & Prof. Thorsten Schäfer

    Applied Geology: Sarah Nettemann, Caroline Pukallus, Dietrich Berger, Markus Riefenstahl

    Key words: dendroanalysis, mycorrhiza, erosion, phytostabilization, short rotation coppice, heavy metals, radionuclides

    Description:

    In the BMBF-funded joint project “MykoBEst - Influence of the mycorrhizosphere of trees on soil development and erosion reduction of uranium mining landscapes”, radionuclide and heavy metal contaminated (RN/HM) substrates are used for the production of energy crops for radiation protection purposes.

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  • RENA
    Logo Rena
    Logo Rena
    Image: Dorian Zok

    Biological radionuclide removal using natural association processes

    BMBF Project grant 02NUK066B

    Project leader: Thorsten Schäfer, Prof. Erika Kothe  de

    Person in charge:
    Ariunzaya Löwe, Dr. Susanne Lehmann, Dr. Sarah Hupfer

    Duration: 01.09.2021 – 31.08.2024

    Key words: pore space characterization, hydrodynamics, bioremediation, transport modeling

    Description:

    The focus of the collaborative project RENA is to investigate the biological radionuclide removal of contaminated soils using natural association processes to develop a method for the ex-situ treatment of radionuclide-contaminated soils originating from the dismantling of nuclear facilities. The aim is to develop in the consortium a generalized reactive transport model which combines soil hydrodynamics and mineralogical, geochemical, radiochemical, microbiological aspects to enable predictions about efficiency, quantitative influencing factors and in particular transferability to other soil materials.

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  • SPIEG3L

    Spatially resolved spectroscopies for the identification of interfacial processes and species of 3 - valent lanthanides and actinides

    BMBF grant 02NUK089C

    Duration: 01.04.2024 – 31.08.2027

    Project leader: Prof. Thorsten Schäfer

    Person in charge: Valentin Gabert

    Key words: Transport properties of radionuclides, correlative spectroscopy

    Description: In the BMBF-funded project SPIEG3L - Spatially resolved spectroscopies for the identification of interfacial processes and species of trivalent lanthanides and actinides, the transport properties of radionuclides, which are relevant for the realistic modeling of potential release scenarios, are investigated.

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  • TRAVARIS
    Travaris Logo
    Travaris Logo
    Illustration: Marcus Böhm

    Transfer of long-lived radionuclides from the vadose Zone into the rhizosphere and their uptake into plants under consideration of microbiological processes

    PT GRS grant 15S9437A

    Duration: 01.11.2022 - 31.10.2025

    Project leader: Prof. Thorsten Schäfer

    Person in charge: Marcus Böhm, Anna Kogiomtzidis

    Key words: Soil, Rhizosphere, Root Exudates, Radionuclides, Natural Nanoparticles, Plant Uptake

    Description: The goal of the joint project TRAVARIS is to transfer the results of research on the transport and transfer of radionuclides in the soil-plant system from the point of view of accumulation and re-mobilization processes at the microscale into practical application in macro-scale radio-ecological models of the biosphere.

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  • WTZ Granit
    3D scan (XRM) of a drill core with colourcoded  segmentation of different mineral groups and pore space (white).
    3D scan (XRM) of a drill core with colourcoded segmentation of different mineral groups and pore space (white).
    Image: Annemie Kusturica

    Prediction of heterogeneous radionuclide sorption on fracture and fault surfaces in granitic rocks: Parameterization and validation of improved reactive transport processes.

    BMWK-grant 02 E 11911B

    Duration:  01.05.2021 to 30.04.2024

    Project leader: Prof. Thorsten Schäfer

    Persons in charge: Annemie Kusturica, Dr. Sarah Hupfer, Dr. Neele van Laaten

    Key words: granitoids, trace element & REE sorption, fracture geometry, reactive transport

    Description:

    Deep geological repositories are an internationally recognized solution for the long-term disposal of high-level nuclear waste. Crystalline rocks such as granites or gneisses are one potential host rock. The safety analysis and optimization of the concept for the final disposal of highly radioactive and long-lived waste in granitoid formations is part of current research projects.

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Completed projects

  • Anthropogenic and geogenic sources of dust in urban areas in central Germany
    Spider webs naturally capture particulate matter
    Spider webs naturally capture particulate matter
    Image: Neele van Laaten, 2018

    Persons in charge:
    Neele van Laaten, Dirk Merten, Michael Pirrung

    Description:

    Dust is collected via spider webs, moss bags and passive samplers in central Germany (focus on the city of Jena), taking samples in city centers as well as suburban areas and some more remote areas. The samples are characterized geochemically and statistical methods are applied to find out to which extent specific sources contribute to the chemical characteristics of deposited dust.

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  • KOBIOGEO

    Control of biological investigations during the decontamination of heterogeneous, low-level radioactively contaminated geosubstrates for precautionary radiation protection (KOBIOGEO)

     

    Project leadership:
    Prof. Dr. Georg Büchel, Dr. Dirk Merten

    Description:

    Low-level radioactive heterogeneous geosubstrates can be biologically decontaminated by phytoremediation, thus contributing to radiation prevention. By identifying the processes relevant for phytoremediation on a laboratory scale using the innovative rare earth element (SEE) fractionation method and transferring them to natural conditions, an increase in efficiency is achieved compared to previous, empirical approaches and experiences of decontamination of low-level radioactive geosubstrates. Naturally occurring rare earth elements and their distribution are used for process control and optimization in the uptake of heavy metals/radionuclides from geogenic materials into plant material. This provides the opportunity to identify biological and/or physical/chemical processes that occur during selective uptake of radionuclides and heavy metals through different fractionation patterns of SEE. Thus, effective transport processes during transfer can be inferred. Beyond the identification as well as control, an optimization of the biological decontamination processes can be achieved.

    Funding period:
    01.10.2004 bis 31.10.2008

    Funding code:
    02S8294

     

  • KOLLORADO-e2

    KOLLORADO-e2 (Integrity of the bentonite barrier for the retention of radionuclides in crystalline host rock - experiments and modeling)

    Persons in charge: Thorsten Schäfer (FSU) & Francesca Quinto, Madeleine Stoll, Franz Rinderknecht (all KIT-INE)

    Description:
    The knowledge on the colloid/nanoparticle problem, in particular on the prediction of the colloid/nanoparticle source term, colloid/nanoparticle stability and nanoparticle/colloid-mineral-surface interaction, including the surface roughness, has made great progress in recent years. In addition to the description of colloid/nanoparticle stability by means of electrostatic approaches, quantitative data on the erosion of the bentonite barrier have been generated in laboratory tests. All data on the colloid/nanoparticle -supported radionuclide transport indicate a strong dependence of the colloid/nanoparticle mobility on the fracture geometry / surface roughness, the complete dissociation of tetravalent actinides from the clay colloid surface being still an open question. The main objective of the project is to improve the mechanistic understanding of the erosion of the compacted bentonite and the radionuclide-colloid interactions under near-natural conditions by means of in-situ experiments and the relevance of the nanoparticle/colloid-borne radionuclide transport with regard to the long-term safety of a repository in crystalline rock formations. In addition, generic statements on colloid relevance and the mobility of radionuclides are developed.

    Funding: 3/2016 – 2/2019

    The BEACON project is funded under the Euratom research and training programme 2014-2018 Grant Agreement No 745 942.

     

  • KOLLORADO-e3
    Figure 1: Images of the overcored LIT experiment: (top) segmented fracture geometry to estimate the extent of the bentonite gel layer in the shear zone (created by Dr. Hinz, Math2Market using volume rendering in GeoDict), (buttom) ocercored Grimsel granodiorite matrix (approx. 6mstarting from the tunnel wall) to the contact zone of the shear
    Figure 1: Images of the overcored LIT experiment: (top) segmented fracture geometry to estimate the extent of the bentonite gel layer in the shear zone (created by Dr. Hinz, Math2Market using volume rendering in GeoDict), (buttom) ocercored Grimsel granodiorite matrix (approx. 6mstarting from the tunnel wall) to the contact zone of the shear
    Image: Angewandte Geologie Jena

    (KOLLORADO-e³) In-situ experiments in terms of bentonite long term stability and radio-nuclide mobility at the bentonite - crystalline surface boundary

    Funding body + grant number: 02E11759A

    Funding: 01.05.2019 - 31.12.2022

    Project leader: Prof. Thorsten Schäfer

    Person in charge: Janis Pingel

    Key words: Bentonite, multi-barrier system, Na-montmorillonite, accessory minerals, erosion, colloids, CFM-iBET, CFM-LIT

    Description:

    The overarching goal of the project KOLLORADO-e3 is to further deepen the mechanistic understanding of the processes that, under near-natural, repository-relevant conditions in fractured granite systems, impair the integrity of the bentonite barrier and can lead to colloidal associated radionuclide transport.

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  • Regarding the project: Eifel volcanism during the Weichselian Glaciation

    Regarding the project: Eifel volcanism during the Weichselian Glaciation

    Person in charge:
    Phd Thomas Lange 

    Description:
    Due to its multitude of Maar volcanoes and cinder cones the Eifel is a morphologically exceptional region within Germany. In this project the focus is on the late quaternary Eifel volcanism around Gillenfeld and Strohn. Here the formation of the Wartgesberg Volcano Complex (WVC) almost 34 ka ago and the promotion of two lava flows provided a complete valley closure. The resulting genesis of glacial archives and the preservation of the land surface allow unique insights into the valley development of the Eifel during the last major ice age.

     

    View into the almost completely mined WVC. Nearly 34 ka ago several eruption centers were formed at the eastern slope of Alf valley. The digested slags, agglutinates and lavas piled up to a barrier of up to 80 m height and led to the complete closure of the valley
    View into the almost completely mined WVC. Nearly 34 ka ago several eruption centers were formed at the eastern slope of Alf valley. The digested slags, agglutinates and lavas piled up to a barrier of up to 80 m height and led to the complete closure of the valley
    Image: T.Lange
  • TransAqua

    Project Transaqua - Hydrochemical and/or microbial impact on the transfer of radionuclides in groundwater

    Radionuclides are released through water/rock interactions getting finally to drinking and surface water. Up to now, there is little known on the role of microbes in this process of release and transport.

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  • TRANS_LARA

    Transport and transfer behavior of long-lived radionuclides along the causal chain Groundwater - soil surface - plant, taking into account long-term climatic changes

    Funding body + grant number:  Federal Ministry of Education and Research 02NUK051A-E

    Duration: 01.09.2017 bis 30.06.2022

    Project leader: Prof. Dr. T. Schäfer

    Personnel in charge: Marcus Böhm, Dr. Daniel Jara Heredia

    Key words: radionuclides, lysimeter, natural nanoparticulate phases, reactive transport

    Description:

    For long-term safety detection of potential repositories, the current radioecological models in accident scenarios proceed from a radionuclide entry into the biosphere via the water path. In addition to the path over rainfall and irrigation, the entry is particular interesting in the soil via fluctuating groundwater level changes. The aim is to provide a deeper understanding of the complex mechanisms of radionuclide transport from the groundwater zone to the plants, including climatic changes, which should lead to improved risk assessments for the exposure of the population over long periods. A significant step forward is the elucidation of the host mechanisms of radionuclides in crop plants at the molecular level, a concept which allows for far-reaching explanatory power beyond previous transfer factors.

  • USER

    Implementation of heavy metal landfarming for sustainable landscaping and for exploitation of renewable energies on radionuclide contaminated Areas (USER)

    Project leadership: Prof. E. Kothe de, Prof. G. Büchel

    Funding period:  01.12.2014 to 30.11.2018  

    Soil and water pollution by heavy metals and radionuclides (HM/R) is a major concern in many areas of the world, influencing the health of local populations, the use of the natural resources and the environmental equilibrium. In particular, soil, surface water and groundwater are likely to get an important input in different of these persistent pollutants, compromising the biosphere including humans on large areas. Bare soil or heaps are furthermore more likely to erode through the action of wind and precipitation, causing an eluviation of soil parallel to a spreading of contaminants in the air and water phase. 

    In this context, field scale investigations are applied to areas of moderate HM/R contaminated substrates at the testsites Gessenwiese and Kanigsberg, near Ronneburg, to investigate phytoremediation strategies (USER-project, PTKA, FKZ 02S9194). Here, the main focuses lie on designing sustainable landscapes by reducing the bioavailability of contaminants with carbonatic soil material (rendzina) and microbial amendments (VA-mycorrhiza Rhizophagus irregularis, actinobacteria Strepromyces mirabilis P16-B1), as well as the production of renewable energy with metal tolerant plants (Festuca rubra, Secale multicaule) within a short-rotation-coppice (SRC, landfarming). In this connection, production of woody biomass with fast growing plants (Betula pendula, Sorbus aucuparia, Alnus, Pinus, Salix) in SRC provides a positive effect on biodiversity and erosion protection. 

    Furthermore, quantification of biomass productivity and HM/R-transfer within the soil-plant-water system by using soil and microbial amendments are scopes of this project, and should lead to reduction in leaching of HM/R and soil erosion as well. Therefore, soil hydrological measurement stations and a lysimeter station are installed to get information about distribution, changes, transfer and output of HM/R in the water phase. 

    Additionally, biomass productivity, plant vitality and erosion processes should be monitored with a multispectral camera and a high resolution camera system (accuracy 5 mm) installed on a microdrone (project TerraSensE, FKZ 13007-715).

    Funding code 

    15S9194

     

  • USER II
    Fig.1. Laserscanning by microdrone at testsite Gessenwiese to estimate tree height and biomass productivity of willow, birch, alder on different soil substrates in short-rotation-coppice.
    Fig.1. Laserscanning by microdrone at testsite Gessenwiese to estimate tree height and biomass productivity of willow, birch, alder on different soil substrates in short-rotation-coppice.
    Image: Angewandte Geologie Jena

    Implementation of heavy metal landfarming for sustainable landscaping and for exploitation of renewable energies on radionuclide contaminated Areas: Optimizing strategies (USER II)

    Funding body + grant number:

    Federal Ministry of Education and Research

    FORKA 15S9417

    Duration 01.07.2019 bis 31.12.2022 

    Project leader: Prof. Erika Kothe  de& Prof. Thorsten Schäfer

    Person in charge:
    Dr. Daniel Mirgorodsky, Sarah Nettemann, K. Lenk, D. Fürst, S. Pietschmann

    Description:

    The current project funded by the R&D program "Decommissioning and dismantling of nuclear facilities" focusses on radiation protection by establishing bioremediation methods for substrates contaminated by heavy metals and radionuclides.

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