Drilling effect on subsurface microbial community structure in groundwater from the -250 m gallery at the Horonobe Underground Research Laboratory, Japan

Monday, 15 December 2014
Kotaro Ise1, Yuki Amano1, Yoshito Sasaki2 and Hideki Yoshikawa3, (1)JAEA Japan Atomic Energy Agency, Toki, Japan, (2)JAEA Japan Atomic Energy Agency, Fukushima, Japan, (3)JAEA Japan Atomic Energy Agency, Tokyo, Japan
The deep geological disposal system is regarded as the most secure and practical disposal method of high-level radioactive waste in the world. In this disposal system, preservation of reducing condition is one of the key requirements, because most of radionuclides have low solubilities in such condition. However, the host rocks near the shafts and galleries would be affected by oxidization during the construction and operation period of a repository (for about 50 years). Therefore, the recovery of reducing condition after closing the repository should be verified. During the recovery processes, it is considered that microbial activities play important roles, but the mechanisms are poorly understood. In this study, we monitored the changes in microbial communities by molecular method to evaluate microbial response toward the oxygen stress. The groundwater samples were collected from a borehole of 250 m depth at the Horonobe Underground Research Laboratory, for two years immediately after drilling of a borehole without any contamination as much as possible. Immediately after drilling of the borehole, the phylotype related to Arcobacter spp. was dominated about 65 % of the total clone library. Arcobacter spp. is known as sulfide oxidizer and which can growth chemoautotrophically. Half a year later, the phylotype related to Azoarcus spp. and Pseudomonas spp. known as nitrate reducing bacteria increased, instead of the phylotype related to Arcobacter spp. One year later, in addition to nitrate reducing bacteria, phylotype related to Dethiobacterspp. known as thiosulfate reducing bacteria was dominantly detected. Two years later, most of detected clones were related to uncultured species such as candidate division WS6 and JS1 which are detected frequently in deep-sea sediments. Our results indicate that these redox sequential reactions could contribute to the recovery and maintenance of reducing conditions and provide a conceptual model for evaluating the capacity to recover reducing conditions in subsurface environments after final geological disposal and the post-closure.