Senior Adviser: Mystery bacteria growing on nuclear fuel rods have unknown DNA sequence — “Right now we are trying to figure out what they’re using for food”

Published: September 7th, 2012 at 2:34 pm ET
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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

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“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

[...]

h/t chrisk9

Published: September 7th, 2012 at 2:34 pm ET
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67 comments

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