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Selenium (Se) contamination of aquatic resources and its mitigation is of global concern. Anaerobic bioreactors are the most promising method for treating Se-laden water in end-pit lakes resulting from intensive coal mining and waste rock leachate in the Canadian Rockies. This study assessed the suitability of a bioreactor system to treat non-acidic, coal mine effluent containing 85 μg/L of Se, near Grande Cache, AB, Canada, while making the system as cheap as possible using locally available materials. We successfully used a sediment inoculum from the same end-pit lake as the effluent source to obtain sulfur/Se-reducing bacteria and mixed the inoculum with mulch, manure, gravel, limestone, and bone meal to comprise the ‘active substrate’ for the bioreactors. The anaerobic bioreactors reduced >95 % of the total Se in the inflow water with a flow rate of ≈0.2 m3/h. Se removal was not related to water temperature, which declined from 17 to ≈2 °C in November, suggesting water can be treated regardless of temperature. The use of manure as a bacterial carbon/nitrogen source introduced Escherichia coli into the downstream environment, but after a short elevated concentration, the abundance of E. coli dropped below water quality guidelines. We were able to show that successful Se reduction can be achieved using an anaerobic bioreactor design and locally available material. This design kept the building and maintenance price lower than previous reactors, making the approach promising for larger scale applications and making bioreactors a more cost accessible remediation technology for non-acidic end-pit lakes. © 2014, The Author(s). Source

Caron F.,Laurentian University | Siemann S.,Laurentian University | Riopel R.,Laurentian University | Riopel R.,Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd AECL
Journal of Environmental Radioactivity | Year: 2014

Spot samples of shallow groundwaters have been taken between the years 2004 and 2010 near a site formerly used for the dispersal of radioactive liquid wastes. Three sampling points, one clean (upstream), and two downstream of the contamination source, were processed by ultrafiltration (5000Da cut-off) and Solid Phase Extraction (SPE) to determine the association of selected artificial radionuclides (60Co, 137Cs) with Natural Organic Matter (NOM). The last two sampling episodes (2008 and 2010) also benefited from fluorescence analysis to determine the major character of the NOM. The fluorescence signals are reported as humic-like, fulvic-like and protein-like, which are used to characterize the different NOM types. The NOM from the clean site comprised mostly fine material, whereas the colloidal content (retained by ultrafiltration) was higher (e.g., 15-40% of the Total Organic Carbon - TOC). Most of the 137Cs was present in the colloidal fraction, whereas 60Co was found in the filtered fraction. Fluorescence analysis, on the other hand, indicated a contrasting behavior between the clean and contaminated sites, with a dominance of protein-like material, a feature usually associated with human impacts. Finally, SPE removed almost quantitatively the protein-like material (>90%), whereas it removed a much smaller fraction of the 137Cs (<28%). This finding indicates that the 137Cs preferential binding occurs with a fraction other than the protein-like NOM, likely the fulvic-like or humic-like portion. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Prudil A.,Royal Military College of Canada | Lewis B.J.,University of Ontario Institute of Technology | Chan P.K.,Royal Military College of Canada | Baschuk J.J.,Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd AECL | Wowk D.,Royal Military College of Canada
Nuclear Engineering and Design | Year: 2014

This paper documents the extension of the Fuel And Sheath modeling Tool (FAST) for modeling transient conditions and presents a proof of concept validation exercise. This validation compares the predictions of FAST and ELESTRES/ELOCA fuel performance codes against experimental measurements from a simulated loss of coolant test conducted at Chalk River Laboratories. The comparison includes in reactor measurements of fuel temperature and internal gas pressure along with post irradiation (hot-cell) measurements of cladding deformation and oxidation. The results of this comparison show that the single pellet version of the FAST code was insufficient to fully account for strong axial dependence along an element. This was addressed by modifying the FAST code geometry to allow an arbitrary number of pellets in the fuel-stack. This full element version demonstrated improved agreement with measured cladding deformation, including circumferential ridging effects. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. Source

Riopel R.,Laurentian University | Riopel R.,Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd AECL | Caron F.,Laurentian University | Siemann S.,Laurentian University
Water, Air, and Soil Pollution | Year: 2014

The fate of colored natural organic matter (CNOM) was investigated for a period of 16 months at a municipal wastewater treatment plant of a mid-sized city in Northern Ontario, Canada, using fluorescence spectroscopy. Our objectives were to assess the changes of CNOM at the inlet and outlet of the plant and to determine if these changes were correlated with parameters routinely measured at the plant. The fluorescence signals were spectrally resolved into humic-like, fulvic-like, and protein-like components using a parallel factor analysis (PARAFAC) routine. We found that the signals of the CNOM components in the raw sewage had protein-like characteristics, followed by fulvic-like and humic-like characteristics. Conversely, after treatment, the CNOM signals were dominated by fulvic-like components, followed by approximately equal signals of humic-like and protein-like components. The fluorescence signals were, on average, ∼60 % lower in the effluent for the protein-like components and ∼28 % lower for the humic-like components, suggesting a decomposition of these CNOM materials. The fluorescence signals showed a small apparent increase of fulvic-like components, by ∼4 %, suggesting that the material showing this signal is recalcitrant to decomposition, or it could be potentially produced in the process. We found weak but statistically significant correlations (R 2∈>∈0.3) between the total fluorescence signals and total carbon (TC), the flow rate through the plant, and rainfall in the raw sewage. Similarly, correlations were found between protein-like fluorescence of the protein-like components and total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN) and ammonium at the effluent (R 2∈>∈0.3). © 2014 Springer International Publishing Switzerland. Source

Dant J.T.,Purdue University | Richardson R.B.,Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd AECL | Nie L.H.,Purdue University
Physics in Medicine and Biology | Year: 2013

Alpha (α) particles and low-energy beta (β) particles present minimal risk for external exposure. While these particles can induce leukemia and bone cancer due to internal exposure, they can also be beneficial for targeted radiation therapies. In this paper, a trabecular bone model is presented to investigate the radiation dose from bone- and marrow-seeking α and β emitters to different critical compartments (targets) of trabecular bone for different age groups. Two main issues are addressed with Monte Carlo simulations. The first is the absorption fractions (AFs) from bone and marrow to critical targets within the bone for different age groups. The other issue is the application of 223Ra for the radiotherapy treatment of bone metastases. Both a static model and a simulated bone remodeling process are established for trabecular bone. The results show significantly lower AFs from radionuclide sources in the bone volume to the peripheral marrow and the haematopoietic marrow for adults than for newborns and children. The AFs from sources on the bone surface and in the bone marrow to peripheral marrow and haematopoietic marrow also varies for adults and children depending on the energy of the particles. Regarding the use of 223Ra as a radionuclide for the radiotherapy of bone metastases, the simulations show a significantly higher dose from 223Ra and its progeny in forming bone to the target compartment of bone metastases than that from two other more commonly used β-emitting radiopharmaceuticals, 153Sm and 89Sr. There is also a slightly lower dose from 223Ra in forming bone to haematopoietic marrow than that from 153Sm and 89Sr. These results indicate a higher therapy efficiency and lower marrow toxicity from 223Ra and its progeny. In conclusion, age-related changes in bone dimension and cellularity seem to significantly affect the internal dose from α and β emitters in the bone and marrow to critical targets, and 223Ra may be a more efficient radiopharmaceutical for the treatment of bone metastases than 153Sm and 89Sr, if the diffusion of 219Rn to the bone marrow is insignificant. © 2013 Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine. Source

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