DRINK: a biogeochemical source term model for low level radioactive waste disposal sites

FEMS Microbiol Rev. 1997 Jul;20(3-4):557-71. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6976.1997.tb00338.x.


Interactions between element chemistry and the ambient geochemistry play a significant role in the control of radionuclide migration in the geosphere. These same interactions influence radionuclide release from near surface, low level radioactive waste, disposal sites once physical containment has degraded. In situations where LLW contains significant amounts of metal and organic materials such as cellulose, microbial degradation in conjunction with corrosion can significantly perturb the ambient geochemistry. These processes typically produce a transition from oxidising to reducing conditions and can influence radionuclide migration through changes in both the dominant radionuclide species and mineral phases. The DRINK (DRIgg Near field Kinetic) code is a biogeochemical transport code designed to simulate the long term evolution of the UK low level radioactive waste disposal site at Drigg. Drigg is the UK's principal solid low level radioactive waste disposal site and has been receiving waste since 1959. The interaction between microbial activity, the ambient geochemistry and radionuclide chemistry is central to the DRINK approach with the development of the ambient pH, redox potential and bulk geochemistry being directly influenced by microbial activity. This paper describes the microbial aspects of the code, site data underpinning the microbial model, the microbiology/chemistry interface and provides an example of the code in action.

MeSH terms

  • Environmental Microbiology*
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Radioactive Waste*


  • Radioactive Waste