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Sophisticated monitoring array to address mystery of uranium plume
Date:9/17/2008

Hanford to install the array of nearly three dozen wells at a cost of about $1.6 million.

Uranium study enables microbial research

Most of the monitoring wells in the IFRC well plot are about 60 feet deep. However, one well was installed along its margins that is 160 feet deep that penetrates all sediments above basalt. This well and core materials retrieved from it will allow PNNL microbiologist Allan Konopka and collaborators to identify microorganisms that are present in the Columbia River-groundwater interaction zone and understand their contributions to water quality.

"Some of the initial findings show zones of greater microbial abundance and activity," said Konopka. "Scientists have collected relatively few microbial samples at these depths on the Hanford Site, so conducting a molecular census of the microbial communities and isolating possibly novel microbes will be exciting."

Konopka believes the fundamental microbiology questions addressed in this study will be invaluable in developing strategies and helping make decisions to protect the river.


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Contact: Geoff Harvey
Geoffrey.Harvey@pnl.gov
509-372-6083
DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert  

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