The aim of this project is to assess the presence of microbial communities inside spent nuclear fuel pools of Belgian and French reactors (e.g. BR2 from SCK•CEN and OSIRIS from CEA) and to phenotypically characterize the isolated species.
In addition to the microbiological population present in planktonic form, special attention will also be given to biofilms.
In order to characterize the microbial communities, culture-based as well as culture-independent methods will be used. For the culture-independent methods, a metagenomics approach using 16S and 18S rRNA amplicon sequencing will be adopted. The sequencing data will be analyzed using an in-housed developed pipeline for the analysis of bioinformatics data. In order to allow for the identification of proteins involved in radiation resistance in oligotrophic environments, a metaproteomics approach will also be used. The expertise for this part of the project - including the bioinformatics analysis - is at hand within the CEA research group of Dr. Armengaud.