The pools of nuclear reactor facilities constitute harsh environments for life, bathed with ionizing radiation, filled with demineralized water and containing toxic radioactive elements. The very few studies published to date have explored water pools used to store spent nuclear fuels. Due to access restrictions and strong handling constraints related to the high radioactivity level, nothing is presently known about life in water pools that directly cool nuclear cores. In this work, we investigated the microbial communities in the cooling pool of the French Osiris nuclear reactor using direct meta-omics approaches, namely, DNA metabarcoding and proteotyping based on 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing and on peptide analysis, respectively. We identified 25 genera in the highly radioactive core water supply during operation with radionuclide activity higher than 3 109 Bq/m3. The prevailing genera Variovorax and Sphingomonas at operation were supplanted by Methylobacterium, Asanoa, and Streptomyces during shutdown. Variovorax might use dihydrogen produced by water radiolysis as an energy source.
|Number of pages||12|
|State||Published - 25 Nov 2020|