Expertise and Experience

McKinley Consulting has a wide area of expertise, gained over many decades in the industry and can manage projects of any size.

Geochemistry / Geomicrobiology

Near-field evolution, geochemical databases for performance assessment, modelling.

Geochemistry Geochemistry


Geochemistry is a key factor influencing the release and transport of radionuclides from disposal facilities which, in many cases, is further complicated by perturbations caused by microbial activity, reaction front development, gas production and transport, colloids,…

Expertise includes characterisation, model development and model/database testing in laboratory, in-situ and analogue studies.



The team have worked extensive on geochemical aspects of waste management, with special emphasis on integrated assessment of the evolution of engineered barriers in repositories for different kinds of waste. In seminal work (in the early ‘80s), microbiology was integrated into the geochemical assessment, based on fundamental constraints set by nutrient and energy availability. This has been examined further in laboratory, field and natural analogue studies and recently developed with a focus on the particularly complex “TRU waste” arising in the Japanese programme.


Relevant publications include:

  • Wersin P., Johnson L.H. and McKinley I.G. (2007). Performance of the bentonite barrier at temperatures beyond 100 °C: A critical review. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, 32, 780-788.
  • West J.M., McKinley I.G., Neall F.B., Rochelle C.A., Bateman K. and Kawamura K. (2006). Microbiological effects on the Cavern Extended Storage (CES) repository for radioactive waste - A quantitative evaluation. J. Geochem. Explor., 90, 114-122.
  • Peyaud, J.B., de Putter, T., McKinley, I.G. (2006). Geochemistry for the safe isolation of hazardous wastes. J. Geochem. Explor., Volume 90 (issues 1-2).
  • McKinley. I.G., Neall F.B., Kawamura H. and Umeki H. (2006). Geochemical optimisation of a disposal system for high-level radioactive waste. J. Geochem. Explor., 90, 1-8.
  • West J.M. and McKinley I.G. (2002). The geomicrobiology of nuclear waste disposal. In Bitton, G. (ed.), Encyclopedia of environmental microbiology, Wiley, 2661 – 2674.
  • Alexander W.R. and McKinley I.G. (1999). The chemical basis of near-field containment in the Swiss high-level radioactive waste disposal concept. In Metcalfe R., Rochelle C.A. (eds.), Chemical containment of wastes in the geosphere. Geol. Soc. Spec. Pub. 157, 47-69.
  • Sargent, F.P. and McKinley I.G. (1990). Geochemical and chemical data and modelling for the safety assessment of geological disposal of high-level nuclear waste. Proc. OECD-NEA Symp. Safety assessment of radioactive waste repositories, 543-556.
  • McKinley I.G. (1985). The quantification of source-term profiles from near-field geochemical models, Proc. Albuquerque source term workshop, SAND 85-0380, pp. 115-123.


Where to find us

Badstrasse 20b, Ennetbaden,
CH 5408, Switzerland
Phone Number
+41 56 2840 321
+41 78 8658 886 (mobile)