Dr Pieter Bots

Scientific Fellow

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Personal statement

After my PhD in environmental mineralogy at the University of Leeds I moved to the University of Manchester in 2012 for a Postdoc position in actinide biogeochemistry on the NERC funded BIGRAD project.

In 2016 I joined the University of Strathclyde on the Little Forrest Legacy Site (LFLS) immobilization project. The LFLS contains several trenches with radiactive legacy waste from the 1950s and 60s. The University of Strathclyde has a strong prortfolio in grouting techniques. For the LFLS the preferred grouting technique at present is a colloidal silica based grout due to its low viscosity, low toxicity and chemical inertness. There, are however still uncertainties how such a grout would be have within waste forms and how any radionuclides (e.g. Sr-90, Cs-137) behave during and after the injection and gelling of colloidal silica based grouts.

Since November 2019, I am a Research Fellow and Co-I on the EPSRC funded Plasma Accelerators for Nuclear Applications and Materials Analyses (PANAMA) project. PANAMA is a collaboration between the departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Physics at the University of Strathclyde to utilize the laser wakefield generated particle and X-ray beams produced at the SCAPA facility to develop diffraction, spectroscopy and tomography analyses for the civil nuclear energy sectors. My main role within PANAMA is to collaborate with the department of Physics in the design of the PANAMA facility and to lead and develop the respective research programmes to utilize such facility. Such research can include anything from the behaviour of waste materials in the environment to mechanistic understanding of beam damage utilizing pump-probe capabilities of laser wakefield particle and X-ray beams.

Finally, I am always interested in developing collaborations and supporting prospective PhD students wishing to joing the University of Strathclyde.


On metal and 'spoiled' wine : analysing psimythion (synthetic cerussite) pellets (5th-3rd centuries BCE) and hypothesising gas-metal reactions over a fermenting liquid within a Greek pot
Photos-Jones E, Bots P, Oikonomou E, Hamilton A, Knapp CW
Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences (2020)
Geochemical evidence for the application of nanoparticulate colloidal silica gel for in-situ containment of legacy nuclear wastes
Bots Pieter, Renshaw Joanna, Payne Timothy E, Comarmond M Josick, Schellenger Alexandra EP, Pedrotti Matteo, Calì Eleonora, Lunn Rebecca J
Environmental Science: Nano Vol 7, pp. 1481-1495 (2020)
Organic complexation of U(VI) in reducing soils at a natural analogue site : implications for uranium transport
Fuller Adam J, Leary Peter, Gray Neil D, Davies Helena S, Mosselmans JFrederick W, Cox Filipa, Robinson Clare H, Pittman Jon K, McCann Clare M, Muir Michael, Graham Margaret C, Utsunomiya Satoshi, Bower William R, Morris Katherine, Shaw Samuel, Bots Pieter, Livens Francis R, Law Gareth T W
Chemosphere Vol 254 (2020)
Neptunium(V) and uranium(VI) reactions at the magnetite (111) surface
Bots Pieter, van Veelen Arjen, Mosselmans J Frederick W, Muryn Christopher, Wogelius Roy A, Morris Katherine
Geosciences Vol 9 (2019)
The role of microbial sulfate reduction in calcium carbonate polymorph selection
Lin Chin Yik, Turchyn Alexandra V, Steiner Zvi, Bots Pieter, Lampronti Giulio I, Tosca Nicholas J
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta Vol 237, pp. 184-204 (2018)
The DISTINCTIVE university consortium : structural integrity
Lunn Rebecca, Hamilton Andrea, Pedrotti Matteo, Bots Pieter, Wong Christopher, El Mountassir Grainne, Renshaw Joanna, Maddalena Riccardo, Zhao Cheng, Sun Li, Stolkin Rustam, Fairweather Michael, Tovey Lois, Boxall Colin, Hriljac Joseph, Hyatt Neil, Kaltsoyannis Nikolas, Lee William, Read David, Scott Thomas
44th Annual Waste Management Conference (WM2018) 44th Annual Waste Management Conference, pp. 6195-6209 (2018)

More publications

Research interests

Nucleation, growth and transformation processes of (nano-particulate) mineral phases in aquatic environments in natural and engineered environments

Surface chemical and thermodynamic control on the solubility and mobility of metals (e.g. contaminants) in natural and engineered environments

The effects of environmental engineering / (bio)remediation strategies on the geochemistry and surface chemistry of inorganic contaminants

The influence of microbial and biological activity on the formation and transformation of mineral phases in aquatic environments

Professional activities

Geosciences (Journal)
Guest editor
The geochemistry of radionuclides in engineering for the nuclear energy sector.
Invited speaker
The Use of Synchrotron Radiation in Actinide Geochemistry – Geological Disposal of Radioactive Wastes
Invited speaker
Actinide Geochemistry in Geo-disposal Scenarios
Invited speaker
The behaviour of actinides in geological disposal scenarios
Invited speaker
In Situ Study of Uranium(VI) Oxide Colloid Formation and Their Relevance to Geodisposal Relevant Conditions
Invited speaker

More professional activities


PANAMA: Plasma Accelerators for Nuclear Applications and Materials Analysis (panama) - National Nuclear User Facility Phase 2
Renshaw, Joanna (Principal Investigator) Jaroszynski, Dino (Co-investigator) Lunn, Rebecca (Co-investigator) McKenna, Paul (Co-investigator) Bots, Pieter (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2019 - 30-Jan-2023
Underpinning the safety case for the use of colloidal silica based grout for waste containment
Bots, Pieter (Co-investigator) Lunn, Rebecca (Principal Investigator) El Mountassir, Grainne (Co-investigator) Pedrotti, Matteo (Co-investigator) Payne, Timothy (Co-investigator) Renshaw, Joanna (Co-investigator)
X-ray Computed Tomography beamtime awarded by Diamond Light Source (STFC) at equivalent funding value of £95,940.

Abstract of funded proposal:
In the proposed experiments we aim to develop the scientific case to underpin the use of novel colloidal silica based grouts for radioactive waste containment. We aim to use the element specific capabilities of synchrotron based X-ray CT at beamline I13-2 to investigate the effects of the grout injection on the geochemistry of Sr, Cs and U. We will also utilize the time resolved capabilities to determine the influence of complex solid matrices on the (injection) behaviour of the silica grouts.
06-Jan-2017 - 10-Jan-2017
Impacts of colloidal silica grout injection on the geochemistry of radioactive wastes
Renshaw, Joanna (Principal Investigator) Bots, Pieter (Co-investigator) El Mountassir, Grainne (Co-investigator) Lunn, Rebecca (Co-investigator) Pedrotti, Matteo (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2016 - 31-Jan-2018
Formation and stability of U(V) during biological and abiotic reduction of uranium
Bots, Pieter (Principal Investigator) Shaw, Samuel (Co-investigator) Denecke, Melissa A. (Co-investigator) Law, Gareth (Co-investigator) Morris, Katherine (Co-investigator)
Beamtime at the High-Brilliance X-ray Spectroscopy beamline (ID26) at ESRF, funded through ESRF.

Abstract of research proposal:
Recent studies have shown that HERFD-XANES has the potential to be used to study uranium speciation in complex environmental systems. In this study we propose to utilize HERFD-XANES to investigate U oxidation state and speciation in key abiotic and microbial biogeochemical processes, including U interaction with iron oxide minerals, and single culture microbial U reduction.
19-Jan-2016 - 24-Jan-2016
In situ radionuclide reflEXAFS on I18 Atomic and Macro-scale Studies of Surface Processes (The AMASS Consortium): Towards a Mechanistic Understanding of Surface Reactivity and Radionuclide Binding Mechanisms
Wogelius, Roy (Principal Investigator) Bots, Pieter (Co-investigator) Law, Gareth (Co-investigator) Morris, Katherine (Co-investigator) van Veelen, Arjen (Co-investigator) Mosselmans, J. Frederick W (Principal Investigator)
Beamtime at the micro XAS/XRF beamline (I18) at Diamond Light Source for ReflEXAFS analyses, funded through Diamond Light Source.

Abstract of proposal:
Summary- Key features of this new proposal:
o Static surface resolved measurements with Np(V) (new PDRA (Dr. P. Bots) competent to do Np work added to team)
o Realistic mixed oxide surfaces studied through use of phlogopite mica single
o Further exploration of the magnetite surface attachment and monitoring of Fe mediated electron transfer. The rate of reorganization is critical.
o Experiments will be designed to test and augment complementary computational models
These proposed experiments will build on previous real-time adsorbate configuration experiments at DLS for uranium on portlandite and magnetite under conditions representative of a near-field geological disposal facility. In this next set of experiments we will incorporate improvements into our successful in situ methodology.
08-Jan-2015 - 30-Jan-2015
Formation of Uranium(IV) Colloidal Nanoparticles in Radioactive Waste Storage, Treatment and Disposal
Shaw, Samuel (Principal Investigator) Kenyon, Graham (Co-investigator) Neill, Tom (Co-investigator) Bots, Pieter (Co-investigator) Morris, Katherine (Co-investigator) Pearce, Carolyn (Co-investigator) Weatherill, Joshua (Co-investigator) Bryan, Nick (Co-investigator)
Beamtime at the Small Angle X-ray Scattering Beamline (I22) at Diamond Light Source funded through Diamond Light Source.

Abstract of research proposal:
Uranium(IV) colloids have the potential to greatly enhance the mobility of uranium in anaerobic systems, including contaminated land, geodisposal environments and radioactive waste storage facilities. Recent studies have shown that the presence of silicate has the potential to stabilise U(IV) in a colloidal form (particle size
01-Jan-2015 - 04-Jan-2015

More projects


Civil and Environmental Engineering
James Weir Building

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