The Materials Corrosion Test in Grimsel Underground Research Laboratory, Switzerland, enables an evaluation of microbiological implications of bentonite clay at densities relevant for a deep geological repository. Our research demonstrates that after 13 months of exposure within a granitic host rock, the microbial 16S rRNA gene signatures of saturated bentonite clay within the modules were consistent with the profiles in the original clay used to pack the modules. Such results provide evidence that densities chosen for this emplacement test are refractory to microbial activity, at least on the relatively short time frame leading to the first time point sampling event, which will help inform
in situengineered barrier system science. This study has important implications for the design of deep geological repository sites under consideration for the Canadian Shield.