2016 – present Privatdozent and Scientific Staff,  Rock-Water Interaction Group, Institute of Geological Sciences, University of Bern
2015 Habilitation in Aqueous Geochemistry, University of Bern, Switzerland
2012 – 2015 Scientific Staff,  Rock-Water Interaction Group, Institute of Geological Sciences, University of Bern
2007 – 2011 Senior, "Fachbereichsleiter", Section Environment, Gruner Ltd., Basel (CH)
1999 – 2007 Project Manager, National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste (Nagra), Wettingen (CH)
1998 – 1999 Project Manager, Geotest AG, Zurich (CH)
1994 – 1998 Scientific Collaborator, Amt für  Gewässerschutz und Abfallwirtschaft des Kantons Bern (CH)
1992 – 1994 Project Manager, MBT Environmental, Zurich (CH) and Barcelona (E)
1991 – 1992 Postdoctoral Fellow, Dept. of Geol­ogy and Dept. Civil Engineering, Stanford University (USA)
1990 – 1991 Postodoctoral Fellow, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (EAWAG), Dübendorf (CH)
1990 Doctoral degree in Natural Sciences (Dr. sc.nat.), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), awarded with the Otto-Jaag-Gewässerschutzpreis 1990
1986 – 1990 Doctoral research, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (EAWAG), Dübendorf (CH)
1985 – 1986 Assistant, Institute of Mineralogy and Petrology, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich
1985 Diploma in Natural Sciences (sc. nat.), Institute of Mineralogy and Petrology, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich


Research Interests


My ambition is to pursue – whenever possible – a holistic approach based on the methodological triad lab–field–modelling. The conceptual methodology for studying mineral-water processes in “real” systems is sketched out in the figure below. It shows the different ingredients grouped as tools (e.g. analytical methods, mathematical codes) and data (e.g. experimental data from lab or field experiments, thermodynamic / kinetic data). Such a comprehensive approach is only possible in a skilled multidisciplinary team. I collaborate with many colleagues in Switzerland and abroad, specialised on different topics.

Modelling - Lab - Field

Most of my research has an applied focus centred on geological disposal of radioactive waste. Specific areas are:

  • Geochemistry in the engineered barrier system (EBS) of high-level waste repositories
  • Diffusion processes in the EBS
  • Geochemistry and diffusion in argillaceous host rocks
  • Steel corrosion and its impact on the bentonite barrier
  • Transport of radionuclides in the EBS and host rock
  • Coupled thermal-hydro-mechanical-chemical processes in the EBS


Research group Rock-Water Interaction

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Jenni, Andreas; Wersin, Paul; Thoenen, T.; Baeyens, B.; Ferrari, A.; Gimmi, Thomas; Mäder, Urs; Marschall, P.; Hummel, W.; Leupin, O. (2019). Bentonite backfill performance in a high-level waste repository: a geochemical perspective (Technical Report, Nagra NTB 19-03). Wettingen, Switzerland: NAGRA, National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste

Gautschi, Andreas; Gaus, Irina; Gimmi, Thomas; Mazurek, Martin; Wersin, Paul; Cathelineau, Michel; Bath, Adrian (2019). Applied geochemistry special issue on "Geochemistry of clays and clay rocks in the context of radioactive waste disposal". Applied geochemistry, 105, pp. 127-129. Elsevier 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2019.05.001

Tomonaga, Yama; Giroud, Niels; Brennwald, Matthias S; Horstmann, Edith; Diomidis, Nikitas; Kipfer, Rolf; Wersin, Paul (2019). On-line monitoring of the gas composition in the Full-scale Emplacement experiment at Mont Terri (Switzerland). Applied geochemistry, 100, pp. 234-243. Elsevier 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2018.11.015

Pekala, Marek; Wersin, Paul; Cloet, Veerle; Diomidis, Nikitas (2019). Reactive transport calculations to evaluate sulphide fluxes in the near-field of a SF/HLW repository in the Opalinus Clay. Applied geochemistry, 100, pp. 169-180. Elsevier 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2018.11.006


Giroud, N.; Tomonaga, Y.; Wersin, P.; Briggs, S.; King, F.; Vogt, T.; Diomidis, N. (2018). On the fate of oxygen in a spent fuel emplacement drift in Opalinus Clay. Applied geochemistry, 97, pp. 270-278. Elsevier 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2018.08.011

Alt-Epping, Peter; Gimmi, Thomas; Wersin, Paul; Jenni, Andreas (2018). Incorporating electrical double layers into reactive-transport simulations of processes in clays by using the Nernst-Planck equation: A benchmark revisited. Applied geochemistry, 89, pp. 1-10. Elsevier 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2017.10.018

Wersin, Paul; Gimmi, Thomas; Mazurek, Martin; Alt-Epping, Peter; Pekala, Marek; Traber, Daniel (2018). Multicomponent diffusion in a 280 m thick argillaceous rock sequence. Applied geochemistry, 95, pp. 110-123. Elsevier 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2018.05.013


Yustres, A.; Jenni, Andreas; Asensio, L.; Pintado, X.; Koskinen, K.; Navarro, V.; Wersin, Paul (2017). Comparison of the hydrogeochemical and mechanical behaviours of compacted bentonite using different conceptual approaches. Applied Clay Science, 141, pp. 280-291. Elsevier 10.1016/j.clay.2017.03.006

Wersin, Paul; Traber, D; Mäder, Urs; Mazurek, Martin; Waber, Niklaus; Rufer, Daniel; Gimmi, Thomas; Cloet, V (2017). Porewater chemistry in claystones in the context of radioactive waste disposal. Procedia earth and planetary science, 17, pp. 718-721. Elsevier 10.1016/j.proeps.2016.12.182

Leupin, Olivier X; Van Loon, Luc R; Gimmi, Thomas; Wersin, Paul; Soler, Josep M (2017). Exploring diffusion and sorption processes at the Mont Terri rock laboratory (Switzerland): lessons learned from 20 years of field research. Swiss journal of geosciences, 110(1), pp. 391-403. Springer 10.1007/s00015-016-0254-z

Wersin, Paul; Alt-Epping, Peter; Pekala, Marek; Pitkänen, Petteri; Snellman, Margit (2017). Modelling Sulfide Fluxes and Cu Canister Corrosion Rates in the Engineered Barrier System of a Spent Fuel Repository. Procedia earth and planetary science, 17, pp. 722-725. Elsevier 10.1016/j.proeps.2016.12.183

Charlet, Laurent; Alt-Epping, Peter; Wersin, Paul; Gilbert, Benjamin (2017). Diffusive transport and reaction in clay rocks: A storage (nuclear waste, CO 2, H 2), energy (shale gas) and water quality issue. Advances in water ressources, 106, pp. 39-59. Elsevier 10.1016/j.advwatres.2017.03.019


Wersin, Paul; Mazurek, Martin; Mäder, Urs; Gimmi, Thomas; Rufer, Daniel; Lerouge, Catherine; Traber, Daniel (2016). Constraining porewater chemistry in a 250m thick argillaceous rock sequence. Chemical geology, 434, pp. 43-61. Elsevier 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2016.04.006

Grolimund, D.; Wersin, Paul; Brendlé, J.; Huve, J.; Kiviranta, L.; Snellman, M. (2016). Interaction of titanium with smectite within the scope of a spent fuel repository: a spectroscopic approach. Clay minerals, 51(2), pp. 249-266. Mineralogical Society 10.1180/claymin.2016.051.2.11

Wersin, Paul; Kiczka, Mirjam; Koskinen, Kari (2016). Porewater chemistry in compacted bentonite: Application to the engineered buffer barrier at the Olkiluoto site. Applied geochemistry, 74, pp. 165-175. Elsevier 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2016.09.010


Mazurek, Martin; Oyama, Takahiro; Wersin, Paul; Alt-Epping, Peter (2015). Pore-water squeezing from indurated shales. Chemical geology, 400, pp. 106-121. Elsevier 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2015.02.008

Wersin, Paul; Jenni, Andreas; Mäder, Urs (2015). Interaction of corroding iron with bentonite in the ABM1 experiment at Äspö, Sweden: A microscopic approach. Clays and clay minerals, 63(1), pp. 51-68. Clay Minerals Society 10.1346/ccmn.2015.0630105

Wersin, Paul; Mazurek, Martin; Waber, Niklaus; Mäder, Urs; Gimmi, Thomas; Rufer, Daniel; Lerouge, Catherine; Oyama, Takahiro; Traber, Daniel (2015). Constraining porewater chemistry in a clay–rich rock sequence. In: Clays in Natural and Engineered Barriers for Radioactive Waste Confinement: 6th International Conference. Brussels. 23.-26.03.2015.


Gimmi, Thomas; Leupin, Olivier X.; Eikenberg, Jost; Glaus, Martin A.; Van Loon, Luc R.; Waber, Niklaus H.; Wersin, Paul; Wang, Hao A.O.; Grolimund, Daniel; Borca, Camelia N.; Dewonck, Sarah; Wittebroodt, Charles (2014). Anisotropic diffusion at the field scale in a 4-year multi-tracer diffusion and retention experiment – I: Insights from the experimental data. Geochimica et cosmochimica acta, 125(125), pp. 373-393. Elsevier Science 10.1016/j.gca.2013.10.014

Wersin, Paul; Birgersson, M. (2014). Reactive transport modelling of iron-bentonite interaction within the KBS-3H disposal concept – the Olkiluoto site as case study. Geological Society Special Publications, 400(1), pp. 237-250. Geological Society 10.1144/SP400.24


Wersin, Paul; Waber, H. Niklaus; Mazurek, Martin; Mäder, Urs K.; Gimmi, Thomas; Rufer, Daniel; Traber, Daniel (2013). Resolving Cl and SO4 Profiles in a Clay-Rich Rock Sequence. Procedia earth and planetary science, 7, pp. 892-895. Elsevier 10.1016/j.proeps.2013.03.197

Soler, J.M.; Wersin, Paul; Leupin, O.X. (2013). Modeling of Cs+ diffusion and retention in the DI-A2 experiment (Mont Terri). Uncertainties in sorption and diffusion parameters. Applied geochemistry, 33, pp. 191-198. Elsevier 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2013.02.012


Schwyn, B.; Wersin, P.; Rüedi, J.; Schneider, J.; Altmann, S.; Missana, T.; Noseck, U. (2012). FUNMIG Integrated Project results and conclusions from a safety case perspective. Applied geochemistry, 27(2), pp. 501-515. Oxford: Pergamon 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2011.09.018


Tournassat, Christophe; Alt-Epping, Peter; Gaucher, Eric C.; Gimmi, Thomas; Leupin, Olivier X.; Wersin, Paul (2011). Biogeochemical processes in a clay formation in situ experiment: Part F - Reactive transport modelling. Applied geochemistry, 26(6), pp. 1009-1022. Oxford: Pergamon 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2011.03.009

Wersin, Paul; Leupin, X.O.; Mettler, S.; Gaucher, E.; Mäder, U.; Vinsot, A.; De Canni re, P.; Gäbler, H.E.; Kunimaro, T.; Kiho, K. (2011). Biogeochemical processes in a clay formation in-situ experiment: Part A - Overview, experimental design and water data of an experiment in the Opalinus Clay at the Mont Terri Underground Research Laboratory, Switzerland. Applied geochemistry, 26(6), pp. 931-953. Oxford: Pergamon 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2011.03.004

Wersin, Paul; Stroes-Gascoyne, S.; Pearson, F.J.; Tournassat, C.; Leupin, O.X.; Schwyn, B. (2011). Biogeochemical processes in a clay formation in situ experiment: Part G - key interpretations & conclusions. Applied geochemistry, 26(6), pp. 1023-1034. Pergamon 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2011.03.010

De Cannière, P.; Schwarzbauer, J.; Höhener, P.; Lorenz, G.; Salah, S.; Leupin, O.X.; Wersin, Paul (2011). Biogeochemical processes in a clay formation in situ experiment: Part C – Organic contamination and leaching data. Applied geochemistry, 26(6), pp. 967-979. Elsevier 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2011.03.006


Appelo, C.A.J.; Van Loon, L.R.; Wersin, Paul (2010). Multicomponent diffusion of a suite of tracers (HTO, Cl, Br, I, Na, Sr, Cs) in a single sample of Opalinus Clay. Geochimica et cosmochimica acta, 74(4), pp. 1201-1219. Elsevier Science 10.1016/j.gca.2009.11.013


Cui, D.; Puranen, A.; Devoy, J.; Scheidegger, A.; Leupin, O.X.; Wersin, Paul; Gens, R.; Spahiu, K. (2009). Reductive immobilization of 79Se by iron canister under simulated repository environment. Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry, 282(2), pp. 349-354. Springer


Wersin, Paul; Soler, J. M.; Van Loon, L.; Eikenberg, J.; Baeyens, B.; Grolimund, D.; Gimmi, Thomas; Dewonck, S. (2008). Diffusion of HTO, Br-, I-, Cs+, Sr-85(2+) and Co-60(2+) in a clay formation: Results and modelling from an in situ experiment in Opalinus Clay. Applied geochemistry, 23(4), pp. 678-691. Pergamon 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2007.11.004

Courdouan, Amandine; Christl, Iso; Rabung, Thomas; Wersin, Paul; Kretzschmar, Ruben (2008). Proton and Trivalent Metal Cation Binding by Dissolved Organic Matter in the Opalinus Clay and the Callovo-Oxfordian Formation. Environmental science & technology, 42(16), pp. 5985-5991. ACS Publications 10.1021/es8007358

Karnland, O.; Nilsson, U.; Weber, H.; Wersin, Paul (2008). Sealing ability of Wyoming bentonite pellets foreseen as buffer material - laboratory tests. Physics and chemistry of the earth, 33, S472-S475. Elsevier

Soler, J.M.; Samper, J.; Yllera, A.; Quejido, A.; Fernández, M.; Yang, C.; Naves, A.; Wersin, Paul (2008). The DI-B in situ diffusion experiment at Mont Terri: Results and modeling. Physics and chemistry of the earth, 33, S196-S207. Elsevier 10.1016/j.pce.2008.10.010

Vinsot, A.; Appelo, C.A.J.; Cailteau, C.; Wechner, S.; Pironon, J.; De Donato, P.; De Cannière, P.; Mettler, S.; Wersin, Paul; Gäbler, H.-E. (2008). CO2 data on gas and porewater sampled in situ in the Opalinus Clay at the Mont Terri rock laobratory. Physics and chemistry of the earth, 33, S54-S60. Elsevier 10.1016/j.pce.2008.10.050


Appelo, C. Anthony J.; Wersin, Paul (2007). Multicomponent Diffusion Modeling in Clay Systems with Application to the Diffusion of Tritium, Iodide, and Sodium in Opalinus Clay. Environmental science & technology, 41(14), pp. 5002-5007. ACS Publications 10.1021/es0629256

Courdouan, A.; Christl, I.; Meylan, S.; Wersin, Paul; Kretzschmar, R. (2007). Characterization of dissolved organic matter in anoxic rock extracts and in situ pore water of the Opalinus Clay. Applied geochemistry, 22(12), pp. 2926-2939. Elsevier 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2007.09.001

Courdouan, A.; Christll, I.; Meylan, S.; Wersin, Paul; Kretzschmar, R. (2007). Isolation and characterization of dissolved organic matter from the Callovo-Oxfordian formation. Applied geochemistry, 22(7), pp. 1537-1548. Elsevier 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2007.04.001

Wersin, Paul; Johnson, L.H.; McKinley, I.G. (2007). Performance of the bentonite barrier beyond 100 C: a critical review. Physics and chemistry of the earth, 32(8-14), pp. 780-788. Elsevier 10.1016/j.pce.2006.02.051


Turrero, M.J.; Fernandez, A.M.; Pena, J.; Sanchez, M.D.; Wersin, Paul; Bossart, P.; Sanchez, M.; Melon, A.; Yllera, A.; Hernan, P. (2006). Pore water chemistry of a Paleogene continental mudrock in Spain and a Jurassic marine mudrock in Switzerland: sampling methods and geochemical interpretation. Journal of Iberian Geology, 32, pp. 233-258. Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Wersin, Paul; Johnson, L.H.; Snellman, M. (2006). Impact of iron released from steel components on the performance of the bentonite buffer: a preliminary assessment in the framework of the KBS-3H disposal concept. Materials Research Society Symposium Proceedings, 932 Materials Research Society 10.1557/PROC-932-117.1


Johnson, C.A.; Mönch, H.; Wersin, Paul; Kugler, P.; Wenger, C. (2005). Solubility of antimony and other elements in samples taken from shooting ranges. Journal of environmental quality, 34(1), pp. 248-254. American Society of Agronomy ASA


Wersin, Paul; Van Loon, L. R.; Soler, J. M.; Yllera, A.; Eikenberg, J.; Gimmi, Thomas; Hernàn, P.; Boisson, J.-Y. (2004). Long-term diffusion experiment at Mont Terri: first results from field and laboratory data. Applied Clay Science, 26(1-4), pp. 123-135. Elsevier 10.1016/j.clay.2003.09.007

Van Loon, Luc R.; Wersin, Paul; Soler, J. M.; Eikenberg, J.; Gimmi, Thomas; Hernan, P.; Dewonck, S.; Savoye, S. (2004). In-situ diffusion of HTO, 22Na+, Cs+ and I- in Opalinus Clay at the Mont Terri underground rock laboratory. Radiochimica acta, 92(9-11), pp. 757-763. Oldenbourg 10.1524/ract.92.9.757.54988

Wersin, Paul; Vinsot, A.; De Cannière, Hernán; Gäbler, H.-E.; Hama, K.; Mahara, Y.; Gaucher, E.; Pearson, F.J. (2004). Results from the Porewater Chemistry Experiment in Opalinus Clay at Mont Terri, Switzerland. In: 11th International Symposium on Water-Rock Interactions (WRI-11). Saratoga Springs, New York. 27.06.-02.07.2004.

Wersin, Paul; Curti, E; Appelo, C.A.J (2004). Modelling bentonite–water interactions at high solid/liquid ratios: swelling and diffuse double layer effects. Applied Clay Science, 26(1-4), pp. 249-257. Elsevier 10.1016/j.clay.2003.12.010

Yllera, A.; Hernández, A.; Mingarro, M.; Quejido, A.; Sedano, L.A.; Soler, J.M.; Samper, J.; Molinero, J.M.; Martín, P.L.; Fernández, M.; Wersin, Paul; Rivas, P.; Hernán, P. (2004). DI-B experiment: planning, design and performance of an in situ diffusion experiment in the Opalinus Clay formation. Applied Clay Science, 26(1-4), pp. 181-196. Elsevier 10.1016/j.clay.2003.12.007


Wersin, Paul; Johnson, Lawrence H.; Schwyn, Bernhard (2003). Assessment of Redox Conditions in the Near Field of Nuclear Waste Repositories: Application to the Swiss high-level and intermediate level waste disposal concept. MRS Proceedings, 807, p. 539. Materials Research Society 10.1557/PROC-807-539

Wersin, Paul (2003). Geochemical modelling of bentonite porewater in high-level waste repositories. Journal of contaminant hydrology, 61(1-4), pp. 405-422. Elsevier 10.1016/S0169-7722(02)00119-5

Scheidegger, A.M.; Grolimund, D.; Cui, D.; Devoy, J.; Spahiu, K.; Wersin, Paul; Bonhoure, I.; Janousch, M. (2003). Reduction of selenite on corroded iron: a micro-spectroscopic study. Journal de Physique IV (Proceedings), 104, pp. 417-420. EDP Sciences 10.1051/jp4:20030112


Cui, Daqing; Spahiu, Kastriot; Wersin, Paul (2002). Redox Reactions of Iron and Uranium Dioxide in Simulated Cement Pore Water Under Anoxic Conditions. MRS Online Proceedings Library, 757, II9.11. Cambridge University Press 10.1557/PROC-757-II9.11


Wersin, P.; Abrecht, J.; Höhener, P. (2001). Large-scale redox plume in glaciofluvial deposits due to sugar-factory wastes and wastewater at Aarberg, Switzerland. Hydrogeology journal, 9(3), pp. 282-296. Springer 10.1007/s100400100136


Wersin, Paul; Griffioen, J. (2000). European network infrastructures for studying chemodynamics and water quality protection in porous media [Textbook] . Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg


Wanner, H.; Albinsson, Y.; Karnland, O.; Wieland, E.; Wersin, Paul; Charlet, L. (1994). The acid/base chemistry of montmorillonite. Radiochimica acta, 66-67, pp. 157-162. Oldenbourg

Wersin, Paul; Hochella, Michael F.; Persson, Per; Redden, George; Leckie, James O.; Harris, David W. (1994). Interaction between aqueous uranium (VI) and sulfide minerals: Spectroscopic evidence for sorption and reduction. Geochimica et cosmochimica acta, 58(13), pp. 2829-2843. Elsevier Science 10.1016/0016-7037(94)90117-1


Van Cappellen, Philippe; Charlet, Laurent; Stumm, Werner; Wersin, Paul (1993). A surface complexation model of the carbonate mineral-aqueous solution interface. Geochimica et cosmochimica acta, 57(15), pp. 3505-3518. Elsevier Science 10.1016/0016-7037(93)90135-J

Zobrist, Jörg; Wersin, Paul; Jaques, Claude; Sigg, Laura; Stumm, Werner (1993). Dry deposition measurements using water as a receptor: A chemical approach. Water, Air, & Soil Pollution, 71(1-2), pp. 111-130. Springer 10.1007/BF00475515


Bruno, Jordi; Stumm, Werner; Wersin, Paul; Brandberg, Frederick (1992). On the influence of carbonate in mineral dissolution: I. The thermodynamics and kinetics of hematite dissolution in bicarbonate solutions at. Geochimica et cosmochimica acta, 56(3), pp. 1139-1147. Elsevier Science 10.1016/0016-7037(92)90051-J

Bruno, Jordi; Wersin, Paul; Stumm, Werner (1992). On the influence of carbonate in mineral dissolution: II. The solubility of FeCO3 (s) at 25°C and 1 atm total pressure. Geochimica et cosmochimica acta, 56(3), pp. 1149-1155. Elsevier Science 10.1016/0016-7037(92)90052-K

Mozley, Peter S.; Wersin, Paul (1992). Isotopic composition of siderite as an indicator of depositional environment. Geology, 20(9), p. 817. Geological Society of America 10.1130/0091-7613(1992)​020<0817:ICOSAA>​2.3.CO;2


Wersin, Paul; Höhener, Patrick; Giovanoli, Rudolf; Stumm, Werner (1991). Early diagenetic influences on iron transformations in a freshwater lake sediment. Chemical geology, 90(3-4), pp. 233-252. Elsevier 10.1016/0009-2541(91)90102-W


Charlet, Laurent; Wersin, Paul; Stumm, Werner (1990). Surface charge of MnCO3 and FeCO3. Geochimica et cosmochimica acta, 54(8), pp. 2329-2336. Elsevier Science 10.1016/0016-7037(90)90059-T


Wersin, Paul; Charlet, Laurent; Karthein, Rainer; Stumm, Werner (1989). From adsorption to precipitation: Sorption of Mn2+ on FeCO3(s). Geochimica et cosmochimica acta, 53(11), pp. 2787-2796. Elsevier Science 10.1016/0016-7037(89)90156-7


Engi, Martin; Wersin, Paul (1987). Derivation and application of a solution model for calcic garnet. Schweizerische Mineralogische und Petrographische Mitteilungen, 67(1/2), pp. 53-73. Stäubli 10.5169/seals-51587