The purpose of this paper is to provide a methodology to develop a predictive model based on a conceptual three-phase system and to investigate the influence of bacteria and their generation on the radionuclide transport in porous media. The mass balance equations for bacteria, substrate and radionuclide were formulated. To illustrate the model simply, an equilibrium condition was assumed to partition the substrate, bacteria and radionuclide concentrations between the solid soil matrix, aqueous phase and bacterial surface. From the numerical calculation of radionuclide transport in the presence of bacteria, it was found that the growth of bacteria and supplied primary substrate as a limiting or stimulating growth factor of bacteria are the most important factors of the radionuclide transport. It was also found that, depending on the transport of bacteria, the temporal and spatial distribution of the radionuclide concentration was significantly affected. The model proposed in this study will improve the evaluation of the role of the bacteria to the transport of radionuclide in groundwater systems, Furthermore, this model can be usefully utilized in analyzing the important role of colloidal particulate on the overall performance of radioactive waste safety. (C) 1997 Elsevier Science Ltd.