The sorption and desorption of uranium, thorium and mercury on a western Anatolian montmorillonite, obtained from the deposit located in Kula, were studied by application of a batch technique. The clay used is a tertiary clay originally found in a rather large geological formation of west Anatolia. It is nearly pure montmorillonite. Its cation exchange capacity (CEC) determination was performed for ammonium acetate by the Mehlich procedure. The mean CEC was found to be 83 meq/100 g, which, taking into account that CEC determinations were carried out on unfractionated material, is in good agreement with previously reported data. The concentration ranges were between 70–1500 ppm for mercury and 100–2000 ppm for thorium and uranium. The relative importance of test parameters, e.g., pH, clay particle size, groundwater composition, contact time and solid/water ratio, which determine the distribution coefficients was studied. The sorption coefficients varied between 2.7–6.4 ml/g for U, 0.22–1.59 ml/g for Th and 152.4–427.2 ml/g for Hg. The differences of distribution coefficients are discussed. The data could be fitted to Freundlich and Langmuir isotherms. The quantities of the sorbed and desorbed Th were much lower than its theoretical CEC's. This attitude was attributed to the blocking of montmorillonite by cation islands sorbed in the interlayer. Hg is sorbed most strongly. The experimental results indicate that the montmorillonites studied should be effective components of the buffer and backfill material and lead to eventual immobilization of these elements, which are environmentally dangerous.