Ilton, Eugene S.; Liu, Chongxuan; Yantasee, Wassana; Wang, Zheming; Moore, Dean A.; Felmy, Andrew R.; Zachara, John M.
Uranyl silicates such as uranophane and Na-boltwoodite appear to control the solubility of uranium in the contaminated sediments at the US Department of Energy Hanford site (Liu et al., 2004). Consequently, the solubility of synthetic Na-boltwoodite was determined over a wide range of bicarbonate concentrations, from circumneutral to alkaline pH, that are representative of porewater and groundwater compositions at the Hanford site. Results show that Na-boltwoodite dissolution was nearly congruent and its solubility increased with increasing bicarbonate concentration. Calculated solubility constants varied by nearly 2 log units from low bicarbonate (no added NaCO3) to 50 mmol/L bicarbonate. However, the solubility constants only vary by 0.5 log units from 0 added bicarbonate to 1.2 mmol/L bicarbonate, where logKsp = 5.39-5.92 and the average logKsp = 5.63. No systematic trend in logKsp was apparent over this range in bicarbonate concentrations. LogKsp values trended down with increasing bicarbonate concentration, where logKsp = 4.06 at 50 mmol/L bicarbonate. We conclude that the calculated solubility constants at high bicarbonate are compromised by an incomplete or inaccurate uranyl-carbonate speciation model
Liu, Chongxuan; Jeon, Byong-Hun; Zachara, John M.; Wang, Zheming
The effect of calcium on microbial reduction of a solid phase U(VI), sodium boltwoodite (NaUO2SiO3OH · 1.5H2O), was evaluated in a culture of a dissimilatory metal-reducing bacterium (DMRB), Shewanella oneidensis strain MR-1. Batch experiments were performed in a non-growth bicarbonate medium with lactate as electron donor at pH 7 buffered with PIPES. Calcium increased both the rate and extent of Na-boltwoodite dissolution by increasing its solubility through the formation of a ternary aqueous calcium-uranyl-carbonate species. The ternary species, however, decreased the rates of microbial reduction of aqueous U(VI). Laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy (LIFS) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) revealed that microbial reduction of solid phase U(VI) is a sequentially coupled process of Na-boltwoodite dissolution, U(VI) aqueous speciation, and microbial reduction of dissolved U(VI) to U(IV) that accumulated on bacterial surfaces/periplasm. The overall rates of microbial reduction of solid phase U(VI) can be described by the coupled rates of dissolution and microbial reduction that were both influenced by calcium. The results demonstrated that dissolved U(VI) concentration during microbial reduction was a complex function of solid phase U(VI) dissolution kinetics, aqueous U(VI) speciation, and microbial activity
Lindsay C. Shuller-Nickles
Full Text Available Incorporation reactions play an important role in dictating immobilization and release pathways for chemical species in low-temperature geologic environments. Quantum-mechanical investigations of incorporation seek to characterize the stability and geometry of incorporated structures, as well as the thermodynamics and kinetics of the reactions themselves. For a thermodynamic treatment of incorporation reactions, a source of the incorporated ion and a sink for the released ion is necessary. These sources/sinks in a real geochemical system can be solids, but more commonly, they are charged aqueous species. In this contribution, we review the current methods for ab initio calculations of incorporation reactions, many of which do not consider incorporation from aqueous species. We detail a recently-developed approach for the calculation of incorporation reactions and expand on the part that is modeling the interaction of periodic solids with aqueous source and sink phases and present new research using this approach. To model these interactions, a systematic series of calculations must be done to transform periodic solid source and sink phases to aqueous-phase clusters. Examples of this process are provided for three case studies: (1 neptunyl incorporation into studtite and boltwoodite: for the layered boltwoodite, the incorporation energies are smaller (more favorable for reactions using environmentally relevant source and sink phases (i.e., ΔErxn(oxides > ΔErxn(silicates > ΔErxn(aqueous. Estimates of the solid-solution behavior of Np5+/P5+- and U6+/Si4+-boltwoodite and Np5+/Ca2+- and U6+/K+-boltwoodite solid solutions are used to predict the limit of Np-incorporation into boltwoodite (172 and 768 ppm at 300 °C, respectively; (2 uranyl and neptunyl incorporation into carbonates and sulfates: for both carbonates and sulfates, it was found that actinyl incorporation into a defect site is more favorable than incorporation into defect-free periodic
Szecsody, James E.; Truex, Michael J.; Zhong, Lirong; Qafoku, Nikolla; Williams, Mark D.; McKinley, James P.; Wang, Zheming; Bargar, John; Faurie, Danielle K.; Resch, Charles T.; Phillips, Jerry L.
This investigation is focused on refining an in situ technology for vadose zone remediation of uranium by the addition of ammonia (NH3) gas. Objectives are to: a) refine the technique of ammonia gas treatment of low water content sediments to minimize uranium mobility by changing uranium surface phases (or coat surface phases), b) identify the geochemical changes in uranium surface phases during ammonia gas treatment, c) identify broader geochemical changes that occur in sediment during ammonia gas treatment, and d) predict and test injection of ammonia gas for intermediate-scale systems to identify process interactions that occur at a larger scale and could impact field scale implementation.Overall, NH3 gas treatment of low-water content sediments appears quite effective at decreasing aqueous, adsorbed uranium concentrations. The NH3 gas treatment is also fairly effective for decreasing the mobility of U-carbonate coprecipitates, but shows mixed success for U present in Na-boltwoodite. There are some changes in U-carbonate surface phases that were identified by surface phase analysis, but no changes observed for Na-boltwoodite. It is likely that dissolution of sediment minerals (predominantly montmorillonite, muscovite, kaolinite) under the alkaline conditions created and subsequent precipitation as the pH returns to natural conditions coat some of the uranium surface phases, although a greater understanding of these processes is needed to predict the long term impact on uranium mobility. Injection of NH3 gas into sediments at low water content (1% to 16% water content) can effectively treat a large area without water addition, so there is little uranium mobilization (i.e., transport over cm or larger scale) during the injection phase.
L.C. Huller; R.C. Win; U.Ecker
Neptunium is a major contributor to the long-term radioactivity in a geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel (SNF) due to its long half-life (2.1 million years). The mobility of Np may be decreased by incorporation into the U 6+ phases that form during the corrosion of SNF. The ionic radii of Np (0.089nm) and U (0.087nm) are similar, as is their chemistry. Experimental studies have shown Np can be incorporated into uranyl phases at concentrations of ∼ 100 ppm. The low concentration of Np in the uranyl phases complicates experimental detection and presents a significant challenge for determining the incorporation mechanism. Therefore, we have used quantum mechanical calculations to investigate incorporation mechanisms and evaluate the energetics of Np substituting for U. CASTEP, a density functional theory based code that uses plane waves and pseudo-potentials, was used to calculate optimal H positions, relaxed geometry, and energy of different uranyl phases. The incorporation energy for Np in uranyl alteration phases was calculated for studtite, [(UO 2 )O 2 (H 2 O) 2 ](H 2 ) 2 , and boltwoodite, HK(UO 2 )(SiO 4 )* 1.5(H 2 O). Studtite is the rare case of a stable uranyl hydroxyl-peroxide mineral that forms in the presence of H 2 O 2 from the radiolysis of H 2 O. For studtite, two incorporation mechanisms were evaluated: (1) charge-balanced substitution of Np 5+ and H + for one U 6+ , and (2) direct substitution of Np 6+ for U 6+ . For boltwoodite, the H atomic positions prior to Np incorporation were determined, as well as the Np incorporation mechanisms and the corresponding substitution energies. The preferential incorporation of Np into different structure types of U 6+ minerals was also investigated. Quantum mechanical substitution energies have to be derived at Np concentrations higher than the ones found in experiments or expected in a repository. However, the quantum mechanical results are crucial for subsequent empirical force-field and Monte
Three processes that may be activated by the emplacement of radionuclide-bearing waste in natural argilized rock are described: 1. natural decompositon of rock-forming and associated radioactive ore and accessory minerals, such as uraninite, uranothorite, allanite, pyrochlore, apatite, monazite, xenotime, tourmaline, zircon, sulphides and carbonates; 2. mobilization, migration and redeposition of U, Th, REE, Zr, radiogenic lead and other elements along fractures; 3. neoformation of autunite, torbernite, phosphuranylite, coffinite, boltwoodite, kasolite, uranophane, bayleyite, ruthefordine, liebigite, masuyite, anglesite, wulfenite and complex unidentified U, Th, Pb, REE and Zr compounds in clays and in fractures of hydrated rock-forming minerals. The mobilized radionuclides can be fixed by several processes, namely by adsorption, by reacting with other ions, and by entering and capture in the interlayer of swelling mixed-layer clays and hydrated layer silicates. These observations on the natural behaviour of radioactive and radiogenic materials can be applied in evaluating rock formations and planning preventive measures for the escape of nuclear waste from disposal sites
Wronkiewicz, D.J.; Bates, J.K.; Gerding, T.J.; Veleckis, E.; Tani, B.S.
A set of experiments, based on the application of the Unsaturated Test method to the reaction of UO 2 with EJ-13 water, has been conducted over a period of 182.5 weeks. One half of the experiments have been terminated, while one half are still ongoing. Solutions that have dripped from UO 2 specimens have been analyzed for all experiments, while the reacted UO 2 surfaces have been examined for only the terminated experiments. A pulse of uranium release from the UO 2 solid, in conjunction with the formation of dehydrated schoepite on the surface of the UO 2 , was observed during the 39- to 96-week period. Thereafter, the uranium release decreased and a second set of secondary phases was observed. The latter phases incorporate cations from the EJ-13 water and include boltwoodite, uranophane, sklodowskite, compreignacite, and schoepite. The experiments are being continued to monitor for additional changes in solution composition and secondary phase formation, and have now reached the 319-week period. 9 refs., 17 figs., 25 tabs
Katsenovich, Yelena P.; Cardona, Claudia; Lapierre, Robert; Szecsody, Jim; Lagos, Leonel E.
species in the presence of bicarbonate were anionic uranyl carbonate complexes (UO 2 (CO 3 ) 2 −2 and UO 2 (CO 3 ) 3 −4 ) and in the absence of bicarbonate in the solution, U(VI) major species appeared as uranyl-hydroxide (UO 2 (OH) 3 − and UO 2 (OH) 4 −2 ) species. The model also predicted the formation of uranium solid phases. Uranyl carbonates as rutherfordine [UO 2 CO 3 ], cejkaite [Na 4 (UO2)(CO 3 ) 3 ] and hydrated uranyl silicate phases as Na-boltwoodite [Na(UO 2 )(SiO 4 )·1.5H 2 O] were anticipated for most of the synthetic pore water compositions amended from medium (2.9 mM) to high (100 mM) bicarbonate concentrations. - Highlights: • The removal efficiency of uranium was not significantly affected by the different U(VI) concentrations tested. • The solutions with higher concentrations of Si, Al and bicarbonate tended to have greater removal efficiencies of U(VI). • The formation of amorphous Si always correlated with the removal of U(VI), Si, and Al from the solution. • If no Si polymerization was observed, there was no U removal from the supernatant solution. • Na-boltwoodite and uranyl carbonate solid phases were predicted as predominant in the presence of bicarbonate.
Beiswenger, Toya N; Gallagher, Neal B; Myers, Tanya L; Szecsody, James E; Tonkyn, Russell G; Su, Yin-Fong; Sweet, Lucas E; Lewallen, Tricia A; Johnson, Timothy J
The identification of minerals, including uranium-bearing species, is often a labor-intensive process using X-ray diffraction (XRD), fluorescence, or other solid-phase or wet chemical techniques. While handheld XRD and fluorescence instruments can aid in field applications, handheld infrared (IR) reflectance spectrometers can now also be used in industrial or field environments, with rapid, nondestructive identification possible via analysis of the solid's reflectance spectrum providing information not found in other techniques. In this paper, we report the use of laboratory methods that measure the IR hemispherical reflectance of solids using an integrating sphere and have applied it to the identification of mineral mixtures (i.e., rocks), with widely varying percentages of uranium mineral content. We then apply classical least squares (CLS) and multivariate curve resolution (MCR) methods to better discriminate the minerals (along with two pure uranium chemicals U 3 O 8 and UO 2 ) against many common natural and anthropogenic background materials (e.g., silica sand, asphalt, calcite, K-feldspar) with good success. Ground truth as to mineral content was attained primarily by XRD. Identification is facile and specific, both for samples that are pure or are partially composed of uranium (e.g., boltwoodite, tyuyamunite, etc.) or non-uranium minerals. The characteristic IR bands generate unique (or class-specific) bands, typically arising from similar chemical moieties or functional groups in the minerals: uranyls, phosphates, silicates, etc. In some cases, the chemical groups that provide spectral discrimination in the longwave IR reflectance by generating upward-going (reststrahlen) bands can provide discrimination in the midwave and shortwave IR via downward-going absorption features, i.e., weaker overtone or combination bands arising from the same chemical moieties.
Chen, F.; Burns, P.C.; Ewing, R.C.
79 Se is a long-lived (1.1x10 6 years) fission product which is chemically and radiologically toxic. Under Eh-pH conditions typical of oxidative alteration of spent nuclear fuel, selenite or selenate are the dominant aqueous species of selenium. Because of the high solubility of metal-selenites and metal-selenates and the low adsorption of selenite and selenate aqueous species under alkaline conditions, selenium may be highly mobile. However, 79 Se released from altered fuel may be immobilized by incorporation into secondary uranyl phases as low concentration impurities, and this may significantly reduce the mobility of selenium. Analysis and comparison of the known structures of uranyl phases indicate that (SeO 3 ) may substitute for (SiO 3 OH) in structures with the uranophane anion-topology (α-uranophane, sklodowskite, boltwoodite) which are expected to be the dominant alteration phases of UO 2 in Si-rich groundwater. The structural similarity of guilleminite, Ba[(UO 2 ) 3 (SeO 3 ) 2 O 2 ](H 2 O) 3 , to phurcalite, [(UO 2 ) 3 (PO 4 ) 2 ](H 2 O) 7 , suggests that the substitution (SeO 3 ) leftrightarrow (PO 4 ) may occur in phurcalite. The close similarity between the sheets in the structures of rutherfordine and [(UO 2 )(SeO 3 )] implies that the substitution (SeO 3 ) leftrightarrow (Co 3 ) can occur in rutherfordine. However, the substitution: (SeO 3 ) leftrightarrow (SiO 3 OH) in soddyite and (SeO 3 ) leftrightarrow (PO 4 ) in phosphuranylite may disrupt their structural connectivity and are unlikely to occur. 50 refs., 3 figs., 1 tab
Valter, Anton A.; Knight, Kim B.; Eremenko, Gelij K.; Magilin, Dmitry V.; Ponomarov, Artem A.; Pisansky, Anatoly I.; Romanenko, Alexander V.; Ponomarev, Alexander G.
In this work, several individual grains of uranium minerals—uraninite with high content of Ca, Ca-rich boltwoodite, growths of uranophane with β-uranophane, and weeksite—from different uranium deposits were studied by a scanning nuclear microprobe. Particle-induced X-ray emission technique provided by the microprobe (µ-PIXE) was carried out to obtain a concentration and 2D distribution of elements in these minerals. In addition, energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry (SEM-EDS) provided by a scanning electron microscope was used. The types of minerals were determined by X-ray diffraction methods. Results of this study improved the understanding of trace elemental composition of the uranium minerals depending on their origin. Obtained signatures could be linked then to the sample provenance. Such data are important for nuclear forensics to identify the ore types and even specific ore bodies, when only small samples may be available for analysis. In this study, the µ-PIXE technique was used for obtaining the 2D distribution of trace elements that are not commonly measured by SEM-EDS at the relevant concentrations. The detected levels and precisions of elements determination by µ-PIXE were also defined. Using µ-PIXE, several micro mineral inclusions such as phosphate with high level of V and Si were identified. The age of the uranium minerals was estimated due to a significant content of radiogenic Pb that provides an additional parameter for determination of the main attributive characteristics of the minerals. This work also showed that due to its high elemental sensitivity the nuclear microprobe can be a new analytical tool for creating a nuclear forensic database from the known uranium deposits and a subsequent analysis of the intercepted illicit materials.
Chen, F.; Ewing, R.C.
79 Se is a long-lived (1.1 x 10 6 yrs) fission product which is chemically and radiologically toxic. Under Eh-pH conditions typical of oxidative alteration of spent nuclear fuel, selenite, SeO 3 2- or HSeO 3 - or selenate, SeO 4 2- , are the dominant aqueous species of selenium. Because of the high solubility of metal-selenites and metal-selenates and the low adsorption of selenite and selenate aqueous species by geological materials under alkaline conditions, selenium may be highly mobile. However, 79 Se released from altered fuel may become immobilized by incorporation into secondary uranyl phases as low concentration impurities, and this may significantly reduce the mobility of selenium. Analysis and comparison of the known structures of uranyl phases indicate that (SeO 3 ) may substitute for (SiO 3 OH) in structures of α-uranophane and boltwoodite that are expected to be the dominant alteration products of UO 2 in Si-rich groundwater. The substitutions (SeO 3 ) (SiO 3 OH) in sklodowskite, Mg[(UO 2 )(SiO 3 OH)] 2 (H 2 O) 6 and (SeO 3 ) (PO 4 ) in phurcalite, Ca 2 [(UO 2 ) 3 (PO 4 ) 2 O 2 ](H 2 O) 7 , may occur with the eliminated apical anion being substituted for by an H 2 O group, but experimental investigation is required. The close similarity between the sheets in the structures of rutherfordine, [(UO 2 )(CO 3 )] and [(UO 2 )(SeO 3 )] implies that the substitution (SeO 3 ) (CO 3 ) can occur in rutherfordine, and possibly other uranyl carbonates. However, the substitutions: (SeO 3 ) (SiO 4 ) in soddyite and (SeO 3 ) (PO 4 ) in phosphuranylite may disrupt their structural connectivity and are, therefore, unlikely. (orig.)
Kanematsu, Masakazu; Perdrial, Nicolas; Um, Wooyong; Chorover, Jon; O'Day, Peggy A
Uranium speciation and physical-chemical characteristics were studied in solids precipitated from synthetic acidic to circumneutral wastewaters in the presence and absence of dissolved silica and phosphate to examine thermodynamic and kinetic controls on phase formation. Composition of synthetic wastewater was based on disposal sites 216-U-8 and 216-U-12 Cribs at the Hanford site (WA, USA). In the absence of dissolved silica or phosphate, crystalline or amorphous uranyl oxide hydrates, either compreignacite or meta-schoepite, precipitated at pH 5 or 7 after 30 d of reaction, in agreement with thermodynamic calculations. In the presence of 1 mM dissolved silica representative of groundwater concentrations, amorphous phases dominated by compreignacite precipitated rapidly at pH 5 or 7 as a metastable phase and formation of poorly crystalline boltwoodite, the thermodynamically stable uranyl silicate phase, was slow. In the presence of phosphate (3 mM), meta-ankoleite initially precipitated as the primary phase at pH 3, 5, or 7 regardless of the presence of 1 mM dissolved silica. Analysis of precipitates by U LIII-edge extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) indicated that "autunite-type" sheets of meta-ankoleite transformed to "phosphuranylite-type" sheets after 30 d of reaction, probably due to Ca substitution in the structure. Low solubility of uranyl phosphate phases limits dissolved U(VI) concentrations but differences in particle size, crystallinity, and precipitate composition vary with pH and base cation concentration, which will influence the thermodynamic and kinetic stability of these phases.
Beiswenger, Toya N. [Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA, USA; Gallagher, Neal B. [Eigenvector Research, Inc., Manson, WA, USA; Myers, Tanya L. [Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA, USA; Szecsody, James E. [Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA, USA; Tonkyn, Russell G. [Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA, USA; Su, Yin-Fong [Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA, USA; Sweet, Lucas E. [Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA, USA; Lewallen, Tricia A. [Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA, USA; Johnson, Timothy J. [Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA, USA
The identification of minerals, including uranium-bearing minerals, is traditionally a labor-intensive-process using x-ray diffraction (XRD), fluorescence, or other solid-phase and wet chemical techniques. While handheld XRD and fluorescence instruments can aid in field identification, handheld infrared reflectance spectrometers can also be used in industrial or field environments, with rapid, non-destructive identification possible via spectral analysis of the solid’s reflectance spectrum. We have recently developed standard laboratory measurement methods for the infrared (IR) reflectance of solids and have investigated using these techniques for the identification of uranium-bearing minerals, using XRD methods for ground-truth. Due to the rich colors of such species, including distinctive spectroscopic signatures in the infrared, identification is facile and specific, both for samples that are pure or are partially composed of uranium (e.g. boltwoodite, schoepite, tyuyamunite, carnotite, etc.) or non-uranium minerals. The method can be used to detect not only pure and partial minerals, but is quite sensitive to chemical change such as hydration (e.g. schoepite). We have further applied statistical methods, in particular classical least squares (CLS) and multivariate curve resolution (MCR) for discrimination of such uranium minerals and two uranium pure chemicals (U3O8 and UO2) against common background materials (e.g. silica sand, asphalt, calcite, K-feldspar) with good success. Each mineral contains unique infrared spectral features; some of the IR features are similar or common to entire classes of minerals, typically arising from similar chemical moieties or functional groups in the minerals: phosphates, sulfates, carbonates, etc. These characteristic 2 infrared bands generate the unique (or class-specific) bands that distinguish the mineral from the interferents or backgrounds. We have observed several cases where the chemical moieties that provide the
Katsenovich, Yelena P.; Cardona, Claudia; Lapierre, Robert; Szecsody, Jim; Lagos, Leonel E.
presence of bicarbonate were anionic uranyl carbonate complexes (UO2(CO3)2-2 and UO2(CO3)3-4) and in the absence of bicarbonate in the solution, U(VI) major species appeared as uranyl-hydroxide (UO2(OH)3- and UO2(OH)4-2) species. The model also predicted the formation of uranium solid phases. Uranyl carbonates as rutherfordine [UO2CO3], cejkaite [Na4(UO2)(CO3)3] and hydrated uranyl silicate phases as Na-boltwoodite [Na(UO2)(SiO4)·1.5H2O] were anticipated for most of the synthetic pore water compositions amended from medium (2.9 mM) to high (100 mM) bicarbonate concentrations.