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Title: A Uranium Bioremediation Reactive Transport Benchmark

A reactive transport benchmark problem set has been developed based on in situ uranium bio-immobilization experiments that have been performed at a former uranium mill tailings site in Rifle, Colorado, USA. Acetate-amended groundwater stimulates indigenous microorganisms to catalyze the reduction of U(VI) to a sparingly soluble U(IV) mineral. The interplay between the flow, acetate loading periods and rates, microbially-mediated and geochemical reactions leads to dynamic behavior in metal- and sulfate-reducing bacteria, pH, alkalinity, and reactive mineral surfaces. The benchmark is based on an 8.5 m long one-dimensional model domain with constant saturated flow and uniform porosity. The 159-day simulation introduces acetate and bromide through the upgradient boundary in 14-day and 85-day pulses separated by a 10 day interruption. Acetate loading is tripled during the second pulse, which is followed by a 50 day recovery period. Terminal electron accepting processes for goethite, phyllosilicate Fe(III), U(VI), and sulfate are modeled using Monod-type rate laws. Major ion geochemistry modeled includes mineral reactions, as well as aqueous and surface complexation reactions for UO2++, Fe++, and H+. In addition to the dynamics imparted by the transport of the acetate pulses, U(VI) behavior involves the interplay between bioreduction, which is dependent on acetate availability, and speciation-controlledmore » surface complexation, which is dependent on pH, alkalinity and available surface complexation sites. The general difficulty of this benchmark is the large number of reactions (74), multiple rate law formulations, a multisite uranium surface complexation model, and the strong interdependency and sensitivity of the reaction processes. Results are presented for three simulators: HYDROGEOCHEM, PHT3D, and PHREEQC.« less
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
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Journal Name: Computational Geosciences, 19(3):551-567
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US), Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)
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Country of Publication:
United States
uranium; bioremediation; reactive transport modeling; Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory