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Title: Occurrence of Metastudtite (Uranium Peroxide Dihydrate) at a FUSRAP Site

Abstract

Uranium concentrations in groundwater in a localized area of a site exceed the USEPA Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) by a factor of one thousand. Although the groundwater seepage velocity ranges up to 0.7 meters per day (m/day), data indicate that the uranium is not migrating in groundwater. We believe that the uranium is not mobile because of local geochemical conditions and the unstable nature of the uranium compound present at the site; uranium peroxide dihydrate (metastudtite). Metastudtite [UO{sub 4}.2(H{sub 2}O) or (U(O{sub 2})|O|(OH){sub 2}).3H{sub 2}O] has been identified at other sites as an alteration product in casks of spent nuclear fuel, but neither enriched nor depleted uranium were present at this site. Metastudtite was first identified as a natural mineral in 1983, although documented occurrences in the environment are uncommon. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is conducting a remedial investigation at the DuPont Chambers Works in Deep water New Jersey under the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) to evaluate radioactive contamination resulting from historical activities conducted in support of Manhattan Engineering District operations. From 1942 to 1947, Chambers Works converted uranium oxides to uranium tetrafluoride and uranium metal. More than half of the production at thismore » facility resulted from the recovery process, where uranium-bearing dross and scrap were reacted with hydrogen peroxide to produce uranium peroxide dihydrate. The 280-hectare Chambers Works has produced some 600 products, including petrochemicals, aromatics, fluoro-chemicals, polymers, and elastomers. Contaminants resulting from these processes, including separate-phase petrochemicals, have also been detected within the boundaries of the FUSRAP investigation. USACE initiated remedial investigation field activities in 2002. The radionuclides of concern are natural uranium (U{sub nat}) and its short-lived progeny. Areas of impacted soil generally correspond to the footprints of the former production buildings. U{sub nat} concentrations in soil exceed the investigative screening value, 518 Becquerels per kilogram (Bq/kg) [14 pico-curies per gram (pCi/g)], to an approximate depth of 2.5 m. This depth corresponds to the depth of buried demolition debris from the uranium processing site. Aqueous-phase uranium has also been confirmed at the site and appears to coincide with uranium-impacted soils. Soil textures in the impacted area consist mainly of fine-grained silty sand and rubble. The hydraulic conductivities range from 5 E-6 to 1 E-5 m/s. Groundwater seepage velocity ranges from 0.003 m/day to 0.7 m/day in the impacted area. Groundwater investigations conducted throughout the FUSRAP site indicate that redox conditions in the shallow groundwater are reducing, with low dissolved oxygen concentrations, as would be expected underlying a petrochemical facility. In contrast, groundwater in the uranium source area is an oxidizing microenvironment, with elevated pH conditions, despite the presence of free-phase liquid hydrocarbons in close proximity. Dissolved oxygen is elevated in the uranium source area, which may be due to the presence of metastudtite. Metastudtite has been shown to produce hydrogen peroxide through the process of alpha irradiation of water molecules. Uranium peroxide dihydrate is more soluble in water than other hexavalent mineral forms. The literature suggests that in the absence of hydrogen peroxide, metastudtite is unstable in groundwater. Although the presence of metastudtite in the source area may have caused locally high levels of aqueous-phase uranium to form, the uranium ions may not be mobile outside of this small area because of significant abrupt changes in geochemical conditions. The ongoing groundwater investigation includes tasks to confirm the presence of metastudtite and hydrogen peroxide, and monitor for seasonal geochemical or hydrogeologic changes. (authors)« less

Authors:
;  [1]; ;  [2]
  1. Cabrera Services, Inc., 103 East Mount Royal Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21202 (United States)
  2. US Army Corps of Engineers, Philadelphia District, 100 Penn Square East, Philadelphia, PA 19107-3390 (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
WM Symposia, Inc., PO Box 13023, Tucson, AZ, 85732-3023 (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
21210679
Report Number(s):
INIS-US-09-WM-06393
TRN: US09V1107081141
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: Waste Management 2006 Symposium - WM'06 - Global Accomplishments in Environmental and Radioactive Waste Management: Education and Opportunity for the Next Generation of Waste Management Professionals, Tucson, AZ (United States), 26 Feb - 2 Mar 2006; Other Information: Country of input: France; 23 refs
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES, AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; CONTAMINATION; DEMOLITION; GROUND WATER; HIGH-LEVEL RADIOACTIVE WASTES; HYDROGEN PEROXIDE; NATURAL URANIUM; NEW JERSEY; REMEDIAL ACTION; URANIUM OXIDES; URANIUM PEROXIDE; URANIUM TETRAFLUORIDE; US CORPS OF ENGINEERS

Citation Formats

Young, C M, Nelson, K A, Stevens, G T, and Grassi, V J. Occurrence of Metastudtite (Uranium Peroxide Dihydrate) at a FUSRAP Site. United States: N. p., 2006. Web.
Young, C M, Nelson, K A, Stevens, G T, & Grassi, V J. Occurrence of Metastudtite (Uranium Peroxide Dihydrate) at a FUSRAP Site. United States.
Young, C M, Nelson, K A, Stevens, G T, and Grassi, V J. Sat . "Occurrence of Metastudtite (Uranium Peroxide Dihydrate) at a FUSRAP Site". United States.
@article{osti_21210679,
title = {Occurrence of Metastudtite (Uranium Peroxide Dihydrate) at a FUSRAP Site},
author = {Young, C M and Nelson, K A and Stevens, G T and Grassi, V J},
abstractNote = {Uranium concentrations in groundwater in a localized area of a site exceed the USEPA Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) by a factor of one thousand. Although the groundwater seepage velocity ranges up to 0.7 meters per day (m/day), data indicate that the uranium is not migrating in groundwater. We believe that the uranium is not mobile because of local geochemical conditions and the unstable nature of the uranium compound present at the site; uranium peroxide dihydrate (metastudtite). Metastudtite [UO{sub 4}.2(H{sub 2}O) or (U(O{sub 2})|O|(OH){sub 2}).3H{sub 2}O] has been identified at other sites as an alteration product in casks of spent nuclear fuel, but neither enriched nor depleted uranium were present at this site. Metastudtite was first identified as a natural mineral in 1983, although documented occurrences in the environment are uncommon. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is conducting a remedial investigation at the DuPont Chambers Works in Deep water New Jersey under the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) to evaluate radioactive contamination resulting from historical activities conducted in support of Manhattan Engineering District operations. From 1942 to 1947, Chambers Works converted uranium oxides to uranium tetrafluoride and uranium metal. More than half of the production at this facility resulted from the recovery process, where uranium-bearing dross and scrap were reacted with hydrogen peroxide to produce uranium peroxide dihydrate. The 280-hectare Chambers Works has produced some 600 products, including petrochemicals, aromatics, fluoro-chemicals, polymers, and elastomers. Contaminants resulting from these processes, including separate-phase petrochemicals, have also been detected within the boundaries of the FUSRAP investigation. USACE initiated remedial investigation field activities in 2002. The radionuclides of concern are natural uranium (U{sub nat}) and its short-lived progeny. Areas of impacted soil generally correspond to the footprints of the former production buildings. U{sub nat} concentrations in soil exceed the investigative screening value, 518 Becquerels per kilogram (Bq/kg) [14 pico-curies per gram (pCi/g)], to an approximate depth of 2.5 m. This depth corresponds to the depth of buried demolition debris from the uranium processing site. Aqueous-phase uranium has also been confirmed at the site and appears to coincide with uranium-impacted soils. Soil textures in the impacted area consist mainly of fine-grained silty sand and rubble. The hydraulic conductivities range from 5 E-6 to 1 E-5 m/s. Groundwater seepage velocity ranges from 0.003 m/day to 0.7 m/day in the impacted area. Groundwater investigations conducted throughout the FUSRAP site indicate that redox conditions in the shallow groundwater are reducing, with low dissolved oxygen concentrations, as would be expected underlying a petrochemical facility. In contrast, groundwater in the uranium source area is an oxidizing microenvironment, with elevated pH conditions, despite the presence of free-phase liquid hydrocarbons in close proximity. Dissolved oxygen is elevated in the uranium source area, which may be due to the presence of metastudtite. Metastudtite has been shown to produce hydrogen peroxide through the process of alpha irradiation of water molecules. Uranium peroxide dihydrate is more soluble in water than other hexavalent mineral forms. The literature suggests that in the absence of hydrogen peroxide, metastudtite is unstable in groundwater. Although the presence of metastudtite in the source area may have caused locally high levels of aqueous-phase uranium to form, the uranium ions may not be mobile outside of this small area because of significant abrupt changes in geochemical conditions. The ongoing groundwater investigation includes tasks to confirm the presence of metastudtite and hydrogen peroxide, and monitor for seasonal geochemical or hydrogeologic changes. (authors)},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2006},
month = {7}
}

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