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Title: Surface complexation modeling of U(VI) sorption to Hanford sediment with varying geochemical conditions

Abstract

A series of U(VI) adsorption experiments with varying pH, ionic strength, concentrations of dissolved U(VI) and carbonate was conducted to provide a more realistic database for U(VI) adsorption onto near-field vadose zone sediments at the proposed Integrated Disposal Facility (IDF) on the Hanford Site. The distribution coefficient, Kd, for U(VI) in predicted “pure” glass leachate is 0 mL/g because the glass leachate has high sodium and carbonate concentrations and high pH. The zero adsorption result suggests that uranium will exhibit no retardation when the subsurface geochemistry is controlled by glass leachate. However, U(VI) can be sequestrated even when the pH, carbonate and sodium concentrations reached levels similar to “pure” glass leachate, because U(VI) coprecipitates with calcite. When glass leachate interacts with existing porewater or surrounding sediments, sorption is observed and the numerical value of the U(VI) Kd varies significantly. A non-electrostatic, general composite approach for surface complexation modeling was applied and a combination of two U(VI) surface species, monodentate (SOUO2+) and bidentate (SO2UO2(CO3)2-), simulated very well the measured U(VI) adsorption data. The general composite surface complexation model, compared to the constant or single-valued Kd model, more accurately predicted U(VI) adsorption under the varying geochemical conditions expected at the IDF.

Authors:
; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
985073
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-49960
Journal ID: ISSN 0013-936X; ISSN 1520-5851; 830403000; TRN: US1006071
DOE Contract Number:
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Environmental Science & Technology, 41(10):3587-3592; Journal Volume: 41; Journal Issue: 10
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; ADSORPTION; CALCITE; CARBONATES; DISTRIBUTION; GEOCHEMISTRY; GLASS; LEACHATES; SEDIMENTS; SIMULATION; SODIUM; SORPTION; URANIUM; Uranium; Kd; isotherm; adsorption; IDF

Citation Formats

Um, Wooyong, Serne, R. Jeffrey, and Krupka, Kenneth M.. Surface complexation modeling of U(VI) sorption to Hanford sediment with varying geochemical conditions. United States: N. p., 2007. Web. doi:10.1021/es0616940.
Um, Wooyong, Serne, R. Jeffrey, & Krupka, Kenneth M.. Surface complexation modeling of U(VI) sorption to Hanford sediment with varying geochemical conditions. United States. doi:10.1021/es0616940.
Um, Wooyong, Serne, R. Jeffrey, and Krupka, Kenneth M.. Wed . "Surface complexation modeling of U(VI) sorption to Hanford sediment with varying geochemical conditions". United States. doi:10.1021/es0616940.
@article{osti_985073,
title = {Surface complexation modeling of U(VI) sorption to Hanford sediment with varying geochemical conditions},
author = {Um, Wooyong and Serne, R. Jeffrey and Krupka, Kenneth M.},
abstractNote = {A series of U(VI) adsorption experiments with varying pH, ionic strength, concentrations of dissolved U(VI) and carbonate was conducted to provide a more realistic database for U(VI) adsorption onto near-field vadose zone sediments at the proposed Integrated Disposal Facility (IDF) on the Hanford Site. The distribution coefficient, Kd, for U(VI) in predicted “pure” glass leachate is 0 mL/g because the glass leachate has high sodium and carbonate concentrations and high pH. The zero adsorption result suggests that uranium will exhibit no retardation when the subsurface geochemistry is controlled by glass leachate. However, U(VI) can be sequestrated even when the pH, carbonate and sodium concentrations reached levels similar to “pure” glass leachate, because U(VI) coprecipitates with calcite. When glass leachate interacts with existing porewater or surrounding sediments, sorption is observed and the numerical value of the U(VI) Kd varies significantly. A non-electrostatic, general composite approach for surface complexation modeling was applied and a combination of two U(VI) surface species, monodentate (SOUO2+) and bidentate (SO2UO2(CO3)2-), simulated very well the measured U(VI) adsorption data. The general composite surface complexation model, compared to the constant or single-valued Kd model, more accurately predicted U(VI) adsorption under the varying geochemical conditions expected at the IDF.},
doi = {10.1021/es0616940},
journal = {Environmental Science & Technology, 41(10):3587-3592},
number = 10,
volume = 41,
place = {United States},
year = {Wed Apr 11 00:00:00 EDT 2007},
month = {Wed Apr 11 00:00:00 EDT 2007}
}
  • Sorption of hexavalent uranium, U(VI) on Hanford fine sand (HFS) with varying iron oxide (especially ferrihydrite) contents showed that U(VI) sorption increased with the incremental addition of synthetic ferrihydrite into HFS, consistent with ferrihydrite being one of the most reactive U(VI) sorbents present in natural sediments. Surface complexation model (SCM) calculations for U(VI) sorption, using only U(VI) surface-reaction constants obtained from U(VI) sorption data on freshly synthesized ferrihydrite at different pHs, were similar to the measured U(VI) sorption results on pure synthetic ferrihydrite and on HFS with high contents of ferrihydrite (5 wt%) added. However, the SCM prediction using onlymore » U(VI) sorption reactions and constants for synthetic ferrihydrite overestimated U(VI) sorption on the natural HFS or HFS with addition of low amounts of added ferrihydrite (1 wt% added). Over-predicted U(VI) sorption was attributed to reduced reactivity of natural ferrihydrite present in Hanford Site sediments, compared to freshly prepared synthetic ferrihydrite. Even though the SCM general composite (GC) approach is considered to be a semi-quantitative estimation technique for contaminant sorption, which requires systematic experimental data on the sorbent-sorbate system being studied to obtain credible SCM parameters, we have found the general composite SCM model is still a useful technique for describing U(VI) sorption on natural sediments. Based on U(VI) batch sorption results, two simple U(VI) monodentate surface species, SO_UO2HCO3 and SO_UO2OH on ferrihydrite and phyllosillicate in HFS, respectively, can be successfully used to describe U(VI) sorption onto Hanford Site sediment contacting varying geochemical solutions.« less
  • The prediction of U(VI) adsorption onto montmorillonite clay is confounded by the complexities of: (1) the montmorillonite structure in terms of adsorption sites on basal and edge surfaces, and the complex interactions between the electrical double layers at these surfaces, and (2) U(VI) solution speciation, which can include cationic, anionic and neutral species. Previous U(VI)-montmorillonite adsorption and modeling studies have typically expanded classical surface complexation modeling approaches, initially developed for simple oxides, to include both cation exchange and surface complexation reactions. However, previous models have not taken into account the unique characteristics of electrostatic surface potentials that occur at montmorillonitemore » edge sites, where the electrostatic surface potential of basal plane cation exchange sites influences the surface potential of neighboring edge sites (‘spillover’ effect).« less
  • A surface complexation model describing the sorption of uranyl ions and uranyl carbonate on weak and strong sites was used to analyze experiments on pH-dependent U(VI) sorption to weathered shale/limestone saprolite. Sorption data were collected at two different solid to solution ratios. Various methods of estimating equilibrium reaction coefficients and site densities were investigated. As a first approximation, extractable iron oxides were assumed to behave as ferrihydrite with reaction coefficients as reported by Waite et al. (1994). A generalized composite (GC) approach was then employed with coefficients estimated by an inverse modeling method applied both in a stepwise fashion andmore » simultaneously to whole data set. Uncertainty in model parameters and predictions was lowest using the simultaneous inverse method, but results from the stepwise method were very similar. The generalized reaction network accurately described pH-dependent U(VI) sorption on weathered saprolite between pH 4 to 9.« less
  • Column experiments were conducted to investigate U(VI) desorption and sorption kinetics in a sand-textured, contaminated (22.7 µmol kg-1) capillary fringe sediment that had experienced long-term exposure to U(VI). The clay fraction mineralogy of the sediment was dominated by montmorillonite, muscovite, vermiculite, and chlorite. Saturated column experiments were performed under mildly alkaline/calcareous conditions representative of the Hanford site where uranyl–carbonate and calcium–uranyl–carbonate complexes dominate aqueous speciation. A U(VI) free solution was used to study U(VI) desorption in columns where different flow rates were applied. Uranium(VI) sorption was studied after the desorption of labile contaminant U(VI) using different U(VI) concentrations in themore » leaching solution. Strong kinetic behavior was observed for both U(VI) desorption and sorption. Although U(VI) is semi–mobile in mildly alkaline, calcareous subsurface environments, our results showed substantial U(VI) sorption, significant retardation during transport, and atypical breakthrough curves with extended tailing. A distributed rate model was applied to describe the effluent data and to allow comparisons between the desorption rate of contaminant U(VI) with the rate of short-term U(VI) sorption. Desorption was the slower process. Our results suggest that U(VI) release and transport in the vadose zone and aquifer system from which the sediment was obtained are kinetically controlled.« less