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Title: Isotopic evidence for reductive immobilization of uranium across a roll-front mineral deposit

We use uranium (U) isotope ratios to detect and quantify the extent of natural U reduction in groundwater across a roll front redox gradient. Our study was conducted at the Smith Ranch-Highland in situ recovery (ISR) U mine in eastern Wyoming, USA, where economic U deposits occur in the Paleocene Fort Union formation. To evaluate the fate of aqueous U in and adjacent to the ore body, we investigated the chemical composition and isotope ratios of groundwater samples from the roll-front type ore body and surrounding monitoring wells of a previously mined area. The 238U/ 235U of groundwater varies by approximately 3‰ and is correlated with U concentrations. Fluid samples down-gradient of the ore zone are the most depleted in 238U and have the lowest U concentrations. Activity ratios of 234U/ 238U are ~5.5 up-gradient of the ore zone, ~1.0 in the ore zone, and between 2.3 and 3.7 in the down-gradient monitoring wells. High-precision measurements of 234U/ 238U and 238U/ 235U allow for development of a conceptual model that evaluates both the migration of U from the ore body and the extent of natural attenuation due to reduction. We find that the premining migration of U down-gradient of themore » delineated ore body is minimal along eight transects due to reduction in or adjacent to the ore body, whereas two other transects show little or no sign of reduction in the down-gradient region. Lastly, these results suggest that characterization of U isotopic ratios at the mine planning stage, in conjunction with routine geochemical analyses, can be used to identify where more or less postmining remediation will be necessary.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [3] ;  [3] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [1]
  1. Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States); Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
  2. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
  3. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  4. Stanford Univ., Stanford, CA (United States)
  5. Power Resources Inc., Douglas, WY (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0013-936X
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Environmental Science and Technology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 50; Journal Issue: 12; Journal ID: ISSN 0013-936X
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 58 GEOSCIENCES; Energy Sciences; Environmental Protection
OSTI Identifier: