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Title: Effect of Co-solutes on the Products and Solubility of Uranium(VI) Precipitated with Phosphate

Uranyl phosphate solids are often found with uranium ores, and their low solubility makes them promising target phases for in situ remediation of uranium-contaminated subsurface environments. The products and solubility of uranium(VI) precipitated with phosphate can be affected by the pH, dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) concentration, and co-solute composition (e.g. Na+/Ca2+) of the groundwater. Batch experiments were performed to study the effect of these parameters on the products and extent of uranium precipitation induced by phosphate addition. In the absence of co-solute cations, chernikovite [H3O(UO2)(PO4)•3H2O] precipitated despite uranyl orthophosphate [(UO2)3(PO4)2•4H2O] being thermodynamically more favorable under certain conditions. As determined using X-ray diffraction, electron microscopy, and laser induced fluorescence spectroscopy, the presence of Na+ or Ca2+ as a co-solute led to the precipitation of sodium autunite ([Na2(UO2)2(PO4)2] and autunite [Ca(UO2)2(PO4)2]), which are structurally similar to chernikovite. In the presence of sodium, the dissolved U(VI) concentrations were generally in agreement with equilibrium predictions of sodium autunite solubility. However, in the calcium-containing systems, the observed concentrations were below the predicted solubility of autunite, suggesting the possibility of uranium adsorption to or incorporation in a calcium phosphate precipitate in addition to the precipitation of autunite.
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
47951; KP1702030
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Chemical Geology, 364:66-75
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US), Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
Uranium, Phosphate, In Situ Immobilization, Environmental Remediation, Autunite; Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory