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Title: Iodine-129 and Iodine-127 speciation in groundwater at the Hanford Site, U.S.: iodate incorporation into calcite

The Hanford Site, the most contaminated nuclear site in the United States, has large radioactive waste plumes containing high 129I levels. The geochemical transport and fate of radioiodine depends largely on its chemical speciation that is greatly affected by environmental factors. This study reports, for the first time, the speciation of stable and radioactive iodine in the groundwater from the Hanford Site. Iodate was the dominant species and accounts for up to 84%, followed by organo-iodine and minimal levels of iodide. The relatively high pH and oxidizing environment may have prevented iodate reduction. Our results identified that calcite precipitation caused by degassing of CO2 during deep groundwater sampling incorporated between 7 to 40% of dissolved iodine (including 127I and 129I) that was originally in the groundwater, transforming dissolved to particulate iodate during sampling. In order to understand the mechanisms underlying iodine incorporation by calcite, laboratory experiments were carried out to replicate this iodine sequestering processes. Two methods were utilized in this study, 1) addition of sodium carbonate; 2) addition of calcium chloride followed by sodium carbonate where the pH was well controlled at ~8.2, which is close to the average pH of Hanford Site groundwater. It was demonstrated that iodatemore » was the main species incorporated into calcite and this incorporation process could be impeded by elevated pH and decreasing ionic strength in groundwater. This study provides critical information for predicting the long-term fate and transport of 129I at the Hanford Site and reveals a potential means for improved remediation strategies of 129I.« less
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  1. Texas A and M Univ. at Galveston, TX (United States). Dept. of Marine Science
  2. Savannah River National Laboratory, Aiken, SC (United States)
  3. Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  4. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0013-936X; 830403000; TRN: US1400375
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Environmental Science and Technology; Journal Volume: 47; Journal Issue: 17
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States