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Joint Project: Interaction and transport of actinides in natural clay rock with consideration of humic substances and clay organics - Characterization and quantification of the influence of clay organics on the interaction and diffusion of uranium and americium in the clay
Schmeide, K.; Joseph, C.; Sachs, S.; Steudtner, R.; Raditzky, B.; Günther, A.; Bernhard, G.
Abstract: The objective of this project was the study of basic interaction processes in the systems actinide - clay organics - aquifer and actinide - natural clay - clay organics - aquifer. Thus, complexation, redox, sorption and diffusion studies were performed.
To evaluate the influence of nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur containing functional groups of humic acid (HA) on the complexation of actinides in comparison to carboxylic groups, the Am(III) and U(VI) complexation by model ligands was studied by UV-Vis spectroscopy and TRLFS. The results show that Am(III) is mainly coordinated via carboxylic groups, however, probably stabilized by nitrogen groups. The U(VI) complexation is dominated by carboxylic groups, whereas nitrogen and sulfur containing groups play a minor role. Phosphorus containing groups may contribute to the U(VI) complexation by HA, however, due to their low concentration in HA they play only a subordinate role compared to carboxylic groups. Applying synthetic HA with varying sulfur contents (0 to 6.9 wt.%), the role of sulfur functionalities of HA for the U(VI) complexation and Np(V) reduction was studied. The results have shown that sulfur functionalities can be involved in U(VI) humate complexation and act as redox-active sites in HA for the Np(V) reduction. However, due to the low content of sulfur in natural HA, its influence is less pronounced.
In the presence of carbonate, the U(VI) complexation by HA was studied in the alkaline pH range by means of cryo-TRLFS (-120°C) and ATR FT-IR spectroscopy. The formation of the ternary UO2(CO3)2HA(II)4− complex was detected. The complex formation constant was determined with log β0.1 M = 24.57 ± 0.17.
For aqueous U(VI) citrate and oxalate species, luminescence emission properties were determined by cryo-TRLFS and used to determine stability constants. The existing data base could be validated.
The U(VI) complexation by lactate, studied in the temperature range 7 to 65°C, was found to be endothermic and entropy-driven. In contrast, the complex stability constants determined for U(VI) humate complexation at 20 and 40°C are comparable, however, decrease at 60°C.
For aqueous U(IV) citrate, succinate, mandelate and glycolate species stability constants were determined. These ligands, especially citrate, increase solubility and mobility of U(IV) in solution due to complexation.
The U(VI) sorption onto crushed Opalinus Clay (OPA, Mont Terri, Switzerland) was studied in the absence and presence of HA or low molecular weight organic acids, in dependence on temperature and CO2 presence using OPA pore water as background electrolyte. Distribution coefficients (Kd) were determined for the sorption of U(VI) and HA onto OPA with (0.0222 ± 0.0004) m3/kg and (0.129 ± 0.006) m3/kg, respectively. The U(VI) sorption is not influenced by HA (50 mg/L), however, decreased by low molecular weight organic acids (> 1×10-5 M), especially by citrate and tartrate. With increasing temperature, the U(VI) sorption increases both in the absence and in the presence of clay organics.
The U(VI) diffusion in compacted OPA is not influenced by HA at 25 and 60°C. Predictions of the U(VI) diffusion show that an increase of the temperature to 60°C does not accelerate the migration of U(VI). With regard to uranium-containing waste, it is concluded that OPA is suitable as host rock for a future nuclear waste repository since OPA has a good retardation potential for U(VI).
Keywords: Actinides, americium, uranium, neptunium, humic substances, clay organics, model ligands, Opalinus clay, complexation, reduction, sorption, diffusion, migration, repository
  • Open Access LogoWissenschaftlich-Technische Berichte / Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf; HZDR-017 2012
    ISSN: 2191-8708
  • Contribution to external collection
    C.M. Marquardt: Interaction and transport of actinides in natural clay rock with consideration of humic substances and clay organic compounds, KIT Scientific Reports 7633, Karlsruhe: KIT Scientific Publishing, 2012, Annex B, Report No. 1


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