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Uranium(VI) complexation with aqueous silicates in the acidic to alkaline pH-range

Lösch, H.; Tits, J.; Marques-Fernandes, M.; Baeyens, B.; Krüger, S.; Chiorescu, I.; Stumpf, T.; Huittinen, N. M.;
An important parameter for the safety assessment of radioactive waste repositories is the prediction and modelling of aqueous complex formation reactions between actinides (An) and common dissolved inorganic or organic ligands.Alteration processes at the contact zone between the backfill material, bentonite, or the clay host rock and the cementitious materials of the geotechnical barrier will lead to high silicate concentrations in the groundwater, which may strongly influence the aqueous speciation of actinides[1]. A detailed knowledge of the An–silicate complex formation is therefore very important. In the present study, we have investigated the U(VI)-complexation in with aqueous silicates using two approaches: 1) Time-resolved laser-induced luminescence spectroscopy(TRLFS) in the acidic pH-range (pH 3.5)was used to determine the in-situU(VI) speciation in dependency of temperature(1-25°C)and silicon concentration, 2) the Schubert method was used to acquire the U(VI)-silicate complexation constant and stoichiometryin the alkaline pH-range where no literature data for U(VI)-silicates currently exists. For the TRLFS studythe uranium concentration was fixed at 5×10-6Mwith an ionic strength of 0.2 M (NaClO4),while the silicon concentration was varied between 3×10-4and1.5×10-3M. In the absence of silicate the 1:1 U-hydroxo complex was found to play a significant role in the U-speciationin the acidic pH-range. With increasing silicon concentration an increase of the luminescence intensity and a bathochromic shift of the emission spectra couldbe observed. Based on the peak deconvolution the free component spectra of U-hydroxo and U-silicate complexeswere extracted. The following slope analysis resulted in aslope close to 1 for all temperatures, confirming the formation of the UO2OSi(OH)3+complex at pH 3.5. The temperature dependent measurements enabledthe determination of the thermodynamicparameters ΔrH0=46.3kJ∙mol-1and ΔrS0=154.1J∙K-1∙mol-1. For the Schubert method, the U(VI) sorption distribution coefficient Rdon ZrO2was determined by LSC-measurements as a function of the ligand concentration and the pH in the alkaline pH range. By plotting the Rd-values as a function of the ligand concentration, information about the number of involved ligands in the U(VI)-silicate complex could be obtained. When further plotting the fitting constant (obtained from the Rd-plot) as a function of log[H+], the number of protons involved in the complexation reaction and the conditional complexation constant could be determined. With the obtained stoichiometry, two possible complexes could be proposed in the alkaline pH-range.DFT-calculations supportedthe formation of the UO2(OH)2OSi(OH)3complex.References:[1]D. Savage, Mineral. Mag., 2011, 75
  • Lecture (Conference)
    Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker, Jahrestagung der Fachgruppe Nuklearchemie 2019, 25.-27.09.2019, Dresden, Deutschland

Publ.-Id: 29988