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Surface Complexation of Neptunium(V) with Goethite

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 October 2011

James L Jerden
Affiliation:, Argonne National Laboratory, Chemical Engineering, 9700 South Cass Avenue, Argonne,, IL, 60439, United States
A Jeremy Kropf
Affiliation:, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL, 60439, United States
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Batch adsorption experiments in which neptunium bearing solutions were reacted with goethite (alpha-FeOOH) have been performed to study uptake mechanisms in sodium chloride and calcium-bearing sodium silicate solutions. This paper presents results identifying and quantifying the mechanisms by which neptunium is adsorbed as a function of pH and reaction time (aging). Also presented are results from tests in which neptunium is reacted with goethite in the presence of other cations (uranyl and calcium) that may compete with neptunium for sorption sites. The desorption of neptunium from goethite has been studied by resuspending the neptunium-loaded goethite samples in solutions containing no neptunium. Selected reacted sorbent samples were analyzed by x-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) to determine the oxidation state and molecular speciation of the adsorbed neptunium. Results have been used to establish the pH adsorption edge of neptunium on goethite in sodium chloride and calcium-bearing sodium silicate solutions. The results indicate that neptunium uptake on goethite reaches 95% at a pH of approximately 7 and begins to decrease at pH values greater than 8.5. Distribution coefficients for neptunium sorption range from less than 1000 (moles/kg)sorbed / (moles/kg)solution at pH less than 5.0 to greater than 10,000 (moles/kg)sorbed / (moles/kg)solution at pH greater than 7.0. Distribution coefficients as high as 100,000 (moles/kg)sorbed / (moles/kg)solution were recorded for the tests done in calcite equilibrated sodium silicate solutions. XAS results show that neptunium complexes with the goethite surface mainly as Np(V) (although Np(IV) is prevalent in some of the longer-duration sorption tests). The neptunium adsorbed to goethite shows Np-O bond length of approximately 1.8 angstroms which is representative of the Np-O axial bond in the neptunyl(V) complex. This neptunyl(V) ion is coordinated to 5 or 6 equatorial oxygens with Np-O bond lengths of 2.45 angstroms. The absence of a clearly recognizable Np-Fe interaction for the sodium chloride sorption tests suggests that neptunium in these solutions adsorbs as an outer-sphere complex. XAS results from the calcium-bearing sodium silicate sorption tests show evidence for a neptunyl(V) inner-sphere surface complex with a Np-Fe interaction at 3.5 angstroms. Desorption tests indicate that samples in which neptunium is bound as inner-sphere complexes show significant sorption hysteresis relative to samples in which neptunium is bound largely as outer-sphere complexes.

Research Article
Copyright © Materials Research Society 2007

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