When present, uranium is usually an element of importance in a nuclear waste repository. In the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), uranium is present in significant quantities, with about 647 metric tons to be placed in the repository . Therefore, the chemistry of uranium, and especially its solubility, needs to be determined under WIPP-relevant conditions.
Long-term experiments were performed to measure the solubility of uranium (VI) in carbonate-free ERDA-6 brine, a simulated WIPP brine, at pCH+ values between 8 and 12.5. These data, obtained from the over-saturation approach, were the first WIPP repository-relevant data for the VI actinide oxidation state. The solubility trends observed pointed towards low uranium solubility in WIPP brine and a lack of amphotericity. At the expected pCH+ in the WIPP (˜ 9.5), measured uranium solubility approached 10-7 M. The objective of these experiments was to establish a baseline solubility to further investigate the effects of carbonate complexation on uranium solubility in WIPP brines, during the ongoing research program in actinide solubility under WIPP-relevant conditions.