In the geological disposal of radioactive wastes, cement used for the repository construction alters the condition of groundwater to highly alkaline of pH about 13. Such alkaline groundwater around the repository would alter the surfaces of the rocks in the flow paths to the amorphous phase. Once the surface is altered, it takes a geological period (so much long time) to restore the surface to its former condition. This study examined the sorption behavior of europium (Eu-152 (tracer), Eu-151 (5×10-5 M, carrier) onto some silica minerals with polymeric silicic acid. Polymeric silicic acid also affects the alteration of the solid surface.
The results showed that the kinds of silica minerals strongly affect the sorption behavior in the range of 5<pH<8. The main difference was due to the degree of crystallization of the solid phase, the specific surface area and the concentration of polymeric silicic acid. Since the amorphous silica or polymeric silicic acid takes a loose structure, the isoelectric point is high compared to the crystal ones such as opal-CT and cristobalite, which in turn decreases the sorption. The crystalline silica with polymeric silicic acid remarkably decreased the sorption of europium. This suggested that the surface of solid phase was altered by polymeric silicic acid.