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Np(V) sorption and solubility in high pH calcite systems

DOI: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2018.06.016 DOI Help

Authors: Kurt F. Smith (The University of Manchester) , Nick D. Bryan (National Nuclear Laboratory) , Gareth T. W. Law (The University of Manchester) , Rosemary Hibberd (The University of Manchester) , Samuel Shaw (The University of Manchester) , Francis R. Livens (The University of Manchester) , Steve Parry (Diamond Light Source) , J. Frederick W. Mosselmans (Diamond Light Source) , Katherine Morris (University of Manchester)
Co-authored by industrial partner: Yes

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Chemical Geology

State: Published (Approved)
Published: June 2018
Diamond Proposal Number(s): 9621

Open Access Open Access

Abstract: Np(V) behaviour in alkaline, calcite containing systems was studied over a range of neptunium concentrations (1.62 × 10−3 μM–1.62 μM) in two synthetic, high pH, cement leachates under a CO2 controlled atmosphere. The cement leachates were representative of conditions expected in an older (pH 10.5, Ca2+) and younger (pH 13.3, Na+, K+, Ca2+) cementitious geological disposal facility. These systems were studied using a combination of batch sorption and solubility experiments, X-ray absorption spectroscopy, and geochemical modelling to describe Np behaviour. Np(V) solubility in calcite equilibrated old and young cement leachates (OCL and YCL) was 9.7 and 0.084 μM, respectively. In the OCL system, this was consistent with a Np(V)O2OH(am) phase controlling solubility. However, this phase did not explain the very low Np(V) solubility observed in the YCL system. This inconsistency was explored further with a range of pH 13.3 solubility experiments with and variable Ca2+(aq) concentrations. These experiments showed that at pH 13.3, Np(V) solubility decreased with increasing Ca2+ concentration confirming that Ca2+ was a critical control on Np solubility in the YCL systems. X-ray absorption near-edge structure spectroscopy on the precipitate from the 42.2 μM Np(V) experiment confirmed that a Np(V) dioxygenyl species was dominant. This was supported by both geochemical and extended X-ray absorption fine structure data, which suggested a calcium containing Np(V) hydroxide phase was controlling solubility. In YCL systems, sorption of Np(V) to calcite was observed across a range of Np concentrations and solid to solution ratios. A combination of both surface complexation and/or precipitation was likely responsible for the observed Np(V) reaction with calcite in these systems. In the OCL sorption experiments, Np(V) sorption to calcite across a range of Np concentrations was dependent on the solid to solution ratio which is consistent with the formation of a mono-nuclear surface complex. All systems demonstrated slow sorption kinetics, with reaction times of weeks needed to reach apparent equilibrium. This could be explained by slow recrystallisation of the calcite surface and/or the presence of Np(V) colloidal species. Overall, these data provide valuable new insights into Np(V) and actinide(V) behaviour in alkaline conditions of relevance to the disposal of intermediate level radioactive wastes.

Journal Keywords: Calcite; Neptunium; Alkaline; Sorption; XAS; Solubility

Subject Areas: Environment, Chemistry, Energy

Instruments: B18-Core EXAFS