Uranium fate during crystallization of magnetite from ferrihydrite in conditions relevant to the disposal of radioactive waste

Marshall, Timothy A. and Morris, Katherine and Law, Gareth T.W. and Mosselmans, Frederick W. and Bots, Pieter and Roberts, Hannah and Shaw, Samuel (2015) Uranium fate during crystallization of magnetite from ferrihydrite in conditions relevant to the disposal of radioactive waste. Mineralogical Magazine, 79 (6). pp. 1265-1274. ISSN 0026-461X

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    Abstract

    Uranium incorporation into magnetite and its behaviour during subsequent oxidation has been investigated at high pH to determine the uranium retention mechanism(s) on formation and oxidative perturbation of magnetite in systems relevant to radioactive waste disposal. Ferrihydrite was exposed to U(VI)aq containing cement leachates (pH 10.5-13.1) and crystallization of magnetite was induced via addition of Fe(II)aq. A combination of XRD, chemical extraction and XAS techniques provided direct evidence that U(VI) was reduced and incorporated into the magnetite structure, possibly as U(V), with a significant fraction recalcitrant to oxidative remobilization. Immobilization of U(VI) by reduction and incorporation into magnetite at high pH, and with significant stability upon reoxidation, has clear and important implications for limiting uranium migration in geological disposal of radioactive wastes. © 2016 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston.