Title: Effect of Bicarbonate and Oxidizing Conditions on U(IV) and U(VI) Reactivity in Mineralized Deposits of New Mexico.
Authors: Avasarala, Sumant; Torres, Chris; Ali, Abdul-Mehdi S; Thomson, Bruce M; Spilde, Michael N; Peterson, Eric J; Artyushkova, Kateryna; Dobrica, Elena; Lezama-Pacheco, Juan S; Cerrato, José M
Published In Chem Geol, (2019 Oct 05)
Abstract: We investigated the effect of bicarbonate and oxidizing agents on uranium (U) reactivity and subsequent dissolution of U(IV) and U(VI) mineral phases in the mineralized deposits from Jackpile mine, Laguna Pueblo, New Mexico, by integrating laboratory experiments with spectroscopy, microscopy and diffraction techniques. Uranium concentration in solid samples from mineralized deposit obtained for this study exceeded 7000 mg kg-1, as determined by X-ray fluorescence (XRF). Results from X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) suggest the coexistence of U(VI) and U(IV) at a ratio of 19:1 at the near surface region of unreacted solid samples. Analyses made using X-ray diffraction (XRD) and electron microprobe detected the presence of coffinite (USiO4) and uranium-phosphorous-potassium (U-P-K) mineral phases. Imaging, mapping and spectroscopy results from scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) indicate that the U-P-K phases were encapsulated by carbon. Despite exposing the solid samples to strong oxidizing conditions, the highest aqueous U concentrations were measured from samples reacted with 100% air saturated 10 mM NaHCO3 solution, at pH 7.5. Analyses using X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) indicate that all the U(IV) in these solid samples were oxidized to U(VI) after reaction with dissolved oxygen and hypochlorite (OCl-) in the presence of bicarbonate (HCO3-). The reaction between these organic rich deposits, and 100% air saturated bicarbonate solution (containing dissolved oxygen), can result in considerable mobilization of U in water, which has relevance to the U concentrations observed at the Rio Paguate across the Jackpile mine. Results from this investigation provide insights on the reactivity of carbon encapsulated U-phases under mild and strong oxidizing conditions that have important implication in U recovery, remediation and risk exposure assessment of sites.
PubMed ID: 31406388
MeSH Terms: No MeSH terms associated with this publication