Reoxidation of Bioreduced Uranium Under Reducing Conditions

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Uranium mining and processing for nuclear weapons and fuel have left thousands of sites with toxic levels of this actinide in soil and ground water. An emerging strategy for remediating such environments involves using organic carbon to promote microbially-mediated reduction and precipitation of insoluble U(IV) minerals. Although previous U bioreduction studies have shown promising results, they were of short duration (up to a few months). Our longer-term (20 months) laboratory study using historically contaminated sediment has alarmingly shown that microbial reduction of U was transient even under reducing (methanogenic) conditions. Uranium was reductively immobilized during the first 100 days, but ... continued below

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Wan, Jiamin; Tokunaga, Tetsu K.; Larson, Joern; Zheng, Zuoping; Brodie, Eoin; Wang, Zheming et al. February 5, 2005.

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Uranium mining and processing for nuclear weapons and fuel have left thousands of sites with toxic levels of this actinide in soil and ground water. An emerging strategy for remediating such environments involves using organic carbon to promote microbially-mediated reduction and precipitation of insoluble U(IV) minerals. Although previous U bioreduction studies have shown promising results, they were of short duration (up to a few months). Our longer-term (20 months) laboratory study using historically contaminated sediment has alarmingly shown that microbial reduction of U was transient even under reducing (methanogenic) conditions. Uranium was reductively immobilized during the first 100 days, but later (150 to 600 days) reoxidized and mobilized, although a microbial community capable of reducing U(VI) remained through the end of the experiment. The formation of Ca{sub 2}UO{sub 2}(CO{sub 3}){sub 3} complexes (caused by the elevated carbonate concentration from microbial respiration and presence of calcium) drove the U(IV)/U(VI) reduction potential to much more reducing conditions. Fe(III) and Mn(IV) were found to be likely terminal electron acceptors (TEAs) for U reoxidation. Thus, U remediation by organic carbon based reductive precipitation is not sustainable in calcareous, neutral to alkaline soils and ground waters.

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  • Journal Name: Environmental Science & Technology; Journal Volume: 39; Journal Issue: 16; Related Information: Journal Publication Date: 15 August2005

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  • Report No.: LBNL--56058
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-05CH11231
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 860373
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc779776

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  • February 5, 2005

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  • Dec. 3, 2015, 9:30 a.m.

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  • Sept. 21, 2017, 3:38 p.m.

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Wan, Jiamin; Tokunaga, Tetsu K.; Larson, Joern; Zheng, Zuoping; Brodie, Eoin; Wang, Zheming et al. Reoxidation of Bioreduced Uranium Under Reducing Conditions, article, February 5, 2005; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc779776/: accessed September 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.