Trace Metals in Groundwater & the Vadose Zone Calcite: In Situ Containment & Stabilization of Strontium-90 & Other Divalent Metals & Radionuclides at Arid West DOE

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Radionuclide and metal contaminants such as strontium-90 are present beneath U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) lands in both the groundwater (e.g., 100-N area at Hanford, WA) and vadose zone (e.g., Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory). In situ containment and stabilization of these contaminants is a cost-effective treatment strategy. However, implementing in situ containment and stabilization approaches requires definition of the mechanisms that control contaminant sequestration. We are investigating the in situ immobilization of radionuclides or contaminant metals (e.g., strontium-90) by their facilitated co-precipitation with calcium carbonate in groundwater and vadose zone ... continued below

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Smith, Robert W. December 1, 2004.

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Radionuclide and metal contaminants such as strontium-90 are present beneath U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) lands in both the groundwater (e.g., 100-N area at Hanford, WA) and vadose zone (e.g., Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory). In situ containment and stabilization of these contaminants is a cost-effective treatment strategy. However, implementing in situ containment and stabilization approaches requires definition of the mechanisms that control contaminant sequestration. We are investigating the in situ immobilization of radionuclides or contaminant metals (e.g., strontium-90) by their facilitated co-precipitation with calcium carbonate in groundwater and vadose zone systems. Our facilitated approach, shown schematically in Figure 1, relies upon the hydrolysis of introduced urea to cause the acceleration of calcium carbonate precipitation (and trace metal co-precipitation) by increasing pH and alkalinity. Subsurface urea hydrolysis is catalyzed by the urease enzyme, which may be either introduced with the urea or produced in situ by ubiquitous subsurface urea hydrolyzing microorganisms. Because the precipitation process tends to be irreversible and many western aquifers are saturated with respect to calcite, the co-precipitated metals and radionuclides will be effectively removed from the aqueous phase over the long-term. Another advantage of the ureolysis approach is that the ammonium ions produced by the reaction can exchange with radionuclides sorbed to subsurface minerals, thereby enhancing the availability of the radionuclides for re-capture in a more stable solid phase (co-precipitation rather than adsorption).

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  • Report No.: EMSP-87016--2004
  • Grant Number: FG07-02ER63486
  • DOI: 10.2172/850392 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 850392
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc788042

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Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • December 1, 2004

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  • Dec. 3, 2015, 9:30 a.m.

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  • Aug. 3, 2016, 6:07 p.m.

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Smith, Robert W. Trace Metals in Groundwater & the Vadose Zone Calcite: In Situ Containment & Stabilization of Strontium-90 & Other Divalent Metals & Radionuclides at Arid West DOE, report, December 1, 2004; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc788042/: accessed October 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.