Plutonium Oxidation and Subsequent Reduction by Mn (IV) Minerals

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Plutonium sorbed to rock tuff was preferentially associated with manganese oxides. On tuff and synthetic pyrolusite (Mn{sup IV}O{sub 2}), Pu(IV) or Pu(V) was initially oxidized, but over time Pu(IV) became the predominant oxidation state of sorbed Pu. Reduction of Pu(V/VI), even on non-oxidizing surfaces, is proposed to result from a lower Gibbs free energy of the hydrolyzed Pu(IV) surface species versus that of the Pu(V) or Pu(VI) surface species. This work suggests that despite initial oxidation of sorbed Pu by oxidizing surfaces to more soluble forms, the less mobile form of Pu, Pu(IV), will dominate Pu solid phase speciation during ... continued below

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KAPLAN, DANIEL September 13, 2005.

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Plutonium sorbed to rock tuff was preferentially associated with manganese oxides. On tuff and synthetic pyrolusite (Mn{sup IV}O{sub 2}), Pu(IV) or Pu(V) was initially oxidized, but over time Pu(IV) became the predominant oxidation state of sorbed Pu. Reduction of Pu(V/VI), even on non-oxidizing surfaces, is proposed to result from a lower Gibbs free energy of the hydrolyzed Pu(IV) surface species versus that of the Pu(V) or Pu(VI) surface species. This work suggests that despite initial oxidation of sorbed Pu by oxidizing surfaces to more soluble forms, the less mobile form of Pu, Pu(IV), will dominate Pu solid phase speciation during long term geologic storage. The safe design of a radioactive waste or spent nuclear fuel geologic repository requires a risk assessment of radionuclides that may potentially be released into the surrounding environment. Geochemical knowledge of the radionuclide and the surrounding environment is required for predicting subsurface fate and transport. Although difficult even in simple systems, this task grows increasingly complicated for constituents, like Pu, that exhibit complex environmental chemistries. The environmental behavior of Pu can be influenced by complexation, precipitation, adsorption, colloid formation, and oxidation/reduction (redox) reactions (1-3). To predict the environmental mobility of Pu, the most important of these factors is Pu oxidation state. This is because Pu(IV) is generally 2 to 3 orders of magnitude less mobile than Pu(V) in most environments (4). Further complicating matters, Pu commonly exists simultaneously in several oxidation states (5, 6). Choppin (7) reported Pu may exist as Pu(IV), Pu(V), or Pu(VI) oxic natural groundwaters. It is generally accepted that plutonium associated with suspended particulate matter is predominantly Pu(IV) (8-10), whereas Pu in the aqueous phase is predominantly Pu(V) (2, 11-13). The influence of the character of Mn-containing minerals expected to be found in subsurface repository environments on Pu oxidation state distributions has been the subject of much recent research. Kenney-Kennicutt and Morse (14), Duff et al. (15), and Morgenstern and Choppin (16) observed oxidation of Pu facilitated by Mn(IV)-bearing minerals. Conversely, Shaughnessy et al. (17) used X-ray Absorption near-edge spectroscopy (XANES) to show reduction of Pu(VI) by hausmannite (Mn{sup II}Mn{sub 2}{sup III}O{sub 4}) and manganite ({gamma}-Mn{sup III}OOH) and Kersting et al., (18) observed reduction of Pu(VI) by pyrolusite (Mn{sup IV}O{sub 2}). In this paper, we attempt to reconcile the apparently conflicting datasets by showing that Mn-bearing minerals can indeed oxidize Pu, however, if the oxidized species remains on the solid phase, the oxidation step competes with the formation of Pu(IV) that becomes the predominant solid phase Pu species with time. The experimental approach we took was to conduct longer term (approximately two years later) oxidation state analyses on the Pu sorbed to Yucca Mountain tuff (initial analysis reported by Duff et al., (15)) and measure the time-dependant changes in the oxidation state distribution of Pu in the presence of the Mn mineral pyrolusite.

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  • Report No.: WSRC-MS-2005-00519
  • Grant Number: DE-AC09-96SR18500
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 890082
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc882464

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  • September 13, 2005

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  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

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  • Nov. 2, 2016, 1:01 p.m.

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KAPLAN, DANIEL. Plutonium Oxidation and Subsequent Reduction by Mn (IV) Minerals, article, September 13, 2005; [Aiken, South Carolina]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc882464/: accessed December 14, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.