Promising science plutonium cleanup

Promising science for plutonium cleanup

1:35 PM, 16th July 2011
Promising science for plutonium cleanup
New research demonstrated the effect of goethite on reduction of Pu(IV) by measuring the time dependence of total aqueous Pu concentration, its oxidation state, and system pe/pH.

RICHLAND, US: Scientists from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Rai Enviro-Chem, LLC, recently published first-ever results that illustrate the importance of determining hard-to-find oxidized Fe(III) reaction products in the reduction of Pu(IV) to Pu(III) by the reductant Fe(II). The shift from the insoluble Pu(IV) - the current state of plutonium contaminants within sediments at the Department of Energy’s Hanford Site - to the lower oxidation state Pu(III) is a very important reaction to study because Pu(III) is soluble, and therefore potentially more mobile in the groundwater.

However, this particular reduction reaction is far less studied than other contaminant-related reactions because of the radioactivity of the samples and the need for specialized facilities and equipment. The research team’s overall strategy was to move beyond bulk studies of Pu(IV) /Fe(II) interactions  to explore the microscopic and molecular processes involved in forming the tiny amounts of Fe(III) oxidization products that the reaction generates - a challenge that had never been attempted.

In this case, the team coupled solution-phase measurements of Pu concentrations and oxidation state determinations with SEM/TEM analysis of the reaction products, which demonstrated the enhancing role that Fe(III) reaction products play in the formation of Pu(III), and led to development of the first thermodynamic theory of such an effect.

This outcome is a considerable step toward understanding the molecular mechanisms that govern the reduction from Pu(IV) to Pu(III), while also arming engineers with new information on how to inhibit the reaction in contaminated subsurface environments around the nation. Studies like these will be greatly enhanced by the addition of EMSL’s new Radiochemistry Annex, which is set to fully open to the global user community in Fall 2012. Until then, selected new radiological capabilities will become available to users beginning in August 2011.

This work was supported by DOE’s Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER) as part of the Subsurface Biogeochemical Research Science Focus Area at PNNL. Portions of the work were performed at EMSL, a national scientific user facility sponsored by BER and located at PNNL.

(C) Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory News

 

0 Comments

Login

Your Comments (Up to 2000 characters)
Please respect our community and the integrity of its participants. WOC reserves the right to moderate and approve your comment.

Related News


Cyclodextrin dimer becomes synthetic polymerase

OSAKA, JAPAN: Chemists have made an artificial polymerase that doesn’t need a metal catalyst or organic solvents and is more efficient than curr ...

Read more
3M opens temporary wafer bonding application lab in Taiwan

ST PAUL, US: 3M has opened an application laboratory in Yangmei, Taiwan, for 200 mm and 300 mm temporary wafer bonding. The 3M Semiconductor Innovatio ...

Read more
Ma'aden starts production at DAP complex in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA: The Saudi Arabian Mining Company, Ma’aden announced that Ma’aden Phosphate Company started initial ‎production f ...

Read more
Honeywell to invest $ 33 million in Louisiana facility

NEW JERSEY, US: Honeywell will invest $ 33 million in its Baton Rouge manufacturing facility in the US, to produce a low-global-warming material used ...

Read more
AkzoNobel plans world class manufacturing plant in UK

AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS: AkzoNobel plans to build a hi-tech manufacturing facility in the North-East of England. Around € 110 million is earma ...

Read more
Ajinomoto, Granules form joint venture to manufacture APIs in India

  TOKYO, JAPAN: Ajinomoto Co’s wholly owned subsidiary, Ajinomoto OmniChem N V (Belgium) will form a joint venture with Granules India Ltd ...

Read more