SREL Reprint #2296

 

 

 

In situ examination of uranium contaminated soil particles by micro-X-ray absorption and micro-fluorescence spectroscopies

D. B. Hunter, P. M. Bertsch
Advanced Analytical Center for Environmental Sciences, University.v of Georgia, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Aiken, SC 29801, USA

(Received February 5, 1998)

 

Two complimentary spectroscopic techniques, X-ray absorption and fluorescence spectroscopy have been conducted at spatial scales of 1 to 25 Ám on uranium contaminated soil sediments collected from two former nuclear materials processing facilities of the DOE: Fernald, OH and Savannah River Site, SC. A method of imbedding particles in a non-reactive Si polymer was developed such that individual particles could be examined before and after extraction with a wide range of chemicals typically used in sequential extraction techniques and others proposed for ex situ chemical intervention technologies. Using both the micro-X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and micro-X-ray Absorption Near Edge Structure (XANES) techniques, both elemental and oxidation state distribution maps were generated on individual particles before and following chemical extraction. XANES can determine the relative proportion of U(VI) and U(IV) in phases comprising individual particles before and after extraction and showed that greater than 85% of the uranium existed as hexavalent U(VI). Fluorescence spectra of contaminated particles containing mainly U(VI) revealed populations of uranyl hydroxide phases and demonstrated the relative efficacy and specificity of each extraction method. Correlation of XAS and fluorescence data at micron scales provides information of U oxidation state as well as chemical form in heterogeneous samples.

SREL Reprint #2296

Hunter, D.B. and P.M. Bertsch. 1998. In situ examination of uranium contaminated soil particles by micro-X-ray absorption and micro-fluorescence spectroscopies. Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry 234:237-242.

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