SREL Reprint #2538




An in situ method for remediating 137Cs-contaminated wetlands using naturally occurring minerals

T. G. Hinton1, A. Knox1, D. Kaplan2, and S. Serkiz2

1Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Drawer E, Aiken, SC 29802, USA
2Westinghouse Savannah River Company, Aiken, SC, USA

Abstract: Cesium's enhanced bioavailability in contaminated wetlands on the U.S. Department of Energy's Savannah River Site (SRS) is thought to be due to the low clay fraction of SRS soils, and that the clay mineralogy is dominated by kaolinites. Remediation of the wetlands is problematic because current technologies are destructive to the sensitive ecosystems. We tested 11 clay minerals (two micas, a vermiculite, six illites, a kaolinite, and a smectite) for their propensity to sorb and retain 137Cs. Two minerals were subsequently chosen as candidates for in situ remediation amendment materials because they had 137Cs distribution coefficients (Kd) well in excess of 10,000 ml·g-1, and desorbed less than 20% of the Cs when mixed in a 0.1 M NH4Cl solution. Incremental additions of the candidate minerals to 137Cs-contaminated sediments appreciably intercepted and retained desorbed 137Cs in the presence of high levels of NH4. Implications for using the minerals as a nondestructive, in situ remediation technique are discussed.     

SREL Reprint #2538

Hinton, T. G., K. A., D. Kaplan, and S. Serkiz. 2001. An in situ method of remediating 137Cs-contaminated wetlands using naturally occurring minerals. Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry 249:197-202.

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