Reduced Uranium Phases Produced from Anaerobic Reaction with Nanoscale Zerovalent Iron

Sergey Tsarev, Richard N. Collins, Adam Fahy, T. David Waite

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Nanoscale zerovalent iron (nZVI) has shown potential to be an effective remediation agent for uranium-contaminated subsurface environments, however, the nature of the reaction products and their formation kinetics have not been fully elucidated over a range of environmentally relevant conditions. In this study, the oxygen-free reaction of U(VI) with varying quantities of nZVI was examined at pH 7 in the presence of both calcium and carbonate using a combination of X-ray absorption spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction and transmission electron microscopy. It was observed that the structure of the reduced U solid phases was time dependent and largely influenced by the ratio of nZVI to U in the system. At the highest U:Fe molar ratio examined (1:4), nanoscale uraninite (UO2) was predominantly formed within 1 day of reaction. At lower U:Fe molar ratios (1:21), evidence was obtained for the formation of sorbed U(IV) and U(V) surface complexes which slowly transformed to UO2 nanoparticles that were stable for up to 1 year of anaerobic incubation. After 8 days of reaction at the lowest U:Fe molar ratio examined (1:110), sorbed U(IV) was still the major form of U associated with the solid phase. Regardless of the U:Fe molar ratio, the anaerobic corrosion of nZVI resulted in the slow formation of micron-sized fibrous chukanovite (Fe2(OH)2CO3) particles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2595-2601
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


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