Journal Article Formation and Geological Sequestration of Uranium Nanoparticles in Deep Granitic Aquifer

Suzuki, Yohey  ,  Mukai, Hiroki  ,  Ishimura, Toyoho  ,  Yokoyama, Takaomi D.  ,  Sakata, Shuhei  ,  Hirata, Takafumi  ,  Iwatsuki, Teruki  ,  Mizuno, Takashi

62016-03-07 , Nature Publishing Group
The stimulation of bacterial activities that convert hexavalent uranium, U(VI), to tetravalent uranium, U(IV), appears to be feasible for cost-effective remediation of contaminated aquifers. However, U(VI) reduction typically results in the precipitation of U(IV) particles less than 5 nanometers in diameter, except for environmental conditions enriched with iron. Because these tiny particles are mobile and susceptible to oxidative dissolution after the termination of nutrient injection, in situ bioremediation remains to be impractical. Here we show that U(IV) nanoparticles of coffinite (U(SiO4)1-x(OH)4x) formed in fracture-filling calcium carbonate in a granitic aquifer. In situ U-Pb isotope dating demonstrates that U(IV) nanoparticles have been sequestered in the calcium carbonate for at least 1 million years. As the microbiologically induced precipitation of calcium carbonate in aquifer systems worldwide is extremely common, we anticipate simultaneous stimulation of microbial activities for precipitation reactions of calcium carbonate and U(IV) nanoparticles, which leads to long-term sequestration of uranium and other radionuclides in contaminated aquifers and deep geological repositories.

Number of accesses :  

Other information