The application of illite supported nanoscale zero valent iron for the treatment of uranium contaminated groundwater.J Environ Radioact. 2017 Sep; 175-176:1-6.JE
In this study, nanoscale zero valent iron I-NZVI was investigated as a remediation strategy for uranium contaminated groundwater from the former Cimarron Fuel Fabrication Site in Oklahoma, USA. The 1 L batch-treatment system was applied in the study. The result shows that 99.9% of uranium in groundwater was removed by I-NZVI within 2 h. Uranium concentration in the groundwater stayed around 27 μg/L, and there was no sign of uranium release into groundwater after seven days of reaction time. Meanwhile the release of iron was significantly decreased compared to NZVI which can reduce the treatment impact on the water environment. To study the influence of background pH of the treatment system on removal efficiency of uranium, the groundwater was adjusted from pH 2-10 before the addition of I-NZVI. The pH of the groundwater was from 2.1 to 10.7 after treatment. The removal efficiency of uranium achieved a maximum in neutral pH of groundwater. The desorption of uranium on the residual solid phase after treatment was investigated in order to discuss the stability of uranium on residual solids. After 2 h of leaching, 0.07% of the total uranium on residual solid phase was leached out in a HNO3 leaching solution with a pH of 4.03. The concentration of uranium in the acid leachate was under 3.2 μg/L which is below the EPA's maximum contaminant level of 30 μg/L. Otherwise, the concentration of uranium was negligible in distilled water leaching solution (pH = 6.44) and NaOH leaching solution (pH = 8.52). A desorption study shows that an acceptable amount of uranium on the residuals can be released into water system under strong acid conditions in short terms. For long term disposal management of the residual solids, the leachate needs to be monitored and treated before discharge into a hazardous landfill or the water system. For the first time, I-NZVI was applied for the treatment of uranium contaminated groundwater. These results provide proof that I-NZVI has improved performance compared to NZVI and is a promising technology for the restoration of complex uranium contaminated water resources.