Selective removal of radiocesium from micaceous clay for post-accident soil decontamination by temperature-controlled Mg-leaching in a column.

Affiliation

Collaborative Laboratories for Advanced Decommissioning Science (CLADS), Japan Atomic Energy Agency, 790-1 Otsuka, Motooka, Tomioka, Fukushima 979-1195, Japan. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

The effective and efficient removal of radioactive Cs from contaminated soil is highly urgent for the nuclear post-accident remediation. In present study, we achieved rapid Cs desorption from both a typical micaceous clay (i.e., vermiculitized biotite, VB) and actually contaminated soil by high-speed ion exchange through temperature-controlled continuous leaching with Mg-solutions in a column reactor. Cs-sorbed VB was firstly employed as a soil surrogate to explore the macro-Cs desorption process and micro-mechanism in detail. Results showed that VB sandwiched the adsorbed Cs to its interlayers within collapsed structure (10.7 Å) and prevent Cs release even by abundant extraction with H2O at 250 °C or Mg2+ at 25 °C. However, Mg2+-extracted Cs desorption boosted significantly with elevating temperatures and 100 % of sorbed-Cs was removed from Cs-VB leached above 150 °C. Further structural and composition analysis of the leached specimen ensured that solvated Mg2+ preferentially entered into Cs+-collapsed interlayers at 150 °C than K+-interlayers above 200 °C, leading to prior complete Cs removal over K from VB at lower temperatures. By contrast, the Cs-contaminated soil reduced by ∼39 % but ∼82 % of its initial radioactivity after equally leaching with same volumes of Mg2+-solution at 150 and 200 °C, respectively. These temperature-controlled Cs desorption validated that radioactive Cs in actual soil indeed be tightly trapped by micaceous clays nearly in the Cs-K co-collapsed interlayers, to which its extraction by other cations can conditionally occur above enough high leaching temperatures. These superior features would inspire new insights for the design of novel practical technologies for treatment and decontamination of the nuclear post-accident soils.

Keywords

Clay mineral,Contaminated soil,Fukushima nuclear power plant accident,Soil remediation,Volume reduction,

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