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Dissolution of biogenic and synthetic UO2 under varied reducing conditions.

ABSTRACT: The chemical stability of biogenic UO2, a nanoparticulate product of environmental bioremediation, may be impacted by the particles' surface free energy, structural defects, and compositional variability in analogy to abiotic UO(2+x) (0 < or = x < or = 0.25). This study quantifies and compares intrinsic solubility and dissolution rate constants of biogenic nano-UO2 and synthetic bulk UO2.00, taking molecular-scale structure into account. Rates were determined under anoxic conditions as a function of pH and dissolved inorganic carbon in continuous-flow experiments. The dissolution rates of biogenic and synthetic UO2 solids were lowest at near neutral pH and increased with decreasing pH. Similar surface area-normalized rates of biogenic and synthetic UO2 suggest comparable reactive surface site densities. This finding is consistent with the identified structural homology of biogenic UO2 and stoichiometric UO2.00 Compared to carbonate-free anoxic conditions, dissolved inorganic carbon accelerated the dissolution rate of biogenic UO2 by 3 orders of magnitude. This phenomenon suggests continuous surface oxidation of U(IV) to U(VI), with detachment of U(VI) as the rate-determining step in dissolution. Although reducing conditions were maintained throughout the experiments, the UO2 surface can be oxidized by water and radiogenic oxidants. Even in anoxic aquifers, UO2 dissolution may be controlled by surface U(VI) rather than U(IV) phases.


PROVIDER: S-EPMC2563044 | BioStudies | 2008-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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