Study of the radium sorption/desorption on goethite.
Bassot, S. Stammose, D. Mallet, C. Lefebvre, C. Ferreux, J.-M.
actes du congrès IRPA-10: 10. international congress of the International Radiation Protection Association Hiroshima (Japan) 14-19 May 2000; No. P-4b-258
The oxi-hydroxides, present at trace level in uranium mill tailings, are responsible of about 70% of the 226 radium sorption, half being fixed on crystallized forms. This radionuclide (half time=1622y), present at high level (50 to 100kBq.kg-1), can be released in groundwater, involving a possible contamination of the food chain (actual concentration limit=0.37Bq.1-1). So, it is very important to point out the mechanisms of the radium sorption/desorption on crystallized oxi-hydroxides as a function of chemical conditions of the system. The radium sorption on synthetic goethite alpha-FeOOH has been studied as a function of contact time, initial radium activity, pH, sodium and calcium concentrations. The results show that, after one hour of contact time (necessary to reach equilibrium), the radium sorption increases widely in a pH range 6-7. The increase of Na+ concentration is without influence on the radium sorption, indicating the low interactions between sodium and surface sites. At the opposite, the presence of calcium in solution decreases widely the radium sorption, that indicates a competition between calcium and radium for the same kind of sorption sites of the oxi-hydroxide surface. The percentage of radium desorbed increases widely with time, from 1 to 120h and becomes constant at a time higher than 120h. This long equilibrium time for desorption in comparison with sorption one can be explain by a local evolution of the sorption sites of the solid, which become less accessible for the solution in contact.