Mechanism of uranium release from uranium mill tailings under long-term exposure to simulated acid rain: Geochemical evidence and environmental implication

Meiling Yin, Jing Sun, Yongheng Chen, Jin Wang, Jianying Shang, Nick Belshaw, Chuanchou Shen, Juan Liu, Huosheng Li, Wensheng Linghu, Tangfu Xiao, Xinjiao Dong, Gang Song, Enzong Xiao, Diyun Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

To date, there is not sufficient knowledge to fully understand the occurrence, transport and fate of residual uranium (U) from uranium mill tailings (UMT). Herein this study investigated different U release behaviors from natural UMT (without grinding) under four simulated acid rain (pH = 2.0–5.0) compared with controlled scenario (pH = 6.0) for 25 weeks. The results showed that the most notable U release was observed from UMTpH2.0, followed by UMTpH3.0 whereas a nonlinear relationship between pH and U release was observed from UMTpH4.0–6.0. The divergence of U release behaviors was attributed to the presence of minerals such as calcite and clinochlore. Autunite, a secondary mineral formed after leaching, might regulate U release in UMTpH3.0–6.0. Fick theory model revealed the shift of U release mechanism from surface dissolution to diffusion transport for UMTpH2.0, UMTpH3.0 and UMTpH5.0 at varied stage, whereas UMTpH4.0 and UMTpH6.0 displayed univocal dissolution and diffusion mechanism, respectively. This study highlights the necessity of performing long-term leaching tests to detect the “shift event” of leaching kinetics and to better understand the mechanism of U release influenced by mineralogy of the natural UMT under simulated acid rain conditions, which is conducive to developing UMT management strategies to minimize the risk of U release and exposure.
LanguageEnglish
Pages174-181
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Volume244
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

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Acid Rain
Acid rain
Uranium
Tailings
Leaching
Minerals
Dissolution
Mineralogy
Calcium Carbonate
Calcite
Kinetics

Cite this

Yin, Meiling ; Sun, Jing ; Chen, Yongheng ; Wang, Jin ; Shang, Jianying ; Belshaw, Nick ; Shen, Chuanchou ; Liu, Juan ; Li, Huosheng ; Linghu, Wensheng ; Xiao, Tangfu ; Dong, Xinjiao ; Song, Gang ; Xiao, Enzong ; Chen, Diyun. / Mechanism of uranium release from uranium mill tailings under long-term exposure to simulated acid rain: Geochemical evidence and environmental implication. In: Environmental Pollution. 2019 ; Vol. 244. pp. 174-181.
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abstract = "To date, there is not sufficient knowledge to fully understand the occurrence, transport and fate of residual uranium (U) from uranium mill tailings (UMT). Herein this study investigated different U release behaviors from natural UMT (without grinding) under four simulated acid rain (pH = 2.0–5.0) compared with controlled scenario (pH = 6.0) for 25 weeks. The results showed that the most notable U release was observed from UMTpH2.0, followed by UMTpH3.0 whereas a nonlinear relationship between pH and U release was observed from UMTpH4.0–6.0. The divergence of U release behaviors was attributed to the presence of minerals such as calcite and clinochlore. Autunite, a secondary mineral formed after leaching, might regulate U release in UMTpH3.0–6.0. Fick theory model revealed the shift of U release mechanism from surface dissolution to diffusion transport for UMTpH2.0, UMTpH3.0 and UMTpH5.0 at varied stage, whereas UMTpH4.0 and UMTpH6.0 displayed univocal dissolution and diffusion mechanism, respectively. This study highlights the necessity of performing long-term leaching tests to detect the “shift event” of leaching kinetics and to better understand the mechanism of U release influenced by mineralogy of the natural UMT under simulated acid rain conditions, which is conducive to developing UMT management strategies to minimize the risk of U release and exposure.",
author = "Meiling Yin and Jing Sun and Yongheng Chen and Jin Wang and Jianying Shang and Nick Belshaw and Chuanchou Shen and Juan Liu and Huosheng Li and Wensheng Linghu and Tangfu Xiao and Xinjiao Dong and Gang Song and Enzong Xiao and Diyun Chen",
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Yin, M, Sun, J, Chen, Y, Wang, J, Shang, J, Belshaw, N, Shen, C, Liu, J, Li, H, Linghu, W, Xiao, T, Dong, X, Song, G, Xiao, E & Chen, D 2019, 'Mechanism of uranium release from uranium mill tailings under long-term exposure to simulated acid rain: Geochemical evidence and environmental implication' Environmental Pollution, vol. 244, pp. 174-181. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2018.10.018

Mechanism of uranium release from uranium mill tailings under long-term exposure to simulated acid rain: Geochemical evidence and environmental implication. / Yin, Meiling; Sun, Jing; Chen, Yongheng; Wang, Jin; Shang, Jianying; Belshaw, Nick; Shen, Chuanchou; Liu, Juan; Li, Huosheng; Linghu, Wensheng; Xiao, Tangfu; Dong, Xinjiao; Song, Gang; Xiao, Enzong; Chen, Diyun.

In: Environmental Pollution, Vol. 244, 01.01.2019, p. 174-181.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T1 - Mechanism of uranium release from uranium mill tailings under long-term exposure to simulated acid rain: Geochemical evidence and environmental implication

AU - Yin, Meiling

AU - Sun, Jing

AU - Chen, Yongheng

AU - Wang, Jin

AU - Shang, Jianying

AU - Belshaw, Nick

AU - Shen, Chuanchou

AU - Liu, Juan

AU - Li, Huosheng

AU - Linghu, Wensheng

AU - Xiao, Tangfu

AU - Dong, Xinjiao

AU - Song, Gang

AU - Xiao, Enzong

AU - Chen, Diyun

PY - 2019/1/1

Y1 - 2019/1/1

N2 - To date, there is not sufficient knowledge to fully understand the occurrence, transport and fate of residual uranium (U) from uranium mill tailings (UMT). Herein this study investigated different U release behaviors from natural UMT (without grinding) under four simulated acid rain (pH = 2.0–5.0) compared with controlled scenario (pH = 6.0) for 25 weeks. The results showed that the most notable U release was observed from UMTpH2.0, followed by UMTpH3.0 whereas a nonlinear relationship between pH and U release was observed from UMTpH4.0–6.0. The divergence of U release behaviors was attributed to the presence of minerals such as calcite and clinochlore. Autunite, a secondary mineral formed after leaching, might regulate U release in UMTpH3.0–6.0. Fick theory model revealed the shift of U release mechanism from surface dissolution to diffusion transport for UMTpH2.0, UMTpH3.0 and UMTpH5.0 at varied stage, whereas UMTpH4.0 and UMTpH6.0 displayed univocal dissolution and diffusion mechanism, respectively. This study highlights the necessity of performing long-term leaching tests to detect the “shift event” of leaching kinetics and to better understand the mechanism of U release influenced by mineralogy of the natural UMT under simulated acid rain conditions, which is conducive to developing UMT management strategies to minimize the risk of U release and exposure.

AB - To date, there is not sufficient knowledge to fully understand the occurrence, transport and fate of residual uranium (U) from uranium mill tailings (UMT). Herein this study investigated different U release behaviors from natural UMT (without grinding) under four simulated acid rain (pH = 2.0–5.0) compared with controlled scenario (pH = 6.0) for 25 weeks. The results showed that the most notable U release was observed from UMTpH2.0, followed by UMTpH3.0 whereas a nonlinear relationship between pH and U release was observed from UMTpH4.0–6.0. The divergence of U release behaviors was attributed to the presence of minerals such as calcite and clinochlore. Autunite, a secondary mineral formed after leaching, might regulate U release in UMTpH3.0–6.0. Fick theory model revealed the shift of U release mechanism from surface dissolution to diffusion transport for UMTpH2.0, UMTpH3.0 and UMTpH5.0 at varied stage, whereas UMTpH4.0 and UMTpH6.0 displayed univocal dissolution and diffusion mechanism, respectively. This study highlights the necessity of performing long-term leaching tests to detect the “shift event” of leaching kinetics and to better understand the mechanism of U release influenced by mineralogy of the natural UMT under simulated acid rain conditions, which is conducive to developing UMT management strategies to minimize the risk of U release and exposure.

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