Formation of hydroxyapatite in soils using calcium citrate and sodium phosphate for control of strontium migration

Robert C. Moore, Charles Sanchez, Kathleen Holt, Pengchu Zhang, Huifang Xu, Gregory R. Choppin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


90Sr contamination is a major problem at several U.S. sites. At some sites, 90Sr has migrated deep underground making site remediation difficult. In this paper, we describe a novel method for precipitation of hydroxyapatite, a strong sorbent for 90Sr, in soil. The method is based on mixing a solution of calcium citrate and sodium phosphate in soil. As the indigenous soil microorganisms mineralize the citrate, the calcium is released and forms hydroxyapatite. Soil, taken from the Albuquerque desert, was treated with a sodium phosphate solution or a sodium phosphate/calcium citrate solution. TEM and EDS were used to identify hydroxyapatite with CO32- substitutions, with a formula of (Ca4.8Na0.2)[(PO4)2.8(CO 3)0.2](OH), in the soil treated with the sodium phosphate/calcium citrate solution. Untreated and treated soils were used in batch sorption experiments for Sr uptake. Average Sr uptake was 19.5, 77.0 and 94.7% for the untreated soil, soil treated with sodium phosphate, and soil with apatite, respectively. In desorption experiments, the untreated soil, phosphate treated soil and apatite treated soil released an average of 34.2, 28.8 and 4.8% respectively. The results indicate the potential of forming apatite in soil using soluble reagents for retardation of radionuclide migration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)719-723
Number of pages5
JournalRadiochimica Acta
Issue number9-11
StatePublished - 2004


  • Apatite
  • Barrier
  • Hydroxyapatite
  • Immobilization
  • Radionuclide
  • Soils
  • Sorption
  • Strontium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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