At the Hanford Site in the state of Washington, leakage of hyperalkaline, high ionic strength wastewater from underground storage tanks into the vadose zone has induced mineral transformations and changes in radionuclide speciation. Remediation of this wastewater will decrease the ionic strength of water infiltrating to the vadose zone and could affect the fate of the radionuclides. Although it was shown that radionuclide host phases are thermodynamically stable in the presence of waste fluids, a decrease in solution ionic strength and pH could alter aggregate stability and remobilize radionuclide-bearing colloids and particulate matter. We quantified the release of particulate, colloidal, and truly dissolved Sr, Cs, and I from hyperalkalineweathered Hanford sediments during a low ionic strength pore water leach and characterized the released particles and colloids using electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction. Although most of the Sr, Cs, and I was released in dissolved form, between 3 and 30% of the Sr and 4 to 18% of the Cs was associated with a dominantly zeolitic mobile particulate fraction. Thus, the removal of hyperalkaline wastewater will likely induce Sr and Cs mobilization that will be augmented by particulate- and colloidfacilitated transport.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Engineering
- Water Science and Technology
- Waste Management and Disposal
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law