U.S. Department of Energy


Date of this Version



Environ. Sci. Technol. 2009, 43, 6560–6566


Stirred-flow cell experiments were performed to investigate the kinetics of uranyl [U(VI)] desorption from a contaminated sediment collected from the Hanford 300 Area at the U.S. Department of Energy Hanford Site, Washington. Three influent solutions of variable pH, Ca and carbonate concentrations that affected U(VI) aqueous and surface speciation were used under dynamic flow conditions to evaluate the effect of geochemical conditions on the rate of U(VI) desorption. The measured rate of U(VI) desorption varied with solution chemical composition that evolved as a result of thermodynamic and kinetic interactions between the solutions and sediment. The solution chemical composition that led to a larger disequilibrium between adsorbed U(VI) and equilibrium adsorption state yielded a faster desorption rate. The experimental results were used to evaluate a multirate, surface complexation model (SCM) that has been proposed to describe U(VI) desorption kinetics in the Hanford sediment that contained complex adsorbed U(VI) in mass transfer limited domains (Lui et al. Water Resour. Res. 2008, 44, W08413). The model was modified and supplemented by including multirate, ion exchange reactions to describe the geochemical interactions between the solutions and sediment. With the same set of model parameters, the modified model reasonably well described the evolution of major ions and the rates of U(VI) desorption under variable geochemical and flow conditions, implying that the multirate SCM is an effective way to describe U(VI) desorption kinetics in subsurface sediments.