U.S. Department of Energy


Date of this Version



Environ. Sci. Technol. 2011, 45, 8733–8740


Uranium adsorption − desorption on sediment samples collected from the Hanford 300-Area, Richland, WA varied extensively over a range of field-relevant chemical conditions, complicating assessment of possible differences in equilibrium adsorption properties. Adsorption equilibrium was achieved in 500−1000 h although dissolved uranium concentrations increased over thousands of hours owing to changes in aqueous chemical composition driven by sediment-water reactions. A nonelectrostatic surface complexation reaction, >SOH + UO22+ + 2CO32- = >SOUO2(CO3HCO3)2- , provided the best fit to experimental data for each sediment sample resulting in a range of conditional equilibrium constants (logKc) from 21.49 to 21.76. Potential differences in uranium adsorption properties could be assessed in plots based on the generalized massaction expressions yielding linear trends displaced vertically by differences in logKc values. Using this approach, logKc values for seven sediment samples were not significantly different. However, a significant difference in adsorption properties between one sediment sample and the fines (Kc uncertainty were improved by capturing all data points within experimental errors. The massaction expression plots demonstrate that applying models outside the range of conditions used in model calibration greatly increases potential errors.