U.S. Department of Energy


Date of this Version



Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 75 (2011) 2965–2979; doi:10.1016/j.gca.2011.03.008


The adsorption and speciation of U(VI) was investigated on contaminated, fine grained sediment materials from the Hanford 300 area (SPP1 GWF) in simulated groundwater using cryogenic laser-induced U(VI) fluorescence spectroscopy combined with chemometric analysis. A series of reference minerals (montmorillonite, illite, Michigan chlorite, North Carolina chlorite, California clinochlore, quartz and synthetic 6-line ferrihydrite) was used for comparison that represents the mineralogical constituents of SPP1 GWF. Surface area-normalized Kd values were measured at U(VI) concentrations of 5 X 10−7 and 5 X 10−6 mol L−1 that displayed the following affinity series: 6-line-ferrihydrite > North Carolina chlorite ≈ California clinochlore > quartz ≈ Michigan chlorite > illite > montmorillonite. Both time-resolved spectra and asynchronous two-dimensional (2D) correlation analysis of SPP1 GWF at different delay times indicated that two major adsorbed U(VI) species were present in the sediment that resembled U(VI) adsorbed on quartz and phyllosilicates. Simulations of the normalized fluorescence spectra confirmed that the speciation of SPP1 GWF was best represented by a linear combination of U(VI) adsorbed on quartz (90%) and phyllosilicates (10%). However, the fluorescence quantum yield for U(VI) adsorbed on phyllosilicates was lower than quartz and, consequently, its fractional contribution to speciation may be underestimated. Spectral comparison with literature data suggested that U(VI) exist primarily as inner-sphere complexes with surface silanol groups on quartz and as surface U(VI) tricarbonate complexes on phyllosilicates.