U.S. Department of Energy


Date of this Version



Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 70 (2006) 4836–4849; doi:10.1016/j.gca.2006.06.1553


Uranyl silicates such as uranophane and Na-boltwoodite appear to control the solubility of uranium in certain contaminated sediments at the US Department of Energy Hanford site [Liu, C., Zachara, J.M., Qafoku, O., McKinley, J.P., Heald, S.M., Wang, Z. 2004. Dissolution of uranyl microprecipitates in subsurface sediments at Hanford Site, USA. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 68, 4519– 4537.]. Consequently, the solubility of synthetic Na-boltwoodite, Na(UO2)(SiO3OH) • 1.5H2O, was determined over a wide range of bicarbonate concentrations, from circumneutral to alkaline pH, that are representative of porewater and groundwater compositions at the Hanford site and calcareous environments generally. Experiments were open to air. Results show that Na-boltwoodite dissolution was nearly congruent and its solubility and dissolution kinetics increased with increasing bicarbonate concentration and pH. A consistent set of solubility constants were determined from circumneutral pH (0 added bicarbonate) to alkaline pH (50 mM added bicarbonate). Average log Kosp = 5:86 ± 0.24 or 5.85 ± 0.0.26; using the Pitzer ion-interaction model or Davies equation, respectively. These values are close to the one determined by [Nguyen, S.N., Silva, R.J., Weed, H.C., Andrews, Jr., J.E., 1992. Standard Gibbs free energies of formation at the temperature 303.15 K of four uranyl silicates: soddyite, uranophane, sodium boltwoodite, and sodium weeksite. J. Chem. Thermodynamics 24, 359–376.] under very different conditions (pH 4.5, Ar atmosphere).