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Formation of studtite during the oxidative dissolution of UO2 by hydrogen peroxide: a SFM study.

Authors
  • Clarens, F
  • de Pablo, J
  • Díez-Pérez, I
  • Casas, I
  • Giménez, J
  • Rovira, M
Type
Published Article
Journal
Environmental science & technology
Publication Date
Dec 15, 2004
Volume
38
Issue
24
Pages
6656–6661
Identifiers
PMID: 15669324
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Understanding the formation of alteration phases on the surface of spent nuclear fuel, such as those observed during leaching experiments, is necessary in order to predict the concentration of radionuclides in the near-field of a final repository. Hydrogen peroxide has been identified as one of the oxidants formed by the radiolysis of water in the presence of spent nuclear fuel; especially due to alpha activity. The presence of this species in solution can contribute to the formation of uranium peroxide secondary phases. In this work, we have studied the oxidative dissolution of synthetic UO2 disks in hydrogen peroxide solutions of two different concentrations (5 x 10(-4) and 5 x 10(-6) mol dm(-3)), both at pH 5.8 +/- 0.1. The solid surface evolution of the disks has been followed by means of ex-situ scanning force microscope (SFM) measurements, and uranium concentration in solution has been determined by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. During the first stage of the experiment, SFM images indicate that only UO2 dissolution is occurring. After 142 h, a secondary phase is observed on the surface of the solid at 5 x 10(-4) mol dm(-3) hydrogen peroxide concentration. This secondary phase has been identified by X-ray diffraction as studtite (UO4 x 4H2O). From the analysis of SFM topographic profiles at different elapsed times, a precipitation rate for the studtite has been estimated to be in the range of (8-32) x 10(-10) mol m(-2) s(-1).

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