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Formation and geological sequestration of uranium nanoparticles in deep granitic aquifer

Suzuki, Yohei*; Mukai, Hiroki*; Ishimura, Toyoho*; Yokoyama, Takatomi*; Sakata, Shuhei*; Hirata, Takafumi*; Iwatsuki, Teruki  ; Mizuno, Takashi   

The stimulation of bacterial activities that convert hexavalent uranium to tetravalent uranium appears to be feasible for cost-effective remediation of contaminated aquifers. However, U(VI) reduction typically results in the precipitation of U(IV) particles less than 5 nanometers in diameter. Here we show that U(IV) nanoparticles of coffinite formed in fracture-filling calcium carbonate in a granitic aquifer. As the microbiologically induced precipitation of calcium carbonate in aquifer systems worldwide is extremely common, we anticipate simultaneous stimulation of microbial activities for precipitation reactions of calcium carbonate and U(IV) nanoparticles, which leads to long-term sequestration of uranium and other radionuclides in contaminated aquifers and deep geological repositories.



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Category:Multidisciplinary Sciences



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