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Actinide Colloids in Natural Aquifer Systems

  • J.I. Kim

Extract

Immobilization and geological isolation are the general goals of nuclear waste disposal. The appropriate isolation of immobilized long-lived radionuclides, mostly actinide elements, from interaction with water for a period of many thousands of years in any given geological formation is a scientific and technological challenge. This challenge can be met by considering a multibarrier concept that appraises engineered, geoengineered, and geological barriers designed to confine the migration of long-lived actinides. Once interaction with water occurs, one may expect many complex geochemical reactions of immobilized actinides; actinides will therefore be distributed into two kinds of chemical states, mobile and immobile species. Reflecting results in laboratory systems, the two species are expected to be chemical partners in equilibrium reactions. In multicomponent geochemical systems, however, the chemistry of the mobile and immobile species of actinides in trace concentration is, in general, masked by geochemical reactions of natural aquatic constituents, which are found in much higher concentrations. The mobile species are either complexed anions or colloidal species, whereas the immobile species are new solid phases of very low solubility, which are thermodynamically better stabilized than in the original host phases.

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