American Chemical Society
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Immobilization of 99-Technetium (VII) by Fe(II)-Goethite and Limited Reoxidation

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journal contribution
posted on 2011-06-01, 00:00 authored by Wooyong Um, Hyun-Shik Chang, Jonathan P. Icenhower, Wayne W. Lukens, R. Jeffrey Serne, Nikolla P. Qafoku, Joseph H. Westsik, Edgar C. Buck, Steven C. Smith
During the nuclear waste vitrification process volatilized 99Tc will be trapped by melter off-gas scrubbers and then washed out into caustic solutions, and plans are currently being contemplated for the disposal of such secondary waste. Solutions containing pertechnetate [99Tc(VII)O4] were mixed with precipitating goethite and dissolved Fe(II) to determine if an iron (oxy)hydroxide-based waste form can reduce Tc(VII) and isolate Tc(IV) from oxygen. The results of these experiments demonstrate that Fe(II) with goethite efficiently catalyzes the reduction of technetium in deionized water and complex solutions that mimic the chemical composition of caustic waste scrubber media. Identification of the phases, goethite + magnetite, was performed using XRD, SEM and TEM methods. Analyses of the Tc-bearing solid products by XAFS indicate that all of the Tc(VII) was reduced to Tc(IV) and that the latter is incorporated into goethite or magnetite as octahedral Tc(IV). Batch dissolution experiments, conducted under ambient oxidizing conditions for more than 180 days, demonstrated a very limited release of Tc to solution (2–7 μg Tc/g solid). Incorporation of Tc(IV) into the goethite lattice thus provides significant advantages for limiting reoxidation and curtailing release of Tc disposed in nuclear waste repositories.