American Chemical Society
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Mica Surfaces Stabilize Pentavalent Uranium

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journal contribution
posted on 2005-05-02, 00:00 authored by Eugene S. Ilton, Anca Haiduc, Christopher L. Cahill, Andrew R. Felmy
High-resolution X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy was used to demonstrate that reduction of aqueous U6+ at ferrous mica surfaces at 25 °C preserves U5+ as the dominant sorbed species over a broad range of solution compositions. Polymerization of sorbed U5+ with sorbed U6+ and U4+ is identified as a possible mechanism for how mineral surfaces circumvent the rapid disproportionation of aqueous U5+. The general nature of this mechanism suggests that U5+ could play an important, but previously unidentified, role in the low-temperature chemistry of uranium in reducing, heterogeneous aqueous systems.