Occurrence of natural U in fracture smectite (main mineral component of bentonite) was studied as an analogue to radionuclide behaviour in the near-field of spent nuclear fuel repository. Elevated U content (57 ppm) was observed in fracture smectite sampled from the surface of water-carrying fracture in granite pegmatite at a depth of 70 m. The current groundwater conditions are oxidising at the sampled point. The U-234/U-238 activity ratio (AR) measured in the bulk U and in its sequentially extracted phases, displays unusually low value (around 0.30). Low AR indicates preferential loss of the U-234 isotope from the system. Because the U-234 loss can also be seen in the Th-230/U-234 activity ratio (clearly over 1), the selective removal of the U-234 isotope must have taken place more recently than what is needed to equilibrate Th-230/U-234 pair (i.e. 350000 a). To explain the selective U-234 loss from the smectite we postulate that bulk U is in reduced +4 form and a considerable part of the U-234 isotope in easily leachable oxidised +6 form. This study suggests that the long-term chemical stability of the bulk U in the smectite is due to irreversible fixation of U in the reduced +4 form.
|Pages (from-to)||763 - 766|
|Number of pages||4|
|Publication status||Published - 2000|
|MoE publication type||A1 Journal article-refereed|
|Event||7th International Conference on Chemistry and Migration Behaviour of Actinides and Fission Products in the Geosphere - Lake Tahoe, United States|
Duration: 26 Sep 1999 → 1 Oct 1999