Np5+ Incorporation into Select Uranyl Phases and Thermal Analysis of Select Uranyl Phases

Doctoral Dissertation


Alteration of spent nuclear fuel in a geological repository under oxidizing conditions is likely to result in abundant uranyl compounds. The proposed repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada is intended to store about 70,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel in the unsaturated zone of a welded tuff sequence. Following failure of canisters that encapsulate the waste, contents may be exposed both to air and water and undergo repetitive wetting and drying events. Incorporation of radionuclides into the uranyl alteration phases may significantly reduce their mobility, thereby impacting repository performance. Of particular interest is 237Np owing to its long half-life (2.14 x 106 years) and potential mobility in groundwater. Powders of the synthetic uranyl phase soddyite, (UO2)2(SiO4)(H2O)2, a framework type structure, and uranophane, Ca[(UO2)(SiO3OH)]2(H2O)5, kasolite, Pb[(UO2)(SiO4)]H2O, Na compreignacite, Na2[(UO2)3O2(OH)3]2(H2O)7, and becquerelite, Ca[(UO2)3O2(OH)3]2(H2O)8, all of which are sheet type structures, were synthesized in the presence of Np5+ under varying temperature and pH conditions. Uranophane, kasolite, boltwoodite K(UO2)(SiO3OH)1.5, and Na boltwoodite iv K,Na(UO2)(SiO3OH)1.5 were synthesized in the presence of Np as well as P, Ca and/or Mg. Single crystals of Na metaschoepite, Na[(UO2)4O2(OH)5]Ìâåá5H2O were synthesized in the presence of Np5+ and laser ablation verified that Np can be incorporated within the structure of a uranyl phase. Incorporation of Np5+ into soddyite increased steadily with synthesis temperature. Np incorporation into uranophane, becquerelite, and kasolite was not dependent on synthesis temperature. Np uptake in uranophane and kasolite was found to be dependent on synthesis pH, with an increase in Np uptake with higher pH. Uranophane, boltwoodite and Na boltwoodite showed an increase in Np incorporation in the presence of P. Boltwoodite showed an even higher Np uptake when Mg and P were both present in the synthesis. Thermal analysis was completed for the uranyl phases soddyite, becquerelite, Na compreignacite, uranophane, and kasolite. TGA curves for becquerelite, Na compreignacite and uranophane showed loss of interlayer water groups by 100Ìâå¡C. Soddyite and kasolite showed more gradual TGA curves and retention of water groups up to 400Ìâå¡C for soddyite and 550Ìâå¡C for kasolite, with agreement shown by high temperature powder XRD data.


Attribute NameValues
  • etd-06262008-141904

Author Amanda Leigh Klingensmith
Advisor Peter C. Burns
Contributor Peter C. Burns, Committee Chair
Degree Level Doctoral Dissertation
Degree Discipline Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences
Degree Name Doctor of Philosophy
Defense Date
  • 2008-05-23

Submission Date 2008-06-26
  • United States of America

  • uranium

  • incorporation

  • neptunium

  • thermal analysis

  • University of Notre Dame

  • English

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

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