December 1, 2008
Journal Article

Interactions of Aqueous U(VI) with Soil Minerals in Slightly Alkaline Natural Systems


Uranium (U) is a common contaminant at numerous surface and subsurface sites around the world. This paper covers some important aspects of the aqueous hexavalent uranium [U(VI)] interactions with soil minerals that are present in contaminated soils and sediments. The retention of U via interactions with soil minerals has significant consequences for the prediction of its short – and long – term behavior in soils and geological systems. Studies of the nature and type of these interactions have provided the necessary evidence for assessing the geochemical behavior of U in natural systems under different physical, biogeochemical, hydrological, and reducing or oxidizing conditions. Over the last 20 years, aqueous U(VI):solid phase interactions have been studied by geochemists, soil chemists, soil mineralogists and soil microbiologists, and the progress in some areas is remarkable. Although a mechanistic description and understanding of the complex interactions involving U and soil minerals of natural systems is currently impossible, results from carefully designed and executed experiments with these materials have improved our understanding of the heterogeneous system’s behavior and U contaminant mobility and transport. There are, however, areas that need further exploration and study. Numerous research publications were reviewed in this paper to present important findings coming out of the research, to reveal the current level of the understanding of the U(VI) interactions with soil minerals, and to provide ideas for future needs and research directions.

Revised: September 3, 2010 | Published: December 1, 2008


Qafoku N., and J.P. Icenhower. 2008. Interactions of Aqueous U(VI) with Soil Minerals in Slightly Alkaline Natural Systems. Re/views in Environmental Science and Bio/technology 7, no. 4:355-380. PNNL-SA-58096. doi:10.1007/s11157-008-9137-8