The smectite-rich natural clay is being considered as a backfill and buffer material for Indian repository programme. In the present study, batch sorption measurements have been performed at trace concentrations for one of the minor actinide elements [Np(V)] and for the long lived fission products, Cs(I), Sr(II), and Tc(VII) on purified and conditioned smectite-rich clay at varying conditions of pH and ionic strength. In case of Cs(I) and Sr(II) the sorption was found to increase with pH. At any pH the sorption was found to decrease with increasing ionic strength of the suspension maintained with NaCl. Further, at any pH the sorption of Sr(II) is less than the corresponding value for Cs(I). This is indicative of effect of size selectivity on the sorption by the clay. Tc(VII), on the other hand, is poorly retained by the clay, which can be explained in terms of the negative charge on the TcO4− ion, which has negligible interaction with the predominantly negatively charged clay surface. In the case of Np(V), the sorption was found to increase albeit, slowly compared to Cs(I) and Sr(II) with pH, and it with no effect of ionic strength on the sorption at all pH values. This suggests that Np(V) primarily interacts with the surface sites via inner sphere complexation mechanism.
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