Radioiodide Sorption to Sediment Minerals


Laboratory studies were conducted to quantify and understand the processes by which iodide (I) sorbs to minerals found in subsurface arid sediments. Little or no I sorbed to montmorillonite (Kd = −0.42 ± 0.08 mL/g), quartz (Kd = 0.04 ± 0.02 mL/g), vermiculite (Kd = 0.56 ± 0.21 mL/g), calcite (Kd = 0.04 ± 0.01 mL/g), goethite (Kd = 0.10 ± 0.03 mL/g), or chlorite (Kd = −0.22 ± 0.06 mL/g). A significant amount of I sorbed to illite (Kd = 15.14 ± 2.84 mL/g).). Upon treating the iodide-laden illite with dissolved F, Cl, Br, or 127I, desorption (or isotopic exchange in the case of 127I) removed, respectively, 43 ± 3%, 45 ± 0%, 52 ± 3, and 83 ± 1 % of the I originally adsorbed to the illite. The fact that such large amounts of I could be desorbed suggests that the I was weakly adsorbed, and not chemically bonded to a soft metal, such as mercury or silver, that may have existed in the illite structure as trace impurities. Finally, I sorption to illite was strongly pH-dependent; the Kd values decreased from 46 to 22 mL/g as the pH values increased from 3.6 to 9.4. Importantly, I sorbed to illite even under alkaline conditions. Together, these experiments suggest that illite removed I from the aqueous phase predominantly by reversible physical adsorption to the pH-dependent edge sites. Illites may constitute a substantial proportion of the clay-size fraction of many arid sediments and therefore may play an important role in retarding I movement in these sediments.

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Correspondence to D. I. Kaplan.

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Kaplan, D.I., Serne, R.J., Parker, K.E. et al. Radioiodide Sorption to Sediment Minerals. MRS Online Proceedings Library 556, 1059 (1998).

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