Corrosion of Depleted Uranium in an Arid Environment: Soil-Geomorphology, SEM/EDS, XRD, and Electron Microprobe Analyses

BRENDA J. BUCK, AMY L. BROCK, WILLIAM H. JOHNSON, APRIL L. ULERY
2004 Soil & sediment contamination  
Corrosion of anthropogenic uranium in natural environments is not well understood, but is important for determining potential health risks and mobility in the environment. A site in the southwestern United States contains depleted uranium that has been weathering for approximately 22 years. Soil-geomorphic, SEM/EDS, XRD, and electron microprobe analyses were conducted to determine the processes controlling the uranium corrosion. Schoepite and metaschoepite are the primary products of corrosion,
more » ... and occur as silica-cemented, mixed schoepite-metaschoepite/clay/silt aggregates, as schoepite/metaschoepite-only aggregates, or rarely as coatings upon soil grains. Current extraction procedures do not adequately explain the behavior of uranium in alkaline soils when amorphous silica and clay coatings are present. Soil geomorphology and chemistry at this site limit uranium mobility and decreases potential health risks. However, if land-use and/or regional climate changes occur, uranium mobility could increase.
doi:10.1080/10588330490519437 fatcat:s3d74j3pkzhu7mhrtnxaw67xw4