Behavior of Uranium(VI) during HEDPA Leaching for Aluminum Dissolution in Tank Waste
Batch adsorption/dissolution experiments were conducted to examine the interactions between 233U(VI) and a synthetic aluminum oxyhydroxide (boehmite, g-AlOOH) in 1.0M NaCl suspensions containing 1-hydroxyethane-1,1-diphosphonic acid (HEDPA). In the pH range 4 to 9, complexation of Al(III) by HEDPA significantly enhanced dissolution of boehmite. This phenomenon was especially pronounced in the neutral pH region where the solubility of aluminum, in the absence of complexants, is limited by the formation of sparsely soluble aluminum hydroxides. At high pH levels, dissolution of synthetic boehmite was inhibited by HEDPA, likely due to sorption of Al(III)/HEDPA complexes. Addition of HEDPA to equilibrated U(VI)-synthetic boehmite suspensions yielded an increase in the aqueous phase uranium concentration. The concentration of uranium continually increased over 59 days. Partitioning of uranium between the solid and aqueous phase was found to correlate well with HEDPA partitioning.