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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Reduction and Simultaneous Removal of 99Tc and Cr by Fe(OH)2(s) Mineral Transformation


Technetium (Tc) remains a priority remediation concern due to persistent challenges, including mobilization due to rapid reoxidation of immobilized Tc, and competing comingled contaminants, e.g., Cr(VI), that inhibit Tc(VII) reduction and incorporation into stable mineral phases. Here Fe(OH)2(s) is investigated as a comprehensive solution for overcoming these challenges, by serving as both the reductant, (Fe(II)), and the immobilization agent to form Tc-incorporated magnetite (Fe3O4). Trace metal analysis suggests removal of Tc(VII) and Cr(VI) from solution occurs simultaneously; however, complete removal and reduction of Cr(VI) is achieved earlier than the removal/reduction of comingled Tc(VII). Bulk oxidation state analysis of the final magnetite solid phase by XANES shows that the majority of Tc is Tc(IV), which is corroborated by XPS measurements. Furthermore, EXAFS results show successful, albeit partial, Tc(IV) incorporation into magnetite octahedral sites. Cr XPS analysis indicates reduction to Cr(III) and the formation of a Cr-incorporated spinel, Cr2O3, and Cr(OH)3 phases. Spinel (modeled as Fe3O4), goethite (α-FeOOH), and feroxyhyte (δ-FeOOH) are detected in all reacted final solid phase samples analyzed by XRD. Incorporation of Tc(IV) has little effect on the spinel lattice structure. Reaction of Fe(OH)2(s) in the presence of Cr(III) results in the formation of a spinel phase that is a solid solution between magnetite (Fe3O4) and chromite (FeCr2O4).

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