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J Colloid Interface Sci. 2003 May 15;261(2):221-32.

Sorption of uranium (VI) species on zircon: structural investigation of the solid/solution interface.

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  • 1Université Paris XI, Institut de Physique Nucléaire d'Orsay, Groupe de Radiochimie, Bât. 100, 91406 Orsay, France.


This work is an investigation of the mechanisms of interaction between uranium (VI) ions and zirconium silicate. The speciation of uranium (VI) sorbed on zircon was studied using four complementary techniques as probes of the local structure around the uranium atom: laser spectrofluorimetry, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), diffuse reflectance infrared Fourier-transformed (DRIFT) spectroscopy, and EXAFS spectroscopy. The sorption of uranyl on zirconium oxide was also studied to allow structural comparisons. Spectrofluorimetry and XPS results allowed an identification of the silicate sorption sites on the solid. These methods associated with spectrofluorimetry and DRIFT led to a characterization of the sorbed surface complexes, taking into account the influence of the nature of the background salt and of the pH on the structure of the U(VI) surface species. EXAFS measurements, either on air-dried samples or in situ, were then carried out on well-characterized samples and allowed identification of the sorption mechanism on zircon as the formation of an inner-sphere polydentate surface complex.

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