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J Hazard Mater. 2017 Oct 15;340:454-462. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2017.07.007. Epub 2017 Jul 6.

Remediation of 137Cs contaminated concrete using electrokinetic phenomena and ionic salt washes in nuclear energy contexts.

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Department of Science, Natural Resources and Outdoor Studies, University of Cumbria, Bowerham Road LA1 3JD, United Kingdom. Electronic address:
Department of Engineering, Lancaster University, Bailrigg LA1 4YR, United Kingdom.


This work describes the first known the use of electrokinetic treatments and ionic salt washes to remediate concrete contaminated with 137Cs. A series of experiments were performed on concrete samples, contaminated with K+ and 137Cs, using a bespoke migration cell and an applied electric field (60V potential gradient and current limit of 35mA). Additionally, two samples were treated with an ionic salt wash (≤400molm-3 of KCl) alongside the electrokinetic treatment. The results show that the combined treatment produces removal efficiencies three times higher (>60%) than the electrokinetic treatment alone and that the decontamination efficiency appears to be proportional to the initial degree of contamination. Furthermore, the decontamination efficiencies are equivalent to previous electrokinetic studies that utilised hazardous chemical enhancement agents demonstrating the potential of the technique for use on nuclear licensed site. The results highlight the relationship between the initial contamination concentration within the concrete and achievable removal efficiency of electrokinetic treatment and other treatments. This information would be useful when selecting the most appropriate decontamination techniques for particular contamination scenarios.


137-Caesium; Concrete remediation; Electrokinetic decontamination; Ionic salt washes; Nuclear decommissioning

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