An environmentally friendly decontamination process for uranium-contaminated soil sand is proposed. The process uses supercritical CO2
as the cleaning solvent and a TBP–HNO3
complex as the reagent. Four types of samples (sea sand and coarse, medium, and fine soil sand) were artificially contaminated with uranium. The effects of the amount of the reagent, sand type, and elapsed time after the preparation of the samples on decontamination were examined. The extraction ratios of uranium in all of the four types of sand samples were very high when the time that elapsed after preparation was less than a few days. The extraction ratio of uranium decreased in the soil sand with a higher surface area as the elapsed time increased, indicating the possible formation of chemisorbed uranium on the surface of the samples. The solvent of supercritical CO2
seemed to be very effective in the decontamination of soil sand. However, the extraction of chemisorbed uranium in soil sand may need additional processes, such as the application of mechanical vibration and the addition of bond-breaking reagents.
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