Special Issue "Uranium Minerals: From Resources to Environmental Impact"

A special issue of Minerals (ISSN 2075-163X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2015)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Mostafa Fayek

Department of Geological Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2, Canada
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Uranium deposits; mine tailings; mineralogy; nuclear waste disposal; isotopes; SIMS; geo-fluids

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Uranium in natural (e.g., uranium deposits) and anthropogenic (e.g., former mines and industrial sites or nuclear waste disposal) systems presents an increasing concern to humans because of its potential impact on ground water quality and habitat contamination. Uranium minerals can: (1) provide valuable information on the conditions and timing of deposit formation; (2) be used as natural analogues for spent nuclear fuel; and (3) help us understand the fate and transport of uranium in surface (tailings) and near surface environments. The goal of this Special Issue is to gather recent advances in the field of uranium mineralogy including molecular-scale approaches to kinetic processes (radiation effects, dissolution/precipitation…), emerging mineralogical issues (e.g., bio- and nano-uraninite) and fate and transport of uranium in solution, including the role of nano-particles and colloids. Contributions on subjects of uranium in various geologic settings, including uranium mineralization, uranium deposits, uranium mine tailings, remediation of contaminated sites, waste matrices and geologic disposal of spent nuclear fuel are strongly encouraged.

Prof. Dr. Mostafa Fayek
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Removal of Uranium and Associated Contaminants from Aqueous Solutions Using Functional Carbon Nanotubes-Sodium Alginate Conjugates
Minerals 2016, 6(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/min6010009
Received: 14 December 2015 / Revised: 21 January 2016 / Accepted: 25 January 2016 / Published: 2 February 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (8067 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Synthesis of hydrophilic/hydrophobic beads from functional carbon nanotubes (CNTs) conjugated with sodium alginate was investigated. Glutaraldehyde was used as a coupling agent and Ca2+ as a crosslinking agent. The formed conjugate comprises two-dimensional sheets of sodium alginate bounded to long tufts of [...] Read more.
Synthesis of hydrophilic/hydrophobic beads from functional carbon nanotubes (CNTs) conjugated with sodium alginate was investigated. Glutaraldehyde was used as a coupling agent and Ca2+ as a crosslinking agent. The formed conjugate comprises two-dimensional sheets of sodium alginate bounded to long tufts of functional CNT tails of micro-size geometry. Detailed characterization of the conjugates was performed using thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and its first derivative (DTG), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR), and scanning electron microscope (SEM) techniques. Different ratios of the conjugate were successfully prepared and used as biodegradable environmentally friendly sorbents. Removal of U6+, V3+, Cr3+, Mo3+, Pb2+, Mn2+, Cu2+, Ti4+ and Ni2+ from aqueous solutions using the synthesized biosorbent was experimentally demonstrated. Maximum metal uptake of 53 mg/g was achieved using the % Functional CNTs = 33 sample. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Uranium Minerals: From Resources to Environmental Impact)
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Open AccessArticle
Uranium-Series Disequilibria in the Groundwater of the Shihongtan Sandstone-Hosted Uranium Deposit, NW China
Minerals 2016, 6(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/min6010003
Received: 7 October 2015 / Revised: 6 December 2015 / Accepted: 23 December 2015 / Published: 30 December 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1328 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Uranium (U) concentration and the activities of 238U, 234U, and 230Th were determined for groundwaters, spring waters, and lake water collected from the Shihongtan sandstone-hosted U ore district and in the surrounding area, NW China. The results show that the [...] Read more.
Uranium (U) concentration and the activities of 238U, 234U, and 230Th were determined for groundwaters, spring waters, and lake water collected from the Shihongtan sandstone-hosted U ore district and in the surrounding area, NW China. The results show that the groundwaters from the oxidizing aquifer with high dissolved oxygen concentration (O2) and oxidation-reduction potential (Eh) are enriched in U. The high U concentration of groundwaters may be due to the interaction between these oxidizing groundwaters and U ore bodies, which would result in U that is not in secular equilibrium. Uranium is re-precipitated as uraninite on weathered surfaces and organic material, forming localized ore bodies in the sandstone-hosted aquifer. The 234U/238U, 230Th/234U, and 230Th/238U activity ratios (ARs) for most water samples show obvious deviations from secular equilibrium (0.27–2.86), indicating the presence of water-rock/ore interactions during the last 1.7 Ma and probably longer. The 234U/238U AR generally increases with decreasing U concentrations in the groundwaters, suggesting that mixing of two water sources may occur in the aquifer. This is consistent with the fact that most of the U ore bodies in the deposit have a tabular shape originati from mixing between a relatively saline fluid and a more rapidly flowing U-bearing meteoric water. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Uranium Minerals: From Resources to Environmental Impact)
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Open AccessArticle
Uranium, Cesium, and Mercury Leaching and Recovery from Cemented Radioactive Wastes in Sulfuric Acid and Iodide Media
Minerals 2015, 5(4), 744-757; https://doi.org/10.3390/min5040522
Received: 28 September 2015 / Revised: 3 November 2015 / Accepted: 10 November 2015 / Published: 20 November 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2487 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) is developing a long-term management strategy for its existing inventory of solid radioactive cemented wastes, which contain uranium, mercury, fission products, and a number of minor elements. The composition of the cemented radioactive waste poses significant impediments to [...] Read more.
The Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) is developing a long-term management strategy for its existing inventory of solid radioactive cemented wastes, which contain uranium, mercury, fission products, and a number of minor elements. The composition of the cemented radioactive waste poses significant impediments to the extraction and recovery of uranium using conventional technology. The goal of this research was to develop an innovative method for uranium, mercury and cesium recovery from surrogate radioactive cemented waste (SRCW). Leaching using sulfuric acid and saline media significantly improves the solubilization of the key elements from the SRCW. Increasing the NaCl concentration from 0.5 to 4 M increases the mercury solubilization from 82% to 96%. The sodium chloride forms a soluble mercury complex when mercury is present as HgO or metallic mercury but not with HgS that is found in 60 °C cured SRCW. Several leaching experiments were done using a sulfuric acid solution with KI to leach SRCW cured at 60 °C and/or aged for 30 months. Solubilization yields are above 97% for Cs and 98% for U and Hg. Leaching using sulfuric acid and KI improves the solubilization of Hg by oxidation of Hg0, as well as HgS, and form a mercury tetraiodide complex. Hg and Cs were selectively removed from the leachate prior to uranium recovery. It was found that U recovery from sulfuric leachate in iodide media using the resin Lewatit TP260 is very efficient. Considering these results, a process including effluent recirculation was applied. Improvements of solubilization due to the recycling of chemical reagents were observed during effluent recirculation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Uranium Minerals: From Resources to Environmental Impact)
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Open AccessArticle
Monazite Alteration in H2O ± HCl ± NaCl ± CaCl2 Fluids at 150 ºC and psat: Implications for Uranium Deposits
Minerals 2015, 5(4), 693-706; https://doi.org/10.3390/min5040518
Received: 23 July 2015 / Accepted: 9 October 2015 / Published: 16 October 2015
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Abstract
Spectacular alteration of monazite by diagenetic/hydrothermal brines is well documented in some Proterozoic sedimentary basins in close relationship with high-grade uranium (U) deposits. Hence, monazite has been proposed as a viable source for some U deposits. However, monazite alteration remains enigmatic with regard [...] Read more.
Spectacular alteration of monazite by diagenetic/hydrothermal brines is well documented in some Proterozoic sedimentary basins in close relationship with high-grade uranium (U) deposits. Hence, monazite has been proposed as a viable source for some U deposits. However, monazite alteration remains enigmatic with regard to its high stability in relatively low temperature hydrothermal conditions. Here, the results of batch experiments in which 10 mg of natural monazite grains were reacted with 15 mL of Na-Ca-Cl (6 molal Cl) solutions as well as in pure water at 150 ºC and saturated vapor pressure (psat) for one and six months are reported. The influence of pH (pH = 1, 3, 7) and relative molar proportions of Na and Ca (Na/(Na + Ca) = 0, 0.5, 1), were tested. Discrete alteration features (etch pits and roughened surfaces) appear in a minority of the one month experiments and are more developed in the six months experiments, especially at pH = 1 and 3. Although spectacular alteration of monazite, as seen around U deposits, could not be reproduced here, this study shows that monazite is unstable in the presence of fluids analogous to acidic deep basinal brines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Uranium Minerals: From Resources to Environmental Impact)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Uranium Concentration in Soil Samples of Central Jordan
Minerals 2015, 5(2), 133-141; https://doi.org/10.3390/min5020133
Received: 8 January 2015 / Revised: 18 March 2015 / Accepted: 20 March 2015 / Published: 25 March 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2377 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Naturally occurring radionuclides such as uranium, thorium and their decay products (226Ra, 222Rn) are present in a number of geological settings in Jordan. Motivated by the existence of uranium anomalies ‎coupled with its lack of conventional ‎‎energy ‎‎resources, Jordan decided [...] Read more.
Naturally occurring radionuclides such as uranium, thorium and their decay products (226Ra, 222Rn) are present in a number of geological settings in Jordan. Motivated by the existence of uranium anomalies ‎coupled with its lack of conventional ‎‎energy ‎‎resources, Jordan decided that the development of ‎this indigenes ‎resource (uranium) is the first step in introducing nuclear power as part of its energy mix. Uranium deposits in Central Jordan were perceived not only as a secured resource that will ‎fulfill Jordan’s energy needs, but also as an economic asset that will ‎finance Jordan’s nuclear program. The average uranium concentration of 236 soil samples using ICP-Mass (inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry) was found to be 109 parts per million (ppm). Results analysis revealed a wide range of 1066 ppm for uranium concentration, and a median of 41 ppm uranium. The measurements frequency distribution indicates that 72% of samples measured had a uranium content of less than 100 ppm, a concentration that characterizes overburden and tailings quality, rather than minable reserves. This paper presents and evaluates the concentration of uranium in central Jordan, being the most promising area with the highest radioactive anomalies in Jordan. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Uranium Minerals: From Resources to Environmental Impact)
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