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Environmental problems - Chemical approaches
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Sorption of selected radionuclides on different MnO2 phases

Matthew T. Athon A , Glen E. Fryxell B , Chia-Ying Chuang A C and Peter H. Santschi A D
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Department of Marine Sciences, Texas A&M University, 200 Seawolf Parkway, Galveston, TX 77551, USA.

B 8907 West Entiat Ave., Kennewick, WA 99336, USA.

C Academica Sinica, 128 Academia Road, Section 2, Nankang, Taipei 11529, Taiwan.

D Corresponding author. Email: santschi@tamug.edu

Environmental Chemistry 14(4) 207-214 https://doi.org/10.1071/EN17026
Submitted: 18 January 2017  Accepted: 7 April 2017   Published: 1 May 2017

Environmental context. Releases to the aquatic environment from radiological dispersal devices, accidents or leaking waste disposal sites require close monitoring for radionuclide identification. A novel in situ gamma spectrometer deployable on platforms in coastal waters can provide detailed radioisotopic, however, only after the radionuclides are pre-concentrated on efficient sorbents. Here, we report results of particle–water distribution coefficients, KD, on three novel MnO2 sorbents using a set of artificial and natural radionuclides in small batch experiments.

Abstract. After nuclear disasters, there is a need to monitor released radionuclides in aquatic systems. A novel in situ gamma spectrometer deployable on mobile and stationary platforms can detect individual radionuclides, provided concentrations are high enough. Owing to rapid dilution effects, efficient sorbents are needed for preconcentration of radionuclides. Here, we report results of particle–water distribution coefficients, KD, on three novel MnO2 sorbents mounted in high-capacity cartridges using a set of artificial (57Co, 106Ru, 125Sb, 133Ba, 137Cs) and natural (7Be, 210Pb, 233Pa, 234Th) radionuclides in small batch experiments. Compared with conventionally impregnated MnO2 sorbents, novel nanostructured MnO2 sorbents displayed superior sorption for some artificial radionuclides, displaying up to one order of magnitude greater KD values than traditionally impregnated MnO2. In particular, the log KD value of 210Pb was highest (4.48 ± 0.23) compared with all values using the other MnO2 sorbents, whereas that of 233Pa was among the lowest (3.24 ± 0.16). These results promise some improvements for capturing not only artificially produced radionuclides, but also naturally produced 7Be from seawater using nanostructured MnO2. We also show that colloidal forms of selected radionuclides are not captured by MnO2 phases. If they could be sorbed by another sorbent, KD values could be considerably higher for Th, Po and other radionuclides. Finally, our results might add further complexities to the discussion of the potential of Th/Pa fractionation by MnO2 phases in seawater.

Additional keywords: nanostructured MnO2, seawater, sorbents.


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