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99Tc(VII) Retardation, Reduction, and Redox Rate Scaling in Naturally Reduced Sediments

Liu, Yuanyuan, Liu, Chongxuan, Kukkadapu, Ravi K., McKinley, James P., Zachara, John, Plymale, Andrew E., Miller, Micah D., Varga, Tamas, Resch, Charles T.
Environmental Science & Technology 2015 v.49 no.22 pp. 13403-13412
autoradiography, computed tomography, groundwater contamination, iron, minerals, models, sediments, United States
An experimental and modeling study was conducted to investigate pertechnetate (Tc(VII)O₄–) retardation, reduction, and rate scaling in three sediments from Ringold formation at U.S. Department of Energy’s Hanford site, where ⁹⁹Tc is a major contaminant in groundwater. Tc(VII) was reduced in all the sediments in both batch reactors and diffusion columns, with a faster rate in a sediment containing a higher concentration of HCl-extractable Fe(II). Tc(VII) migration in the diffusion columns was reductively retarded with retardation degrees correlated with Tc(VII) reduction rates. The reduction rates were faster in the diffusion columns than those in the batch reactors, apparently influenced by the spatial distribution of redox-reactive minerals along transport paths that supplied Tc(VII). X-ray computed tomography and autoradiography were performed to identify the spatial locations of Tc(VII) reduction and transport paths in the sediments, and results generally confirmed the newly found behavior of reaction rate changes from batch to column. The results from this study implied that Tc(VII) migration can be reductively retarded at Hanford site with a retardation degree dependent on reactive Fe(II) content and its distribution in sediments. This study also demonstrated that an effective reaction rate may be faster in transport systems than that in well-mixed reactors.