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[en] We have performed an initial evaluation and testing program to assess the effectiveness of a hydroxyapatite (Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2) permeable reactive barrier and source area treatment to decrease uranium mobility at the Department of Energy (DOE) former Old Rifle uranium mill processing site in Rifle, western Colorado. Uranium ore was processed at the site from the 1940's to the 1970's. The mill facilities at the site as well as the uranium mill tailings previously stored there have all been removed. Groundwater in the alluvial aquifer beneath the site still contains elevated concentrations of uranium and is currently used for field tests to study uranium behavior in groundwater and investigate potential uranium remediation technologies. The technology investigated in this work is based on in situ formation of apatite in sediment to create a subsurface apatite PRB and also for source area treatment. The process is based on injecting a solution containing calcium citrate and sodium into the subsurface for constructing the PRB within the uranium plume. As the indigenous sediment micro-organisms biodegrade the injected citrate, the calcium is released and reacts with the phosphate to form hydroxyapatite (precipitate). This paper reports on proof-of-principle column tests with Old Rifle sediment and synthetic groundwater. (authors)
[en] The Old Rifle Site is a former vanadium and uranium ore-processing facility located adjacent to the Colorado River and approximately 0.3 miles east of the city of Rifle, CO. The former processing facilities have been removed and the site uranium mill tailings are interned at a disposal cell north of the city of Rifle. However, some low level remnant uranium contamination still exists at the Old Rifle site. In 2002, the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (US NRC) concurred with United States Department of Energy (US DOE) on a groundwater compliance strategy of natural flushing with institutional controls to decrease contaminant concentrations in the aquifer. In addition to active monitoring of contaminant concentrations, the site is also used for DOE Legacy Management (LM) and other DOE-funded small-scale field tests of remediation technologies. The purpose of this laboratory scale study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a hydroxyapatite (Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2) permeable reactive barrier and source area treatment in Old Rifle sediments. Phosphate treatment impact was evaluated by comparing uranium leaching and surface phase changes in untreated to PO4-treated sediments. The impact of the amount of phosphate precipitation in the sediment on uranium mobility was evaluated with three different phosphate loadings. A range of flow velocity and uranium concentration conditions (i.e., uranium flux through the phosphate-treated sediment) was also evaluated to quantify the uranium uptake mass and rate by the phosphate precipitate.