Article courtesy of SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory | February 2nd, 2017 | Science Daily | Shared as educational material.
A recent study led by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory will lead to better models that predict uranium contamination in groundwater at former mining sites. This new study discovered that uranium attaches to organic matter in sediment, creating a cycle in groundwater that either partially flushes out uranium or partially leaves it behind depending on changing water levels. As a result, uranium levels in groundwater remain at levels higher than those predicted by current models. The research found that uranium at sites forms tetravalent uranium, not the previously thought compound uraninite. These two different chemical forms have different mobility characteristics in water. Read more about these models predicting uranium contamination here.