Remediation of uranium contaminated soils with bicarbonate extraction and microbial U(VI) reduction
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A process for concentrating uranium from contaminated soils in which the uranium is first extracted with bicarbonate and then the extracted uranium is precipitated with U(VI)-reducing microorganisms was evaluated for a variety of uranuum-contaminated soils. Bicarbonate (100 mM) extracted 20–94% of the uranium that was extracted with nitric acid. The U(VI)-reducing microorganism,Desulfovibrio desulfuricans reduced the U(VI) to U(IV) in the bicarbonate extracts. In some instances unidentified dissolved extracted components, presumably organics, gave the extract a yellow color and inhibited U(VI) reduction and/or the precipitation of U(IV). Removal of the dissolved yellow material with the addition of hydrogen peroxide alleviated this inhibition. These results demonstrate that bicarbonate extraction of uranium from soil followed by microbial U(VI) reduction might be an effective mechanism for concentrating uranium from some contaminated soils.
Key wordsBioremediation Uranium Mill tailings Desulfovibrio
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