Experimental study on radon exhalation behavior of heap leaching uranium ore column with dilute sulfuric acid
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In order to study the radon release behavior when heap leaching uranium ores with dilute sulfuric acid, unleached uranium ores from a uranium mine in southern China were selected as test samples. Adopting parameters from leaching processes commonly used in uranium mines, a laboratory experiment was carried out for 21 days with a one-dimensional acid heap leaching experimental column. The surface radon exhalation rate of uranium ore column was determined by static accumulation method while spraying with deionized water and dilute sulfuric acid. The uranium leaching rate and ore column height for all 21 days of the experiment were also measured. The results show that (1) when sprayed with a leaching agent, the surface radon exhalation rate of uranium ore column initially increased with time sharply. After a maximum value was reached, the rate gradually decreased and stabilized. When the spraying stopped, the surface radon exhalation rate of uranium ore column initially decreased, before increasing until it tended to stabilize. (2) During the entirety of the 21-day leaching experiment, the cumulative leaching rate of uranium increased gradually with time. On the other hand, the surface radon exhalation rate of uranium ore column fluctuated, but the leaching of uranium from uranium ores had almost no effect on the radon exhalation rate. (3) There was no linear correlation between the surface radon exhalation rate and the residual height of ore column during leaching, but the collapsing event of ore column was the direct inducing factor of the fluctuation of surface radon exhalation rate.
KeywordsUranium ore Heap leaching Radon exhalation rate Column leaching test
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 11575080), the National Natural Science Foundation of Hunan Province, China (Grant No. 2018JJ2318), and the China Scholarship Council (File No. 201808430072).
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