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Alba M.D.,Instituto Ciencia Of Los Materiales Of Seville | Castro M.A.,Instituto Ciencia Of Los Materiales Of Seville | Chain P.,Instituto Ciencia Of Los Materiales Of Seville | Hurtado S.,University of Seville | And 3 more authors.
Applied Clay Science | Year: 2011

Bentonite is accepted as the best clay material in the engineered barrier of deep geological repositories (DGRs) for radioactive waste disposal. In recent years, the interactions between a wide range of rare-earth (REE) cations and smectites have been studied. A combined study of stable europium and radioactive isotopes is reported here. Saponite was subjected to hydrothermal reactions with stable and radioactive (152Eu) europium ions under subcritical conditions. The structural changes of saponite were evaluated by XRD and SEM. The effect of temperature and reaction time on the changes was quantified by measuring 152Eu through gamma spectrometry. The reaction between europium and saponite was a first-order reaction. The presence of Eu in the precipitate in an amount much higher than the cation exchange capacity of saponite confirmed participation of chemical reactions or surface adsorption in the europium immobilization, even at temperatures as low as 150°C. The reaction rate constant indicated that an 8- to 9-month period was needed for the completion, without significant changes, of the europium/saponite chemical reaction under the subcritical conditions of 200°C and 350°C. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

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