Molecular dynamics simulation of the diffusion of uranium species in clay pores

XY Liu and LH Wang and Z Zheng and ML Kang and C Li and CL Liu, JOURNAL OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS, 244, 21-28 (2013).

DOI: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2012.11.031

Molecular dynamics simulations were carried out to investigate the diffusive behavior of aqueous uranium species in montmorillonite pores. Three uranium species (UO22+, UO2CO3, UO2(CO3)(2)(2-)) were confirmed in both the adsorbed and diffuse layers. UO2(CO3)(3)(4-) was neglected in the subsequent analysis due to its scare occurrence. The species-based diffusion coefficients in montmorillonite pores were then calculated, and compared with the water mobility and their diffusivity in aqueous solution/feldspar nanosized fractures. Three factors were considered that affected the diffusive behavior of the uranium species: the mobility of water, the self-diffusion coefficient of the aqueous species, and the electrostatic forces between the negatively charged surface and charged molecules. The mobility of U species in the adsorbed layer decreased in the following sequence: UO22+ > UO2CO3 > UO2(CO3)(2)(2-). In the diffuse layer, we obtained the highest diffusion coefficient for UO2 (CO3)(2)(2-) with the value of 5.48 x 10(-1) m(2) s(-1), which was faster than UO22+. For these two charged species, the influence of electrostatic forces on the diffusion of solutes in the diffuse layer is overwhelming, whereas the influence of self-diffusion and water mobility is minor. Our study demonstrated that the negatively charged uranyl carbonate complex must be addressed in the safety assessment of potential radioactive waste disposal systems. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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