Solvation of the Ca2UO2(CO3)(3) Complex in Seawater from Classical Molecular Dynamics

WH Wu and C Priest and JW Zhou and CJ Peng and HL Liu and DE Jiang, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY B, 120, 7227-7233 (2016).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.6b05452

Uranium from the sea provides a long-time supply guarantee of nuclear fuels for centuries to come, and the neutral Ca2UO2(CO3)(3) complex has been shown to be the dominant species of uranium in seawater. However, the solvation and structure of the Ca2UO2(CO3)(3) complex in seawater have been unclear. Herein we simulate the Ca2UO2(CO3)(3) complex in a model seawater solution via classical molecular dynamics. We find that Na and Cl- ions interact very differently with the neutral Ca2UO2(CO3)(3) complex in seawater. Especially, one Na+ ion is closely associated with the Ca2UO2(CO3)(3) complex, thereby effectively making the complex have a +1 charge, while Cl- ions are much farther away. Hence, this work reveals the important role of Na+ ions in affecting the solvation of the Ca2UO2(CO3)(3) complex in seawater, which has implications in designing ligands to attract the Ca2UO2(CO3)(3) complex to the sorbent.

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