The behavior of uranium in the environment : bacterial reduction of an aqueous uranium species
Author(s)Lewis, Matthew R. (Matthew Robert), 1969-
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Nuclear Engineering.
Kenneth R. Czerwinski.
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Experimental and analytical studies were performed to investigate the behavior of uranium with bacteria in an anaerobic environment. Laboratory studies used Shewanella putrefaciens because of its ability to grow rapidly in aerobic conditions and reduce metals in anaerobic conditions. Under anaerobic conditions, Shewanella putrefaciens use aqueous uranium as the electron acceptor in lieu of oxygen. The reduction of U(VI) to U(IV) removes uranium from solution and forms an insoluble compound known as uraninite. Ultraviolet/Visible Spectroscopy was used to analyze uranium ion complexion with several oxazine dyes that included Brilliant Cresyl Blue, Celestine Blue, and Gallomine Triethoiodide. Complexion and resultant color changes with U(VI) and U(IV) with the dye solutions were tested at a variety of pH levels. The dye behavior was evaluated for future use as a visible reduction indicator for microbial reduction when performing direct plating experiments. These studies showed the best visual indicator to be Celestine Blue. Significant absorbance changes in the 400 to 800 nm wavelength range for Brilliant Cresyl Blue and Gallomine Triethoiodide solutions were not detected. X Ray Diffraction and Electron Microprobe Spectroscopy characterized the solid precipitates by the bacteria. The dark black precipitate exhibited visible characteristics of both UO2(s) and U3O8 (s). Electron microprobe showed a very small crystal formed by the bacteria, but was inconclusive with respect to the elemental composition of the mineral. The XRD spectra determined that precipitate was uranium dioxide U02(s). The investigation included a time phased uranium isotope analysis in the precipitate and supernatant samples. Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry (TIMS) measured the uranium isotopic ratio of 238U /235U to determine if microbial reduction of U(VI) to U(IV) affected these ratios. The isotopic ratios of both the supernatant and precipitate were measured at times ranging from zero to 95 hours. An enriched uranium solution was created by dissolving an enriched sample of U308(s) in nitric acid. The U308(s) was standard reference material (SRM) from the New Brunswick National Laboratory, and was enriched to roughly 50 percent 235U. The results of the TIMS experiment showed that there was not a detectable level of fractionation.
Thesis (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Nuclear Engineering, 2000.Includes bibliographical references (p. 379-382).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Nuclear Engineering.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology