Specific extraction studies in our laboratory have shown that iron and manganese oxide- and alkaline earth sulfate minerals are important hosts of radium in uranium mill tailings. Iron- and sulfate-reducing bacteria may enhance the release of radium (and its analog barium) from uranium mill tailings, oil field pipe scale [a major technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material (TENORM) waste], and jarosite (a common mineral in sulfuric acid processed-tailings). These research findings are reviewed and discussed in the context of nuclear waste forms (such as barium sulfate matrices), radioactive waste management practices, and geochemical environments in the Earth's surficial and shallow subsurface regions.
Additional publication details
Mobilization of radionuclides from uranium mill tailings and related waste materials in anaerobic environments