Tracer tests were performed in distinct biogeochemical zones of a sand and gravel aquifer in Cape Cod, MA, to study the redox chemistry (I) and transport (Cs, I) of cesium and iodine in a field setting. Injection of iodide (I -) into an oxic zone of the aquifer resulted in oxidation of I - to molecular iodine (I2) and iodate (IO3-) over transport distances of several meters. Oxidation is attributed to Mn-oxides present in the sediment. Transport of injected IO 3- and Cs+ was retarded in the mildly acidic oxic zone, with retardation factors of 1.6-1.8 for IO3- and 2.3-4.4for Cs. Cs retardation was likely due to cation exchange reactions. Injection of IO3- into a Fe-reducing zone of the aquifer resulted in rapid and complete reduction to I- within 3 m of transport. The nonconservative behavior of Cs and I observed during the tracer tests underscores the necessity of taking the redox chemistry of I as well as sorption properties of I species and Cs into account when predicting transport of radionuclides (e.g., 129I and 137Cs) in the environment.
Additional publication details
Redox transformations and transport of cesium and iodine (-1, 0, +5) in oxidizing and reducing zones of a sand and gravel aquifer