Organic material is commonly found associated with uranium ores in sandstone-type deposits. This review of the literature summarizes the classes and separations of naturally occurring organic material but the emphasis is on soluble organic species. The main class of materials of interest is humic substances which are high-molecular-weight complex molecules that are soluble in alkaline solution. These humic substances are able to solubilize (make soluble) minerals and also to complex [by ion exchange and (or) chelation] many cations. The natural process of soil formation results in both mineral decomposition and element complexing by organic species. Uranium in solution, such as ground water, can form many species with other elements or complexes present depending on Eh and pH. In natural systems (oxidizing Eh, pH 5-9) the uranium is usually present as a complex with hydroxide or carbonate. Thermodynamic data for these species are presented.
Interacting metals and organic materials have been observed in nature and studied in the laboratory by many workers in diverse scientific disciplines. The results are not easily compared. Measurements of the degree of complexation are reported as equilibrium stability constant determinations. This type of research has been done for Mn, Fe, Cu, Zn, Pb, Ni, Co, Mg, Ca, Al, and to a limited degree for U. The use of Conditional Stability Constants has given quantitative results in some cases. The methods utilized in experiments and calculations are reviewed.
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A literature review of interaction of oxidized uranium species and uranium complexes with soluble organic matter