Nanoscale zero-valent iron particles for the remediation of plutonium and uranium contaminated solutions

Richard A. Crane*, Michelle Dickinson, Thomas B. Scott

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


In the current work the uptake of plutonium onto nanoscale zero-valent iron nanoparticles (nZVI) under anoxic conditions has been investigated. A uranyl solution was also studied under similar geochemical conditions to provide a comparative dataset. Following nZVI addition, a rapid and significant decrease in aqueous actinide concentration was recorded for both systems. The removal rate recorded for plutonium was slower, with 77% removal recorded after 1h of reaction, compared to 99% recorded for uranium. Low aqueous contaminant concentrations (<25%) were then recorded for both systems until the end of the 7day reaction period. XPS confirmed contaminant uptake onto the nZVI. For the plutonium system, the recorded photoelectron spectra exhibited Pu 4f lines centred at ~439 and ~427eV, characteristic of Pu4+ and implying that chemical reduction of the sorbed plutonium had occurred, ascribed to the formation of PuO2. Similarly, with the U-system, the recorded U 4f photoelectron peaks were centred at energies of ~380 and ~391eV, characteristic of U4+ in UO2. Results provide clear evidence that nZVI may be used as an effective material for the removal of plutonium from contaminated waters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-325
Number of pages7
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2015


  • Plutonium
  • Zero-valent iron
  • Nanoparticles
  • Remediation
  • Uranium


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