The morphologies and compositions of depleted uranium particles from an environmental case-study

Lloyd, N.S.; Mosselmans, J.F.W.; Parrish, R.R.; Chenery, S.R.N.; Hainsworth, S.V.; Kemp, S.J. ORCID: 2009 The morphologies and compositions of depleted uranium particles from an environmental case-study. Mineralogical Magazine, 73 (3). 495-510.

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Uraniferous particles from contaminated environmental samples were analysed by scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray analysis (SEM-EDXA), and microfocus extended X-ray absorption fine-structure (μEXAFS) spectroscopy. The particles of interest are uranium oxides, which were released into the environment by the combustion of scrap depleted uranium (DU) metal at a factory in Colonie, NY, USA. Most of the identified particles appear to have primary, ‘as emitted’ morphologies; some have evidence of minor dissolution, including corrosion pitting. Polycrystalline and often hollow microscopic spheres were identified, which are similar to particles produced by DU munitions impacting armoured targets. They are attributed to the autothermic oxidation of melt droplets. The compositions of the analysed spheres are dominated by UO2+x with variable amounts of U3O8, two of the least soluble and bioaccessible phases of uranium. These particles, collected from dusts and soils, have survived more than 25 years in the terrestrial environment. This study further supports the case for using Colonie as an analogue for battlefield DU contamination.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: BGS Programmes 2009 > NERC Isotope Geoscience Laboratory
ISSN: 0026-461X
Additional Pages: 36
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Related URLs:
Date made live: 23 Dec 2009 09:49 +0 (UTC)

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