Separation of Depleted Uranium From Soil
ENGINEER RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTER VICKSBURG MS ENVIRONMENTAL LAB
Pagination or Media Count:
Dry and wet physical separation processes were tested at Yuma Proving Ground to remove depleted uranium DU from soil. Four sample locations were tested that had varied uranium concentration, weathering, and aging of fired, DU residues. Reduction of soil DU concentration was achieved using simple vibratory or agitated screening techniques. For soils into which the DU had been recently fired, these techniques were successful at removing a large fraction 70 percent of the total uranium present by mass. A heavy liquid separation process based on a watersodium polytungstate solution was tested. This produced a sinking fraction that contained nearly 100-percent uranium and uranium oxide by mass for the less weathered soils. However, this type of wet separation is not currently practical for field use. A water-based separation process using an angled vibrating table to facilitate gravity transport of separated DU was also tested. This method produced a fraction of concentrated uranium along with fractions of soil particles with reduced densities. However, this process required extensive particle size separation prior to use and produced a contaminated waste stream that required secondary treatment. The extent to which DU and DU residues could be removed from the Yuma soils depended on the extent of soil weathering and corrosion of the DU alloy.
- Properties of Metals and Alloys
- Radioactivity, Radioactive Wastes and Fission Products