Radionuclide migration around uranium ore bodies in the Alligator Rivers Region of the Northern Territory of Australia - Analogue of radioactive waste repositories - A review

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Abstract

A number of U ore bodies in the Northern Territory of Australia have been evaluated as geochemical analogues of high-level radioactive waste repositories. A mathematical model of the redistribution of U within the upper sequences of the ore body has been developed to rationalise observed U-series fractionation in terms of differential leaching rates, the rate of advance of the weathering front and assumed boundary conditions. Evidence is presented that the maximum uranium retardation factor down-gradient of the Ranger deposit is 1 250. Groundwater colloids were found to carry between 0.01% and 2% 238U, and between 0.3% and 39% 230Th. In associated investigations of the weathered ore, it was found that between 50% and 98% 238U and between 74% and 97% 230Th is associated with the Fe minerals (predominantly ferrihydrite and goethite). Substantial 234U238U and 230Th234U fractionation attributed to α-recoil is observed. The possibility of incorporating chosen transuranic elements and fission products into the analogue is discussed. © 1986.

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Airey, P. L. (1986). Radionuclide migration around uranium ore bodies in the Alligator Rivers Region of the Northern Territory of Australia - Analogue of radioactive waste repositories - A review. Chemical Geology, 55(3–4), 255–268. https://doi.org/10.1016/0009-2541(86)90028-8

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