Summary Pyrite (FeS2) is a mineral phase often present as inclusions in temperate soils. Moreover, it turns out to be a sorption sink for certain radionuclides in deep geological disposals. The present study was thus initiated to determine the capacity of pyrite to immobilize selenide (Se(-II)). Due to the fact that pyrite surface oxidizes readily, potentials were applied in order to minimise its surface evolution, and ensure the reducing conditions necessary for stabilizing Se(-II). The sorption experiments were carried out in NaCl electrolyte and were amperometrically controlled. After only several minutes of reaction, at least 97% of Se(-II) initially present in solution was disappeared. The Kd values vary from 7?65 L/g and the isotherm curve shows site saturation at higher initial selenide concentrations and no pH-dependence. By means of several spectroscopic techniques, the reaction mechanism was investigated. The XRD and in situ XANES results indicate the presence of Se(0) on pyrite surface, which explain the rapid disappearance of Se observed in the sorption experiments. Moreover, XPS results obtained from Se-reacted pyrite particles reveal cleavage of S?S bonding which resulted in formation of S2? on pyrite surface. Thus, we conclude that Se(-II) can be immobilized by pyrite via surface redox reaction: ≡FeS2 + HSe? ? ≡FeS + Se(0) + HS?.
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