Investigating the interactions between hydrotalcite and U(IV) nanoparticulates

Christopher Foster, Samuel Shaw, Thomas Neill, Nick Bryan, Nick Sherriff, Scott Harrison, Louise Natrajan, Bruce Rigby, Katherine Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the UK, the decommissioning of legacy spent fuel storage facilities at the Sellafield nuclear facility requires the retrieval of radioactive sludge resulting from Magnox fuel corrosion. However, sludge retrievals may enhance uranium mobility including via sorption of radionuclide nanoparticles onto colloidal phases such as hydrotalcite (Mg4Al2(OH)16(CO3).4H2O). Hydrotalcite is a Mg-Al layered double hydroxide (LDH) which is a corrosion product of Magnox fuel cladding. Currently, there are a paucity of studies examining interactions between actinide nanoparticles and LDH phases such as hydrotalcite. Here, a multi-technique approach was used to investigate the interactions between colloidal hydrotalcite and three different forms of nanoparticulate U(IV): nanoparticulate uraninite (UO2); nanoparticulate UO2 reacted with silica (UO2-Si); and U(IV)-Si-coprecipitate under anoxic, neutral-to-alkaline conditions. Ultrafiltration and zeta potential analyses indicated that for UO2 and UO2-Si nanoparticulate phases, sorption to colloidal hydrotalcite was limited due to rapidly settling UO2 and UO2-Si aggregates (>450 nm). By contrast, ultrafiltration and zeta potential analyses confirmed the U(IV)-Si-coprecipitate nanoparticle phase showed significantly higher sorption to colloidal hydrotalcite. This was due to the increased colloidal stability of intrinsic U(IV)-silicate nanoparticles which in turn promoted increased sorption to hydrotalcite. TEM imaging showed some evidence for smaller UO2 and UO2-Si aggregates (
Original languageEnglish
Article number154482
JournalJournal of Nuclear Materials
Early online date24 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2023


  • Uranium
  • U(IV)
  • Colloids
  • Hydrotalcite
  • Silica
  • Effluent treatment


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