Intrinsic and Carrier Colloid-facilitated transport of lanthanides through discrete fractures in chalk

N. Weisbrod, E. L. Tran, O. Klein-BenDavid, N. Teutsch

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Geological disposal of high-level radioactive waste is the long term solution for the disposal of long lived radionuclides and spent fuel. However, some radionuclides might be released from these repositories into the subsurface as a result of leakage, which ultimately make their way into groundwater. Engineered bentonite barriers around nuclear waste repositories are generally considered sufficient to impede the transport of radionuclides from their source to the groundwater. However, colloidal-sized mobile bentonite particles ("carrier" colloids) originating from these barriers have come under investigation as a potential transport vector for radionuclides sorbed to them. As lanthanides are generally accepted to have the same chemical behaviors as their more toxic actinide counterparts, lanthanides are considered an acceptable substitute for research on radionuclide transportation. This study aims to evaluate the transport behaviors of lanthanides in colloid-facilitated transport through a fractured chalk matrix and under geochemical conditions representative the Negev desert, Israel. The migration of Ce both with and without colloidal particles was explored and compared to the migration of a conservative tracer (bromide) using a flow system constructed around a naturally fractured chalk core. Results suggest that mobility of Ce as a solute is negligible. In experiments conducted without bentonite colloids, the 1% of the Ce that was recovered migrated as "intrinsic" colloids in the form of carbonate precipitates. However, the total recovery of the Ce increased to 9% when it was injected into the core in the presence of bentonite colloids and 13% when both bentonite and precipitate colloids were injected. This indicates that lanthanides are essentially immobile in chalk as a solute but may be mobile as carbonate precipitates. Bentonite colloids, however, markedly increase the mobility of lanthanides through fractured chalk matrices.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAmerican Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2015
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2015


  • 0402 Agricultural systems
  • 0465 Microbiology: ecology
  • physiology and genomics
  • 1831 Groundwater quality
  • 1875 Vadose zone


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