Phillipsite in Cs Decontamination and Immobilization

Sridhar Komarneni
Materials Research Laboratory and Department of Agronomy The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802

Abstract: The Cs selectivity of several natural zeolitic tuffs and synthetic zeolites was measured. Phillipsite-rich tuffs from California and Nevada exchanged 13.5 and 23.7%, respectively, of the Cs present in simulated alkaline defense waste containing 0.00025 M CsCl in 5.5 M NaCl-NaOH solution from the Savannah River Plant, Aiken, South Carolina; whereas mordenite-rich tuffs from Arizona and Nevada exchanged less than 12.7%. The immobilization or fixation of Cs in phillipsite unlike other zeolites can be achieved by heating the zeolite at 600°C for 4 hr in air and collapsing the silicate (aluminate) tetrahedral rings around the Cs ions to produce a Cs-feldspar-type phase. Treatment of the Cs-exchanged phillipsite-rich tuff at 800° to 1000°C resulted in pollucite, CsAlSi2O6, which also “locks in” the Cs ions in its structure. The fixation of Cs exchanged in phillipsite can also be achieved by the formation of pollucite upon hydrothermal treatment at 300°C and 30 MPa pressure within 12 hr. These results suggest that phillipsite-rich tuffs are good candidates for Cs immobilization by heat treatment at low temperatures after they have been used as sorbents in waste decontamination.

Key Words: Cation exchange • Cesium • Cs-feldspar • Nuclear waste disposal • Phillipsite • Pollucite • Thermal treatment • Zeolite

Clays and Clay Minerals; April 1985 v. 33; no. 2; p. 145-151; DOI: 10.1346/CCMN.1985.0330209
© 1985, The Clay Minerals Society
Clay Minerals Society (www.clays.org)