Exploring the Potential of Metatorbernite in Uranium Remediation

School of Chemistry researchers feature in podcast on uranium remediation

Researchers from the School of Chemistry have featured in a Scipod podcast based on a journal article featuring Dr Caroline KirkProfessor Carole Morrison, Dr Fiona MacIver-Jones and previous BSc student Polly Sutcliffe from the School of Chemistry.

Although nuclear power is a clean alternative to fossil fuel combustion, this industry often causes uranium pollution in the local environment. The generation of metatorbernite, a solid material containing uranium, is one promising way to remove dissolved uranium atoms from industrial wastewater. However, before this remediation technology can be widely applied, we need a deeper understanding of the properties of metatorbernite, such as its long-term stability, to ensure that uranium will not be re-released from its structure. Dr Caroline Kirk, Ms Fi MacIver-Jones and their colleagues at the University of Edinburgh have been working to establish the structure and stability of this material, so that it can be applied for uranium remediation in the near future.

Dr Caroline Kirk

This is the first publication combining structural modelling of powder neutron diffraction data with the computational modelling technique AIRSS of an inorganic material (metatorbernite).The mineral phase metatorbernite has possible applications in the area of uranium remediation and therefore its stability under different conditions needs to be monitored. Having a robust structural model of this important uranium containing material, will allow mechanisms of decomposition to be predicted and further its development as a remediation material.

I am really proud of this piece of work and lots of thanks goes to Fi and the all-female cast supporting this work!