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Geochemical and Biogeochemical Controls on Element Mobility in and Around Uranium Mill Tailings

By
E.R. Landa
E.R. Landa
U.S. Geological Survey, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, MS 430, Reston, VA 20192
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Published:
January 01, 1997

Abstract

Uranium-bearing ores are mined and milled as the first step in the nuclear fuel cycle. Milling consists of the mechanical and chemical processes that concentrate the uranium fraction from the ore. In conventional uranium milling, the ore is crushed and leached with either alkali or acid. Ores with limestone contents greater than 15% are generally leached under alkaline conditions with sodium carbonate-bicarbonate, whereas most other ores are leached with sulfuric acid. The uranium extracted by the leaching solution is concentrated by solvent extraction or ion exchange and subsequent precipitation (generally with ammonia) of a uranium concentrate (80-85% U3O8), referred to as “yellow cake.” For details regarding variants in the milling process, the reader is referred to Merritt (1971), International Atomic Energy Agency (1980), and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (1983).

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The Environmental Geochemistry of Mineral Deposits: Part A: Processes, Techniques, and Health Issues Part B: Case Studies and Research Topics

G.S. Plumlee
G.S. Plumlee
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M.J. Logsdon
M.J. Logsdon
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L.F. Filipek
L.F. Filipek
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Society of Economic Geologists
Volume
6
ISBN electronic:
9781629490137
Publication date:
January 01, 1997

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