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Book Chapter

Special cases of natural analogues: The Gabon and Cigar Lake U ore deposits

By
F. Gauthier-Lafaye
F. Gauthier-Lafaye
ULP-EOST-CNRS, Centre de Géochimie de la Surface UMR 7517, Strasbourg, France gauthier@illite.u-strasbg.fr
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P. Stille
P. Stille
ULP-EOST-CNRS, Centre de Géochimie de la Surface UMR 7517, Strasbourg, France gauthier@illite.u-strasbg.fr
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R. Bros
R. Bros
JNC, Waste Isolation Research Division, Tokai-mura, Ibaraki-ken, Japan
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Published:
January 01, 2004

Abstract

The Gabon and Cigar Lake uranium deposits may be used as natural analogues for nuclear waste because they both provide information on actinide immobilization in a geological system over a very long period of time. These deposits contain high-grade uranium ores (40–60% UO2) embedded in a clay matrix. Futhermore, the Oklo and Bangombé uranium deposits in Gabon were natural nuclear fission reactors that operated 2000 Ma ago. This offers the unique opportunity to study the behaviour of fission products and actinides in a geological environment. The geological stability of the sites is one of the most important parameters that can explain the preservation of the natural reactors of Gabon and of the Cigar Lake deposit. The mineralogy of the hosted rocks and the chemical composition of the fluids are likewise important parameters. It can be shown that clays, Fe-sulphides and organic matters provide effective redox buffering and consequently play an important role in the long-term preservation of the ores. Adsorption of actinides and fission products on clays and Ti-oxides is also an important process for retention of these elements. This process is even more efficient when it is followed by the formation of coffinite, USiO4·nH2O. Coffinitization is common at the Cigar Lake deposit and in the natural reactors of Gabon. Coffinitization may be related to hydrothermal alteration (Cigar Lake) and to weathering (Bangombé).

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Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Energy, Waste and the Environment: a Geochemical Perspective

R. Gieré
R. Gieré
Universität Freiburg, Germany
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P. Stille
P. Stille
ULP-École et Observatoire des Sciences de la Terre-CNRS, Strasbourg, France
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Geological Society of London
Volume
236
ISBN electronic:
9781862394841
Publication date:
January 01, 2004

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