Efficient Removal and Recovery of Uranium by a Layered Organic-Inorganic Hybrid Thiostannate

Mei Ling Feng, Debajit Sarma, Xing Hui Qi, Ke Zhao Du, Xiao Ying Huang, Mercouri G Kanatzidis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

165 Citations (Scopus)


Uranium is important in the nuclear fuel cycle both as an energy source and as radioactive waste. It is of vital importance to recover uranium from nuclear waste solutions for further treatment and disposal. Herein we present the first chalcogenide example, (Me2NH2)1.33(Me3NH)0.67Sn3S7·1.25H2O (FJSM-SnS), in which organic amine cations can be used for selective UO2 2+ ion-exchange. The UO2 2+-exchange kinetics perfectly conforms to pseudo-second-order reaction, which is observed for the first time in a chalcogenide ion-exchanger. This reveals the chemical adsorption process and its ion-exchange mechanism. FJSM-SnS has excellent pH stability in both strongly acidic and basic environments (pH = 2.1-11), with a maximum uranium-exchange capacity of 338.43 mg/g. It can efficiently capture UO2 2+ ions in the presence of high concentrations of Na+, Ca2+, or HCO3 - (the highest distribution coefficient Kd value reached 4.28 × 104 mL/g). The material is also very effective in removing of trace levels of U in the presence of excess Na+ (the relative amounts of U removed are close to 100%). The UO2 2+···S2- interactions are the basis for the high selectivity. Importantly, the uranyl ion in the exchanged products could be easily eluted with an environmentally friendly method, by treating the UO2 2+-laden materials with a concentrated KCl solution. These advantages coupled with the very high loading capacity, low cost, environmentally friendly nature, and facile synthesis make FJSM-SnS a new promising remediation material for removal of radioactive U from nuclear waste solutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12578-12585
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number38
Publication statusPublished - Sep 28 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry

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