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  • 1 Institute for Environmental Sciences Department of Radioecology 1-7, Rokkasho Aomori 039-3212 Japan
  • | 2 Institute for Environmental Sciences Department of Radioecology Department of Radioecology 1-7, Rokkasho Aomori 039-3212 Japan
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Abstract  

The behavior of uranium under various redox conditions was investigated in the brackish Obuchi lake surrounded by an uranium enrichment plant and facilities currently under construction for reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel in Rokkasho Village in northern Japan. Our investigation showed that uranium in water under oxic conditions can be explained by the simple mixing of freshwater and seawater, and the source of uranium in the lake is mainly seawater. The ratios of 238U/salinity under oxic conditions were approximately 0.09-0.12 g.l-1.psu-1. However, the ratios of 238U/salinity in bottom layer water under anoxic condition in summer were lower (0.07-0.09 g.l-1.psu-1) than those in seawater. 238U concentrations in pore water sampled under anoxic conditions were very low (0.05-0.06 g.l-1.psu-1). Moreover, the relationships between the 238U/Al ratios and the Fe/Al ratios of particle substances were strongly correlated. This suggests that uranium in the bottom-layer water may be precipitated to an insoluble form in the anoxic state, and Fe is the major carrier of insoluble uranium.