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  • 1 New Star Institute of Applied Technology, No. 451 Huangshan Road, Hefei, 230031 People’s Republic of China
  • | 2 Institute of Radiation Medicine, Anhui Medical University, Meishan Road 81, Hefei, 230032 Anhui, People’s Republic of China
  • | 3 Department of Biology, Anhui Medical College, Hefei, 230061 People’s Republic of China
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The bentonite from Gaomiaozi county (Inner Mongolia, China) (denoted as GMZ bentonite) was characterized by X-ray powder diffraction and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. The effect of pH, contact time, ionic strength, humic acid (HA) and Eu(III) concentrations on Eu(III) sorption to the GMZ bentonite was studied by batch technique under ambient conditions. The sorption of Eu(III) on GMZ bentonite was strongly dependent on pH and independent of ionic strength. The sorption of Eu(III) on GMZ bentonite was mainly dominated by surface complexation rather than by ion exchange. The presence of HA enhanced Eu(III) sorption at low pH values, but decreased Eu(III) sorption at high pH values. The enhanced sorption of Eu(III) on GMZ bentonite at low pH was attributed to the strong complexation of Eu(III) with surface adsorbed HA on GMZ bentonite and the reduced sorption of Eu(III) at high pH was attributed to the formation of soluble HA–Eu complexes in aqueous solution. The strong sorption of Eu(III) on GMZ bentonite suggested that the GMZ bentonite could be used as the backfill material in nuclear waste disposal.