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Case History of a Pilot-scale Acidic in Situ Uranium Leaching Experiment.

Nigbor MT; Engelmann WE; Tweeton DR
MISSING :81 pages
The Bureau of Mines assisted the Rocky Mountain Energy Company, in a pilot-scale in situ leaching experiment at Casper, Wyoming, to determine if sulfuric acid can be used as a cost-effective alternative lixiviant (leachant) for uranium in situ leaching. This experiment, which lasted more than 2 years, is the first fully documented pilot-scale operation in which the leaching-restoration cycle was completed using sulfuric acid instead of the more common carbonate-bicarbonate leachant. This report describes activities at the experimental site, presents extensive geochemical data from startup to site restoration, compares laboratory and field experiments, and discusses the environmental aspects of acid leaching. The data showed that sulfuric acid is apparantly an effective leaching solution. Three to five grams of acid per liter of ground water resulted in a production solution grade of 80 to 100 ppm uranium. Restoration was successful, but required extended flushing. The ph was the last chemical parameter to return to baseline, requiring about 350 days. This was longer than was predicted in laboratory simulations. The data also showed that mobilization of toxic elements such as selenium, arsenic, radium, thorium, and molybdenum stayed within reasonable limits and quickly fell back to preleach concentrations during restoration.
Publication Date
Document Type
IH; Report of Investigations
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
RI 8652
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Page last reviewed: November 19, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division