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Zeolite removes radioactivity from groundwater

Research Achievements

Zeolite removes radioactivity from groundwater

Through a research grant from West Valley Environmental Services (WVES), IGERT trainee Shannon Seneca completed an extensive two-year study to provide the first experimental confirmation that natural zeolite will effectively remove radioactive strontium-90 from groundwater. Building on preliminary work conducted during her IGERT traineeship, Ms. Seneca's unique study included very long (up to two years) laboratory column studies, a mechanistic focus that examined the competitive cation exchange behavior of five solutes in addition to the target Strontium-90, and a unique partnership with WVES scientists to conduct the first experiments using "hot" (radioactive) groundwater from the site. The first full scale permeable treatment wall constructed of natural zeolite was installed at the former nuclear facility in October 2010.