Removal of U(VI) from nuclear mining effluent by porous hydroxyapatite: Evaluation on characteristics, mechanisms and performance

Minhua Su, Daniel C.W. Tsang, Xinyong Ren, Qingpu Shi, Jinfeng Tang, Hongguo Zhang, Lingjun Kong, Li'an Hou, Gang Song, Diyun Chen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


The effluents from nuclear mining processes contain relatively high content of radionuclides (such as uranium), which may seriously threaten the environment and human health. Herein, a novel adsorbent, porous hydroxyapatite, was prepared and proven highly efficient for removal of uranyl ions (U(VI)) given its high U(VI) uptake capacity of 111.4 mg/g, fast adsorption kinetics, and the potential stabilization of adsorbed U(VI). A nearly complete removal of U(VI) was achieved by porous HAP under optimized conditions. Langmuir model could well describe the adsorption equilibrium. The data fit well with pseudo-second-order kinetic model, suggesting that U(VI) adsorption is primarily attributed to chemisorption with porous HAP. Intraparticle diffusion analysis showed that the intraparticle diffusion is the rate-limiting step for U(VI) adsorption by porous HAP. After removal by porous HAP, the adsorbed U(VI) ions were incorporated into tetragonal autunite, which has a low solubility (log Ksp: −48.36). Our findings demonstrate that the porous HAP can effectively remediate uranium contamination and holds great promise for environmental applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112891
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • Green/sustainable remediation
  • Hydroxyapatite
  • In situ stabilization
  • Potentially toxic elements
  • Radionuclide wastewater
  • Uranium adsorption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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