Our research explores the biogeochemical processes that control the transport and fate of contaminants and nutrients in the subsurface with a particular focus on radionuclides. We study radionuclides both as an environmental contaminant from nuclear energy and weapons production and as tracers for carbon, phosphorous, sulfur, water, and other nutrients.
This work is multifaceted as the biological, geological, chemical, and radioactive components are coupled and interconnected, each affecting the other. Our goal is to understand the complex relationships between organic matter, minerals, and contaminant/nutrient transport.
In order to better understand these intricate relationships, I use a combination of experiments across temporal and spatial scales. The smaller scale techniques, like batch experiments and continuously stirred tank reactor (CSTR) studies, provide simpler, more controlled environments to determine the extent, mechanism, and kinetics of the chemical reactions that govern the release of radionuclides into the environment. The fundamental knowledge gained from these small-scale experiments can be applied to more complex experiments, like micromodels, columns, and field studies, to understand how additional biogeochemical components can affect the mobility of radionuclides in these systems.
Project 1: Effect of environmental exposure on the enthalpies of uranyl phosphate precipitates
Project 2: Effect of organic matter on cesium-137 sorption to minerals across scales
Project 3: Examining selective iodine-129 and technetium-99 sorbent for use in a targeted permeable reactive barrier