Research explores Electrokinetic Remediation of nuclear fission products

Two new papers, published in Applied Geochemistry and the Journal of Hazardous Materials, investigate the use of Electrokinetic Remediation (EKR) and its efficiency as an in-situ technique for remediation. This first study found that the method was effective mobilising caesium and strontium in organic-rich clay soil that simulates material found in the Fukushima Exclusion Zone in Japan. Therefore, given the large amounts of soil and other radiated materials needed to be remediated in locations such as Fukushima, EKR is a less labour-intensive, more cost effective method for dealing with contaminated materials. The second study outlined key challenges to the roll-out of this technology for nuclear sites, including at Sellafield in the UK.


A simplified schematic of typical EKR cell; E0 values are vs. SHE, standard hydrogen electrode; A, electromigration, B, electrophoresis, and C, electroosmosis.

These publications from researchers in GAU-Radioanalytical at the University of Southampton, a member of the South West Nuclear Hub, are funded as part of the EPSRC TRANSCEND consortium research programme, in which the National Nuclear Laboratory and Nuclear Decommissioning Authority are key partners.

TRANSCEND programme

The TRANSCEND programme (Transformative Science and Engineering for Nuclear Decommissioning) is an EPSRC research programme bringing together 11 UK Universities and eight industry partners to address some of the key challenges within the areas of nuclear decommissioning and waste management.

Its core research focuses on four main themes: Integrated Waste Management, Site Decommissioning and Remediation, Spent Fuels and Nuclear Materials.

Paper details

'Enhanced electrokinetic remediation of nuclear fission products in organic-rich soils' by J Purkis et al. in Applied Geochemistry Vol. 125, February 2021.

Authors: Dr Jamie M. Purkis, Andrew Tucknott, Professor Ian W. Croudace, Professor Phil E. Warwick, Professor Andrew B. Cundy

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Towards the Application of Electrokinetic Remediation for Nuclear Site Decommissioning, J. M. Purkis et al., in Journal of Hazardous Materials, in press (journal pre-proof).

Authors: Dr. Jamie M. Purkis, Professor. Phil E. Warwick, Dr. James Graham, Shaun D. Hemming, Professor Andrew B. Cundy

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