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An Efficient Method for Selective Desalination of Radioactive Iodine Anions by Using Gold Nanoparticles-Embedded Membrane Filter

Published: July 13th, 2018



1Advanced Radiation Technology Institute, Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, 2Department of Chemistry, Kyungpook National University, 3Department of Radiation Biotechnology and Applied Radioisotope Science, University of Science and Technology
* These authors contributed equally

An efficient method for the rapid and ion-selective desalination of radioactive iodine in several aqueous solutions is described by using gold nanoparticles-immobilized cellulose acetate membrane filters.

Here, we demonstrate a detail protocol for the preparation of nanomaterials-embedded composite membranes and its application to the efficient and ion-selective removal of radioactive iodines. By using citrate-stabilized gold nanoparticles (mean diameter: 13 nm) and cellulose acetate membranes, gold nanoparticle-embedded cellulose acetate membranes (Au-CAM) have easily been fabricated. The nano-adsorbents on Au-CAM were highly stable in the presence of high concentration of inorganic salts and organic molecules. The iodide ions in aqueous solutions could rapidly be captured by this engineered membrane. Through a filtration process using an Au-CAM containing filter unit, excellent removal efficiency (>99%) as well as ion-selective desalination result was achieved in a short time. Moreover, Au-CAM provided good reusability without significant decrease of its performances. These results suggested that the present technology using the engineered hybrid membrane will be a promising process for the large-scale decontamination of radioactive iodine from liquid wastes.

For several decades, huge amount of radioactive liquid wastes has been generated by medical institutes, research facilities, and nuclear reactors. These pollutants have often been a palpable threat to environment and human health1,2,3. Especially, radioactive iodine is recognized as one of the most hazardous elements from nuclear plant accidents. For example, an environmental report on the Fukushima and Chernobyl nuclear reactor demonstrated that the amount of released radioactive iodines including 131I (t1/2 = 8.02 days) and 129I (

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1. Synthesis of Citrate-Stabilized Gold Nanoparticles

  1. Wash a two-neck round-bottom flask (250 mL) and a magnetic stir bar with aqua regia, a mixture of concentrated hydrochloric acid and concentrated nitric acid in a 3:1 volume ratio.
    CAUTION: Aqua regia solution is extremely corrosive and may result in explosion or skin burns if not handled with extreme caution.
  2. Rinse the glassware thoroughly with deionized water to remove residual aqueous acid.
  3. Add 120 mL of chloroauric acid solut.......

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We have demonstrated simple methods for the fabrication of Au-CAM using citrate-stabilized AuNPs and cellulose acetate membrane (Figure 1a). The surface of Au-CAM was observed by SEM which showed that the nanomaterials were incorporated stably on the cellulose nanofibers (Figure 2). The nanoparticles incarcerated on the membrane were sustained stably and were not released from the membrane by continual washing wi.......

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In recent year, various engineered nanomaterials and membranes have been developed to remove hazardous radioactive metals and heavy metals in water based on their specific functionality in adsorption techniques25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,

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This work was supported by the research grant from the National Research Foundation of Korea (Grant number: 2017M2A2A6A01070858).


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Name Company Catalog Number Comments
Hydrochloric acid DUKSAN 1129
Nitric acid  JUNSEI 37335-1250
Chloroautic chloride trihydrate (HAuCl4·3H2O) Sigma Aldrich 254169
Sodium citrate tribasic dihydrate Sigma Aldrich 71402
[125I]NaI  Perkin-Elmer NEZ033A010MC
Sodium chloride Sigma Aldrich S9888
Sodium iodide Sigma Aldrich 383112
Sodium hydroxide Sigma Aldrich S5881
Lithium L-lactate Sigma Aldrich L2250 Synthetic urine
Citric acid Sigma Aldrich C1909 Synthetic urine
Sodium hydrogen carbonate JUNSEI 43305-1250 Synthetic urine
Urea Sigma Aldrich U1250 Synthetic urine
Calcium chloride JUNSEI 18230-0301 Synthetic urine
Magnesium sulfate SAMCHUN M0146 Synthetic urine
Potassium dihydrogen phosphate JUNSEI 84185A1250 Synthetic urine
Dipotassium hydrogen phosphate JUNSEI 84120-1250 Synthetic urine
Sodium sulfate JUNSEI 83260-1250 Synthetic urine
Ammonium chloride Sigma Aldrich A9434 Synthetic urine
Sea water Sigma Aldrich S9148
1x PBS Thermo SH30256.01
Cellulose acetate membranes (pore size: 0.20 μm, diameter: 25 mm) Advantec MFS 25CS045AS
Cellulose acetate membranes (pore size: 0.20 μm, diameter: 47 mm) Advantec MFS C045A047A
47 mm Glass Microanalysis Holders Advantec MFS KG47(311400)
Petri dish (50 mm diameter ´ 15 mm height) SPL 10050
Gamma counter Perkin-Elmer 2480 WIZARD2 Model number
UV-vis spectrophotometer Thermo GENESYS 10 Model number
Transmission electron microscopy Hitachi H-7650 Model number
Field Emission Scanning electron microscope FEI Verios 460L Model number

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