Selective Removal of Radioactive Cesium from Nuclear Waste by Zeolites: On the Origin of Cesium Selectivity Revealed by Systematic Crystallographic Studies Academic Article uri icon


  • 2017 American Chemical Society. Selective ion-exchange with zeolites has been considered as one of the most promising means to remove a radioactive isotope of cesium, 137Cs, present in low concentration in seawater. However, there has been no report on the fundamental structure-property relation of zeolite-based Cs ion-exchangers. In this study, we investigate the origin of the selectivity of the radioactive cesium isotope in zeolite frameworks using zeolite A (LTA) as a model system. We prepared seven single crystals of fully dehydrated and partially cesium exchanged Zeolite A (LTA) with different Cs+/Na+ ratios. Their single-crystal synchrotron X-ray diffraction experiments revealed the significant differences in the degree of exchange and the site selectivity of Cs+ ions depending on the initial Cs+ concentrations in given ion exchange solutions. The degree of Cs+-ion exchange increases from 15.8 to 44.2% as the initial Cs+ concentration increases and the Na+ content decreases. In addition, it was found that Cs+ ions are energetically preferred and occluded in the center of eight-oxygen rings. With this finding, we tested the Cs adsorption capacity of pure zeolite Rho which has much more eight-oxygen rings than zeolite A along with commercial faujasite-type zeolite and titanosilicate from deionized water and seawater. Zeolite Rho showed significantly better performance on the Cs removal in the presence of high salt contents (i.e., seawater) than faujasite-type zeolite and titanosilicate.

published proceedings

  • The Journal of Physical Chemistry C

author list (cited authors)

  • Lee, H. Y., Kim, H. S., Jeong, H., Park, M., Chung, D., Lee, K., Lee, E., & Lim, W. T.

citation count

  • 35

complete list of authors

  • Lee, Ha Young||Kim, Hu Sik||Jeong, Hae-Kwon||Park, Man||Chung, Dong-Yong||Lee, Keun-Young||Lee, Eil-Hee||Lim, Woo Taik

publication date

  • May 2017