Uranium mineralogy is as old as the discovery of the element uranium. The societal importance of uranium minerals dramatically increased with the dawn of the atomic age, with 2018 marking the 80th anniversary of the discovery of fission in 1938. The thirst for uranium continues, as it is the fuel of more than 400 nuclear power plants in the world, with 70 new reactors currently under construction. Uranium remains an environmental contaminant at may sites worldwide associated with the fuel cycle.
Uranium mineralogy has been the focus of many studies over the past 20 years that have provided many insights into their structures, compositions, occurrences, and properties. The accelerated pace of research continues today, with many reports of new uranium minerals and structures, measurement of thermodynamic properties, and studies of important inorganic synthetic compounds. This session will focus on current studies of new uranium minerals, the structural complexity across the entire family of uranium minerals, measurements of thermodynamic parameters, and application of these studies.
Professor Peter Burns (United States)
University of Notre Dame
About the session convenor
Peter C. Burns is the Henry Massman Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences and Concurrent Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame (Indiana, USA), Director of the Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame, and Director of an Energy Frontier Research Center focused on the materials science of actinides. Burns’ research emphasizes the solid state, aqueous, and cluster chemistry of uranium and neptunium, including uranium mineralogy and societally important issues such as nuclear waste disposal and transport of radionuclides in the environment. Starting in 2005, Burns developed a family of more than 100 nanoscale uranium-oxygen cage clusters that self-assemble in water, and he is developing applications of these to take advantage of their unique properties. Burns’ research has produced more than 380 published archival journal contributions, as well as three books. He has received various awards including the Peacock, Hawley and Young Scientist Medals of the Mineralogical Association of Canada, the Mineralogical Society of America Award, and the Donath Medal of the Geological Society of America.