Decontamination of spent ion-exchange resins, corrosion-unstable metal structures, soil, ground, and construction materials contaminated by fission, corrosion and transuranic radionuclides remains one of the most urgent and complicated ecological problems. Among the existing methods having different efficiencies in regard to such materials decontamination, application of selective sorbents put into a humid medium to be decontaminated (ground, bulk materials) appears to be rather extensive. However, the efficiency of such an approach is significantly limited by difficulties concerned with uniform sorbent distribution in porous media and completeness of spent sorbents removal for final disposal. In this paper we suggest a principally new approach to preparation of colloid-stable selective sorbents for cesium uptake using immobilization of transition metals (cobalt, nickel, and copper) ferrocyanides in nanosized carboxylic latex emulsions. The effects of ferrocyanide composition, pH, and media salinity on the sorption properties of the colloid-stable sorbents toward cesium ions were studied in solutions containing up to 200 g/1 sodium nitrate or potassium chloride. The sorption capacities of the colloid sorbents based on mixed potassium/transition metals ferrocyanides were in the range 1.45–1.86 mol Cs/mol ferrocyanide with the highest value found for the copper ferrocyanide. It was shown that the obtained colloid-stable sorbents were capable to penetrate through bulk materials without filtration that makes them applicable for decontamination of solids, e.g. soils, zeolites, spent ion-exchange resins contaminated with cesium radionuclides. After decontamination of liquid or solid radioactive wastes the colloid-stable sorbents can be easily separated from solutions by precipitation with cationic flocculants providing localization of radionuclides in a small volume of the precipitates formed. Besides, functionalized latex particles can be used for preparation of carbon fiber/ferrocyanide composite materials for cesium uptake using electrodeposition method. Application of the carbon fibers as an inert support for ferrocyanides, in general, significantly improves the sorption kinetics, but washing out of ferrocyanide fines from the fiber surface limits the potential of such materials. When ferrocyanides are deposited in a form of nanocrystals stabilized by latexes which undergo electropolymerization on the fiber surface, the thin polymeric film formed substantially improves the stability of the composite and prevents loss of ferrocyanide during sorbent application. The effect of electrodeposition conditions on composite morphology, ferrocyanide loading and cesium distribution coefficient in media with different salinity has been discussed.

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