Hydroxyapatite Barriers for Radionuclide Containment

Technology Summary

Apatite, which has been shown to effectively bind and immobilize radionuclides, can also be used to form barriers in water and soil in contaminated environments. The apatite barrier is formed in situ in soil by injection of chelated calcium, phosphate and fluoride solution. In situ formed apatite can be used to sequester actinides, strontium, lead, heavy metals and other compounds that react with apatite.


This technology has been effectively applied at the Hanford site to create a barrier between the contamination areas, ground water, and nearby water sources such as the Columbia River. Due to the rising and falling of the water levels of the river, containment and an effective barrier is imperative to protecting from the spread of contamination. This technology has been shown to reduce the risks associated with sites containing hazardous materials and can be a critical component in maintaining a safe environment, protecting natural resources, and further mitigating associated risks.


  • Contains and “holds” compounds that react with apatite which are hazardous to the environment
  • Most effective method in the cleanup at Hanford site
  • Creates a barrier in soil and groundwater

Applications and Industries

  • Ground and surface water protection of contaminated sites
  • Radioactive waste clean up
  • Containment of radionuclides

Intellectual Property

ID Number
Patent Number
Situ formation of apatite for sequestering radionuclides and heavy metals 6883.1 6,592,294 07/15/2003
In situ formation of phosphate barriers in soil 6412.0 6,416,252 07/09/2002
Technology IDSD#6412Development StageProduction - Sandia has shown that this product has been successfully tested in a real-world environment under relevant conditions as illustrated at the Hanford site. Application further demonstrated to be effective with little to no changes necessary in this technology. AvailabilityAvailable - Various license and partnering options are available. Please contact the Intellectual Property department to discuss.Published09/29/2011Last Updated03/05/2013