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Applied Geology and Geochemistry

Hilary Emerson

Hilary Emerson

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
PO Box 999
Richland, WA 99352


Dr. Hilary P. Emerson has over 8 years of experience in fate and remediation of radionuclides including the actinide elements. She enjoys working on systems spanning from laboratory to field scale. Since joining PNNL in 2019, her work has focused primarily on development of new remediation technologies for radionuclides.

Research Interests

  • Environmental actinide chemistry
  • Fate and transport of radionuclides
  • Development of remediation methods for radionuclides
  • Subsurface geochemical impacts due to in situ remediation technologies

Education and Credentials

  • Ph.D., Environmental Engineering and Earth Science, Clemson University
  • B.S., Environmental Engineering, University of Central Florida

Awards and Recognitions

  • 2016 – DOE-NE Innovations in Fuel Cycle Research, Used Fuel Disposition, 2nd place paper

PNNL Publications


  • Emerson H.P., A.T. Gebru, D. Boglaienko, Y. Katsenovich, S. Kandel, and T.G. Levitskaia. 2020. "Impact of zero valent iron aging on reductive removal of technetium-99." Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering 8, no. 3:Article No. 103767. PNNL-SA-149885. doi:10.1016/j.jece.2020.103767
  • Maloubier M., H.P. Emerson, K. Peruski, A. Kersting, M. Zavarin, P.M. Almond, and D.I. Kaplan, et al. 2020. "Impact of natural organic matter on plutonium vadose zone migration from an NH4Pu(V)O2CO3(s) source." Journal of Environmental Science and Technology 54, no. 5:2688-2697. PNNL-SA-145027. doi:10.1021/acs.est.9b05651


  • Zengotita F., H.P. Emerson, F. Stanley, T. Dittrich, M.K. Richmann, D.T. Reed, and J. Swanson. 2019. "Potential for biocolloid transport of cesium at high ionic strength." Chemosphere 235. PNNL-SA-142323. doi:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2019.06.222

Selected Publications


  • Emerson, H.P., Kaplan, D.I., and Powell, B.A. (2019) "Plutonium binding affinity to sediments increases with contact time." Chemical Geology, 505, 100-107. 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2018/11/009


  • Emerson, H.P., Di Pietro, S., Katsenovich, Y., and Szecsody, J. (2018) "Uranium immobilization in the presence of minerals following remediation via base treatment with ammonia gas," Journal of Environmental Management, 223, 1, 108-114. 10:1016/jenvman.2018.06.12
  • Emerson, H.P., Zengotita, F., Dittrich, T., Richmann, M., Katsenovich, Y., and Reed, D. (2018) "Retention of neodymium by dolomite at variable ionic strength as probed by batch and column experiments," Journal of Environmental Radioactivity. 190-191, 89-96. 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2018.05.007


  • Emerson, H.P., Di Pietro, S., Katsenovich, Y., and Szecsody, J. (2017) "Effect of Ammonium on Uranium Partitioning and Kaolinite Mineral Dissolution." Journal of Environmental Radioactivity. 167, 150-159. 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2016.11.029


  • Emerson, H.P., Hickok, K.A., and Powell, B.A. (2016) "Experimental Evidence for Ternary Colloid-facilitated Transport of Th(IV) with Hematite (α-Fe2O3) Colloids and Suwannee River Fulvic Acid." Journal of Environmental Radioactivity. 165, 168-181. 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2016.10.001.


  • Emerson, H.P. and Powell, B.A. (2015) "Observations of surface-mediated reduction of Pu(VI) to Pu(IV) on hematite nanoparticles by ATR FT-IR." Radiochimica Acta, 103, 8, 553-563. 10.1515/ract-2014-2372


  • Emerson, H.P., Hart, A.E., Baldwin, J.A., Waterhouse, T.C., Kitchens, C.L., Mefford, O.T., and Powell, B.A. (2014) "Characterization of physical transformations of iron oxide and silver nanoparticles from an intermediate scale field transport study." Journal of Nanoparticle Research, 16, 2. 10.1007/s11051-014-2258-9
  • Emerson, H.P., Xu, C., Ho, Y.-F., Zhang, S., Schwehr, K.A., Lilley, M., Kaplan, D.I., Santschi, P.H., and Powell, B.A. (2014) "Geochemical controls of iodine uptake and transport in Savannah River Site subsurface sediments." Applied Geochemistry, 45, 105-113, 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2014.03.002

Subsurface Science & Technology