The complex formation of the uranyl ion, UO22+, with chloride ions in acetonitrile has been investigated by factor analysis of UV-vis absorption and U L-3 edge EXAFS (extended X-ray absorption fine structure) spectra. As a function of increasing [Cl-]/[UO22+] ratio, the five monomeric species [UO2(H2O)(5)](2+), [UO2Cl(H2O)(2)(MeCN)(2)](+), [UO2Cl2(H2O)(MeCN)(2)], [UO2Cl3(MeCN)(2)](-), and [UO2Cl4](2-) have been observed. The distances determined in the first coordination sphere are: U-O-ax = 1.77 angstrom, U-O-H2O = 2.43 angstrom, U-N-MeCN = 2.53 angstrom, and U-Cl = 2.68 angstrom. A crystalline material has been obtained from the intermediate solution with the [Cl-]/[UO22+] ratio of similar to 2, where [UO2Cl2(H2O)(MeCN)(2)] is the dominating species. The crystal structure analysis of this material revealed a tetrameric complex, [(UO2)(4)(mu(2)-Cl)(4)(mu(3)-O)(2)(H2O)(2)(CH3CN)(4)]center dot(CH3CN). The crystal data are: monoclinic, space group P2(1)/n, a 10.6388(5) angstrom, b = 14.8441(5) angstrom, c = 10.8521(5) angstrom, beta = 109.164(5)degrees, and Z = 2. The U(VI) coordination of the solution species [UO2Cl2(H2O)(MeCN)(2)] changes during the crystallization by replacing one MeCN molecule with a bridging mu(3)-O atom in the tetramer.