Fabrication of zircon for disposition of weapons plutonium

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This is the final report of a one-year, Laboratory-Directed Research and Development (LDRD) project at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). In an effort to address the problems of long term storage and nuclear waste minimization, zircon has been proposed as a host medium for plutonium and other actinides recovered from dismantled nuclear weapons. The objective of this work is to investigate the feasibility of large scale fabrication of Pu-bearing zircon. Since PuO{sub 2} is thermodynamically less stable than ZrO{sub 2}, it is expected that the process parameters determined for synthesizing ZrSiO{sub 4} (zircon) would be applicable to those for ... continued below

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15 p.

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Kim, K.C.; Huang, J.Y. & Serrano, P.L. July 1, 1997.

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Description

This is the final report of a one-year, Laboratory-Directed Research and Development (LDRD) project at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). In an effort to address the problems of long term storage and nuclear waste minimization, zircon has been proposed as a host medium for plutonium and other actinides recovered from dismantled nuclear weapons. The objective of this work is to investigate the feasibility of large scale fabrication of Pu-bearing zircon. Since PuO{sub 2} is thermodynamically less stable than ZrO{sub 2}, it is expected that the process parameters determined for synthesizing ZrSiO{sub 4} (zircon) would be applicable to those for PuSiO{sub 4} (Pu-zircon). Furthermore, since the foremost concern in plutonium processing is the potential for contamination release, this work emphasizes the development of process parameters, using zircon first, to anticipate potential material problems in the containment system for reaction mixtures during processing. Stoichiometric mixtures of ZrO{sub 2} and SiO{sub 2}, in hundred-gram batches, have been subjected to hot isostatic pressing (HIP) at temperatures near 1,500 C and pressures approximately 10,000 psi. The product materials have been analyzed by x-ray powder diffraction, and are found to consist of zircon after approximately two hours of reaction time. From this work, it is clear that the fabrication of large quantities of Pu-zircon is feasible. The most notable result of this work is evidence for the existence of container problems. This result, in turn, suggests potential solutions to these problems. Experiments with the quartz inner container, the glass sealant, a sacrificial metal barrier, and a metal outer container are being investigated to mitigate these potential hazards.

Physical Description

15 p.

Notes

INIS; OSTI as DE97007839

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  • Other Information: PBD: [1997]

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  • Other: DE97007839
  • Report No.: LA-UR--97-1519
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-36
  • DOI: 10.2172/515554 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 515554
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc699257

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  • July 1, 1997

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Aug. 14, 2015, 8:43 a.m.

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  • Feb. 29, 2016, 3:06 p.m.

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Kim, K.C.; Huang, J.Y. & Serrano, P.L. Fabrication of zircon for disposition of weapons plutonium, report, July 1, 1997; New Mexico. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc699257/: accessed August 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.