Ceramic process equipment for the immobilization of plutonium

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Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is developing a ceramic form for immobilizing excess US plutonium. The process used to produce the ceramic form is similar to the fabrication process used in the production of MOX fuel. In producing the ceramic form, the uranium and plutonium oxides are first milled to less than 20 microns. The milled actinide powder then goes through a mixing-blending step where the ceramic precursors, made from a mixture of calcined TiO<sub>2</sub>, Ca(OH)<sub>2</sub>, HfO<sub>2</sub> and Gd0<sub>3</sub>, are blended with the milled actinides. A subsequent granulation step ensures that the powder will flow freely into the press and die ... continued below

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Armantrout, G.; Brummond, W. & Maddux, P. July 24, 1998.

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Description

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is developing a ceramic form for immobilizing excess US plutonium. The process used to produce the ceramic form is similar to the fabrication process used in the production of MOX fuel. In producing the ceramic form, the uranium and plutonium oxides are first milled to less than 20 microns. The milled actinide powder then goes through a mixing-blending step where the ceramic precursors, made from a mixture of calcined TiO<sub>2</sub>, Ca(OH)<sub>2</sub>, HfO<sub>2</sub> and Gd0<sub>3</sub>, are blended with the milled actinides. A subsequent granulation step ensures that the powder will flow freely into the press and die set. The pressed ceramic material is then sintered. The process parameters for the ceramic fabrication steps to make the ceramic form are less demanding than equivalent processing steps for MOX fuel fabrication. As an example, the pressing pressure for MOX is in excess of 137.0 MPa, whereas the pressing pressure for the ceramic form is only 13.8 MPa. This translates into less die wear for the ceramic material pressing. Similarly, the sintering temperatures and times are also different. MOX is sintered at 1,700°C in 4% H<sub>2</sub> for a 24 hour cycle. The ceramic form is sintered at 1350°C in argon or air for a 15 hour cycle. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is demonstrating this ceramic fabrication process with a series of processing validation steps: first, using cerium as a surrogate for the plutonium and uranium, second, using uranium with thorium as the plutonium surrogate, and third, with plutonium. to this particle size is necessary to ensure essentially complete reaction of the plutonium with the ceramic precursors in subsequent sintering operations. Larger particles will only partially react, leaving islands of plutonium-rich minerals or unreacted plutonium oxide encased in the mineral structure. While this may be acceptable for the desired repository performance, it complicates the form characterization and acceptance for the repository if present in significant quantities.

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  • American Nuclear Society Third Topical Meeting,Charleston, SC, September 8-11, 1998

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  • Other: DE00007391
  • Report No.: UCRL-JC-129231--Rev-1
  • Grant Number: W-7405-Eng-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 7391
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc711219

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  • July 24, 1998

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  • Sept. 12, 2015, 6:31 a.m.

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  • May 6, 2016, 9:37 p.m.

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Armantrout, G.; Brummond, W. & Maddux, P. Ceramic process equipment for the immobilization of plutonium, article, July 24, 1998; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc711219/: accessed September 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.