Reactivity of high plutonium-containing glasses for the immobilization of surplus fissile materials Page: 4 of 9
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REACTIVITY OF PLUTONIUM-CONTAINING GLASSES FOR THE
IMMOBILIZATION OF SURPLUS FISSILE MATERIALS
J. K. Bates, J. C. Hoh, J. W. Emery, E. C. Buck, J. A. Fortner, S. F. Wolf, and T. R. Johnson
Argonne National Laboratory
9700 South Cass Avenue
Argonne, Illinois 60439-4837
Experiments have been performed on
glasses doped with 2 and 7 wt% plutonium to
evaluate factors that may be important in the
performance of these high-Pu-loaded glasses for
repository storage. The high Pu loadings result
from the need to dispose of excess Pu from
weapons dismantling. The glasses were reacted
in water vapor to simulate aging that may occur
under unsaturated storage conditions prior to
contact with liquid water. They were also
reacted with liquid water under standard static
leach test conditions. The results were
compared with similar tests of a reference glass
(202 glass) containing only 0.01 wt% Pu.
In vapor hydration testing to date, at 2 wt%
loading, the Pu was incorporated into the glass
without phase separation, and reaction in water
vapor proceeded at a rate comparable with that
of the 202 glass. At 7 wt% loading, a Pu phase
separated and was not uniformly incorporated
into the glass. The vapor reaction of this glass
proceeded at a more rapid rate. This phase
separation was manifested in the static leach
tests, where colloidal phases of Pu-rich material
remained suspended in solution, thereby
increasing the absolute Pu release when
compared to the 202 glass.
The United States is evaluating several
options for disposal of excess plutonium being
produced from the dismantling of nuclear
weapons. Disposal of the material in under-
ground storage at the Yucca Mountain Site is
one option under consideration. While a final
waste form has not been chosen, borosilicate
glass is one of the waste forms being evaluated.
Because the amount of Pu in the glass will be
greater than that currently found in the high-
level waste glass to be produced by the Defense
Waste Processing Facility (DWPF), there is a
need to evaluate the performance of a range of
glasses with high Pu content. While the
composition of the glass used for Pu
immobilization has not been finalized, an initial
evaluation of the effect of Pu loading on
reactivity provides insight into issues that will
be important when evaluating the performance
of a high concentration Pu glass. For purposes
of comparison, a substantial data base on the
reactivity of the reference DWPF glass (frit 202
based glass) exists.'
Because the proposed site for storage of
high-level waste in the United States is located
in an unsaturated environment, tests have been
conducted in water vapor to simulate reactions
that will occur prior to contact of the waste glass
with liquid water. The reaction under such
conditions is termed vapor hydration.2 Of
interest in these tests is the extent of reaction
and the distribution of Pu between the reacted
glass and the secondary phases. Tests have also
been conducted by the static leach test method
designated as the Product Consistency Test,
version B (PCT-B). In these tests the reactivity
and release of Pu to solution have been
measured and compared to the standard glass.
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Bates, J.K.; Hoh, J.C.; Emery, J.W.; Buck, E.C.; Fortner, J.A.; Wolf, S.F. et al. Reactivity of high plutonium-containing glasses for the immobilization of surplus fissile materials, article, June 1, 1995; Idaho Falls, Idaho. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc734006/m1/4/: accessed September 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.