Aged Nuclear Explosive Melt Glass: Radiography and Scanning Electron Microscope Analyses Documenting Both Radionuclide Distribution and Glass Alteration

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Assessment of the long-term performance of nuclear melt glass under saturated conditions provides insight into factors controlling radionuclide release into groundwater. Melt glass samples were collected from an underground nuclear detonation cavity at the Nevada Test Site that was in contact with groundwater for more than 10 years. The samples were made into thin sections and the distribution of alpha activity mapped using CR-39 plastic detectors. The melt glass is visually heterogeneous and the results of the alpha track radiography indicate that the highest alpha activity is associated with areas of dark colored glass. Analyses of the thin sections by ... continued below

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591 Kilobytes pages

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Eaton, G.F. & Smith, D.K. March 28, 2000.

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Assessment of the long-term performance of nuclear melt glass under saturated conditions provides insight into factors controlling radionuclide release into groundwater. Melt glass samples were collected from an underground nuclear detonation cavity at the Nevada Test Site that was in contact with groundwater for more than 10 years. The samples were made into thin sections and the distribution of alpha activity mapped using CR-39 plastic detectors. The melt glass is visually heterogeneous and the results of the alpha track radiography indicate that the highest alpha activity is associated with areas of dark colored glass. Analyses of the thin sections by alpha spectrometry show the prominent actinide species to be {sup 238}Pu, {sup 239}Pu and {sup 241}Am. Scanning electron microprobe analysis of the bulk glass shows conspicuous alteration layers lining internal vesicle surfaces in the glass. X-ray diffraction patterns for the alteration phases are consistent with clay mineral compositions. Glass dissolution models indicate these layers are too thick to have formed at ambient temperatures over the 10 year period in which they remained in a saturated environment. This implies the alteration layers likely formed at temperatures higher than ambient during cooling of the cavity following the underground detonation. Mobilization of this clay alteration layer as colloidal particles in groundwater represents a potential source of actinide release into the environment.

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591 Kilobytes pages

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  • Methods & Applications of Radioanalytical Chemistry (MARC V), Kailus-Kona, HI (US), 04/09/2000--04/14/2000

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  • Report No.: UCRL-JC-136658
  • Grant Number: W-7405-Eng-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 793990
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc742815

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • March 28, 2000

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  • Oct. 19, 2015, 7:39 p.m.

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  • May 5, 2016, 9:01 p.m.

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Eaton, G.F. & Smith, D.K. Aged Nuclear Explosive Melt Glass: Radiography and Scanning Electron Microscope Analyses Documenting Both Radionuclide Distribution and Glass Alteration, article, March 28, 2000; California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc742815/: accessed January 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.