Alpha-Decay Radiation Damage Study of a Glass-Bonded Sodalite Ceramicwaste form
Materials Research Society Symposium Proceedings
Effects of alpha decay on the ceramic waste form used to immobilize fission products and actinides accumulated from electrometallurgical treatment of Department of Energy metallic spent nuclear fuel is being studied. This involved the preparation of a surrogate ceramic waste form containing two-weight percent plutonium-238 and monitoring changes to the waste form resulting from alpha-decay damage. The phase assembly of the ceramic waste form consists of glass-bonded sodalite with small
... s of nepheline, halite and plutonium oxide . The waste form has been monitored for three years and has acquired an internal alpha-decay dose of 1x 10 18 disintegrations per gram of material. Methods used to monitor the material include: density determination to measure possible macroscopic swelling, chemical durability measured by leach testing, microstructure analysis by scanning and transmission electron microscopy and phase composition by powder x-ray diffraction. The investigation has, to date, found little alteration to the waste form due to alpha-decay damage. X-ray diffraction analysis has detected a unit cell volume increase of 0.7 percent of the plutonium oxide phase. Furthermore, bubbles and/or voids have been observed by transmission electron microscopy in the sodalite and glass phase. The origin of these defects is unclear and under investigation.