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Title: Designing Advanced Ceramic Waste Forms for Electrochemical Processing Salt Waste

This report describes the scientific basis underlying the approach being followed to design and develop “advanced” glass-bonded sodalite ceramic waste form (ACWF) materials that can (1) accommodate higher salt waste loadings than the waste form developed in the 1990s for EBR-II waste salt and (2) provide greater flexibility for immobilizing extreme waste salt compositions. This is accomplished by using a binder glass having a much higher Na2O content than glass compositions used previously to provide enough Na+ to react with all of the Cl– in the waste salt and generate the maximum amount of sodalite. The phase compositions and degradation behaviors of prototype ACWF products that were made using five new binder glass formulations and with 11-14 mass% representative LiCl/KCl-based salt waste were evaluated and compared with results of similar tests run with CWF products made using the original binder glass with 8 mass% of the same salt to demonstrate the approach and select a composition for further studies. About twice the amount of sodalite was generated in all ACWF materials and the microstructures and degradation behaviors confirmed our understanding of the reactions occurring during waste form production and the efficacy of the approach. However, the porosities of the resultingmore » ACWF materials were higher than is desired. These results indicate the capacity of these ACWF waste forms to accommodate LiCl/KCl-based salt wastes becomes limited by porosity due to the low glass-to-sodalite volume ratio. Three of the new binder glass compositions were acceptable and there is no benefit to further increasing the Na content as initially planned. Instead, further studies are needed to develop and evaluate alternative production methods to decrease the porosity, such as by increasing the amount of binder glass in the formulation or by processing waste forms in a hot isostatic press. Increasing the amount of binder glass to eliminate porosity will decrease the waste loading from about 12% to 10% on a mass basis, but this will not significantly impact the waste loading on a volume basis. It is likely that heat output will limit the amount of waste salt that can be accommodated in a waste canister rather than the salt loading in an ACWF, and that the increase from 8 mass% to about 10 mass% salt loadings in ACWF materials will be sufficient to optimize these waste forms. Although the waste salt composition used in this study contained a moderate amount of NaCl, the test results suggest waste salts with little or no NaCl can be accommodated in ACWF materials by using the new binder glass, albeit at waste loadings lower than 8 mass%. The higher glass contents that will be required for ACWF materials made with salt wastes that do not contain NaCl are expected to result in much lower porosities in those waste forms.« less
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  1. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Publication Date:
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Report Number(s):
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Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE), Fuel Cycle Technologies (NE-5)
Country of Publication:
United States