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Title: Crystalline Ceramic Waste Forms: Comparison Of Reference Process For Ceramic Waste Form Fabrication

The research conducted in this work package is aimed at taking advantage of the long term thermodynamic stability of crystalline ceramics to create more durable waste forms (as compared to high level waste glass) in order to reduce the reliance on engineered and natural barrier systems. Durable ceramic waste forms that incorporate a wide range of radionuclides have the potential to broaden the available disposal options and to lower the storage and disposal costs associated with advanced fuel cycles. Assemblages of several titanate phases have been successfully demonstrated to incorporate radioactive waste elements, and the multiphase nature of these materials allows them to accommodate variation in the waste composition. Recent work has shown that they can be produced from a melting and crystallization process. The objective of this report is to explore the phase formation and microstructural differences between lab scale melt processing in varying gas environments with alternative densification processes such as Hot Pressing (HP) and Spark Plasma Sintering (SPS). The waste stream used as the basis for the development and testing is a simulant derived from a combination of the projected Cs/Sr separated stream, the Trivalent Actinide - Lanthanide Separation by Phosphorous reagent Extraction from Aqueous Komplexes (TALSPEAK)more » waste stream consisting of lanthanide fission products, the transition metal fission product waste stream resulting from the transuranic extraction (TRUEX) process, and a high molybdenum concentration with relatively low noble metal concentrations. Melt processing as well as solid state sintering routes SPS and HP demonstrated the formation of the targeted phases; however differences in microstructure and elemental partitioning were observed. In SPS and HP samples, hollandite, pervoskite/pyrochlore, zirconolite, metallic alloy and TiO{sub 2} and Al{sub 2}O{sub 3} were observed distributed in a network of fine grains with small residual pores. The titanate phases that incorporate M{sup +3} rare earth elements were observed to be distinct phases (ex. Nd{sub 2}Ti{sub 2}O{sub 7}) with less degree of substitution as compared to the more homogeneous melt processed samples where a high degree of substitution and variation of composition within grains was observed. Liquid phase sintering was enhanced in reducing gas environments and resulted in large (10-200 microns) irregular shaped grains along with large voids associated with the melt process; SPS and HP samples exhibited finer grain size with smaller voids. Metallic alloys were observed in the bulk of the sample for SPS and HP samples, but were found at the bottom of the crucible in melt processed trials. These results indicate that for a first melter trial, the targeted phases can be formed in air by utilizing Ti/TiO{sub 2} additives which aid phase formation and improve the electrical conductivity. Ultimately, a melter run in reducing gas environments would be beneficial to study differences in phase formation and elemental partitioning.« less
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  1. Savannah River National Laboratory
  2. Los Alamos National Laboratory
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
TRN: US1400070
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Savannah River Site (SRS), Aiken, SC (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE (United States)
Country of Publication:
United States