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Several countries reprocess their nuclear spent fuel using the Purex process to recover U and Pu as MOX fuel. The high level radioactive waste (HLW) produced during this reprocessing is a complex mixture containing both radioactive (fission products, minor actinides) and non-radioactive elements. Since HLW shows high rate heat release and contains some long half-life and biologically toxic radionuclide, its treatment and disposal technology is complex, difficult and high cost. HLW treatment and disposal become a worldwide challenge and research focus. In order to minimize the potential long-term impact of HLW, studies on enhanced chemical separation processes of long-lived radionuclides are in progress. Two options are then envisaged for these separated radionuclides: (a) transmutation into short-lived or non-radioactive elements, (b) immobilization in highly durable ceramic matrix instead of borosilicate glass. In this paper, we briefly review the composition, structure, processing and product properties of some ceramic candidates for inert matrix fuels (IMF) and the immobilization of high level radioactive waste.


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Ceramics for high level radioactive waste solidification

Show Author's information Li WANGTongxiang LIANG( )
Institute of Nuclear & New Energy Technology, Beijing Key Lab of Fine Ceramics, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
State Key Lab of New Ceramic and Fine Processing, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China

Abstract

Several countries reprocess their nuclear spent fuel using the Purex process to recover U and Pu as MOX fuel. The high level radioactive waste (HLW) produced during this reprocessing is a complex mixture containing both radioactive (fission products, minor actinides) and non-radioactive elements. Since HLW shows high rate heat release and contains some long half-life and biologically toxic radionuclide, its treatment and disposal technology is complex, difficult and high cost. HLW treatment and disposal become a worldwide challenge and research focus. In order to minimize the potential long-term impact of HLW, studies on enhanced chemical separation processes of long-lived radionuclides are in progress. Two options are then envisaged for these separated radionuclides: (a) transmutation into short-lived or non-radioactive elements, (b) immobilization in highly durable ceramic matrix instead of borosilicate glass. In this paper, we briefly review the composition, structure, processing and product properties of some ceramic candidates for inert matrix fuels (IMF) and the immobilization of high level radioactive waste.

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Key words: nuclear spent fuel, ceramic immobilization, transmutation, high level radioactive waste
Received: 21 August 2012 Accepted: 21 September 2012 Published: 11 December 2012 Issue date: September 2012
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Received: 21 August 2012
Accepted: 21 September 2012
Published: 11 December 2012
Issue date: September 2012

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