Materials science of high-level nuclear waste immobilization

William J. Weber, Alexandra Navrotsky, Sergey Stefanovsky, Eric R. Vance, Etienne Vernaz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

231 Scopus citations

Abstract

With the increasing demand for the development of nuclear power comes the responsibility to address the issue of waste, including the technical challenges of immobilizing high-level nuclear wastes in stable solid forms for interim storage or disposition in geologic repositories. The immobilization of high-level nuclear wastes has been an active area of research and development for over 50 years. Borosilicate glasses and complex ceramic composites have been developed to meet many technical challenges and current needs, although regulatory issues, which vary widely from country to country, have yet to be resolved. Cooperative international programs to develop advanced proliferation-resistant nuclear technologies to close the nuclear fuel cycle and increase the efficiency of nuclear energy production might create new separation waste streams that could demand new concepts and materials for nuclear waste immobilization. This article reviews the current state-of-the-art understanding regarding the materials science of glasses and ceramics for the immobilization of highlevel nuclear waste and excess nuclear materials and discusses approaches to address new waste streams.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-53
Number of pages8
JournalMRS Bulletin
Volume34
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

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