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Tungstate-based glass–ceramics for the immobilization of radio cesium

Journal of Nuclear Materials
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.jnucmat.2008.11.018


Abstract The preparation of tungstate-containing glass–ceramic composites (GCC) for the potential immobilization of radio cesium has been considered. The GCC materials were prepared by blending two oxide precursor compositions in various proportions. These included a preformed Cs-containing hexagonal tungsten bronze (HTB) phase (Cs 0.3Ti 0.2W 0.8O 3, P6 3/ mcm) and a blend of silica and other oxides. The use of the HTB phase was motivated on the assumption that a HTB-based adsorbent could be used to remove cesium directly from aqueous high level liquid waste feeds. In the absence of the HTB, glass–ceramics were relatively easily prepared from the Cs-containing glass-forming oxide blend. On melting the mixture a relative complex GCC phase assemblage formed. The principal components of this phase assemblage were determined using X-ray powder diffraction, 133Cs MAS-NMR, and cross-sectional SEM and included glass, various zeolites, scheelite (CaWO 4) and a range of other oxide phases and Cs-containing aluminosilicate. Importantly, under no circumstance was cesium partitioned into the glass phase irrespective of whether or not the composition included the preformed Cs-containing HTB compound. For compositions containing the HTB, cesium was partitioned into one of four major phases including zeolite; Cs–silica–tungstate bronze, pollucite (CsAlSi 2O 6), and an aluminosilicate with an Al/Si ratio close to one. The leach resistance of all materials was evaluated and related to the cesium distribution within the GCC phase assemblages. In general, the GCCs prepared from the HTB had superior durability compared with materials not containing tungsten. Indeed the compositions in many cases had leach resistances comparable to the best ceramics or glass materials.

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