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Open AccessArticle

Synthesis and Physical Property Characterisation of Spheroidal and Cuboidal Nuclear Waste Simulant Dispersions

School of Chemical and Process Engineering, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
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Materials 2018, 11(7), 1235; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11071235
Received: 30 May 2018 / Revised: 10 July 2018 / Accepted: 15 July 2018 / Published: 18 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials for Nuclear Waste Immobilization)
This study investigated dispersions analogous to highly active nuclear waste, formed from the reprocessing of Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF). Non-radioactive simulants of spheroidal caesium phosphomolybdate (CPM) and cuboidal zirconium molybdate (ZM-a) were successfully synthesised; confirmed via Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD) and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. In addition, a supplied ZM (ZM-b) with a rod-like/wheatsheaf morphology was also analysed along with titanium dioxide (TiO2). The simulants underwent thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA) and size analysis, where CPM was found to have a D50 value of 300 nm and a chemical formula of Cs3PMo12O40·13H2O, ZM-a a D50 value of 10 μm and a chemical formula of ZrMo2O7(OH)2·3H2O and ZM-b to have a D50 value of 14 μm and a chemical formula of ZrMo2O7(OH)2·4H2O. The synthesis of CPM was tracked via Ultraviolet-visible (UV-Vis) spectroscopy at both 25 °C and 50 °C, where the reaction was found to be first order with the rate constant highly temperature dependent. The morphology change from spheroidal CPM to cuboidal ZM-a was tracked via SEM, reporting to take 10 days. For the onward processing and immobilisation of these waste dispersions, centrifugal analysis was utilised to understand their settling behaviours, in both aqueous and 2 M nitric acid environments (mimicking current storage conditions). Spheroidal CPM was present in both conditions as agglomerated clusters, with relatively high settling rates. Conversely, the ZM were found to be stable in water, where their settling rate exponents were related to the morphology. In acid, the high effective electrolyte resulted in agglomeration and faster sedimentation. View Full-Text
Keywords: inorganic synthesis; nuclear waste; caesium phosphomolybdate; zirconium molybdate; sedimentation inorganic synthesis; nuclear waste; caesium phosphomolybdate; zirconium molybdate; sedimentation
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Shiels, J.; Harbottle, D.; Hunter, T.N. Synthesis and Physical Property Characterisation of Spheroidal and Cuboidal Nuclear Waste Simulant Dispersions. Materials 2018, 11, 1235.

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