Clay minerals may transform in various systems under the influence of geological, biological, or technogenic processes. The most active to the geological environment are technogenic and biochemical processes that, in a relatively short time, can cause transformation of the rocks’ composition and structure and formation of new minerals, especially clay minerals. Isolation of radioactive waste is a complex technological problem. This work considers the influence of alkaline solutions involved in the radioactive waste (RW) disposal process. In the Russian Federation, due to historical reasons, radioactive waste has accumulated in various types of repositories and temporary storages. All these facilities are included in the federal decommissioning program. Solid radioactive wastes in cement slurries at the landfill site of the Angara Electrolysis Chemical Combine are buried in sandstones and currently suffer the influence of a highly alkaline and highly saline groundwater storage area, which leads to a considerable transformation of the sandstones. This influence results in the formation of peculiar "technogenic” illites that have smectite morphology but illite structure which was confirmed by modeling of X-ray diffraction (XRD) patterns. The described transformations will lead to the increase of porosity and permeability of the sandstones. The research results can be used in assessing the potential contamination of the areas adjacent to the disposal site and in planning the decommissioning measures of this facility.
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