Published online by Cambridge University Press: 15 February 2011
The choice of surrogate for plutonium oxide for use during the initial stages of research into the immobilization of intermediate level pyrochemical wastes containing plutonium andamericium oxides in a calcium phosphate host has been investigated by powder X-ray diffraction and X-ray absorption spectroscopy. Two non-radioactive surrogates, hafnium oxide and cerium oxide, together with radioactive thorium oxide were compared. Similarities in behaviour were observed for all three surrogates when calcined at the lowest temperature, 750°C but differences became more pronounced as the calcination temperature was increased to 950°C. Although some reaction occurred between all the surrogates and the host to form a substituted whitlockite phase, increasing the temperature led to a significant increase in the cerium reaction and the formation of an additional phase, monazite. Additionally it was observed that the cerium became increasingly trivalent at higher temperatures.
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