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Atmosphere Processing Effects on Titanate Ceramics Designed for Plutonium Disposition

  • M.W.A. Stewart (a1), E.R. Vance (a1), A. Jostsons (a1), K. Finnie (a1), R.A. Day (a1) and B.B. Ebbinghaus (a2)...

Abstract

Baseline formulation titanate ceramics for surplus Pu disposition are based upon a target mineralogy of 95 wt.% pyrochlore (Ca0.89Gd0.22Hf0.23Pu0.22U0.44Ti2O7) plus 5 wt.% Hf-doped rutile (∼ Ti0.9Hf0.1O2), where Ce is used as an analogue for Pu and U, and Th for Pu. Typically, Pu/U, Th/U and Ce/U-baseline samples form major pyrochlore, plus minor brannerite (AnTi2O6) and rutile. Ce/Ce-baseline ceramics were similar but did not form brannerite. Sintering in air produced more U5+ in the ceramics than sintering in Ar. In the pyrochlore the charge compensation for U5+ principally occurred by an increase in Ca2+ and decrease in Ti4+ and Th4+. In the matrix these phase compositional changes result in an increase in brannerite content of the ceramic at the expense of pyrochlore in the air sintered ceramic relative to the Ar sintered sample. Sintering in reducing 3.7% H2 in Ar atmospheres eliminates the brannerite and rutile and results in 2M-zirconolite and perovskite in addition to the major pyrochlore phase. Varying the sintering temperature between 1250°C and 1400°C had little effect on the phase chemistry other than slightly incomplete reactivity of coarse actinide oxide at the lower sintering temperatures and a general increase in density (to ∼ 1350°C) and grain size with increased sintering temperatures. Th4+ appears to be a good analogue for Pu4+ from a crystal chemistry aspect.

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Atmosphere Processing Effects on Titanate Ceramics Designed for Plutonium Disposition

  • M.W.A. Stewart (a1), E.R. Vance (a1), A. Jostsons (a1), K. Finnie (a1), R.A. Day (a1) and B.B. Ebbinghaus (a2)...

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