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Basalt Glass: An Analogue for the Evaluation of the Long-Term Stability of Nuclear Waste form Borosilicate Glasses

  • C. D. Byers (a1), M. J. Jercinovic (a2), R. C. Ewing (a2) and K. Keil (a2)

Abstract

The long-term stability of nuclear waste form borosilicate glasses can be evaluated by understanding the processes that effect the long-term alteration of glass and by comparing laboratory alteration of synthetic basalt and borosilicate glasses with the observed stability of naturally occurring basaltic glasses in diverse geologic environments. This paper presents detailed electron microprobe analyses of naturally altered basaltic glasses (with maximum ages of 10,000 to 20 million years) from low-temperature environments. These results are compared to laboratory data on the corrosion of a synthetic basaltic glass in MCC-1 tests (90°C, a SA/V of 0.1 cm−1 and time periods up to 182 days), MCC-2 tests (190°C, a SA/V of 0.1 cm−1 and time periods up to 210 days) and hydration tests in saturated water vapor (240°C, an estimated SA/V of ∼ 106 cm−1 and time periods up to 63 days). Additionally, laboratory induced hydration alteration of synthetic basalt and borosilicate glasses is compared. These preliminary experiments provide evidence that the alteration processes observed for natural basalt glasses are relevant to understanding the alteration of nuclear waste glass, as both appear to react via similar processes.

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