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Leaching of Spent Fuel under Anaerobic and Reducing Conditions

  • Yngve Albinsson (a1), Arvid Ödegaard-Jensen (a1), Virginia M. Oversby (a2) and Lars O. Werme (a3)

Abstract

Sweden plans to dispose of spent nuclear fuel in a deep geologic repository in granitic rock. The disposal conditions allow water to contact the canisters by diffusion through the surrounding bentonite clay layer. Corrosion of the canister iron insert will consume oxygen and provide actively reducing conditions in the fluid phase. Experiments with spent fuel have been done to determine the dissolution behavior of the fuel matrix and associated fission products and actinides under conditions ranging from inert atmosphere to reducing conditions in solutions. Data for U, Pu, Np, Cs, Sr, Tc, Mo, and Ru have been obtained for dissolution in a dilute NaHCO3 groundwater for 3 conditions: Ar atmosphere, H2 atmosphere, and H2 atmosphere with Fe(II) in solution. Solution concentrations forU, Pu, and Mo are all significantly lower for the conditions that include Fe(II) ions in the solutions together with H2 atmosphere, while concentrations of the other elements seem to be unaffected by the change of atmospheres or presence of Fe(II). Most of the material that initially dissolved from the fuel has reprecipitated back onto the fuel surface. Very little material was recovered from rinsing and acid stripping of the reaction vessels.

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