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Remaining Uncertainties in Predicting Long-Term Performance of Nuclear Waste Glass From Experiments

  • B. Grambow (a1) and Kernforschungszentrum Karlsruhe (a1)

Abstract

The current knowledge on the glass dissolution mechanism and the representation of glass dissolution concepts within overall repository performance assessment models are briefly summarized and uncertainties related to mechanism, radionuclide chemistry and parameters are discussed. Understanding of the major glass dissolution processes has been significantly increased in recent years. Long-term glass stability is related to the long-term maintenance of silica saturated conditions. The behavior of individual radionuclides in the presence of a dissolving glass has not been sufficiently and results do not yet allow meaningful predictions. Conservative long-term predictions of glass matrix dissolution as upper limit for radionuclide release can be made with sufficient confidence, however these estimations generally result in a situation were the barrier function of the glass is masked by the efficiency of the geologic barrier. Realistic long-term predictions may show that the borosilicate waste glass contributes to overall repository safety to a much larger extent than indicated by overconservatism. Today realistic predictions remain highly uncertain and much more research work is necessary. In particular the long-term rate under silica saturated conditions needs to be understood and the behavior of individual radionuclides in the presence of a dissolving glass deserves more systematic investigations.

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