Powder technology is used to immobilize high level nuclear waste (HLW) in sintered borosilicate glass. By uniaxial in-can hot pressing(temperature 950 K; pressure 1 MPa; heating rate ∼100 K/h; cooling rate 5 K/h), glass products containing simulated HLW(15 wt.%) have been produced in stackable steel cans (≤ 200 mm diameter). High densities, bulk integrities and homogeneities for the waste element distribution are realized. The advantages of powder technology are for example: (i) no segregation due to solid state vitrification, (ii) low evaporation losses and no compatibility problems due to low densification temperatures (sinter temperature ∼0.6 softening temperature of glass), (iii) production in easily arrangeable and interchangeable stacking units at modest pressures adequate especially for the use in hot cells under remote handling conditions, (iv) choosing units with alternatively HLWo r MLWin prescribed sequences to control the heat production of the package. As demonstrated now, the process is appropriate for high level waste (HLW), medium level waste (MLW) and mixed (HLW/ MLW vitrification, and is insensitive to waste modifications.
As the next step the effect of glass modifications was studied. In order to improve the glass leaching resistance and maintain low viscosity, silicon dioxide was doped with titanium dioxide. The mixture (referring to eutectic composition) was produced by a sol gel route and combined finally with 15 w/o HLW-oxides. Hot pressing of the obtained gels at 1273 K and 20 MPa provided highly homogeneous products with high densities.