With the imminent startup, in the United States, of facilities for vitrification of high-level nuclear waste, a document has been prepared that compiles the scientific basis for understanding the alteration of the waste glass products under the range of service conditions to which they may be exposed during storage, transportation, and eventual geologic disposal. A summary of selected parts of the content of this document is provided.
Waste glass alterations in a geologic repository may include corrosion of the glass network due to groundwater and/or water vapor contact. Experimental testing results are described and interpreted in terms of the underlying chemical reactions and physical processes involved. The status of mechanistic modeling, which can be used for long-term predictions, is described and the remaining uncertainties associated with long-term simulations are summarized.