Sulphur is present in several kinds of nuclear waste destined to confinement in a glass matrix.. These species are hardly incorporated in borosilicate glasses, due to the poor miscibility of molten sulphates and glass melt at high temperature. This point constitutes one of the main technological difficulties in the current fabrication of nuclear glasses. Several studies carried out in the last two decades indicate that the liquid state miscibility of sulphates and glass melt, determining the waste incorporation in the final glass, is dependent on the composition of the glass and on the temperature and duration of its preparation. In particular, the ratios K = [SiO2] / [B2O3] and R = [Na2O] / [B2O3] (where [.] indicates the mol %), as well as the presence of V2O5 in the glass matrix play an important role in the determination of both kinetics and thermodynamics of sulphates incorporation in the vitreous matrix. In this work a study on the physico-chemical effects of the ratio R, the melt reactivity, the type of sulphate added, and the presence of V2O5 on the solubility of sulphates in borosilico-vanadate glasses is presented.
Glass samples were prepared at the laboratory scale (up to 50-100 g) by melting oxide and sulphate powders in Pt/Au or Pt/Rh crucibles at a fixed viscosity level of 100 Po in air. Several glass specimens were powdered and re-melted at 1200°C in the presence of sulphates in order to simulate conditions as close as possible to those of an industrial melter. XRF and ICP AES chemical analysis, SEM EDS and Raman spectroscopy were employed to characterise the fabricated samples. Raman spectra, in particular, reveal the structural modifications that condition the sulphate incorporation in the glass. A critical review of the obtained results is compared with the literature data, to yield a more systematic description of the mentioned factors effects on sulphate behaviour in the borosilico-vanadate / system.