In the UK, blended high level nuclear waste (HLW) streams from the Magnox and THORP reprocessing plants are currently vitrified using a lithium sodium borosilicate base glass frit. Laboratory and full size non-radioactive simulations (produced on the Vitrification Test Rig at Sellafield ) of these compositions have shown that these glasses need to be melted at circa 1050°C to obtain a reasonable viscosity for pouring. Also, at high waste loadings an alkali molybdate phase (termed “yellow phase”) can form in these glasses [e.g. 2, 3]. Vitrification flowsheets are set to avoid yellow phase formation as this phase is highly corrosive to the inconel melter in the molten state and is partially water soluble at ambient temperature and so may challenge product quality.
Ca and Zn additions to the base glass frit have been found to reduce viscosity and allow melt homogeneity and pouring at lower temperatures. It was also theorised that Ca additions could increase the solubility of Mo and thus reduce the likelihood of yellow phase formation. The composition of the phase separated material in as-cast and heat treated specimens of Ca and Zn HLW glasses produced at both laboratory and full scale is examined in this work