Hydrothermal experiments using basalt-repository nuclear waste package components have been carried out at 200°C and 30 MPa using 99Tc-doped PNL 76–68 waste glass. This work was conducted in support of the Basalt Waste Isolation Project. The experiments were carried out in rocking autoclaves that allowed for periodic solution sampling. Preliminary results that illustrated the effect of basalt on 99Tc solution behavior were discussed previously[l]. In this paper, we continue those observations by discussing the additional experiments that investigated the effects of steel. We also include the post-experiment solid phase analyses from all test configurations.
The effect of steel on glass dissolution was observed to be minimal when basalt was not present, i.e., there were no discernible differences in the amount of glass dissolved (based on boron release), with or without steel present.
The 99Tc solution concentration results showed that basalt, steel, and a combination of basalt and steel have an ability to dramatically lower the concentration of 99Tc in the solution, probably through a redox mechanism. Solid run product analyses showed that without basalt present, a gel-like secondary phase consisting of an iron, zinc clay with an apparent smectite structure formed. When basalt was present clinoptilolite formed as the major secondary phase, due primarily to the presence of aluminum in the basalt mesostasis. Separation of the various solid run products and residual initial solid phases has not yet been achieved. Such a separation would facilitate the identification of the phase or phases with which 99Tc was associated. The solution results indicated that 99Tc, a potentially mobile radionuclide, may be incorporated in a relatively insoluble phase in the environment of a basalt repository. In addition, no synergistic effects between waste package components were observed that would increase the concentration of 99Tc in solution.