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Trapping experiments have been performed at the Idaho National Laboratory to assess the performance of AgX sorbent media in capturing volatile iodine during the oxidation of irradiated oxide fuel. The demonstration of iodine release and capture from the used fuel has been accomplished with laboratory-scale equipment in a hot cell environment. Iodine loadings as high as 6 ug/g media have been achieved via chemical adsorption with filter efficiencies in excess of 90%. In addition to iodine, significant quantities of tritium have also been collected on the AgX filter media. Filter media loaded with radioactive iodine has been sequestered in a tin matrix by hot isostatic pressing at 200°C. The placement and encapsulation of the sorbent media was examined by neutron radiography, thus confirming the sequestration of radioactive iodine.
In the early 1980s a synroc variant, SYNROC-D, was developed for immobilisation of high-level defence waste stored at the Savannah River Plant, USA. A key phase in the immobilisation matrix was spinel, used to immobilise the large proportion of iron and alumina in the waste. Here we examine the feasibility of this approach for other alumina-rich wastes, not necessarily containing iron, derived from the dissolution of aluminium fuel cladding. The advantages of using a magnesia spinel, as opposed to hercynite (FeAl2O4), as the primary alumina-bearing phase are discussed in terms of an increase in waste loading and process flexibility. Two options for sodium incorporation, glass and the titanate phase freudenbergite, are considered.
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