A simulated nuclear waste glass was self-irradiated by doping with short-lived actinides of 238Pu and 244Cm. Changes in the hardness, the Young's modulus and the fracture toughness, as a function of irradiation dose, were measured by use of indentation techniques. The irradiated glass was annealed at temperatures from 573K to 723K for periods of up to 48hours, and the recovery of these changes were measured as a function of annealing temperature and time.
It was observed that the hardness and the Young's modulus decreased, while the fracture toughness increased exponentially with the cumulative dose. The maximum values of the relative changes in the hardness, the Young's modulus and the fracture toughness were about −25%, −30% and +45%, respectively. The results of the annealing show that the hardness and the Young's modulus were almost recovered to the original values at temperatures above 673K within 10 hours, while the recovery of the fracture toughness was minimal in this region of temperature and time. The changes in the hardness and the Young's modulus can be well explained by the model, in which the changes is proportional to the volume fraction of damaged zones, F, and the recovery of F is first order. On the other hand, the changes in the fracture toughness cannot be explained by the model, which suggests that the mechanism of the change in the fracture toughness is different from that in the hardness and the Young's modulus.