Formulation, Testing, and Structural Characterization of High-Zirconium High-Level Waste Glasses


A range of compositions of high-zirconia borosilicate glasses were formulated and their structures investigated by a combination of techniques. These compositions have potential applications for high-level nuclear waste storage in combination with advanced reprocessing methods. Raman and Zr EXAFS data were collected for a series of glasses spanning a range of zirconia concentrations. The Raman spectra indicate that Zr acts as a silicate network modifier, where the silicate tetrahedral network depolymerizes as the zirconia content increases. Zr EXAFS analysis indicates that Zr is found in octahedral sites, and to a minor extent, sevencoordinated sites. As the zirconia content increases, the fraction of seven-coordinated Zr-sites increases; this may be the cause of ZrO2 baddeleyite crystallization that was observed in some Zr-rich glasses investigated.

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Correspondence to David A. McKeown.

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McKeown, D.A., Muller, I.S., Buechele, A.C. et al. Formulation, Testing, and Structural Characterization of High-Zirconium High-Level Waste Glasses. MRS Online Proceedings Library 556, 305 (1998).

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