The results of previous optical absorption experiments aiming to investigate the behaviour of atomic defects in silica based glasses irradiated with various types of particles have been extended to examine the effects of multiple irradiations which take place during long term storage of glasses containing HLW. In addition, point defect clustering phenomena have been investigated by means of high voltage transmission electron microscopy. It has been found that due to the large number of defects already present in amorphous silica prior to irradiations, the contributions of different bombarding particles to the total damage cannot be considered fully additive in terms of the relative number of displaced atoms, but some consideration has to be made of defect interactions and ionization damage. Clustering effects, while being absent in pure silica, are present in borosilicates at large dose rates (≳1022 electrons m−2 sec−1). At lower beam current densities and doses comparable to those achieved after 10–100 years of HLW storage, phase separation into a microcrystalline compound has been detected by transmission electron microscopy.
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Antonini, M., Buckley, S.N., Camagni, P. et al. Point Defects and Microstructural Stability of Glasses under Irradiation. MRS Online Proceedings Library 6, 709–716 (1981). https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-6-709