Ab-initio Based Diffusive Studies of Plutonium with Relevance to Nuclear Waste Management


An approach to study the diffusion of plutonium (Pu) waste into the material of the storage containers is presented. The delta phase of Pu has been examined, in this article, using a spin and orbitally polarized ab-initio (full potential LMTO) approach [1, 2]. These computations are relatively inexpensive, and it is the intention to see if the results obtained would be satisfactory (compared to the accurate SIC-LDA computations [1-2]) for diffusive studies of Pu into the material of storage containers (for example, into FCC iron as a surrogate for steel [2]). The combination of LDA and spin and orbitally polarized LMTO calculations that we use successfully predict a delocalized 5f, (i.e. bonding) monoclinic ground state and a localized FCC excited state with a density about 8% greater than experiment (compared to the 30% error from pure LDA calculations by various groups [3-6]). The density of states is computed and compared to experimental photoemission studies; there is qualitative agreement. The spin, orbital and total magnetic moment for the FCC phase is computed; the results are qualitatively in agreement with those of other studies. An analytical method for studying the time-dependent diffusion of Pu across an interface with another atomic species is presented.

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Thanks to Dr. B. R. Cooper for providing an introduction to the electronic structure part of this work.

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Setty, A.K. Ab-initio Based Diffusive Studies of Plutonium with Relevance to Nuclear Waste Management. MRS Online Proceedings Library 824, 408–413 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-824-CC8.30

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