Nuclear Engineering Division

Nuclear Chemical Engineering

Environmental Science

The Environmental Science group applies science and engineering to develop and evaluate options for disposition of used nuclear fuels and the wastes that may be produced by future aqueous and electrochemical processing of these fuels. In addition to evaluating degradation and radionuclide release from used nuclear fuels, group researchers are developing metal alloy waste forms for the reducible fission product elements. They are developing mathematical models and experimental data that can be used to assess the long-term durability of metal alloy, glass, and ceramic waste forms in potential disposal environments and are also evaluating how radionuclides released from these waste materials may be transported in the environment.

Researchers use electrochemical and other testing methods to examine potential long-term degradation processes. To develop a full understanding of the operative corrosion processes, the test solutions and corrosion products are characterized using a broad range of chemical and radiochemical characterization techniques. Typically, the waste form alteration products are characterized using optical and electron microscopies (SEM and TEM) and X-ray absorption spectroscopies at Argonne's Advanced Photon Source.

Environmental Science group visual description

The image illustrates the scope of the Environmental Science Group activities. This scope includes experimental testing of waste forms (illustrated by the electrochemical cell setup shown in the lower left picture), X-ray and electron microscopy imaging of the reacted waste forms (illustrated by the X-ray image of corroded nuclear fuel and micrograph of corrosion product metaschoepite crystals shown in the two pictures in the upper left), and X-ray spectroscopy leading to understanding of the corrosion products at a microscopic level (illustrated by the two images on the right). Click on image to view larger size image.


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Last updated: 08/12/16