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Can redox sensitive radionuclides be immobilized on the surface of spent nuclear fuel? - A model study on the reduction of Se(IV)(aq) on Pd-doped UO2 under H-2 atmosphere
KTH, School of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE), Chemistry, Nuclear Chemistry.
KTH, School of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE), Chemistry, Nuclear Chemistry.
KTH, School of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE), Chemistry, Nuclear Chemistry.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0663-0751
2009 (English)In: Journal of Nuclear Materials, ISSN 0022-3115, E-ISSN 1873-4820, Vol. 392, no 3, 505-509 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Spent nuclear fuel contains noble metal particles composed of fission products (Pd, Mo, Ru, Tc, Rh and Te, often referred to as ε-particles). Studies have shown that these particles play a major role in catalyzing oxidative dissolution as well as H2 reduction of the oxidized UO2 fuel matrix, depending on the conditions. Thus it is possible that these particles also could have a major impact on the state of other redox sensitive radionuclides (such as the long lived fission product 79Se) present in spent nuclear fuel. In this study, Pd-doped UO2 pellets are used to simulate noble metal particles inclusions in spent nuclear fuel and the effect on dissolved selenium in the form of selenite (250 μM selenite) in simulated ground water solution (10 mM NaCl, 10 mM NaHCO3) at 1 and 10 bar hydrogen pressure. The selenite was found to be reduced to elemental Se, forming colloidal particles. At hydrogen pressures of 10 bar, the rate of selenite reduction was found to be linearly correlated to the fraction of Pd in the UO2 pellets. No selenium was detected on the surface of the pellets. For the lowest Pd loading (0.1% Pd) the selenite reduction does not appear to proceed to completion indicating that the surface becomes less active.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 392, no 3, 505-509 p.
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-18772DOI: 10.1016/j.jnucmat.2009.04.019ISI: 000269963500019Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-67651005007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-18772DiVA: diva2:336819
Note
QC 20100525Available from: 2010-08-05 Created: 2010-08-05 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Near field immobilization of selenium oxyanions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Near field immobilization of selenium oxyanions
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The topic of this doctoral thesis is the potential near field immobilization of the radionuclide 79Se after intrusion of groundwater into a spent nuclear fuel canister in a repository. 79Se is a non naturally occurring long lived selenium isotope formed as a result of fission in nuclear fuel. Given the long half life (~3 x 105 y) and that the oxyanions of selenium are expected to be highly mobile and potentially difficult toimmobilize the isotope is of interest for the long term safety assessment of high level waste repositories. In this work the near field has been limited to the study of processes at or near the UO2 surface of (simulated) spent nuclear fuel and to processes occurring at or near the surface of iron (canister material) corroding under anoxic conditions. Selenite (HSeO32-) was found to adsorb onto palladium (simulated noble metal inclusion in spent nuclear fuel). Under hydrogen atmosphere selenite was reduced to elemental selenium with a rate constant of ~2 x 10-9 m s-1 (with respect to the Pd surface, 24 bar H2) forming colloidal particles. The rate constant of selenite reduction was increased by about two orders of magnitude to ~2.5 x 10-7 m s-1 (with respect to the Pd surface, 10 bar H2) for a UO2 surface doped with Pd particles, indicating that UO2 is an efficient co-catalyst to Pd. Selenate (SeO42-) was neither adsorbed nor reduced in the presence of Pd, UO2 and hydrogen. In the iron corrosion studies selenate was found to become reduced to predominantly elemental Se in the presence of a pristine iron surface. Iron covered by a corrosion layer of magnetite did however appear inert with respect to selenate whereas selenite was reduced. The reduction of dissolved uranyl into UO2 by the corroding iron surfaces was found to significantly increase the removal rate of selenite as well as selenate. The uranyl was found to transiently transform the outer iron oxide layers on the iron, forming a reactive mixed Fe(II)/Fe(III) oxyhydroxide (Green rust). Exchanging the solution and increasing the carbonate content (from 2 mM to 20 mM NaHCO3) only resulted in a minor, transient remobilization of uranium. Addition of H2O2 did however result in a significant release of uranium as well as selenium from the iron oxide surfaces. An irradiation experiment was also performed confirming the one electron reduction barrier of selenate as an important factor in systems where selenate reduction would be thermodynamically favorable.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH, 2010. 68 p.
Series
Trita-CHE-Report, ISSN 1654-1081 ; 2010:51
Keyword
Se-79, Selenium, Immobilization, Redox, Iron, Corrosion, Palladium, Catalyst, Spent Nuclear Fuel, Repository
National Category
Inorganic Chemistry
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-26994 (URN)978-91-7415-819-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-12-17, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, KTH, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20101208Available from: 2010-12-08 Created: 2010-12-01 Last updated: 2010-12-08Bibliographically approved
2. The effect of solid state inclusions on the reactivity of UO2: A kinetic and mechanistic study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The effect of solid state inclusions on the reactivity of UO2: A kinetic and mechanistic study
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The release of radionuclides is a key process in the safety assessment of a deep geological repository for spent nuclear fuel. A large fraction of the release is assumed to be a consequence of dissolution of the fuel matrix, UO2. In this doctoral thesis, the kinetics and the mechanisms behind oxidative U(IV) dissolution were studied. The eects of solid phase inclusions mimicking the presence of fission products, and solutes mimicking expected groundwater components were also evaluated.

Palladium, as a model substance for noble metal particle (fission products) inclusions, was shown to catalyze surface oxidation of U(IV), as well as reduction of U(VI). The second order rate constant for the surface reduction of U(VI) by H2was found to be on the order of 10-6 m s-1 (diusion controlled). Under 40 bar H2, 1 wt.% Pd was sufficient to suppress oxidative U(IV) dissolution in 2mM H2O2 aqueous solution. During g γirradiation under 1 bar H2, 0.1 wt.% Pd were sufficient to completely suppress oxidative dissolution. Under inert conditions, where H2 is only produced radiolytically, complete inhibition is observed for 3 wt.% Pd.

The presence of Y2O3 as a model substance for trivalent fission products was found to decrease U(VI) dissolution significantly under inert, as well as reducing conditions. Based on kinetic data, it was shown that pure competition kinetics cannot explain the observed decrease. From experiments using pure oxidants it was shown that Y2O3 doping of UO2 decreases the redox reactivity. In addition, from experiments where hydroxyl radical formation from the catalytic decomposition of H2O2 was monitored, it could be concluded that doping has a minor influence on this process.

On the basis of numerical simulations, the H2 concentration necessary to suppressradiolytic H2O2 production was found to increase with an increase in dose rate or HCO-3 concentration. Furthermore, the steady state concentration of H2O2 was found to be inversely proportional to the H2 pressure, and proportional to the square root of the dose rate. Fe2 diers strongly from the total reaction volume, the actual dose rate should not be converted into a homogeneous dose rate in numerical simulations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2011. xiv, 67 p.
Series
Trita-CHE-Report, ISSN 1654-1081 ; 2011:32
National Category
Inorganic Chemistry
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-33070 (URN)978-91-7415-960-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-05-27, K2, Teknikringen 28, KTH, Stockholm, 18:02 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
EU, FP7, Seventh Framework Programme, 212287
Note
QC 20110511Available from: 2011-05-11 Created: 2011-04-27 Last updated: 2011-05-11Bibliographically approved

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