Glass as a Waste Form and Vitrification Technology: Summary of an International Workshop

Steering Committee on Vitrification of Radioactive Wastes

Board on Radioactive Waste Management

Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C. 1996



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Glass as a Waste Form and Vitrification Technology: Summary of an International Workshop Glass as a Waste Form and Vitrification Technology: Summary of an International Workshop Steering Committee on Vitrification of Radioactive Wastes Board on Radioactive Waste Management Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1996

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Glass as a Waste Form and Vitrification Technology: Summary of an International Workshop NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the steering committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by the Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. Support for this study was provided by the U.S. Department of Energy under Grant No. DE-FC01-94EW54069. All opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Energy. International Standard Book Number ISBN 0-309-05682-9 Additional copies of this report are available from: Board on Radioactive Waste Management 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Harris Building, Room 456 Washington, DC 20418 202-334-3066 Copyright 1996 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Cover art: Glass making is one of the oldest technologies in the production of a material for human use. The object on the cover is a slide of a Roman glass bottle from the first to third centuries A.D. The bottle is from the National Collections, Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Special thanks to Gus Van Beek, Near Eastern Archeologist. Printed in the United States of America

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Glass as a Waste Form and Vitrification Technology: Summary of an International Workshop STEERING COMMITTEE ON VITRIFICATION OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES RODNEY C. EWING, Chair, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque JOHN F. AHEARNE, Duke University and Sigma Xi, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina ROBERT H. DOREMUS, Rennsalaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York ALEXANDRA NAVROTSKY, Princeton University, New Jersey JEAN-CLAUDE PETIT, Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique, Saclay, France RAYMOND G. WYMER, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (retired), Tennessee NRC Staff ROBERT S. ANDREWS, Study Director THOMAS M. USSELMAN, Study Director REBECCA BURKA, Senior Project Assistant DENNIS DUPREE, Senior Project Assistant

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Glass as a Waste Form and Vitrification Technology: Summary of an International Workshop BOARD ON RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT MICHAEL C. KAVANAUGH, Chair, ENVIRON Corporation, Emeryville, California B. JOHN GARRICK, Vice-Chair, PLG, Inc., Newport Beach, California JOHN F. AHEARNE, Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, and Duke University, Research Triangle Park and Durham, North Carolina JEAN M. BAHR, University of Wisconsin, Madison SOL BURSTEIN, Wisconsin Electric Power, Milwaukee (retired) ANDREW P. CAPUTO, Natural Resources Defense Council, Washington, D.C. MELVIN W. CARTER, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta (emeritus) PAUL P. CRAIG, University of California, Davis (emeritus) MARY R. ENGLISH, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville ROBERT D. HATCHER, JR., The University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Knoxville and Oak Ridge DARLEANE C. HOFFMAN, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, Berkeley, California JAMES H. JOHNSON, JR., Howard University, Washington, D.C. CHARLES MCCOMBIE, NAGRA, Wettingen, Switzerland ROBERT MEYER, Keystone Scientific, Inc., Fort Collins, Colorado PRISCILLA P. NELSON, University of Texas, Austin D. KIRK NORDSTROM, U.S. Geological Survey, Boulder, Colorado D. WARNER NORTH, Decision Focus, Inc., Mountain View, California PAUL SLOVIC, Decision Research, Eugene, Oregon BENJAMIN L. SMITH, Independent Consultant, Columbia, Tennessee NRC Staff KEVIN D. CROWLEY, Director ROBERT S. ANDREWS, Senior Staff Officer KARYANIL T. THOMAS, Senior Staff Officer THOMAS E. KIESS, Staff Officer SUSAN B. MOCKLER, Research Associate LISA J. CLENDENING, Administrative Associate ROBIN L. ALLEN, Senior Project Assistant REBECCA BURKA, Senior Project Assistant DENNIS L. DUPREE, Senior Project Assistant PATRICIA A. JONES, Senior Project Assistant ANGELA R. TAYLOR, Project Assistant ERIKA L. WILLIAMS, Research Assistant

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Glass as a Waste Form and Vitrification Technology: Summary of an International Workshop COMMISSION ON GEOSCIENCES, ENVIRONMENT, AND RESOURCES GEORGE M. HORNBERGER, Chair, University of Virginia, Charlottesville PATRICK R. ATKINS, Aluminum Company of America, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania JAMES P. BRUCE, Canadian Climate Program Board, Ottawa, Ontario WILLIAM L. FISHER, University of Texas, Austin JERRY F. FRANKLIN, University of Washington, Seattle DEBRA KNOPMAN, Progressive Foundation, Washington, D.C. PERRY L. MCCARTY, Stanford University, California JUDITH E. MCDOWELL, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts S. GEORGE PHILANDER, Princeton University, New Jersey RAYMOND A. PRICE, Queen's University at Kingston, Ontario THOMAS C. SCHELLING, University of Maryland, College Park ELLEN SILBERGELD, University of Maryland Medical School, Baltimore VICTORIA J. TSCHINKEL, Landers and Parsons, Tallahassee, Florida NRC Staff STEPHEN RATTIEN, Executive Director STEPHEN D. PARKER, Associate Executive Director MORGAN GOPNIK, Assistant Executive Director GREGORY SYMMES, Reports Officer JAMES MALLORY, Administrative Officer SANDI FITZPATRICK, Administrative Associate MARQUITA SMITH, PC Analyst & Project Assistant

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Glass as a Waste Form and Vitrification Technology: Summary of an International Workshop The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is interim president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and of advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are the chairman and interim vice-chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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Glass as a Waste Form and Vitrification Technology: Summary of an International Workshop Preface Throughout the world, countries faced with the problems of management of radioactive waste are studying or applying the technology of vitrification to provide an acceptable waste form for long-term safe disposal. In the United States the borosilicate glass waste form has been proposed for management and disposal of radioactive defense materials such as high-level, low-level, mixed, and transuranic waste, and weapons plutonium and enriched uranium. Uncertainties concerning glass as a waste form have been raised over such issues as glass durability, radionuclide behavior in glass, glass dissolution mechanisms, chemical effects of engineered barriers over long periods of time, and extrapolation of experimental observations to full-scale repository conditions. The National Research Council's (NRC) Board on Radioactive Waste Management (BRWM) decided to bring together experts from the international scientific and engineering community to review the current state of knowledge of glass as a waste form for the immobilization of radioactive wastes. The U.S. Department of Energy Waste Management Program provided financial support and logistical assistance for the workshop. A committee (see Appendix A) was appointed by the NRC to organize and conduct the workshop and to prepare this report, summarizing and analyzing the information exchanged at the meeting. The workshop was held May 13-15, 1996, in the auditorium of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., and was attended by approximately 250 participants representing 12 countries. The workshop program (see Appendix B) was constructed around the following four issues (and the appropriate connections between them) that were addressed by the invited speakers: Waste characteristics Regulations Waste form properties Technologies The steering committee prepared this report as a summary of what was discussed at the workshop. Selection of information included in the report was made by the steering committee, which tried to reflect on the tone of the workshop. The committee gratefully acknowledges the efforts of the staff of the National Research Council in organizing the workshop and preparing the final report. We express a special thanks to Rebecca Burka for her invaluable leadership to the staff and committee members in all aspects of organization and implementation of the workshop. She was ably assisted by a team of other NRC staff, including Toni Greenleaf, Lisa Clendening, and Dennis DuPree. Julie D'Ambrosia (Envirotech Associates, Inc.) and M. John Plodenic (Westinghouse Savannah River Technology Center) provided liaison between the steering committee and the Department of Energy. The committee particularly benefited from the efforts of Allen G. Croff of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, who prepared the material in Appendix D, and Joe Perez of Pacific

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Glass as a Waste Form and Vitrification Technology: Summary of an International Workshop Northwest National Laboratory, who organized the poster session. The two rapporteurs for the concluding session of the workshop, Bruce Bunker of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Robert Budnitz of Future Resources Associates, Inc., presented invaluable summaries of the content of the workshop. Their summaries also helped shape the organization and content of this report. Rodney C. Ewing, Chair Steering Committee on Vitrification of Radioactive Wastes

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Glass as a Waste Form and Vitrification Technology: Summary of an International Workshop Contents     Executive Summary   1 1   Introduction   3     Organization of the Workshop   4     History   5     The U.S. Program   6 2   Three "Futures" for Glass   8     Future 1: The Only Barrier to Long-Term Release   9     Future 2: An Effective, But Not Necessarily the Primary Barrier to Long-Term Release   16     Future 3: A Totally Ineffective Barrier to Long-Term Release   18 3   Special Applications of Glass   19 4   Conclusions   20     State of Knowledge of the Science   20     State of Practice of the Technology   21     Future Waste Forms   21     References   22     Appendixes A   Biographical Sketches of Committee Members   A1 B   Workshop Program   B1 C   List of Workshop Participants   C1 D   Identification and Summary of Characterization of Materials Potentially Requiring Vitrification   D1 E   Abstracts of Invited Workshop and Poster Presentations   E1     Invited Presentations   E6     Poster Presentations   E56

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