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The Importance of Geochemical Characterization of Repository Host Horizons for Radioactive Waste Disposal: Saligny Repository Site for L/ILW, Romania

[+] Author Affiliations
Ioana Anghel, Stuart D. Ware

Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM

Crina Bucur, Margarit Pavelescu

Institute for Nuclear Research, Moscow, Russia

Paper No. ICEM2003-4760, pp. 831-837; 7 pages
  • ASME 2003 9th International Conference on Radioactive Waste Management and Environmental Remediation
  • 9th ASME International Conference on Radioactive Waste Management and Environmental Remediation: Volumes 1, 2, and 3
  • Oxford, England, September 21–25, 2003
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division and Environmental Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3732-7 | eISBN: 0-7918-3731-9
  • Copyright © 2003 by ASME


The Saligny Site, situated in the vicinity of the Cernavoda Nuclear Power Plant in Romania, has been chosen as a repository site for placement of future Low and Intermediate Level Nuclear Waste. Scientific investigations are on going to help assess the long-term performance of the nuclear waste repository and include the development of a site conceptual model, geochemical characterization of the proposed liner material and the geologic formations surrounding the repository. Geochemical characteristics of the proposed waste site and of repository liner material are essential information in providing key model parameters needed to determine the mechanisms and rates for the potential release and transport of radionuclides in the environment. A series of laboratory sorption and diffusion experiments in support of the site conceptual model were run at Los Alamos National Laboratory, USA and Institute for Nuclear Research, Romania. These experiments compared responses of cesium-137 and tritiated water as radionuclides, and included natural soil samples from Saligny site and cement liner material. Sorption experiments focused on studying the affinity of cesium-137 for soil samples from: a clay rich loess horizon, a compacted red clay horizon and a Portland type cement, proposed as liner for the repository. A Saligny synthetic water was used for the soil sorption experiments. For the cement sorption and diffusion experiments, NaCl 10mM water was necessary in order to avoid insolubility problems at the high pH (around 12) when in contact with the cement. Preliminary studies of the geochemistry for radionuclide-soil matrix and radionuclide-concrete liner interactions were obtained through the sorption and diffusion experiments. The sorption isotherms were linear for all samples with high Kd values for soil samples and low values for the cement. Mineralogical information obtained through quantitative X-ray diffraction (QXRD) analysis, for the studied soil samples were in agreement with the sorption results. The high amount of clay present in the soil samples was determined to be the main contributor for the strong sorption. Diffusion cells were prepared for comparing hydrologic response characteristics for tritiated water and cesium-137, through the measurement of diffusion coefficients as influenced by the soil and cement matrices. Tritiated water and cesium-137 diffusion coefficients were determined from the change in radionuclide concentration profile over time while diffusing through the soil or cement matrix, and were found in agreement with the values listed in literature findings.

Copyright © 2003 by ASME



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