Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Unusual Minerals Formed On Stored Nuclear Waste

Date:
November 27, 2003
Source:
University Of California Davis
Summary:
Nuclear fuel waste in long-term storage could form mineral phases that are not well understood, according to research by chemists at the University of Notre Dame and UC Davis and recently published in the journal Science.

Nuclear fuel waste in long-term storage could form mineral phases that are not well understood, according to research by chemists at the University of Notre Dame and UC Davis and recently published in the journal Science.

Peter Burns, professor of civil engineering and geological sciences at Notre Dame, and graduate student Karrie-Ann Hughes, with UC Davis Interdisciplinary Professor Alexandra Navrotsky and postdoctoral researcher Katheryn Helean, studied the stability of two minerals, studtite and metastudtite, that contain both uranium and peroxide.

The researchers found that studtite and metastudtite may be readily formed on the surface of nuclear waste under long-term storage, possibly at the expense of other minerals, such as uranyl oxides and silicates, which have been more thoroughly studied and are better understood.

Studtites most likely form when radioactivity from uranium-rich rocks or nuclear fuel converts water to peroxide, which reacts with the minerals. Nuclear fuel waste under long-term storage, for example in the proposed Yucca Mountain depository in Nevada, would remain sufficiently radioactive to form studtite and metastudtite at the surface for thousands of years.

Not enough is known about these minerals to know if they will make radioactive wastes more stable or less, Navrotsky said.

"It means that the models used to assess fuel corrosion are incomplete. Whether the end result will be more or less corrosion than without studtite is a combination of thermodynamics and kinetics which needs to be explored further," she said.

Studtite also has been found on the surface of spent nuclear fuel stored at Hanford, Wash., nuclear site and on material at the site of the Chernobyl nuclear plant accident in Ukraine.

Uranyl peroxides must be considered in assessing the impact of uranyl materials on the release of radioactivity from nuclear waste in a depository, the researchers said. The study was published in the Nov. 14 issue of Science.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of California Davis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of California Davis. "Unusual Minerals Formed On Stored Nuclear Waste." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 November 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/11/031125073534.htm>.
University Of California Davis. (2003, November 27). Unusual Minerals Formed On Stored Nuclear Waste. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/11/031125073534.htm
University Of California Davis. "Unusual Minerals Formed On Stored Nuclear Waste." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/11/031125073534.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Federal researchers are exploring more than a dozen underwater sites where they believe ships sank in the treacherous waters west of San Francisco in the decades following the Gold Rush. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) Mount Paektu volcano in North Korea is showing signs of life and there's not much known about it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins