Alpha Radiolysis of Sorbed Water on Uranium Oxides and Uranium Oxyfluorides [electronic resource].
- Washington, D.C. : United States. Dept. of Energy, 2003. and Oak Ridge, Tenn. : Distributed by the Office of Scientific and Technical Information, U.S. Dept. of Energy
- Additional Creators:
- Oak Ridge National Laboratory, United States. Department of Energy, and United States. Department of Energy. Office of Scientific and Technical Information
- Restrictions on Access:
- Free-to-read Unrestricted online access
- The radiolysis of sorbed water and other impurities contained in actinide oxides has been the focus of a number of studies related to the establishment of criteria for the safe storage and transport of these materials. Gamma radiolysis studies have previously been performed on uranium oxides and oxyfluorides (UO3, U3O8, and UO2F2) to evaluate the long-term storage characteristics of 233U. This report describes a similar study for alpha radiolysis. Uranium oxides and oxyfluorides (with 238U as the surrogate for 233U) were subjected to relatively high alpha radiation doses (235 to 634 MGy) by doping with 244Cm. The typical irradiation time for these samples was about 1.5 years, which would be equivalent to more than 50 years irradiation by a 233U sample. Both dry and wet (up to 10 wt % water) samples were examined in an effort to identify the gas pressure and composition changes that occurred as a result of radiolysis. This study shows that several competing reactions occur during radiolysis, with the net effect that only very low pressures of hydrogen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide are generated from the water, nitrate, and carbon impurities, respectively, associated with the oxides. In the absence of nitrate impurities, no pressures greater than 1000 torr are generated. Usually, however, the oxygen in the air atmosphere over the oxides is consumed with the corresponding oxidation of the uranium oxide. In the presence of up to 10 wt % water, the oxides first show a small pressure rise followed by a net decrease due to the oxygen consumption and the attainment of a steady-state pressure where the rate of generation of gaseous components is balanced by their recombination and/or consumption in the oxide phase. These results clearly demonstrate that alpha radiolysis of either wet or dry 233U oxides will not produce deleterious pressures or gaseous components that could compromise the long-term storage of these materials.
- Published through SciTech Connect., 09/10/2003., "ornl/tm-2003/172", and Icenhour, A.S.
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