Synthesis of zircon for immobilization of actinides

B. E. Burakov, E. B. Anderson, V. S. Rovsha, S. V. Ushakov, R. C. Ewing, W. Lutze, W. J. Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


A new method of synthesis for actinide-doped zircon is presented based on studies of zircons formed by crystallization from the reactor core melt generated in the course of the accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. These zircons have compositions in the range (Zr0.94,U0.06)SiO4 to (Zr0.9,U0.1)SiO4. Hot-pressing of oxides was studied to make Zr-based waste forms. The results demonstrate the efficacy of using metallic zirconium in synthesizing high-actinide zircons. In the event of deviations from zircon's ideal stoichiometry, ZrO2 forms, which is also an effective host phase for actinide elements. Waste streams high in zirconium and actinides could be converted into Zr-based waste forms. The adaptation and modification of the mixed-oxide reactor fuel (MOX) production process is proposed as a process for the production of (Zr,Pu)SiO4, a durable waste form for excess weapons plutonium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)[d]33-39
JournalMaterials Research Society Symposium - Proceedings
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes
EventProceedings of the 1995 MRS Fall Symposium - Boston, MA, USA
Duration: Nov 27 1995Nov 30 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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