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High-density support matrices: Key to the deep borehole disposal of spent nuclear fuel

Gibb, F.G.F., McTaggart, N.A., Travis, K.P., Burley, D. and Hesketh, K.W. (2008) High-density support matrices: Key to the deep borehole disposal of spent nuclear fuel. Journal of Nuclear Materials, 374 (3). pp. 370-377. ISSN 0022-3115


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Deep (4–5 km) boreholes are emerging as a safe, secure, environmentally sound and potentially cost-effective option for disposal of high-level radioactive wastes, including plutonium. One reason this option has not been widely accepted for spent fuel is because stacking the containers in a borehole could create load stresses threatening their integrity with potential for releasing highly mobile radionuclides like 129I before the borehole is filled and sealed. This problem can be overcome by using novel high-density support matrices deployed as fine metal shot along with the containers. Temperature distributions in and around the disposal are modelled to show how decay heat from the fuel can melt the shot within weeks of disposal to give a dense liquid in which the containers are almost weightless. Finally, within a few decades, this liquid will cool and solidify, entombing the waste containers in a base metal sarcophagus sealed into the host rock.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2008 Elsevier B.V. This is an author produced version of a paper published in Journal of Nuclear Materials. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Engineering (Sheffield) > Department of Materials Science and Engineering (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Sherpa Assistant
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2008 10:56
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2013 16:56
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jnucmat.2007.08.017
Status: Published
Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1016/j.jnucmat.2007.08.017
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/3760

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