The High pH Chemical and Radiation Compatibility of Various Liner Materials

    Published: Jan 1990

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    A flexible membrane liner has been proposed to line a concrete vault in which liquid low-level radioactive waste will be solidified. High-density polyethylene (HDPE) and polypropylene liners were tested at the Pacific Northwest Laboratory in an EPA method 9090 format to determine their chemical compatibility with the waste. Radiation effects were also investigated. The liners were immersed in a highly caustic (pH>14), primarily inorganic solution at 90°C. The liners were subjected to radiation doses up to 38.9 Mrad, which was the expected dose the liner would receive over a 30-year life inside the vault. Recent changes have placed the liner outside the vault.

    The acceptance criteria for judging the compatibility of the liner with radiation should be different than those used for judging chemical compatibility. The radiation damage over the life of the liner can be simulated in a short-term test. Both HDPE and polypropylene liners were judged to be acceptable from a chemical and radiation standpoint when placed outside of the vault, while several other liners were not compatible. Radiation did not have a significant effect on chemical degradation rates.


    high-density polyethylene, HDPE, polyproplyene, geomembrane, liner, radiation, compatibility

    Author Information:

    Whyatt, GA
    researchers, Battelle Northwest, Battelle Boulevard, Richland, Washington

    Farnsworth, RK
    researchers, Battelle Northwest, Battelle Boulevard, Richland, Washington

    Committee/Subcommittee: D35.10

    DOI: 10.1520/STP19026S

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