STP956

    The Effects of Radiation on Organic Matrix Waste Forms

    Published: Jan 1987


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    Abstract

    This report summarizes the results of a program carried out between July 1981 and March 1985 on behalf of the Commission of European Communities (CEC) and the Department of Environment (DoE). The effects of gamma and alpha irradiation have been studied on a range of bitumen and polymer matrix waste forms.

    Under irradiation, bitumens swell because of the nucleation and growth of bubbles of radiolytic gas. Swelling depends on dose rate and specimen size, as well as total dose, but accelerated tests can be carried out by irradiating specimens of varied size under the same conditions of dose rate × specimen depth squared. Swelling commences at around 50 kGy and saturates at 300 kGy. The magnitude of swelling depends on the type of bitumen. For bitumenisates used in Europe the magnitude is ≤ 10%. The effects of alpha radiation are more severe than equivalent doses of gamma radiation but are unlikely to have a significant effect on physical properties in practice. Irradiation to 10 MGy and swelling have no significant effect on leach rates.

    The behavior of polymer waste forms under gamma irradiation is more complicated. The most pronounced effects occur with waste forms containing wet wastes. Some of these can shrink by substantial amounts on irradiation caused primarily by water loss. Others exhibit small amounts of swelling or shrinkage and the exact behavior appears to depend on a combination of bubble growth, polymer cross linking, and water desorption. Data are presented on the effects of radiation on leaching and on radiolytic gas evolution.

    Keywords:

    bitumenisates, thermosetting resins, radiation effects, alpha irradiation, swelling, gas evolution, leach testing


    Author Information:

    Phillips, DC
    Materials Development Division, AERE Harwell, Didcot, Oxon

    Johnson, DI
    Materials Development Division, AERE Harwell, Didcot, Oxon

    Burnay, SG
    Materials Development Division, AERE Harwell, Didcot, Oxon

    Hitchon, JW
    Materials Development Division, AERE Harwell, Didcot, Oxon


    Paper ID: STP25678S

    Committee/Subcommittee: E10.12

    DOI: 10.1520/STP25678S


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