International Simple Glass for radioactive waste immobilization

Glass is a chemically durable wasteform for immobilizing radioactive waste. However, high levels of radioactivity generated by glassy wasteforms will persist over extensive time scales, requiring long-term isolation from the environment. During this time, glass will undergo chemical attack by groundwater, radiation damage, and mechanical stress, which could eventually result in release of radionuclides into the environment. It is therefore vital to understand the degradation mechanisms so that glass compositions can be created that lock-up radionuclides over hundreds of thousands of years.  

Towards this goal, International Simple Glass is a reference six-oxide borosilicate glass studied worldwide to understand glass corrosion in aqueous environments, to seek consensus on the mechanisms controlling long-term dissolution. This collection of papers in npj Materials Degradation reports recent understanding of International Simple Glass and highlights the diversity of scientific problems related to its degradation, and methods and approaches to tackle them.

*Above image shows wavy corrosion bands in a silicate glass, as reported in Yifeng Wang et al., Morphological instability of aqueous dissolution of silicate glasses and minerals, npj Materials Degradation, 27, 2018.