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Theses

Sorption of Radionuclides in Reinforced Cementitious Barriers

Abstract : Sorption and redox reactions of radionuclides (RNs) are critical processes for a nuclear waste disposal repository safety assessment. In geological repositories, these process may occur in (i) canister (steel) corrosion layer, (ii) reinforced concrete, e.g. on hydrated cement and (iii) argillite, e.g. on pyrite and clays or granite. Both steel corrosion products and pyrite act as local reducing buffers, controlling the redox potential (Eh) and thus the sorption behavior of redox-sensitive RNs. In contrast, sorption of RNs not involving redox processes may occur on clays, iron oxides and cement hydration products, and often involve surface adsorption, ion exchange, or co-precipitations processes. In this PhD thesis, minor but highly reactive cementitious AFm phases (AFm-Cl2 or AFm-SO4 solids, belonging to CaAl LDHs) were employed to adsorb MoO42- and SeO32- at various surface loadings. A combination of PHREEQC chemical equilibrium modelling and synchrotron-based X-ray techniques (e.g., in-situ time-resolved XRD, PDF, and XAFS) reveals that multiple sorption sites, including two types of edge sites, interlayer ion exchange sites, and a Ca-rich phase precipitation, are active processes in the RNs retention on AFm phases. A linear relationship is shown to link AFm basal spacing and hydrated intercalated anion radius. MoO42- macroscopic adsorption was evaluated on steel-reinforced hydrated cement and its individual components (e.g., Fe0, C-S-H, ettringite, AFm phase, portlandite, gypsum, pyrite, mackinawite) at pH 13.5, and EXAFS signal could only be obtained for Mo sorbed on AFm phases and Fe0 oxidation products, showing they are the most effective absorbents. Co-sorption of U and Mo on Fe0-reinforced hydrated cement-core has also been investigated by micro-probe mapping, showing U to be instantly immobilized by cement materials while Mo is preferentially sorbed on Fe reaction products.The Eh value prevailing in concrete is hard to be determined. Here, redox-sensitive RNs (e.g., UVI, SeIV, MoVI, and SbV) are employed as probes, to measure in-situ Eh values, by computing the Nernst equation in the following way. Reduced species concentration were measured based on the total concentration of reductively precipitated RN and on speciation among these reduced species as obtained by LCF analysis of XANES data. The single oxidized species concentration was taken equal to the total aqueous chemical concentration, as all identified reduced species are extremely insoluble. The experimentally determined Eh values obtained that way were remarkably closed for all RNs with centered values of -368 to -524 mV for cement pore water (CPW) equilibrated with Fe0 and values of -346 to -509 mV for CPW equilibrated with corrosion products Fe-oxides couples (magnetite/hematite or magnetite/goethite) at pH ~13.5. Neither the Eh value computed for these couples or for Fe0/Fe(OH)2 match these data. Instead, the redox potential appear to be controlled by the Fe(OH)3/Fe(OH)2 couple predominating at the beginning of Fe0 corrosion. Finally, within clay or granite far field, several factors may critically affect the Eh imposed by pyrite minor mineral, namely element impurities in pyrite lattice and fractures resulting from grinding and presence of Fe3+ and S2- at the pyrite surface. Element impurities and presence of S2- on the pyrite surface were shown to largely speed up U(VI) reduction. The experimental results obtained above could provide fundamental data for the safety assessment of nuclear waste disposal.
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Bin Ma. Sorption of Radionuclides in Reinforced Cementitious Barriers. Material chemistry. Université Grenoble Alpes, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017GREAU027⟩. ⟨tel-01961482⟩

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