H.M. Saleh, J Nucl Ene Sci Power Generat Technol 2013, S1 http://dx.doi.org/10.4172/2325-9809.


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and half-life of nuclides contained in the waste. The key performance parameter of any container is the resistance to environmental attack (chemical performance) [3]. The main goal of this process was to avoid leaching and migration of the radionuclides to surroundings. The presented containers were subjected to chemical and physical investigations as well as to some mechanical evaluations in order to ensure the improvement figured from the improved containers.

Review Article

Composite Materials for the Improvement of Radioactive Waste Containers: Structures and Characterization
H.M. Saleh1*

The packaging process is to reduce or even to retard the release of the radio contaminants to the surrounding environment. Improving of containers used for radioactive wastes packaging was studied extensively. Polymers, cement concrete, stainless steel for example were used for preparing the containers that used for transportation or disposal of radioactive wastes. In conclusion the use of container as external barrier could be recommended as possible additives to improve the confinement efficiency of the disposed radioactive wastes.

Radioactive Disposal





Different trends have been used for classification of radioactive wastes; one of these is based on the disposal concept. This method of classification has been derived mainly from the safety aspects of radioactive waste disposal, but can be developed into the other stages of radioactive waste management. It is reasonable to start classification from the point of disposal to keep consistency among the different stages of radioactive waste management. The International Atomic Energy Agency has proposed a quantitative classification for radioactive wastes relevant to disposal concept. Five categories are proposed taking in account a group of the properties, such as half-life and heat generation capacity [5]. Boundary levels between classes are presented as orders of magnitude and typical characteristics of waste classes and summarized in Table 1. A more detailed classification of radioactive waste which provides a further subdivision of wastes within waste classes will depend on individual national programmes or requirements. Also addressed are suggestions for application of the modified classification system to actual disposal facilities [2]. Application of a classification system for the management of radioactive waste implies an adequate separation of wastes generated. A decision chart for the segregation of radioactive and exempt waste is presented in Figure 1.

Radioactive wastes; Radioactive waste disposal; Radiocontaminants; Packaging process; Radiation resistance; Containers

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), radioactive waste can be defined as “material that contains or is contaminated with radionuclides at concentrations or radioactivity levels greater than clearance levels established by the appropriate authority and for which no use is foreseen” [1]. The generated radioactive wastes are varied in form, activity and type of contamination as they are in type of generating activity. It may be solid, liquid or gaseous. Within these groups are a variety of waste types such as trash, spent radioactive sources, pumps, pipes, ion exchange resins, sludges, and spent nuclear fuel. Activity levels range from extremely high levels associated with spent fuel and residues from fuel reprocessing to very low levels associated with waste from radioisotope applications in laboratories, hospitals, etc. Equally broad is the spectrum of half-lives of the radionuclides contained in the radioactive waste. Which radionuclides are present will depend on the generating process; they may include uranium and other naturally occurring, transuranic and/or specific man-made radionuclides [2]. Radioactive waste containers provide protective barriers against physical and chemical stresses during transportation, interim storage and final disposal of the radioactive dangerous wastes [3]. The containers are varies from steel drums to concrete boxes [4]. They are classified into different subcategories depending on the activity content
*Corresponding author: Hosam El-Din Mostafa Saleh, Radioisotope Department, Nuclear Research Center, Atomic Energy Authority, Dokki 12311, Giza, Egypt, Tel: +201005191018; Fax: +202 37493042; E-mail: hosamsaleh70@yahoo.com Received: September 05, 2013 Accepted: October 21, 2013 Published: November 01, 2013

Strategies of Radioactive Waste Management
Radioactive waste management is used in two senses. In the first place, it means the process for disposing of waste in a way that safeguards the environment and the health of the public. In this sense, radioactive waste management is a tool of public health control and for applying the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) policy on public exposure to the area of waste disposal. Secondly, it can mean the whole sequence of operations starting with the generation of waste, passing through storage, and ending with disposal. In this sense, it is analogous to any set of operations, such as fuel fabrication or the practice of nuclear medicine and the ICRP recommendations apply to it as to any practice [6].

Segregation and Packaging of Radioactive Waste
Two types of segregation are in place: a physical segregation of the types of waste and isotope half-life segregation within some physical types. The physical types segregated include: dry solids, aqueous liquids, animal carcasses, scintillation vials, and mixed wastes. There are three categories for segregating dry waste and aqueous liquid waste based on the half-life of the radioactive material.

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Citation: H.M. Saleh(2013) Composite Materials for the Improvement of Radioactive Waste Containers: Structures and Characterization. J Nucl Ene Sci Power Generat Technol S1-006.

Table 1: Typical characteristics of waste classes based on disposal concept. Sr. No. 1. 2. 2.1. 2.2. 3. Waste Classes Exempt Waste (EW) Low And Intermediate Level Waste) LILW) Short Lived Waste (LILW-SL) Long Lived Waste (LILW-LL) High Level Waste (HLW) Typical Characteristics Activity levels at or below clearance levels, which are based on an annual dose to members of the public of less than 0.01 mSv Activity levels above clearance levels and thermal power below about 2kW/m3 Restricted long lived radionuclide concentrations )limitation of long lived alpha emitting radionuclides to 4000 Bq/g in individual waste packages and to an overall average of 400 Bq/g per waste package) Long lived radionuclide concentrations exceeding limitations for short lived waste Thermal power above about 2kW/m3 and long lived radionuclide concentrations exceeding limitations for short lived waste Near surface or geological disposal facility Geological disposal facility Geological disposal facility Disposal Options No radiological restrictions

Figure 1: Decision chart for the segregation of radioactive and exempt waste.

After segregation the packed wastes were transported to the subsequent treatment and/or disposal processes, radioactive waste must not be packed in non-radioactive waste containers. Likewise, non-contaminated items should not be packed in radioactive waste containers (Figure 2) [2].

liquids, wet solids, slurries, sludges, powders and particulate material. The conditioning processes that are typically used for immobilization of liquids and solids are encapsulation in cement, polymer, bitumen, or vitrification in glass or ceramic [7].

Conditioning and Immobilization Processes
For the safe storage of ILW, the primary consideration is to ensure that the radioactive waste is immobile and is contained into solid inert matrix in order to minimize the potential risks during dispersal. The waste should, therefore, be in a form that is physically and chemically stable and should also be resistant to any significant deterioration over the storage period. The waste should be characterized to provide information for any future handling. Certain raw radioactive wastes may be in a form for which the radioactivity is already immobile and, consequently, meet the requirements for passive safety without the need for processing. In many cases, the raw radioactive material or radioactive waste will require conditioning to place it into a passively safe form to immobilize the radioactivity. For example, highly reactive or corrosive substances should be neutralized or made less reactive by chemical processes. In the few cases where a raw radioactive waste is not suitable for processing, then these wastes should be identified and an acceptable alternative strategy for their future management developed. Typical waste forms that fall into this category are gases,
Global Radiation Safety Concern and Management of Radioactive Waste

Final Disposal of Radioactive Waste
In order to protect man and the environment, the isolation of radioactive wastes from the biosphere by final disposal in deep geologic formations or in near surface repository is planned. ‘Final disposal’ means the secure and maintenance-free disposal of radioactive waste for an unlimited period of time without any intention of retrieving it. Whereas “waste storage” is the temporary retention of a waste, “waste disposal” is the discarding of the waste with no intention of retrieval. These two waste disposal strategies can be labeled Concentrate and Retain, and Dilute and Disperse. Often disposal involves a combination of these two methods [8].

The waste container plays a key role in shielding ionizing radiation and containing contaminants, thus ensuring safety in various stages of a radioactive waste management system from interim storage, through transport and to its final disposal. Hence, the waste container is designed to contain, physically protect, and/or radiologically shield for the waste form during the
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Citation: H.M. Saleh(2013) Composite Materials for the Improvement of Radioactive Waste Containers: Structures and Characterization. J Nucl Ene Sci Power Generat Technol S1-006.


Figure 2: Some kinds of standard radioactive waste packages.

various activities involved during the period from conditioning until emplacement and closure of a disposal facility [9]. According to IAEA different types of containers were categorized depending on the volume and characteristics of waste and the materials of the container. The inner volume ranges from some liters to several cubic meters. The materials employed are usually mild carbon steel, stainless steel and concrete with wall thickness from about one to hundreds of millimeters. The containers may have a protective casting and may include a radiation shield.

xii. Be strong enough to stand the pressure existing in the disposal. xiii. Have a proper combination of construction and material [10]. Since some of the radionuclides in LLWs are short-lived, LLWs are classified into different subcategories (depending upon the activity contents and half-life of the nuclides in the waste), and different stabilization requirements are used for different subcategories accordingly. In the case of HLW, separate casks are used for transportation, and special emphasis is given to the disposal containers to ensure long-term isolation of the waste [11] (Figures 3 and 4).

Requirements of the Container
Some of container requirements to fulfil its function were summarized as follows: i. The container should have a suitable construction to enable filling and in certain cases mixing and to enable easy and proper sealing. ii. It must have a construction not requiring manual operation during packaging. iii. It should consist of a material compatible with the waste. iv. It should be strong enough to stand false operations. v. It should have neither too heavy nor too bulky. vi. Be easily decontaminated on outside (smooth or coated surface). vii. Satisfy the transport regulations or be suitable for extra transport shields. viii. Permit effective occupation of the area and the space at the storage facilities and in most cases in disposal facilities. ix. Have corrosion resistance to secure its function during the storage time. x. Reduce the effects of possible failures (fall, transport collision, immersion and fire). xi. In certain cases be leak-tight, especially to rain showers.
Global Radiation Safety Concern and Management of Radioactive Waste

Characterizations of the Waste Container [9]
Dimensions and mass
The container dimensions and mass must be defined with associated compliance limits.They should be compatible with the requirements of existing or anticipated handling and storage arrangements, transport systems, and disposal facilities. It is recommended that all constraints or functions of the container, including emplacement and potential retrievability provisions, through its different phases of life should be examined before choosing the material and the geometry of a container suitable for geological disposal.

Qualification tests
To ensure that the waste package meets the design requirements, qualification tests should be performed. These tests include examining the material of fabrication and the container or its parts during manufacture. Extensive testing would be undertaken during the design phase with more limited testing during routine waste processing. Factors specific for geological repositories that should be considered include the geochemical environment, the groundwater characteristics, the hydrostatic and lithostatic loads, and the thermomechanical properties of the host rock.

Radionuclide containment
It is essential that the waste package contain the radioactivity during the handling, storage and transport phases. In accordance with the multibarrier concept, the container is likely to be a barrier preventing the release of radionuclides from the repository to the
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Citation: H.M. Saleh(2013) Composite Materials for the Improvement of Radioactive Waste Containers: Structures and Characterization. J Nucl Ene Sci Power Generat Technol S1-006.


Chemical durability
Chemical durability is a key factor for long term containment. The duration of the containment function must be assessed and relevant tests or studies may be performed. These studies may include modelling of degradation of the binder or corrosion of the container. While durability of metallic containers is affected first by corrosion, performance and durability of nonmetallic containers under repository conditions can also be affected by degradation processes as a result of exposure to groundwater, waste constituents, and other chemicals present in the repository. Therefore in assessing chemical durability, it is necessary to consider chemical and physicochemical mechanisms in conjunction with plausible features, events and processes that may lead to container degradation.

Compressive strength
Figure 3: Schematic of a cast for disposing of LLW.

Adequate compressive strength is required for the waste container to allow it to meet stacking requirements during storage and disposal and to ensure the waste package is robust for handling and transportation operations. The complete waste packages have to maintain their physical dimensions and properties to the required degree under conditions of compressive loads, chemical reactions and biodegradation. Measurements can be made on materials representative of the components, scale models of the package, or the complete package. The mechanical properties of standard containers, in particular metallic containers, may not be adequate to withstand the high pressures induced by solid rock and the tremendous overburden which can prevail at depths of several hundreds of meters. In such conditions, thick-walled overpacks will be needed to enhance the overall structural integrity of packages used in deep geological repositories.

Resistance to mechanical impact
The resistance to mechanical impact is important in potential accident conditions. Foreseeable accidents and their consequences must be identified. The physical stability of the container should be evaluated to determine if adequate containment is provided. It may be measured by means of standard tests applied to the container or the completed waste package. In particular, waste packages must be capable of sustaining a drop from a specified height and similar occurrences without breach.

Figure 4: Schematic of waste container for high level radioactive waste.

geosphere. After emplacement, a container can provide complete in situ containment of wastes for its physical life. For a certain period of time, after container failure, backfill materials surrounding the waste package may undertake the containment function by hindering or slowing down the release rate of radionuclides. This primary barrier containment function and interaction with the repository backfill may be an important issue in the container design for some disposal systems, thereby incorporating related waste package specifications within the waste acceptance requirements.

Thermal resistance and combustibility
The resistance to thermal impact is important in potential accident conditions. The waste package must meet any fire protection requirements for handling, transport, storage and disposal. This can be achieved by performing tests on models of the packages and deriving, if necessary, limitations for introduction of combustible matters in waste. Qualification testing should include exposure to fires of intensity credible for the facilities. It also should be recognized that deep geological disposal of several hundreds of meters results in an increased geothermal gradient which may adversely impact some packaging. As a general guide, the temperature gradient increases at a rate of approximately 3°C for every 100 meters depth.

Corrosion properties
To contain the waste form during interim storage, transportation, the operational phase of the repository, and retrieval if necessary, the container must retain its integrity for several decades. To achieve this, a metallic container requires corrosion resistance, which has to be determined experimentally. Possible failure modes should be considered including general corrosion, local corrosion, stress corrosion cracking, and reactions that could alter material properties and cause early failures.
Global Radiation Safety Concern and Management of Radioactive Waste

Radiation resistance
Radiation can affect the waste container. Therefore, in addition to controlling external radiation dose rates, irradiation qualification
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Citation: H.M. Saleh(2013) Composite Materials for the Improvement of Radioactive Waste Containers: Structures and Characterization. J Nucl Ene Sci Power Generat Technol S1-006.

doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.4172/2325-9809.S1-006 tests on container material may be required. Such tests should ensure that radiation induced processes, which may cause degradation of material properties of the waste package, repository components and the host rock, do not occur to an unacceptable degree. concrete or some combination of these. Plastics, such as high density polyethylene (HDPE), are some of the other materials being considered or currently in use for high integrity containers (HICs) fabrication. In order to prevent or limit the rate of release of radionuclides and other contaminants, some packages in the process of conditioning are provided with additional internal barriers (for example, absorbing materials and liners). For the purposes of transportation, storage and disposal, they may be provided with an additional canister or an overpack. Materials of construction are normally selected using established engineering design techniques. Testing and development work is also necessary to verify the selection. This can range from simple strength testing through corrosion simulation to long term integrity and durability tests, such as creep testing. Specific tests of radionuclide release properties might be implemented if the container is also designed for additional (barrier) containment purposes [9]. Waste containers used in the burial of radioactive wastes include carbon-steel drums, liners, and boxes and high-integrity containers (HICs). They are placed in a disposal facility with either soil or cement backfills. Carbon-steel containers are inexpensive, but can undergo both uniform corrosion and pitting corrosion within the soil and cemented systems. The life-time of carbon-steel containers in a disposal system is expected to be short (few years or longer); thus, steel is used primarily for the disposal of short-lived nuclides. HICs represent a more durable LLW container and are used for the disposal of long-lived high-activity waste. HICs can be made from corrosionresistant metal alloys, reinforced concrete, high-density polyethylene (HDPE), or polymer-coated metals. Carbon-steel drums, boxes, or HICs can also be used with concrete modules to improve the long-term integrity of the package. The type of HIC expected to be widely used in the future is a combination of both an HDPE and a concrete overpack. This type of HIC is expected to fail eventually by degradation of the concrete casing and creep of the high-density polymers. HICs are required to have a minimum lifetime of 300 years by current Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulations [13]. With respect to the disposal of long lived radionuclides in a deep geological repository, the container will likely provide a barrier within the repository. This may require the container to maintain its integrity for a period of at least several hundred years. For a geological repository, its design may be important with regard to specific properties that may be suited for retrievability of waste packages [9].

Each container should have a label that uniquely identifies it and allows it to be correctly recognized and recorded during waste management steps. The durability of the label should be assured at least until the emplacement of the waste package in the repository. In addition to all previous characterizations, container should be designed to allow the movement, if required, of the radioactive wastes either for inspection purposes or between stores [7]. Some tests that demonstrate performance under a full range of package conditions as requires by Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) must be carried out, such as compression, external and internal pressure, penetration, passive venting, lift accident deceleration, transportation vibration and free drops. The container before and after external hydrostatic test is shown in Figures 5 and 6 [12].

Materials of Construction
Typical container (packaging) materials are metals, fibre and

Figure 5: External hydrostatic test, before test.

Functions of Radioactive Waste Containers
Different containers are designated for packaging radioactive waste and they can categorize as following according to their functions: i. Transportation and portable containers ii. Uranium waste monitoring containers iii. Immobilization and disposal containers

Transportation containers
Transuranic waste transportation containers of Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico are example for handling containers. Three different types of containers were proposed and approved for transporting transuranic waste in WIPP [14]. The Transuranic Package Transporter Model 2 (TRUPACT-II) and HalfPACT were designed to carry contact-handled transuranic radioactive waste. The RH-72B may also be used to facilitate remote handled waste transportation (Figure 7).
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Figure 6: External hydrostatic test: after test, section through intact walls and lid.

Global Radiation Safety Concern and Management of Radioactive Waste

Citation: H.M. Saleh(2013) Composite Materials for the Improvement of Radioactive Waste Containers: Structures and Characterization. J Nucl Ene Sci Power Generat Technol S1-006.


Figure 8: Uranium waste monitor (UWM) container.

Figure 7: Some types of transuranic waste transportation containers.

Each stainless steel TRUPACT-II is approximately eight feet in diameter, 10 feet high and constructed with leaktight inner and outer containment vessels. The TRUPACT-II can hold up to 14 fifty-five gallon waste drums, two standard waste boxes (63 cubic feet capacity each), or one 10-drum overpack (a container designed to provide additional protection for older, deteriorating drums). To improve shipment efficiency for heavy drums of transuranic waste, US Department of Energy (DOE) designed the HalfPACT, a container for contact-handled waste that is shorter, and therefore lighter, than the TRUPACT-II. Because using the HalfPACT would allow a greater volume of heavy waste to be transported in each shipment, the number of shipments necessary – and, therefore, the potential for accidents would be reduced. Each HalfPACT, like the TRUPACT-II, is leaktight and constructed with inner and outer containment vessels. It is approximately seven and one-half feet high and about eight feet in diameter. Some transuranic waste emits large amounts of penetrating gamma radiation. This “remote handled” waste must be shipped in different containers that provide more shielding. The RH-72B was designed to safely transport these wastes. Like the TRUPACT-II and the HalfPACT, the RH-72B is leaktight and constructed with inner and outer containment vessels. It is a large cylinder approximately 12 feet long and about 3.5 feet in diameter. The cylinder fits into circular impact limiters, similar to shock absorbers, designed to protect the container and its contents in the event of an accident. The RH-72B has a one-and-5/8-inch-thick lead liner to shield people from gamma rays. It also has an outer thermal shield to protect the container against potential fire damage.

going container is a standard unit of dimensions and strength defined by ISO STANDARDS while the standard dimensions of the sea/ land going containers enable uniform handling and transportation. To achieve this, the system employs 80 polyethylene clad neutron counting modules (known as DISPIM®) together with electronics that provides regulated high voltage distribution, signal conditioning and amplification for 12 independent neutron counting channels. The UWM container movement controller and readout computer are located in an adjacent operator area, with data logging and remote readout capabilities. The system utilizes 160 pressurized He-3 thermal neutron detectors of standard design; two detectors per DISPIM® neutron counting module. A key component of the success of the Uranium Waste Monitor has been the selection of a low neutron background area for measurement together with the implementation of effective methods for the shielding and correction of the spallation neutron background. This background is an inevitable consequence of this measurement approach and is caused by the interaction of cosmic ray generated particles with the high assayed masses of steel [15].

Immobilization and disposal containers
Immobilization in high integrity containers: Dried spent ion exchange resins can be encapsulated in high integrity containers for storage and/or disposal without immobilization in an additional matrix in a process in which dewatered or dried resins are transferred directly into the final storage casks. The water is removed from the resins by evaporation with a vacuum drying system in conjunction with a jacket heating system for the cask. The waste casks can be made of ductile cast iron, high density polyethylene, fibre reinforced concrete or steel. A nodular cast iron container is shown in Figure 9 [16]. Solid radioactive waste impregnation with highly penetrating cement grout in containers: Cement grout is used on the basis of the multi-component binding material “Bison” developed at The Institute of Ecotechnologies, Moscow. The new method binding material does not increase the volume of final product in comparison with initial poured volume of waste products, simplifies the process of cementation, increase its radiation safety, to and reduces expenses for erection and service of near-surface repositories of radioactive waste [17]. It was shown that polymer of polyhexamethylenguanidine class (PHMG) improves parameters of impregnation increasing the flowability of cement grout in 1.2-1.5 times, reduces its demixing in
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Uranium waste monitoring containers
Uranium contaminated waste in intermodal containers: The Uranium waste monitors (UWM) shown in Figure 8 is a unique passive neutron counter (PNC) capable of accurate uranium assay for a range of freight containers including Intermodals, ISO (SeaLand) containers, ST90 boxes, and drum packs. The sea/land
Global Radiation Safety Concern and Management of Radioactive Waste

Citation: H.M. Saleh(2013) Composite Materials for the Improvement of Radioactive Waste Containers: Structures and Characterization. J Nucl Ene Sci Power Generat Technol S1-006.

doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.4172/2325-9809.S1-006 1.3-2 times, allows without lose of grout quality impregnating more in 1.5-2 times volume of solid radioactive waste, increases durability and frost-resistance in 1.8-2.7 times, reduces leaching rate of Cs-137 in 1.5-2 times, promotes the fastest growth of durability on early terms of hardening [17] (Figure 10). The outer barrier is reinforced by wire made of steel; the inner barrier is separated from outer one by an inorganic material to absorb the ions tightly adhered with outer wall. This newly developed container has been considered as portable container and satisfies the transport regulation [19] (Figure 12).

Newly Developed Radioactive Waste Containers
Shielded radioactive-waste container
A shielded container for the treatment of radioactive waste has an upwardly open cast-iron vessel having a closed bottom, solid walls unitary therewith, and an open upper mouth itself closed by a cast-iron lid which is formed with separate vertically through going intake and outlet passages. Screw thread formations either provided directly on the lid and vessel or on fasteners engaged between them hermetically secure the lid over the mouth. A flow deflector aligned inside the vessel underneath the outlet passage can be formed as a plate so aspirated gases do not entrain liquid or solid particles. A single cover is held by appropriate screw thread formations on the cover over the passages. The vessel can be relatively thin 8cm, 12cm, or 18cm cast iron so it is possible to treat its contents. For drying radioactive wastes it is merely necessary to heat the outside of the container while applying suction to the outlet passage [18] (Figure 11).

Cement composite, concrete, concrete cask and method of manufacturing concrete
Concrete is a composite material of coarse granular material (the aggregate of filler) embedded in a hard matrix of material (the cement or binder) that fills the space between the aggregate particles and bonds them together [20]. New developed Japanese invention provides a composite from which concrete featuring a sufficiently high heat resistance can be produced, as well as a high-safety sealed concrete cask having no opening (shielding defect) to offer high shielding performance that can prevent corrosion of an internal canister and release of radioactive

Multi barrier container for radioactive waste
It is a multi-barrier container used for radioactive and/or toxic wastes; it covered with an external screw lid made of solidified cement.

Figure 11: Shielded radioactive-waste container.

Figure 9: German modulator cast iron container.

Figure 10: Cementation by impregnation method of mixing solid radioactive waste in 4m3 container (A. Solid radioactive waste in container, B. Final product).

Figure 12: Multi barrier Container for Radioactive Waste; 1) Outer layer 2) Inner layer 3) Sorption layer F) Radioactive waste.

Global Radiation Safety Concern and Management of Radioactive Waste

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Citation: H.M. Saleh(2013) Composite Materials for the Improvement of Radioactive Waste Containers: Structures and Characterization. J Nucl Ene Sci Power Generat Technol S1-006.

doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.4172/2325-9809.S1-006 material to the exterior. A concrete cask of the invention includes a body with bottom, and cover for opening and closing off a top of the cask. Both the cask body and the lid are made of concrete manufactured by using a composite including Portland cement or blended cement containing Portland cement, which is mixed with water in such a manner that the content of calcium hydroxide falls in a range of 15% to 60% by mass after hardening through hydration reaction. Metallic heat-transfer fins are embedded in the cask body [21]. Four types of a concrete drum are used for storage of solidified cemented low level spent resins, concentrates, sludges or solidified cemented high level resins. Figure 13 shows example of concrete drum developed by Chinese [22]. either a polymer or monomer in a dispersed, powdery, or liquid form with fresh cement mortar and concrete mixtures, and subsequently curing, and if necessary, the monomer contained in the mortar or concrete is polymerized in situ. The polymers and monomers used as cement modifiers are shown in Figure 15. Several types of polymer-modified mortars and concretes, i.e., latex-redispersible polymer powder-, water-soluble polymer-, liquid resin, and monomer-modified mortars and concretes, are produced by using the polymers and monomers shown in Figure 15. Of these, the latex-modified mortar and concrete are by far the most widely used cement modifiers. Although polymers and monomers in any form such as latexes, water-soluble polymers, liquid resins, and monomers are used in cement composites such as mortar and concrete, it is very important that both cement hydration and polymer phase formation (coalescence of polymer particles and the polymerization of monomers) proceed well to yield a monolithic matrix phase with a network structure in which the hydrated cement phase and polymer phase interpenetrate. In the polymer-modified mortar and concrete structures, aggregates are bound by such a co-matrix phase, resulting in the superior properties of polymer-modified mortar and concrete compared to conventional.

High-integrity container (HIC)
A high-integrity container (HIC) for handling, transportation and disposal of low-level radioactive wastes was developed. The HIC made of a composite material consists of an inner layer at polyethylene bonded to an outer casing of fibreglass reinforced plastic. Preliminary handmade prototype units containing about 0.22 m called HIC7 which have been fabricated and exposed to some of the most demanding U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and state tests. The HICs withstood over twice the external pressure from maximum burial conditions and twice the Type A package internal pressure requirements. In addition free drops on compacted soil and an unyielding surface showed no deleterious effects. The composite material has been tested for mechanical properties such as tensile, compressive and bond shear strengths, creep, thermal expansion and hardness. In addition, specimens have been exposed to environments including thermal cycling, gamma and ultra violet radiation, biodegradation from fungi and bacteria and internal and external chemical corrosion followed by mechanical testing. Prototype production units have been tested to the full range of NRC and state requirements. A topical report showing how this HIC meets all NRC and state requirements has been submitted to the NRC [12]. According to the properties of radioactive waste and the requirements for interim storage and disposal, the concrete container is widely used for LLW and ILW in the world. A reinforced concrete drum, intended for loading with low and intermediate level radioactive waste must meet the specified requirement (Figure 14).

Polymer modified container
Polymer-modified mortar and concrete are prepared by mixing
Figure 14: HIC-7 elevation sketch, all dimensions in inches.

Figure 13: Diagram of the nuclear waste concrete drum.

Figure 15: Polymers and monomers for cement modifiers.

Global Radiation Safety Concern and Management of Radioactive Waste

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Citation: H.M. Saleh(2013) Composite Materials for the Improvement of Radioactive Waste Containers: Structures and Characterization. J Nucl Ene Sci Power Generat Technol S1-006.


Nanomaterials and nanotechnology for high-performance cement composites
The concept of nanotechnology comprises a range of techniques that allow researchers to probe the behaviour of matter. Nanotechnology developments are already essential features and describe a different approach, where the cement paste is combined with carbon nanotubes to produce improved binder properties, including flexural strength and fracture toughness [23]. Also, superplasticized mortars with selected nano-SiO2 demonstrated an increase in the strength of cement-based materials [24]. A similar synergy is needed between material researchers and structural engineers to apply nanotechnology to the construction industry.

during the process of maturity. The complete construction of container consists of the box body, the cover plate with two openings with caps (Figure 18). Low and medium radioactive waste are placed into the container by using of special technology. The waste inside the container is immobilized by cementitous slurry. The full container is hermetically closed, transported to the central storage place and placed into the underground chamber (Figure 9) [25].

Cement composite container improved through organic additives
Improving cement-composite containers using polymer as organic additives was studied extensively. Both unsaturated styrenated polyester (SPE) and polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) were used to fill the pores in cement containers that used for disposal of radioactive wastes. Two different techniques were adopted for the addition of organic polymers based on their viscosity. The low density PMMA was added using impregnation technique. On the other hand high density SPE was mixed with cement paste as a premix process.

High performance fibre reinforced concrete box container
A new generation of concrete, especially the high performance concrete and cementitous fibre composites, seem to be a dominant construction material in the radioactive waste management in the future decades. A previous experience can confirm that the high performance concrete is able to fulfill all demanding requirements concerning the long-term storage of radioactive wastes. Today, it is extremely important to present to the public a clear concept of the radioactive waste storage, serving as a good model for other countries. In Slovakia for example, the concept of high performance fibre reinforced concrete (HPFRC) mix design was based on a French license (fy. SOGEFIBRE) and later partially modified on the domestic material basis. Its composition consists of river aggregates, sand, filler, modified cement, silica fume, superplaticizer and water. Metal strip fibres FIBRAFLEX is serve as fibre reinforcement. The high quenching rate solidifies the liquid metal in an amorphous, non-crystalline state and giving the fibres its flexibility and very good mechanical properties [25]. Table 2 shows the basic mechanical properties of the FIBRAFLEX fibres. Because of the chromium content in the FIBRAFLEX alloy, the stips fibres are highly resistant against corrosion. The content of the FIBRAFLEX fibres in 1 m3 of the concrete mix is 1.37%. Table 3 shows the basic mechanical properties of the hardened HPFRC. The form and size of the box container is shown in Figure 16. The internal capacity of the container is 2.9 m3. The body of the box container is made as a precast element in the bottom up position by using of massive steel mould. The mould with the fresh concrete after the vibration is placed for 16 hours in the hall environment and after this time the mould is twisted to the bottom down position and the container is demoulded (Figure 17). A newly made container is covered by a plastic cover in order to create optimal curing conditions
Table 2: Mechanical properties of the FIBRAFLEX fibres. Tensile strength (MPa) Modulus of elasticity (GPa) Specific surface (m2/kg) Table 3: Mechanical properties of the HPFRC. Age (days) Tensile strength fct,spl. (MPa) Compressive strength fc (MPa) Tensile strength fct,blend. (MPa) 7 47.80 4.05 6.74 32.68 28 71.1 4.59 7.73 39.63 90 87.8 5.28 8.52 40.99 2000 140 10

Figure 16: Form and size of the container.

Figure 17: Stages of container fabrication, a) Container steel mould after finishing of concrete placing and vibration, b) Process of concrete maturity under the plastic cover.

Modulus of elasticity M (GPa)

Figure 18: Precast container body and cover plates made of HPFRC.

Global Radiation Safety Concern and Management of Radioactive Waste

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Citation: H.M. Saleh(2013) Composite Materials for the Improvement of Radioactive Waste Containers: Structures and Characterization. J Nucl Ene Sci Power Generat Technol S1-006.

doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.4172/2325-9809.S1-006 Predetermined weight of borate radioactive evaporate waste simulate was introduced into the Cement-polymer composite (CPC) container and then closed before subjecting it to leaching characterization. Porosity, pore parameters and rate of release of radionuclides were also determined. The results obtained showed that for the candidate CPC container, positive effect of polymer dominates and an improvement in the retardation rate of PMMA release radionuclides was observed (Figure 20) [26]. year service life, after which time radioactivity levels in the waste will have become negligible (Figure 21) [27].

Reinforced concrete container covered with epoxy layer
A proposed container was designed to immobilize radioactive waste. The design of the container is composed of 100 mm wall thickness of reinforced concrete and a cover of the same thickness of reinforced concrete (Figure 22). The inner and outer sides of the container are covered with a thin layer of epoxy (Figure 23). The radioactive sludge and/or hazardous ions are mixed first with kaolinite then 6% of epoxy, and the mixture is thoroughly mixed with cement to create a homogenous matrix before pouring in the proposed container [28].

The structure of fibre-reinforced concrete container
The design and dimensions of the containers may be adapted to suit specific requirements, including overall dimensions, wall thickness, lid dimensions and closure and plugging system. Fibre-reinforced concrete has excellent radionuclide containment properties and resists aging caused by the elements and other external forces. This is due to careful selection of constituents and development of appropriate formulas, use of Fibraflex, a metal fibre with strong corrosion-resistance properties, to improve concrete mechanical properties and minimize microcracking and use of ISO 9002-certified manufacturing processes. Tests simulating actual disposal conditions have shown minimal corrosion of Sogefibre container walls from water infiltration over a period of 300 years. The container walls must provide the necessary mechanical strength as well as radionuclide containment throughout long-term storage and final disposal. A very conservative design basis was used to determine the wall thickness of the Sogefibre container for its 300-

Cement composite container improved through inorganic additives
New trend was started in Egypt studying the contribution of inorganic additive to improve the cement container composite. The gratuity of the mentioned container is as a second barrier following the waste form matrices. This container was candidate for containment of borate waste evaporates simulates and aiming at improving the retardation efficiency of proposed composite to radionuclides release.

Figure 19: Manipulation of the container during the process of its placing into the chamber of storage place.

Figure 21: Shape of SOGEFIBER container and the additive reinforcement fibre.

Figure 20: Schematic diagram of Cement-polymer composite container (CPC).

Figure 22: Fibre reinforced concrete containers: from concept to manufacturing.

Global Radiation Safety Concern and Management of Radioactive Waste

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Citation: H.M. Saleh(2013) Composite Materials for the Improvement of Radioactive Waste Containers: Structures and Characterization. J Nucl Ene Sci Power Generat Technol S1-006.

Jom-J Min Met Mat S 52: 26-29. 4. Factfile (2008) Nuclear waste disposal and transport of spent fuel. (4th Edn.) Institution of Engineering and technology1-7. 5. International Atomic Energy Agency (1992) IAEA–TECDOC-652, Minimization and Segregation of Radioactive Wastes. IAEA, Vienna. 6. International Commission on Radiological Protection (1997) Radiological protection policy for the disposal of radioactive waste, ICRP Publication 77. 7. Hutchison S (2001) Long-term Storage of Radioactive Waste-a Regulatory View. World Nuclear Association Annual Symposium. 8. Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) (2006) Radioactive Waste Management. Figure 23: Composition and dimension of the reinforced concrete container covered with epoxy layer. 9. International Atomic Energy Agency (2006) IAEA-TECDOC-1515, Development of specifications for radioactive waste packages. IAEA, Vienna. 10. Bayoumi TA (1997) Study and improvement of the retention capability of some cement barriers on the disposal of low and intermediate–level radioactive wastes. Ain Shams University, Cairo. 11. Tang YS, Saling JH (1990) Radioactive waste management. Hemisphere Publishing Corporation, Washington DC. 12. Lowenberg H, Shaw MD (1989) Development of a composite polyethylene: Fiberglass-reinforced-plastic high-integrity container for disposal of lowlevel radioactive waste. ASTM, Environmental Aspects of Stabilization and Solidification of Hazardous and Radioactive Wastes. American Society for Testing and Materials, Philadelphia 63-73. 13. Code of Federal Regulations (1982) Licensing Requirements for Land Disposal of Radioactive Waste. Federal Register 47, 57446, 10: 61. 14. Orr CH, Hughes KA, Gardner FW, Lash K, Parvin DF, et al. (2001) Assay of Uranium Contaminated waste in Intermodal Containers by Passive Neutron Measurement at the Oak Ridge 3 Building &D Project. WM’01 Conference, Tucson, USA. 15. International Atomic Energy Agency (2002) Technical Report Series No. 408, Application of Ion Exchange Processes for the Treatment of Radioactive Waste and Management of Spent Ion Exchangers. IAEA, Vienna. 16. Varlakov AP, Gorbunova OA, Dmitriev SA, Barinov AS, Efimov KM (2005) Solid Radioactive waste Cementing by Impregnation with Highly Penetrating Grout. WM’05 Conference, Tucson, USA. 17. Henning B, Dieter R (1990) Shielded radioactive-waste container. US Patent 4894550. 18. Ghattas NK, Eskander SB, Bayoumi TA, Shatta HA (2006) Multi Barrier Container for radioactive waste, Germany patent. 19. Mindness S, Young JF (1981) Concrete. Prentice-Hall Inc, USA. 20. Taniuchi H, Shimojo J, Sugihara Y, Owaki E, Okamoto R (2007) Cement composite, concrete, concrete cask and method of manufacturing concrete. US Patent 7294375. 21. Hui WY (1994) Development of nuclear waste drum of concrete, IAEA– TECDOC-851, Radioactive Wastes management practices and issues in developing countries. Proceedings of seminar held in Beijing, China, 243. 22. MakarJ, Margeson J, Luh J (2005) Carbon Nanotube/Cement Composites– Early Results and Potential Applications. 3rd International Conference on Construction Materials: Performance, Innovations and Structural Implications, Canada, 1-10. 23. Sobolev K, Flores I, Hermosillo R, Torres-Martinez LM (2006) Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology for High-Performance Cement Composites. Nanotechnology of Concrete: Recent Developments and Future Perspectives, USA. 24. Hudoba (2007) Utilization of concrete as a construction material in the concept of Radioactive Waste Storage in Slovak Republic. Acta Montanistica Slovaca Ročník 12, Mimoriadne číslo 1: 157-161, 25. Ghattas NK, Eskander SB, Bayoumi TA, Saleh HM (2009) Cement-Polymer Composite Containers for Radioactive Wastes Disposal. J Rad Res App Sc 2: 103-118.

Figure 24: Schematic diagram of Cement-Natural clay composite container.

Inorganic additives namely natural clay, bentonite and kaolin were added to the cement paste before casting. The demolded container is filled with the radioactive borate waste evaporate simulate then closed with lid manufactured from the same composition as the container. The whole assembly was subjected to leaching test. The added inorganic additives reduced clearly the leachability of radionuclides in the ground water leachant (Figure 24) [29,30].

Various inert materials and several structures could be used successfully to produce containers suitable for encapsulation of radioactive waste. The use of different composites to enrich several advantages for the constructed containers was recommended as possible additives to improve the confinement efficiency of container for waste disposal. Natural and synthetically additives, organic or inorganic improved the physical and chemical characterizations of cement used for container production.
1. International Atomic Energy Agency (1995) Safety Series No. 111-F, Principles of Radioactive Waste Management, IAEA, Vienna. 2. International Atomic Energy Agency (1994) Safety Series No. 111, Classification of Radioactive Waste, IAEA, Vienna. 3. Yim MS, Murty KL (2000) Materials issues in nuclear-waste management.

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Citation: H.M. Saleh(2013) Composite Materials for the Improvement of Radioactive Waste Containers: Structures and Characterization. J Nucl Ene Sci Power Generat Technol S1-006.

26. SOGEFIBRE: The fiber-reinforced concrete container specialist. 27. Sakr K, Sayed MS, Hafez MB (2003) Immobilization of radioactive waste in mixture of cement, clay and polymer. J Radioanal Nucl C 256: 179-184. 28. Ghattas NK, Eskander SB, Bayoumi TA (1992) Improved cement barriers applied in nuclear wastes. Cement Concrete Res 22: 312-318. 29. Ghattas NK, Ghorab H, Eskander SB, Bayoumi TA (1996) International Topical Meeting on Nuclear and Hazardous Wastes Management, ‘Spectrum 96’, USA, 164-168. 30. Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Transuranic Waste Transportation Containers.

Author Affiliations


Radioisotope Department, Nuclear Research Center, Atomic Energy Authority, Giza, Egypt

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