Osmosis-induced swelling of Eurobitum bituminized radioactive waste in constant total stress conditions

Elie Valcke, An Mariën, Steven Smets, Xiang Ling Li, Nadia Mokni, S. Olivella, X. Sillen

Research outputpeer-review


In geological disposal conditions, contact of Eurobitum bituminized radioactive waste, which contains high amounts of the hygroscopic and highly soluble NaNO3, with groundwater will result in water uptake and swelling of the waste, and in subsequent leaching of the embedded NaNO3 and radionuclides. The swelling of and the NaNO3 leaching from non-radioactive Eurobitum samples, comprized between two stainless steel filters and in contact with 0.1 M KOH, was studied in restricted (semi-confined) swelling conditions, i.e. under a constant total stress, or counterpressure, of 2.2, 3.3, or 4.4 MPa (i.e. oedometer conditions). Four tests were stopped after hydration times between 800 and 1500 days, and the samples were analyzed by micro-focus X-ray Computer Tomography (µCT) and by Environmental Scanning Electron Microscopy (ESEM). The complete set of data enabled a consistent interpretation of the observations and lead to an improved understanding of the phenomenology of the water uptake, swelling, and NaNO3 leaching in restricted swelling conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-316
JournalJournal of Nuclear Materials
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2010

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