The effect of γ-radiation on a variety of model vitreous wasteforms applied to, or conceived for, immobilisation of UK intermediate and high level radioactive wastes was studied up to a dose of 8 MGy. It was determined that γ-irradiation up to this dose had no significant effect upon the mechanical properties of the wasteforms and there was no evidence of residual structural defects. FTIR and Raman spectroscopy showed no evidence of radiation directly affecting the silicate network of the glasses. The negligible impact of this γ-irradiation dose on the physical properties of the glass was attributed to the presence of multivalent ions, particularly Fe, and a mechanism by which the electron–hole pairs generated by γ-irradiation were annihilated by the Fe2+–Fe3+ redox mechanism. However, reduction of sulphur species in response to γ-radiation was demonstrated by S K-edge XANES and XES data.

This paper was originally published in Journal of Nuclear Materials (2012) 429, 353-367.
 

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