Journal of Earth Sciences and Geotechnical Engineering

Degradation Mechanisms in Smectitic Clay for Isolating Radioactive Waste

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  • Abstract

     

    Most of the proposed techniques for chemical shielding of radioactive waste implies use of smectite clay, which degrades according to a well-known scheme. Since such “buffer” clay has to serve for many thousands of years, the mechanisms in the unavoidable long-term degradation process must be understood and accounted for as described in the paper. In addition to conversion of smectite to non-expandable minerals cementation by precipitation of siliceous matter created in the degradation process is of concern since it can reduce the self-sealing capacity of desiccated or mechanically damaged clay.

     

    Keywords: Smectite clays, diffractogram, radioactive wastes, montmorillonite, XRD, TEM, Holmehus clay.