B. Shabalin, K. Yaroshenko, O. Marinich, I. Koliabina, N. Mitsiuk, S. Buhera
The article is devoted to the study of the barrier properties of bentonite clays from the Cherkasy deposit (Ukraine) as the most promising material for engineered barriers in near-surface disposal facilities for low-level radioactive waste.
The work presents a description of the Cherkasy bentonite deposit, in particular, of the most promising II layer of the Dashukivka site, and the composition and properties of the natural and soda-modified (PBA20) bentonites which can be used for safe long-term storage and disposal of radioactive waste. The scanning electron microscope (SEM) images of the samples were made and the chemical and mineral composition of the samples was determined. Based on the obtained data, the Dashukivka bentonite was classified as Al-Fe-montmorillonit. The main rock-forming minerals of the bentonite are montmorillonite (75 ± 3 wt. %) and quartz (20 – 25 wt. %). Infrared spectra of the bentonites in the range of 4000 – 400 cm-1 are typical for dioctahedral Al-smectites and are almost identical both for the natural and modified samples. The derivatographic analysis (DTA) of the bentonite samples allows us to conclude that the modified bentonite PBA-20 has greater thermal stability than the natural bentonite. The total weight loss of the samples is about 10.3% and 17.8%, respectively. From the experimental study of 137Cs adsorption from a simulated ChEZ water solution (mineralization – 0.2 g/dm3), it was found that the equilibrium in the sorbent-solution system is established within 12 to 14 h, and the degree of adsorption on the modified bentonite PBA-20 reaches 93%. The degree of adsorption on the natural bentonite is 7 – 10% lower. Analysis of the partition coefficients (Kd) also indicates a higher efficiency of the Na-modified bentonite compared to the natural, and that ion exchange is the main mechanism of caesium adsorption. Increasing of the pH of the initial solution results only in a slight increase of the degree of adsorption. The degree of 137Cs adsorption on Na-modified bentonite is practically independent of the initial concentration of Ca2+ (from 16 to 160 mg/dm3) and Na+ (from 6 to 60 mg/dm3) in the solution. However, 137Cs adsorption on natural bentonite decreases with the increase in Na+ concentration. Thus, the bentonite clays from the Cherkasy deposit (Dashukivka site, II layer) having good barrier properties can be recommend as anti-migration engineered barriers for radioactive waste repositories, in particular, near-surface storage facilities I and II line of Vector complex.
Key words: Chornobyl Catastrophe, overcoming strategy, “Shelter” Object, radioactive contamination, lava-like fuel-containing materials, radioecological issues, radiohydrogeoecological monitoring, radioactive waste disposal and temporary storage facilities, Americium-241.
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