Uranyl peroxide enhanced nuclear fuel corrosion in seawater
(PNAS) Proprietary Rights Notice for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Christopher R. Armstrong(a), May Nyman(b),
Tatiana Shvareva(a),Ginger E. Sigmon(c),
Peter C. Burns(c,d), and Alexandra Navrotsky(a)
- Author Affiliations
(a)Peter A. Rock Thermochemistry Laboratory and Nanomaterials in the Environment, Agriculture and Technology Organized Research Unit, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616;
(b)Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM 87185;
(c)Department of Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556; and
(d)Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556
Contributed by Alexandra Navrotsky, November 30, 2011 (sent for review October 31, 2011)
The Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear accident brought together compromised irradiated fuel and large amounts of seawater in a high radiation field. Based on newly acquired thermochemical data for a series of uranyl peroxide compounds containing charge-balancing alkali cations, here we show that nanoscale cage clusters containing as many as 60 uranyl ions, bonded through peroxide and hydroxide bridges, are likely to form in solution or as precipitates under such conditions. These species will enhance the corrosion of the damaged fuel and, being thermodynamically stable and kinetically persistent in the absence of peroxide, they can potentially transport uranium over long distances.
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