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  • Author or Editor: Jana Kufčáková x
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Abstract  

Bentonite is a natural clay and one of the most promising candidates for use as a buffer material in the geological disposal systems for spent nuclear fuel and high-level nuclear waste. It is intended to isolate metal canisters with highly radioactive waste products from the surrounding rocks because of its ability to retard the movement of radionuclides by adsorption. Slovak Republic avails of many significant deposits of bentonites. Adsorption of Cs on five Slovak bentonites of deposits (Jelšový potok, Kopernica, Lieskovec, Lastovce and Dolná Ves) has been studied with the use of batch technique. In the case of Dolná Ves deposit, the mixed-layer illite–smectite has been identified as the main clay component. Natural and irradiated samples, in two different kinds of grain size: 45 and 250 μm have been used in the experiments. The adsorptions of Cs on bentonite under various experimental conditions, such as contact time, adsorbent and adsorbate concentrations have been studied. The Cation Exchange Capacity values for particular deposits drop in the following order: Jelšový potok > Kopernica > Lieskovec > Lastovce > Dolná Ves. Bentonites irradiated samples with 390 kGy have shown higher specific surface and higher values of the adsorption capacity. Distribution coefficients have been determined for bentonite-cesium solution system as a function of contact time and adsorbate and adsorbent concentration. The data have been interpreted in terms of Langmuir isotherm. The uptake of Cs has been rapid and the adsorption of cesium has increased with increasing metal concentrations. The adsorption percentage has decreased with increasing of metal concentrations. Adsorption of Cs has been suppressed by presence of Ca2+ more than Na+ cation. Sorption experiments carried out show that the most suitable materials intended for use as barriers surrounding a canister of spent nuclear fuel are bentonites of the Jelšový potok and Kopernica deposits.

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Abstract  

The influence of chemical activation–natrification of bentonites on adsorption of Cs and Sr was studied with regards to utilization of bentonites for depositing high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel. Bentonite samples from three Slovak deposits in three different grain-size (15, 45 and 250 μm), natural and natrified forms (Na-bentonites); under various experimental conditions, such as contact time, adsorbent and adsorbate concentration have been studied. When comparing the Na-bentonites and their natural analogues, the highest adsorbed Cs and Sr amounts were reached on the natrified samples. After the Sr adsorption a drop in the pH equilibrium value was observed together with the increase of the initial Sr concentration. A disadvantage of the natrified bentonite forms is formation of colloid particles. After 2 h of phase mixing a gentle turbidity was observed as well as formation of a gel-like form. The above findings were confirmed by observing the particle distribution in dry and wet dispersion and centrifugation at two different speeds. Natrification as a technological process of bentonite quality improvement cannot be applied when constructing a long-term repository for high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel. The main problem of natrification is a technological process which leads to a significant pH increase. Alkaline environment in combination with the K presence and increased temperature in the vicinity of radio-active waste can lead to a rapid illitization of smectite and loss of the original adsorption qualities. Moreover, sodium additions are a significant point of uncertainty since it is not possible to state what amount of Na enters the interlayer space and what amount stays in the inter-partition space.

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Abstract  

The basic strategic aims in the field of managing high-level radioactive waste and liquidation of nuclear power plants are all contained in the Energy policy of the Slovak Republic. Its aim is to resolve the concept of the backside of the nuclear energetics fuel cycle—long-term deposition of high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel (SNF). The most important form of high-level radioactive waste and SNF long-term deposition is their deposition in deep geological formations created by natural as well as engineering barriers used to isolate the long-lived radionuclides from the biosphere. The basic components of these barriers are clays, of which bentonite is generally referred to as the most suitable clay material. There are a few significant bentonite deposits in the Slovak Republic: Jelšový potok, Kopernica, Lastovce, Lieskovec, Dolná Ves. The review article summarizes the information on geotechnical properties of Slovak bentonites published up-to-date, which is inevitable to know for the intention of their use. It highlights the advantages and shows drawbacks of five Slovak deposits. It suggests further research direction, to draw a thorough hydraulical, microbial and radiation profile of Slovak bentonites.

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