Research Themes

Nuclear Waste Immobilisation

Our research in nuclear waste immobilisation centres on the development, characterisation and use of advanced and traditional cementitious materials to enable the safe long-term storage and eventual disposal of wastes resulting from the nuclear fuel cycle. We also make use of this expertise to design innovative cements for the immobilisation of hazardous wastes resulting from other areas of industry and society.

Focus areas

• Performance prediction for cemented nuclear wasteforms, present and future
• Novel cementing binders for nuclear and radioactive wastes: alkali and alkali-earth silicates, aluminates, phosphates and sulfoaluminates
• Immobilisation of heavy metals
• Mass transport properties of cemented wasteforms

Key publications

Mobasher, N.; Bernal, S.A.; Kinoshita, H.; Provis, J.L. "Gamma irradiation resistance of early age Ba(OH)2-Na2SO4-slag cementitious grouts" Journal of Nuclear Materials, 2016, 482: 266-277.
Walling, S.A.; Provis, J.L. “Magnesia based cements – a journey of 150 years, and cements for the future?”, Chemical Reviews, 2016, 116(7), 4170-4204.
Gardner, L.J.; Lejeune, V.; Corkhill, C.L.; Bernal, S.A.; Provis, J.L.; Stennett, M.C.; Hyatt, N.C. “Evolution of phase assemblage of blended magnesium potassium phosphate cement binders at 200° and 1000°C”, Advances in Applied Ceramics, 2015, 114(7): 386-392.

Key research projects

EPSRC UK-Japan Civil Nuclear projects “Predicting long-term performance of cement disposal systems for radionuclide-loaded zeolite and titanate ion exchangers” and “Development of solidification techniques with minimised water content for safe storage of secondary radioactive aqueous wastes in Fukushima

EPSRC

In these projects, we are working with partners in Japan to develop and validate innovative cementation methods to aid in the safe and effective cleanup of the Fukushima Daiichi site. We work with colleagues from institutions including Hokkaido University, to specify, design and predict the performance of new cements that will give greatly improved performance compared to traditional Portland-cement based materials.

EU H2020 Euratom project “CEBAMA

ERC_EU

Cements@Sheffield is a key member of this 29-member EU-funded consortium, led by KIT (Germany), which is assessing and improving many aspects of the use of cement-based materials in the storage and disposal of nuclear waste. Our particular contribution to the project is in the characterisation of vault backfill materials, which is essential to the final closure and long-term security of a nuclear waste repository.

NATO - Science for Peace and Security 'Improved security through safer cementation of hazardous wastes' SPS 985402 (G5402)

This project aims to improve the security of society through removing the chemical and radiological hazards associated with waste materials. Specifically, alkali-activated materials (AAMs) based on locally available industrial by-products in Serbia (e.g. fly ash or blast furnace slag) will be used for immobilization of hazardous (toxic and/or radioactive) wastes. The developed technology for immobilization of hazardous waste with AAMs will be tested in the Waste Processing Facility within the Public Company “Nuclear Facilities of Serbia. This project is a collaboration between the Cements@Sheffield and Serbian partners: Institute for Multidisciplinary Research, The University of Belgrade, Faculty of Civil Engineering, The University of Belgrade, Institute of General and Physical Chemistry, Belgrade, and Public Company “Nuclear Facilities of Serbia“, Vinča, Belgrade.

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