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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2016, Article ID 4043632, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/4043632
Research Article

Nanoporous Glasses for Nuclear Waste Containment

1Aix Marseille Université, Université d’Avignon, CNRS, IRD, IMBE, 13397 Marseille, France
2IRD-Campus Agro Environnemental Caraïbes, Le Lamentin, 97232 Martinique, France
3Departamento de Fisica, FEC, LUZ, Maracaibo 4011, Venezuela
4Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral (ESPOL), Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Matemáticas, Departamento de Física, Campus Gustavo Galindo, Km 30.5 Vía Perimetral, P.O. Box 09-01-5863, 090150 Guayaquil, Ecuador
5Laboratoire Charles Coulomb, Université Montpellier 2, Place E. Bataillon, 34095 Montpellier Cedex 5, France

Received 25 February 2016; Revised 23 June 2016; Accepted 10 July 2016

Academic Editor: Mahaveer Kurkuri

Copyright © 2016 Thierry Woignier et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Research is in progress to incorporate nuclear waste in new matrices with high structural stability, resistance to thermal shock, and high chemical durability. Interactions with water are important for materials used as a containment matrix for the radio nuclides. It is indispensable to improve their chemical durability to limit the possible release of radioactive chemical species, if the glass structure is attacked by corrosion. By associating high structural stability and high chemical durability, silica glass optimizes the properties of a suitable host matrix. According to an easy sintering stage, nanoporous glasses such as xerogels, aerogels, and composite gels are alternative ways to synthesize silica glass at relatively low temperatures (≈1,000–1,200°C). Nuclear wastes exist as aqueous salt solutions and we propose using the open pore structure of the nanoporous glass to enable migration of the solution throughout the solid volume. The loaded material is then sintered, thereby trapping the radioactive chemical species. The structure of the sintered materials (glass ceramics) is that of nanocomposites: actinide phases (~100 nm) embedded in a vitreous silica matrix. Our results showed a large improvement in the chemical durability of glass ceramic over conventional nuclear glass.