Category: Waste Management > Waste Material Handling & Storage > Containment
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The supply of consistent cement powders to the nuclear industry is needed to ensure encapsulation of intermediate level waste ensures the longevity of waste packages identified for long term geological disposal. The nuclear industry is a low volume user of cement powders and hence is at risk from changes in cement powders driven by the construction industry. Polycarboxylate-based superplasticisers are being investigated as a potential additive to cement that will improve the qualities of the powder for use in nuclear encapsulation plants as well as meeting the long term product quality requirements. Experimental work is ongoing to determine the behavior of the grout and the set product that will determine whether the benefits of superplasticised grouts can be achieved in the nuclear industry and whether the long term storage risks would be realized.
The development of superplasticisers will reduce the risk associated with the supply of powders and open up the industry specification and allow other cement suppliers to be used.
There are risks associate with using superplasticisers; one is that there is the potential for them to associate themselves with radioactive material and enhance their solubility, potentially leading to transport out of the waste package.
This technology is being developed and is not commercially available yet.