BER launches Environmental System Science Program. Visit our new website under construction!

U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


Elemental Composition of Glass Used to Capture Nuclear Waste Makes a Difference
Published: June 07, 2010
Posted: June 24, 2010

To better understand the structure and durability of aluminoborosilicate glass used to capture nuclear waste, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory scientists conducted systematic experiments with aluminum, boron, sodium and silicon, the four major components of nuclear waste glass. The team synthesized glasses with different concentrations of these elements and then, using the solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance capabilities at DOE's Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory at PNNL, along with flow-through dissolution experiments, they investigated how structural changes in the glass affected their dissolution as a function of pH and temperature. Results indicate that the dissolution rate for glass is controlled by rupturing the aluminum to oxygen bond or the silicon to oxygen bond. Determining how glass breaks and dissolves is paramount for improving the prediction of nuclear waste release from glass and it advances fundamental understanding of how minerals weather and cycle these elements in subsurface environments.

Reference: Pierce EM, LR Reed, WJ Shaw, BP McGrail, JP Icenhower, CF Windisch, Jr, EA Cordova, and J Broady. 2010. "Experimental Determination of the Effect of the Ratio of B/Al on Glass Dissolution along the Nepheline (NaAlSiO4)-Malinkoite (NaBSiO4) Join." Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 74(9):2634-2654.

Contact: Paul E. Bayer, SC-23.1, (301) 903-5324
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Subsurface Biogeochemical Research
  • Research Area: DOE Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)

Division: SC-33.1 Earth and Environmental Sciences Division, BER

 

BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Mar 23, 2021
Molecular Connections from Plants to Fungi to Ants
Lipids transfer energy and serve as an inter-kingdom communication tool in leaf-cutter ants&rsqu [more...]

Mar 19, 2021
Microbes Use Ancient Metabolism to Cycle Phosphorus
Microbial cycling of phosphorus through reduction-oxidation reactions is older and more widespre [more...]

Feb 22, 2021
Warming Soil Means Stronger Microbe Networks
Soil warming leads to more complex, larger, and more connected networks of microbes in those soi [more...]

Jan 27, 2021
Labeling the Thale Cress Metabolites
New data pipeline identifies metabolites following heavy isotope labeling.

Analysis [more...]

Aug 31, 2020
Novel Bacterial Clade Reveals Origin of Form I Rubisco
Objectives

  • All plant biomass is sourced from the carbon-fixing enzyme Rub [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)