Research aims to prevent nuclear waste seepage

February 27, 2017 by Ryan Terry
Research aims to prevent nuclear waste seepage
Credit: Texas A&M University

Nuclear waste is a reality, whether remnants of nuclear weapons or the byproducts of nuclear power plants. While we aren't at risk of an attack from a giant radioactive lizard, nuclear waste can still pose threats to human health.

Dr. Zachary Grasley, an associate professor in the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering at Texas A&M University, is currently conducting experiments for the Savannah River National Lab (SRNL) in hopes of preventing leakage. The waste in question is relatively harmless, especially compared to what we see in comic books and movies, but it is a waste that must be safely disposed of. The best way to safely store and contain this nuclear waste is by mixing it into a cement grout and storing it in large concrete vaults.

Grasley's research concerns the permeability of these grout mixtures and in turn, the ability for nuclear materials to eventually flow through the solidified grout and into the environment. The SRNL contracted Grasley to run these experiments because of his state-of-the-art permeability testing method. What once took weeks to test can now be accomplished in minutes with this test developed at Texas A&M.

These tests involve taking hollow or solid cylinders of various grout samples developed by SRNL, saturating them with water, and subjecting them to high levels of water pressure inside of a pressure vessel. Immediately after, the pressure on the surface of the sample equalizes to the pressure the vessel was subjected to, causing the material to contract. The pressure level inside the sample remains much lower, however, because the solid structure of the grout is bearing most of the pressure. Because liquids flow from high pressure areas to lower pressure areas, water will begin to flow into the pore network of the sample if the pressure is sustained. As water permeates the material, it begins filling the pores in the sample, causing it to expand and regrow.

The rate at which the sample expands after the initial contraction allows for an accurate calculation of the permeability of the sample. This process takes less than an hour, compared to previous testing techniques that could take weeks to complete.

By developing this testing method, Grasley has significantly reduced the time and effort required to understand the permeability of these different grout mixtures produced by the SRNL. This means previously unknown information about these samples can now be determined in minutes. As the SRNL produces various grout mixtures containing nuclear waste materials, it is vital to understand the rate at which the nuclear materials can escape from them.

"This is actually pretty critical because it turns out that small changes in the mixture can cause an order of magnitude change in permeability," said Grasley. "That is important because if you have an order of magnitude change in permeability, it leads to an order of magnitude change in the time scale that it takes for the material to leach out."

An integral part of Grasley's research team is Ph. D. student Jeffryd Rose, who was responsible for the actual testing and reporting of the project. This project fit with Rose's doctoral research, which focuses on measuring permeability of cement based materials.

"As a part of my Ph. D. research, I built a setup to measure the of cement based materials, so measuring materials with similar composition was a great application of my own research," said Rose. "This project offered me the opportunity to apply my research to a practical problem, going beyond theory, which is why this research project was so important and meaningful to me."

Rose expects to graduate from his doctoral program after completing the fall semester of 2017. Rose's findings were sent to SRNL to evaluate and apply to future waste containment methods.

This research is a matter of both environmental safety and human health. The goal is to find the best way to contain these potentially harmful materials to ensure that they do not leak into the environment, groundwater, or surface water. The test Grasley developed, and his collaboration with SRNL, are ensuring the safe disposal of nuclear waste and continuing to open doors for further exploration of nuclear energy.

Explore further: Special grout required for effective sealing of old nuclear reactors

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31 comments

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gkam
1 / 5 (6) Mar 06, 2017
We STILL have NO WAY of safely storing this nasty radioactive waste, yet we keep on making more, when not needed.
WillieWard
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 06, 2017
Nuclear waste has not killed anyone and geological repositories will make sure it will not harm anyone in the future.
Meanwhile, air pollution from fossil fuels (backup for intermittent renewables) kills millions of people each year.
Nuclear prevents more deaths than it causes, while intermittent renewables are just a high-cost mystical placebo unable to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
"The German Energiewende serves as a sad example of what can happen if ideology trumps reality. The German decision to shutter their nuclear plants has led to renewable energy replacing nuclear power, not fossil fuels. As a result, emissions have been reduced only marginally."
"Finnish Green candidates call for nuclear power" - March 6, 2017
https://jmkorhone...r-power/
gkam
1 / 5 (6) Mar 06, 2017
What kind of grout you gonna use?

And you folk promised meltdowns were impossible, but we have had four so far. Nobody has the technology to even see what is going on in the intensely-radioactive holes in Fukushima.

They admit to 300 tons of contaminated water is going into the residue of the reactors, and then out to sea, every day.
Which one is next?
Captain Stumpy
4.2 / 5 (5) Mar 06, 2017
@STOLEN VALOR LIAR-lam
And you folk promised meltdowns were impossible, but we have had four so far
1- no, the scientists predicted that, using safety measures, they were not likely
there is a difference between saying a meltdown is impossible and not likely - and they aren't. considering the use and safety statistics i presented to you already more than ten times, you should have learned at least that much

2- political rhetoric is not science, nor is it valid arguments against science (regardless of topic)
if you can't argue with facts, link references or at least produce an argument that is factually correct and can be validated, then go play elsewhere

3- you keep harping on the horrors of nukes and yet without it we will never colonize space
please note that in order for us to use it in space (fission or fusion) we will have to actually know WTF we are doing, hence experiment and build the technology

per your own request then...
gkam
1 / 5 (6) Mar 07, 2017
You can trust them, hiding in the woods, but those of us who have worked with the technology may have other ideas regarding their safety.

http://www.agreen...-of.html

We have had FOUR "impossibilities" so far. Are those the "facts" you are missing?

If we count the partial meltdown and burning through of the first of two vessel walls, and the molten fuel and racks at TMI II, then it is FIVE.

Cuddle up to that.

Which unit is next?
Captain Stumpy
4.2 / 5 (5) Mar 07, 2017
@STOLEN VALOR LIAR-kam
We have had FOUR "impossibilities" so far. Are those the "facts" you are missing?
1- strawman and moving goalpost delusion

2- it's not "impossibilities", you idiot, and those of us who actually worked in the field comprehend that one, so you've just outed yourself (again)

3- you are still arguing from emotion and not science, as noted by your first sentence
if you could provide empirical evidence that you "worked with the technology" you would have done so already

so per your own request to clean up the site...

more to the point: none of the above accidents in any way should deter us from experimenting or learning about nuclear energy in any way because 4 accidents out of the past decades of research and use are pretty safe odds

nuclear tech will be required in the future - even though idiots like you fear it out of ignorance

shall i ask the nuke questions again so you can ignore them and refuse to answer due to ignorance?
gkam
1 / 5 (6) Mar 07, 2017
No, Silly, I am arguing from experience and the facts of reality. How many meltdowns have we had? How many? Want to buy land in Pripyat?

" those of us who actually worked in the field". You? You said you sat in a fire truck.

And if you want to play with nukes, go ahead. Somehow I doubt that, too, since you are hiding in the woods of Arkansas.
Captain Stumpy
4.2 / 5 (5) Mar 07, 2017
@STOLEN VALOR LIAR-kam
No, Silly, I am arguing from experience and the facts of reality
false claim
How many meltdowns have we had?
and again: i linked the safety statistics to you, so lets compare that to a similar time period against all other methods of generating electricity

ignoring the facts because you're fearmongering isn't helping your argument
Want to buy land in Pripyat?
distraction/redirection and strawman fearmongering
You? You said you sat in a fire truck
i did - but i also was required to learn about nuclear safety not only for HAZ-MAT but for nuke weapons, nuke power generation and building codes construction and inspections

that makes me far, far more experienced than a make believe engineer with no PEL and no undergrad degree in the field

also note, you are directly violating the law with regard to the rest of your post, as well as an agreement that can be proven as contractually binding, valid and enforceable by law in CA & US
gkam
1 / 5 (6) Mar 07, 2017
You READ about it? While sitting in your fire truck?

Wow, that beats experience any day.

In your world.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (4) Mar 07, 2017
@STOLEN VALOR LIAR-kam
You READ about it? While sitting in your fire truck?
perhaps you should reference the private e-mail i sent with my FO-II training cert and license number?
it was training and experience

experience being the keyword there
SAC and TAC, munitions, local facilities, NATO, etc

.

considering your intentional attempts to repeatedly redirect the topic to your delusional beliefs while refusing to actually add scientific content

and considering your failure to provide topical evidence or supporting evidence per your blatantly false claims

and per your own request to clean up the site...

well, you get the point, right?

if ya can't validate your claims, don't reply or continue this BS argument
gkam
1 / 5 (6) Mar 07, 2017
No, Rumpy, you posted a completely-redacted form, with the only thing showing was that it was signed by a civilian. Re-send the real stuff. If it has redactions, it is phony.

This thread is about nuclear seepage, and we have three bleeding sores in Fukushima, contaminating the Earth right now. If you are so smart, why don't you go there in your Big Red Truck and save them?
Captain Stumpy
4.2 / 5 (5) Mar 07, 2017
@STOLEN VALOR LIAR-kamq
you posted a completely-redacted form
1- you're an illiterate idiot - the DD214 is not the same thing as my FO-II certs from IFSAC and IAFF
learn to read

2- still OT and irrelevant - i could also ask: where, exactly, is your baccalaureate showing you have an undergrad degree for your MS per state and education requirements?

until i get that, you don't get sh*t

also note, because you can't abide by an agreement, then you're not trustworthy, so until you sign a contract (provided upon request) then i will not send you anything with personal information

i am not an idiot like you
This thread is about nuclear seepage
it is also about your false claims regard nuclear energy in general, as you start off the thread with a blatantly false claim and fearmongering lie regarding nuclear waste, then continue with misinformation and lies about nuclear safety

all things considered, i will acquiesce to your request to clean up the site
gkam
1 / 5 (6) Mar 07, 2017
Hey, you Big Silly, as I re-read the changed rate schedule to which you referred, I saw another bennie I may have missed, a "solar facilities exemption" for some kind of fee. I'll look into it. Thanks.

We just sent off for another $500 benefit check from the power company for owning an EV.

I hear you connected to the utility at last. I'm glad you took my word for it. You should have asked before buying all those dirty batteries.
Captain Stumpy
4.2 / 5 (5) Mar 07, 2017
@STOLEN VALOR LIAR-kam cont'd
and we have three bleeding sores in Fukushima, contaminating the Earth right now
please show where fukushima is contaminating "the Earth"

this is called fearmongering and misinformation, considering the limited exposure area
is it bad? yes. is it "the Earth"? no, making you an idiot
http://www.pnas.o...84.short

http://pubs.acs.o...s501890n

that is why science trumps fearmingering emotional stupidity like your posts - you want people to react to your fear

i would rather have people react with logic and intelligence
If you are so smart, why don't you go there in your Big Red Truck and save them?
OT diversion from stupidity

this is like asking why you haven't created a new PV that works at night

reported
I saw another bennie I may have missed
kinda sad that i know more about your contract than you do, don't you think?

i mean, you have a copy at home, don't you?
LOL
Captain Stumpy
4.3 / 5 (6) Mar 07, 2017
@STOLEN VALOR LIAR-kam
I'm glad you took my word for it
i didn't
you're a proven liar - why would i take your word for anything?
You should have asked before buying all those dirty batteries
what? like your car?

until very recently, there was no grid power here, you moron!

you can't tie to a grid that is nonexistent

ROTFLMFAO

hell, you even have the google map link to my house... where, exactly, do you see a huge grid with powerlines?

more to the point - the grid in rural areas is intermittent and fails regularly, especially in storms. so why would i get rid of the batteries? i've had them for 22 years and they're still working fine

unlike you, i actually have experience and knowledge with green energy, and i don't *require* CO2 sources for grid input

i only connected to the grid because it was required by building code and law for the new addition

you know, those CFR's that you didn't know existed that proved you lied about so many things?
LOL
gkam
1 / 5 (6) Mar 07, 2017
You are just like your namesake, the other Rumpy.

Show me where the rate schedule contradicts what I said.

And you cannot defend nuclear power by cheerleading. Go clean up Fukushima, and prove it can be done.

How many power systems could we install for the $190,000,000,000 we will have to waste at Fukushima? Do you understand 40 years is two generations of engineers scientists and workers we will waste there as well?

Think of the opportunity cost of Fukushima alone. It has crippled the future of Japan.
Captain Stumpy
4.2 / 5 (5) Mar 08, 2017
@STOLEN VALOR LIAR-kam

no links, no references, and still can't stay on topic

then you use misdirection, sloganeering and emotional FUD attacks

you still can't validate your own claims let alone provide a link to a non-subjective source for factual information like any actual MS holding STEM degree individual

so

per your own request to clean up the site...
gkam
1 / 5 (6) Mar 08, 2017
Want a link? Try this:

http://bellona.or...r-misses

"October 25th brought reports that there was a release of radioactive iodine from the Halden Reactor. . . It's not the first time the NRPA has had to issue an order to the IFE. The NRPA had been supervising the IFE since 2014 over its lack of safety culture. The incident in October shows this frame of mind persists. "
Captain Stumpy
4.2 / 5 (5) Mar 08, 2017
@STOLEN VALOR LIAR-kam
at least you found a link, so lets examine it
Norway's
norway isn't in the US last time i checked
given that it is also included in the global safety statistics it still doesn't support the bottom line of safety which you are fearmongering about

which brings us to the other part of the article (not a study like i provided, mind you)
A poor safety culture and a history of near misses
this is a choice, and it's historical data is still included in the study i provided to you regarding the safety of nuke vrs all other power generation

so you're promoting:
1- an article over a study
2- a FUD argument over factual analysis of data
3- opinion

this is what i've been telling you from the beginning also - now, i am not saying nuke is perfectly clean, like you intimate (because you're either illiterate or an idiot)

I am saying that it is greener than coal, limits CO2, & is functional until we can find better options

so per your request
gkam
1 / 5 (6) Mar 08, 2017
"norway isn't in the US last time i checked"
--------------------------

Irrelevant to the issue. Get over your need to get even with me for besting you. Just put me on ignore, and go away. We see your nasty comments all over this forum with hateful acronyms. Just outgrow it.
Captain Stumpy
4.2 / 5 (5) Mar 08, 2017
@STOLEN VALOR LIAR-kam
Irrelevant to the issue
well, you ignored the rest of that
let me repeat it for you: given that it is also included in the global safety statistics it still doesn't support the bottom line of safety which you are fearmongering about

so unless you can actually provide a refute to the study then you're arguing:
1- an article over a study
2- a FUD argument over factual analysis of data
3- opinion
Get over your need to get even with me for besting you
you are the one saying your opinion is factual while ignoring the study
i am just pointing out that you're lying and promoting FUD while refusing to provide factual supporting evidence

that isn't getting even with you, and it sure isn't you besting anyone but yourself

because you refuse to actually debate the issue with facts, i guess i will be forced to acquiesce to your request to report all the sniping and pseudoscience then, eh?

don't bother replying unless you give studies/links
gkam
1 / 5 (6) Mar 08, 2017
I gave you statistics, but you just pull another Trump, and lie about it or change the subject.

The statistics are four nuclear meltdowns. Got it? That does not count three Mile Island, which melted the fuel and core ssemblies and burned through the first of the double-walled reactor vessel, or PL-1, the reactor which exploded killing three people at INEL.

More stats: Before they found astonishing levels of radiation in Unit 2, the least damaged of the three at Fukushima, they projected the cost to be over $190,000,000,000 and 40 years, . . . two generations of our best engineers, managers, technicians, and others tied up just trying to "undo" another nuclear disaster.

Give us all those estimates and odds, and we'll put them against reality. I sent those links long ago.
Captain Stumpy
4.2 / 5 (5) Mar 08, 2017
@STOLEN VALOR LIAR-kam
I gave you statistics
no, you never did
i can prove it - i provided statistical analysis and a study to you here: https://phys.org/...uts.html

please link where you've provided a statistical analysis constrained by the scientific method (IOW - not performed by a biased interpretation or provided by a biased site in an article)

thanks
The statistics are four nuclear meltdowns
then you will be able to provide the study or link to the thread where you linked said study of the stat's then

i'll wait - so that we can compare the actual science rather than your opinion of the science
More stats:
no, that is an unsubstantiated claim because you can't provide empirical evidence nor link the source

and a STEM degree holder should be able to tell that one
see also: http://www.auburn...ion.html

i'll wait for the link - no link means reported for trolling
gkam
1 / 5 (6) Mar 08, 2017
Statistics? Did I not just give you real numbers, not statistical finagling?

Do you not recognize the value of $190,000,000,000?

Do you not understand FOUR complete meltdowns?

Do you deny them?

Are you going to hide in some figures telling us it can't happen?

Too late!
gkam
1 / 5 (6) Mar 08, 2017
Rumpy apparently is unaware of Chernobyl and the "Fukushima Triple".

I could understand being confused by TMI II or PL-1, (or Brown's Ferry or Fermi 1, or Rancho Seco), but, . . . really?
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (4) Mar 08, 2017
@STOLEN VALOR LIAR-kam
Statistics? Did I not just give you real numbers, not statistical finagling?
giving random "real numbers" while making the claim they're related is how pseudoscience and FUD works

where is the source material
that means, for those without a real STEM degree - where is the reference material constrained by the scientific method that substantiates your claims
Do you deny them?
if you can't substantiate your claims with actual empirical evidence, you know, like what a STEM graduate would be able to provide, then it is argument from authority and FUD, not science
Rumpy apparently is unaware of
i am unaware of nothing - however i can prove that you're unaware of actual validated statistical analysis of safety

proven above and linked

reported per your own request and failure to actually provide science discourse and debate
claims require evidence/proof/links/references
WillieWard
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 08, 2017
Do you not recognize...
Do you not recognize the value of $1,000,000,000,000 (trillion euros) spent on unicorn energy pipe dream that in practice is unable to curb CO2 emissions?
Do you not understand your fanciful "FOUR complete meltdowns" has killed no one by radiation in practice?
Do you not recognize you are sociopath pathological liar that should seek for mental treatment before it too late?
Captain Stumpy
4.2 / 5 (5) Mar 08, 2017
Do you not understand your fanciful "FOUR complete meltdowns" has killed no one by radiation in practice?
@willie
just a polite first warning, like i did for liar-kam

if you're going to make a claim, you had better check your own facts first, ok?
now, i am not anti-nuclear, but i am definitely anti-false claims, which is why i tore into liar-kam to begin with

considering your comment i quoted, i suggest you check the facts
At Chernobyl, 28 highly exposed workers died within four months of the accident. Experts say there is "some evidence" of an increased risk of leukemia and cataracts among workers who received higher doses when engaged in recovery efforts
https://www.nei.org/Master-Document-Folder/Backgrounders/Fact-Sheets/Japan-Comparing-Chernobyl-and-Fukushima

that is definitely killed in practice and as a direct result of failure as well
facts win the argument
not FUD or sloganeering

remember that one please
gkam
1 / 5 (6) Mar 08, 2017
"Do you not understand your fanciful "FOUR complete meltdowns" has killed no one by radiation in practice?"
------------------------------------

Look up the Children of Chernobyl, read of the workers who knew they would die, but worked to stop the damage, see what radiation death is like and realize you may be a monster.
Captain Stumpy
4.2 / 5 (5) Mar 08, 2017
@STOLEN VALOR LIAR-kam
Look up the Children of Chernobyl, read of the workers who knew they would die, but worked to stop the damage, see what radiation death is like and realize you may be a monster
this is a perfect example of FUD and not facts

look above your post at mine - i provide excellent source material, facts and in the NEI document there is reference material to WHO and the UN

i also noticed you downrated it even though it says everything you want to promote

this is why you're not taken seriously
even i can admit when something is correct, even though i dislike the poster (ask bschott)

you provide an emotional argument not based on science, facts or even source material
i provided a fact based argument from source material

that makes you the "anonymous sniper" who bot-voted, which is why you're downrated for everything in return

per your own request to clean up the site...
gkam
Mar 08, 2017
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