PNNL’s Wasteform Development Lab (previously known as the “glass lab”) is key to the nation’s quest for the safe, long-term storage of nuclear waste.
Specifically, our researchers are looking to isolate actinides and radionuclides generated during energy production (including past plutonium production at the Hanford site), used nuclear fuel recycling, and legacy waste from other remediation sites.
PNNL helped pioneer nuclear waste vitrification efforts in the 1960s—we developed the technology for the ceramic joule-heated slurry-fed melters used at the West Valley and Savannah River sites.
We have since expanded our research capabilities to include glass, glass-ceramic, grout, metal, and metal-ceramic wasteforms that will withstand corrosion over geologic time. We also are working to increase the throughput capability of the waste treatment plants. For example, our researchers are expanding our understanding of how the waste—which is dissolved in the glass—transitions through the glass feed to the final pour.
Research in the Wasteform Development Laboratory is primarily conducted by PNNL’s Radiological Materials technical group in support of DOE’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) and Office of Nuclear Energy (NE), and in partnership with DOE contractors.
Based inside the Applied Process Engineering Laboratory, the Wasteform Development Lab offers a broad range of capabilities, including:
• Interfacial Sciences and Rheology