Safe management of high level nuclear waste is a worldwide significant issue for which vitrification has been selected by many countries. There exists a crucial need for improving our understanding of the ageing of the glass under irradiation. While external irradiation by ions provides a rapid simulation of damage induced by alpha decays, short lived actinide doping is more representative of the reality. Here, we report radiological NMR experiments to compare the damage in International Simplified Glass (ISG) when irradiated by these two methods. In the 0.1 mole percent 244Cm doped glass, accumulation of high alpha decay only shows small modifications of the local structure, in sharp contrast to heavy ion irradiation. These results reveal the ability of the alpha particle to partially repair the damage generated by the heavy recoil nuclei highlighting the radiation resistance of nuclear glass and the difficulty to accurately simulate its behaviour by single ion beam irradiations.
Charpentier, T., Martel, L., Mir, A. H., Somers, J., Jégou, C., & Peuget, S. (2016). Self-healing capacity of nuclear glass observed by NMR spectroscopy. Scientific Reports, 6(1), [25499 ]. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep25499