Current understanding and remaining challenges in modeling long-term degradation of borosilicate nuclear waste glasses

John D. Vienna, Joseph V. Ryan, Stéphane Gin, Yaohiro Inagaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

191 Citations (Scopus)


Chemical durability is not a single material property that can be uniquely measured. Instead, it is the response to a host of coupled material and environmental processes whose rates are estimated by a combination of theory, experiment and modeling. High-level nuclear waste (HLW) glass is perhaps the most studied of any material yet there remain significant technical gaps regarding their chemical durability. The phenomena affecting the long-term performance of HLW glasses in their disposal environment include surface reactions, transport properties to and from the reacting glass surface, and ion exchange between the solid glass and the surrounding solution and alteration products. The rates of these processes are strongly influenced and are coupled through the solution chemistry, which is in turn influenced by the reacting glass and also by reaction with the near-field materials and precipitation of alteration products. Therefore, those processes must be understood sufficiently well to estimate or bound the performance of HLW glass in its disposal environment over geologic time scales. This article summarizes the current state of understanding of surface reactions, transport properties and ion exchange along with the near-field materials and alteration products influences on solution chemistry and glass reaction rates. Also summarized are the remaining technical gaps along with recommended approaches to fill those technical gaps.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-294
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Applied Glass Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)


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