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Chemistry Weekly Seminar - Dr. Andrew Grosvenor

Posted on 2017-09-01 in Events
Sep 15, 2017

Title :Shining a Light on Nuclear Materials

A focus of the Grosvenor Group is to increase our understanding of nuclear materials by use of X-ray-based techniques. During the first part of this talk, our on-going collaboration with AREVA Resources Canada to study how the tailings (solid waste) from the uranium mill located at McClean Lake, Saskatchewan change over time will be discussed. Uranium ore bodies contain many mineral phases beside uranium oxide that need to be disposed of in a responsible fashion. Solid mining waste can be placed in a tailings management facility (TMF), which is designed to contain the waste elements and limit interaction with the external environment. To understand how a tailings facility will behave throughout the lifetime of the mining operations that feed the tailings management facility, and after the site has been decommissioned, it is important to understand the chemistry of the tailings and how they change with time. This part of the talk will focus on our use of X-ray microprobe and X-ray absorption spectroscopy to identify the Ca-bearing minerals in the TMF. During the second portion of the talk, our studies of crystalline metal-oxides and glass-ceramic composite materials as potential nuclear wasteforms will be presented. One aspect of using crystalline metal oxides for the sequestration of nuclear waste elements that must be understood is how the decay of radioactive elements affects the structure of the material. The influence of radiation on a crystalline structure can be simulated by high-energy, ion implantation. We have successfully used surface sensitive glancing-angle X-ray absorption near-edge spectroscopy to study the effect of ion implantation on the structure of pyrochlore-type oxides, monazite- and xenotime-type rare-earth phosphates, and glass-ceramic composites. During the final phase of the talk, our preliminary investigations of how the synthetic method used to form materials for the safe sequestration of nuclear waste elements can affect the structure of these materials will be presented.

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