Plutonium stabilization in zircon: Effects of self-radiation

Weber, W. J.; Hess, N. J.; Williford, R. E.; Heinisch, H. L.; Begg, B. D.; Conradson, S. D.; Ewing, R. C.
July 2000
AIP Conference Proceedings;2000, Vol. 532 Issue 1, p18
Academic Journal
Zircon (ZrSiO[sub 4]) is the most thoroughly studied of all candidate ceramic phases for the stabilization of plutonium. Self-radiation damage from α-decay of the [sup 239]Pu, which releases a 5.16 MeV α-particle and a 0.086 MeV [sup 235]U recoil nucleus, can significantly affect the structure and properties of zircon. Recent computer simulations using energy minimization techniques indicate that the lowest energy configuration occurs for a defect cluster composed of two near-neighbor Pu[sup 3+] substitutions on Zr[sup 4+] sites and a neighboring charge-compensating oxygen vacancy. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.


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