The Immobilisation of Caesium bearing Ion Exchange Resin by Vitrification

Owen J. McGann*, Paul A. Bingham & Neil C. Hyatt

Ion exchange resins loaded with Caesium-137 have been a persistent problem within the nuclear industry for many years. A range of techniques have been applied to these resins in attempts to find a route to immobilise the radio isotopes present in the waste. Amongst which one of the most successful routes has been vitrification. Vitrification allows the Cs-137 bearing IX resin to be incorporated into a glass matrix, effectively immobilising the radionuclides which are present. However, due to the nature of the IX resin, an organic resin rich in sulphates, and the inherent volatility of caesium, there are still several challenges to be overcome before vitrification can be applied to these wastes. This presentation will provide an overview of the past work looking at the vitrification of these resins, and will describe the various problems encountered with the application of vitrification to IX resins. It will go on to describe some of the possible solutions which have been considered, and describe how glass compositions have been developed to accommodate Cs loaded IX- resin, and how the development of these is being continued.