High-level radioactive wastes can be safely immobilized in alkali-aluminoborosilicate glass. To reduce the cost of the vitrification process, the waste loading should be maximized. This can be done by optimizing the process using mathematical modeling. The main objective of our work was to determine one of the necessary inputs for the mathematical model, which is the effect of temperature and composition on the concentration of spinel crystals and their size. We prepared six glasses with a different content of Li+, Na+, Mg2+, Ni2+, Cr3+, and SiIV and studied the effect of composition on the temperature dependence of spinel equilibrium concentration in glass by X-ray powder diffraction. The size of crystals was determined using optical microscopy. It was found that the temperature effect on spinel concentration significantly increased as the content of Ni2+ or Mg2+ in glass increased and slightly decreased as the content of Cr3+ increased and Li+ and Na+ content decreased. Both Ni2+ and Cr3+ acted as nucleating agents, producing a huge number of tiny spinel crystals (∼2 μm). In particular, Ni2+ seems to very significantly facilitate spinel crystallization.

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