In the UK, irradiated fuels from Magnox reactors are often stored in water-filled ponds under alkaline conditions, so as to minimise corrosion of fuel cladding. This is important to prevent or reduce leakage of soluble fission products and actinides to the pond water. A variety of intermediate level wastes derived from Magnox materials are stored at power stations. Under these alkaline conditions, various species of magnesium are formed, of which magnesium hydroxide is the dominant material. The particle-fluid interactions are significant for the design and operation of facilities for hydraulic retrieval, filtration, dewatering and ion exchange treatment of fuel storage pond water and stored wet Magnox wastes. Here we describe a study of particulate properties and filtration characteristics of oxide particle simulants under laboratory conditions. Cake and medium resistance data were correlated across a range of pH conditions with electroacoustic zeta potential and shear yield stress measurements, as a function of particle volume fractions. The influence of zeta potential on filtration properties arises directly from the interaction of particles within the sediment cake.

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