Pelegrin, E.; Ildefonse, Ph.; Calas, G.; Ricol, St.; Flank, A.M.
During lixiviation experiments, nuclear gels are formed and heavy metals are retained. In order to understand this retardation mechanisms, we performed an analysis of the local environment of Zr in parent glasses and derived alteration gels both at the Zr-L II,III , and Zr-K edges. Calibration of the method was conducted through the analysis of model compounds with known coordination number (CN): catapleite Na 2 ZrSi 3 O 9 ,2H 2 O (CN=6), baddeleyite ZrO 2 (CN=7) and zircon SiZrO 4 (CN=8). Nuclear glasses (R7T7, and a simplified nuclear glass V 1) and gels obtained at 90 deg C, with leaching times from 7 to 12 months and with solution renewal. were also investigated (GR7T7R and GV1). Zr-L II,III XANES spectra evidenced that zirconium is 6-fold coordinated in R7T7 and V1 nuclear glasses. For GR7T7R and GV1 gels, Zr local environment is significantly changed, and a mixture of CN (6 and 7J has been evidenced. Quantitative structural results were derived from EXAFS analysis at Zr-K edge. In parent glasses, derived Zr-O distance is 2.10±0.01 10 -10 m, and is in the range Zr-O distances for octahedral coordination in model compounds. In both gels studied, Zr-O distances increase significantly up to 2.15 ±0.01 10 -10 m. This distance is close to that known in baddeleyite (2,158 10 -10 m). A better understanding of the Zr retention mechanism has to be made by studying the second neighbors contributions. (authors)