CORROSION RESISTANCE OF REFRACTORIES IN MELTS OF GLASSES
USED TO IMMOBILIZE RADIOACTIVE WASTES
V. A. Sokolov,
M. D. Gasparyan,
M. B. Remizov,
and P. V. Kozlov
Translated from Novye Ogneupory, No. 3, pp. 149 – 152, March, 2016.
Original article submitted February 22, 2016.
Results are presented from tests of the corrosion resistance of fused-cast zircon-bearing and high-chromium
refractories in melts of borosilicate and phosphate glasses used to immobilize radioactive waste products
(RWP). It is shown that high-chromium refractories Kh-99 and KhPL-85 can be recommended for use in lin
ing the most important sections of the melters employed in RWP vitrification.
Keywords: radioactive waste products (RWP), waste immobilization, ceramic melter, boron-silicate glass,
phosphate glass, vitrification, corrosion resistance, fused-cast chromium-bearing refractories.
The increasing worldwide demand for energy in the
Twenty-First Century can be partially met by making greater
use of nuclear power, which would inevitably also increase
the amount of radioactive wastes that is formed. Immobi-
lizing radioactive waste products (RWP) is a serious concern
in all countries with a nuclear power industry . It is com-
mon practice throughout the world for highly active RWP to
be immobilized by vitrification. The technology was first
used on an industrial scale in the USSR in 1987 at the
“Mayak” Chemical Combine . The vitrification technol
ogy has been used to immobilize high-activity wastes for al
most 30 years and makes it possible to significantly reduce
the total volume of the wastes while converting them to a
form that is resistant to environmental effects and is suitable
for long-term storage and final burial. The technology is
based on the electrical formation of glass from solutions of
the wastes and fluxes in a direct-heating glassmaking furnace
(ceramic melter) at 1150°C and transfer of the glassy product
to thick-walled steel containers for cooling, long-term stor
age, and subsequent burial. The glass matrix has a large ca
pacity for immobilizing different radionuclides (fission prod
ucts) and is stable over a long period of time.
The glasses used to immobilize RWP should have a rela
tively low boiling point, include the maximum possible
amount of RWP while remaining resistant to the effects of
chemicals, heat, and radiation, and possess adequate me-
chanical strength. These requirements are met by two types
of inorganic glasses: boron-silicate glasses and phosphate
glasses. Boron-silicate glasses have been most widely used
to immobilize wastes that exhibit high or moderate levels of
radioactivity. These glasses are based on a three-dimensional
silica-oxygen framework. Boron acts as a modifier that low-
ers the boiling point and increases the strength of the glass.
The boiling point of boron-silicate glasses is (1100 ± 100)°C
and the boiling point of phosphate glasses is (1000 ± 100)°C.
Phosphate melts are regarded as being more corrosive to ce
Factories that vitrify RWP are in operation in Russia, the
U. S., Great Britain, and Japan. Most of the attention in these
facilities’ operation is paid to improving the designs of the
melters, and the most important feature of the melters is the
use of corrosion-resistant materials. Data on the operation of
the “Pamela” facility in Belgium , the WVDP demonstra
tion project near West Valley, New York (in the U. S.), the
VEK plant in Germany , the TVF unit in Japan , and
the DWPF facility near the Savannah River in the U. S. 
shows that ER 2161 and Monofrax K-3 refractories were
used to form the bath for the melt in the melting chamber.
The “Mayak” Production Association is the only plant in
Russia that uses phosphate glass to immobilize RWP in di
rect-heating electric furnaces. The planned construction of a
new complex for RWP vitrification involves the design of
melters that are fundamentally different from furnaces of the
Ep-500 type in terms of their design and operation. Building
Refractories and Industrial Ceramics Vol. 57, No. 2, July, 2016
1083-4877/16/05702-0160 © 2016 Springer Science+Business Media New York
Moscow State Institute of Steel and Alloys, Moscow, Russia.
OOO “TsIT ‘SPETsKEROKOM,’” Podolsk, Moscow Oblast,
FGUP “PO ‘Mayak,’” Ozersk, Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia.