REFRACTORY MATERIALS FOR THE MELTERS OF PLANTS
USED IN VITRIFICATION OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES
V. A. Sokolov
and M. D. Gasparyan
Translated from Novye Ogneupory, No. 5, pp. 37 – 40, May, 2010.
Original article submitted March 1, 2009.
Results of corrosion resistance tests of different types of refractory materials (fusion cast baddeleyite-corun
dum, high-zirconium, corundum, and chromium-containing materials) in melts of borosilicate and phosphate
glass used for vitrification of radioactive wastes are presented. It is shown that the fusion cast high-chromium
refractory materials KhPL-85 and KhMG-5, both of which contain more than 80.0% Cr
, possess more than
twice the corrosion resistance of the chromium-aluminum-zirconium refractory KhATs-30 (an analog of the
refractory material ER 2161) and more than triple that of the baddeleyite-corundum refractories ER 1681 and
ER 1711. High-chromium refractory materials may be considered promising candidates for use as the material
of melters in plants for vitrification of radioactive wastes.
Keywords: radioactive wastes, ceramic melter, vitrification, corrosion resistance, fusion cast chromium-con-
Vitrification of radioactive wastes is a new and promis-
ing trend that supports the reprocessing and conversion of
hot liquid radioactive wastes into a vitreious state safe for
long-term storage. The industrial technology of vitrification
of radioactive wastes is based on a process of electro-
founding of glass from solutions of wastes, fluxing additions
to directly fired glass-making electric kilns (ceramic melter)
at temperatures up to 1150°C, and pouring of the vitreous
product into thick-walled tanks made of corrosion-proof
steel for immobilization and subsequent burial.
The German plant Pamela was the first plant provided
with a ceramic melter at which highly active wastes were
subjected to vitrification . Industrial plants that subject ra
dioactive wastes to vitrification on the basis of a ceramic
melter are now functioning in Russia, the United States, and
The first domestic technology of vitrification of highly
active liquid radioactive wastes on an industrial scale was
implemented in 1987 at FGUP PO Mayak . Three EP-500
furnaces were in operation at this enterprise from 1987 to
2006. A fourth furnace (EP-500/4 type) with a three-year ser
vice life has been in operation since 2007; construction of
another two furances that would be capable of vitrification
and reduction to safe state of around 60 million C of radioac
tive wastes is planned to be completed by 2012. Obviously,
the demand for vitrification furnaces can be expected to in-
crease in the furture with the development of the atomic en-
ergy complex in Russia and the growth in the volume of ra-
A new generation of furnaces of enhanced reliability that
satisfy the requirements of ecological safety and possess a
service life of up to ten years are now under development. In
view of the rather high cost of such furnaces (the EP-500/3
furnace cost more than US$17,000,000 in 2001) and the re
quirements of maximal reliability and safety, the refractory
materials used in the lining of the furnace must exhibit maxi
mal corrosion resistance to the action of molten glass .
In the EP-500 the refractory brickwork of the furnace
that comes into contact with the glass melt is produced from
Bk-33 baddeleyite-corundum refractory at OAO Shcherbinsk
Refractory Electrosmelting Factory, which has demonstrated
satisfactory results in the course of operation. However, in
creased separation of fusion cast refractory materials has
been noted in the elements of the brickwork that are sub
jected to the greatest stresses (partition, baffle) . There
fore, to attain a ten-year service life for a furnace, refracto
ries with higher corrosion resistance than that typical of fu
sion cast baddeleyite-corundum refractories must be used for
the furnace lining.
Fusion cast chromium-containing refractories are used
for the lining of melters outside Russia in vitrification of
Refractories and Industrial Ceramics Vol. 51, No. 3, 2010
1083-4877/10/5103-0183 © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.
National Research Technological University, MISiS, Moscow.
OOO NPF BakorSpetsProm, Shcherbinka, Moscow District.