Plutonium chemistry: a synthesis of experimental data and a quantitative model for plutonium oxide solubility
The chemistry of plutonium is important for assessing potential behavior of radioactive waste under conditions of geologic disposal. This paper reviews experimental data on dissolution of plutonium oxide solids, describes a hybrid kinetic-equilibrium model for predicting steady-state Pu concentrations, and compares laboratory results with predicted Pu concentrations and oxidation-state distributions. The model is based on oxidation of PuO 2 by water to produce PuO 2+ x, an oxide that can release Pu(V) to solution. Kinetic relationships between formation of PuO 2+ x, dissolution of Pu(V), disproportionation of Pu(V) to Pu(IV) and Pu(VI), and reduction of Pu(VI) are given and used in model calculations. Data from tests of pyrochemical salt wastes in brines are discussed and interpreted using the conceptual model. Essential data for quantitative modeling at conditions relevant to nuclear waste repositories are identified and laboratory experiments to determine rate constants for use in the model are discussed.