The incorporation of plutonium in lanthanum zirconate pyrochlore

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The incorporation of plutonium (Pu) within lanthanum zirconate pyrochlore was investigated using air, argon, and N2–3.5%H2 sintering atmospheres together with Ca2+ and Sr2+ incorporation for charge compensation. The samples have been characterised in the first instance by X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS). The results show Pu can be exchanged for La3+ on the A-site with and without charge compensation and for Zr4+ on the B-site. DRS measurements were made over the wavenumber range of 4000–19,000 cm−1 and the Pu in all air- and argon-sintered samples was found to be present as Pu4+ while that in samples sintered in N2–3.5%H2 was present as Pu3+. The Pu valence was confirmed for three of the samples using X-ray near-edge absorption spectroscopy (XANES). Pu valences >4+ were not observed in any of the samples. © 2013, Elsevier B.V.
Plutonium, Argon, X-ray diffraction, Scanning electron microscopy, Lanthanum, Pyrochlore
Gregg, D. J., Zhang, Y., Middleburgh, S. C., Conradson, S. D., Triani, G., Lumpkin, G. R., & Vance, E. R. (2013). The incorporation of plutonium in lanthanum zirconate pyrochlore. Journal of Nuclear Materials, 443(1-3), 444-451. doi.10.1016/j.jnucmat.2013.07.030