- © 2008 by the Mineralogical Society of America
A significant effort has been made by the scientific community to evaluate the potential of phosphate minerals and glasses as nuclear waste storage hosts. Radioactive waste-bearing phosphates, including monazites, apatites, and glasses, can be readily synthesized in the laboratory. Because of their low solubilities and slow dissolution rates, these phosphates are more resistant to corrosion by geological fluids than many other potential nuclear waste storage hosts, including borosilicate glass. Phosphates are, however, not currently being used for nuclear waste storage, in part because their synthesis at the industrial scale is relatively labor intensive, often requiring the separation of the waste into distinct fractions of elements. Such limitations may be overcome by adding phosphate amendments to backfill material, which could provoke the precipitation of stable radiactive waste-bearing phosphate minerals in situ.