Event Timeslots (1)
Day 2 – June 21
The UK possess one of the world’s largest civilian stockpiles of separated plutonium, the majority of which is stored at the Sellafield site in Cumbria. The nature of the stored plutonium can vary, but in general, the plutonium is stored as an oxide powder within a metal container, bagged out in a plastic bag, then welded shut into an outer metal container. Despite this process taking place under an argon atmosphere, species such as water, oxygen and nitrogen from the air are likely to be entrained within the packages, as well as chlorine due to the degradation of the plastic . In the near-future, this plutonium will require removal from these storage containers to either be processed into mixed-oxide (MOx) fuels or into a suitable wasteform for long-term disposal. It is, therefore, imperative that we understand how these species may interact with the material and the headspace above it and what influences they may have on the plutonium’s chemistry over long time scales in storage. This work looks to study the effects that nitrogen and chlorine have on the plutonium's defect chemistry using density functional theory.