Dr Carolyn Pearce - research
Environmental interactions with high level waste
Investigating the coupled fates of actinide fission product (AFP) stability and barrier safety functions in the geological disposal of radioactive waste as the repository environment evolves over time, in order to develop accurate predictive tools. Aspects involve understanding reaction thermodynamic driving forces and reaction products, effects of radiation damage and hydrogen production, local chemical environment effects on the stability of barrier components and interactions between AFP and key mineral phases, including the role of electron transfer in phase transformations.
Current research focused on use of model barrier materials, as well as field samples, in combination with high-resolution spectroscopic/microscopic capabilities and irradiation facilities at DCF, to interrogate interfacial reactivity of AFP with barrier components, including effects of radiation damage.